Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Another bump against the apple cart
November 24, 2007 3:35 PM   Subscribe

Dear torrent seeder: I am the producer of a motion picture. This is not a case-and-desist order. I am writing to thank you. Jerome Bixby's The Man From Earth succeeds through sharing.

Jerome Bixby never quite achieved the recognition he deserved, despite writing a deeply chilling short story (lauded by the Science Fiction Writers of America as one of the 20 best SF stories ever written) that was turned into an episode of The Twilight Zone and, decades later, became a segment in the Twilight Zone movie itself, generating a sequel ... and spoofed in The Simpson's "Treehouse of Horror II" special. Bixby also created the Mirror Universe concept in Star Trek, co-wrote the screenplay for "Fantastic Voyage" (now itself being remade), and wrote "It! The Terror From Beyond Space", which became the inspiration for "Alien".

On his deathbed in April of 1998 Bixby completed the screenplay for "The Man From Earth". Almost 20 years later, his son produced a small independent film of the work. Like most such films, distribution was small, and marketing low-key. The movie had a short run, and was quickly pulled from theaters. Inevitably, a torrent of an awards screener DVD of the film was released, spawning an interest in the movie that eluded it commercially.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (31 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought about posting this myself earlier in the week. I'm glad someone else did so.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:42 PM on November 24, 2007


That story was a good thing.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 4:04 PM on November 24, 2007


I hear the project was underwritten by the Cornfield Motel.
posted by sourwookie at 4:09 PM on November 24, 2007


Where's the actual torrent link?
posted by delmoi at 4:23 PM on November 24, 2007


Before this moment I didn't know this movie existed. Now because of the buzz generated through file sharing, I know to look into it. Commercial distributors want to keep the powers for themselves. File sharing let's people inform each other - and knowledge IS power.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:27 PM on November 24, 2007


Jerome Bixby never quite achieved the recognition he deserved, despite writing a deeply chilling short story...

That was good.
posted by afx237vi at 4:28 PM on November 24, 2007


torrents here (though I haven't tested any of 'em myself yet)
posted by jdfalk at 4:30 PM on November 24, 2007


Commercial distributors want to keep the powers for themselves.

Commercial distributors also don't need bittorrent to get the word out about their films.
posted by dhammond at 4:40 PM on November 24, 2007


The Man From Earth is, by the way, really good. Not everyday you see a philosophical movie that so successfully builds suspense without explosions, cheap scares, etc.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:40 PM on November 24, 2007


The Bart Zone (youtube)
posted by you at 4:44 PM on November 24, 2007


Downloading now.
posted by odinsdream at 4:52 PM on November 24, 2007


Great post. Real good post. A fine one.
posted by parki at 4:55 PM on November 24, 2007


Yes, yes. Good post.
posted by yeti at 4:58 PM on November 24, 2007


Thanks, Time Traveller, for coming back to 2007, only 9 years after 1998, to tell us about this.
posted by DU at 5:00 PM on November 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


A good day for a great post. Yessir, a real swell post.
posted by MythMaker at 6:15 PM on November 24, 2007


The 30 years later update for "It's a Good Life" featured the same actors in the same roles whenever possible. It was excellent.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:20 PM on November 24, 2007


Also, Fantastic Voyage was already remade.
posted by DU at 6:26 PM on November 24, 2007


I gotta say, I watched the movie and thought it was a little bit awful. Too much talking, and characters that didn't seem like they existed except to be foils of various types. I do like Bixby's other work, though.

/cornfield
posted by whir at 6:45 PM on November 24, 2007


The Man From Earth is, by the way, really good. Not everyday you see a philosophical movie that so successfully builds suspense without explosions, cheap scares, etc.

Tell me about it. When the movie of Fellowship of the frickin' Ring used a cheap scare for the easily deceived Ringwraith's big empty bed stabbing scene, it nearly ruined the movie for me.
posted by JHarris at 6:53 PM on November 24, 2007


very cool -- thanks!
posted by amberglow at 6:59 PM on November 24, 2007


Thanks for posting this. I'm only subscribing to the rlslog movie feed, so this story slipped by me.
(Downloading now...)
posted by kolophon at 7:10 PM on November 24, 2007


Thanks for posting this. Upon downloading it my first thought was that the acting was awful but as soon as the story picked up it became exactly the sort of media I've been craving lately. I guess I'd give it a solid B, but when curved against every other film I've seen this year (save for Fay Grim) it gets an A++++++++++++BEST MOVIE EVAR WILL DL TORRENT AGAN!1!
posted by bunnytricks at 8:19 PM on November 24, 2007


SHIT, I forgot about Fay Grim! Thanks for reminding me that that exists, bunnytricks. Jeff Goldblum + Hal Hartley = <3
posted by synaesthetichaze at 9:08 PM on November 24, 2007


Christ!

Happy birthday to me... happy bir-
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:51 PM on November 24, 2007


I just downloaded the torrent and watched it. It was pretty good, though both twists were way hackneyed and obvious. I definitely see the parallels to 12 angry men.
posted by empath at 1:50 AM on November 25, 2007


Where's the actual torrent link?

What, seriously?
posted by Wolof at 3:45 AM on November 25, 2007


If you do download the film, you might want to throw the producers a little something - the film's website accepts Paypal donations.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 8:16 AM on November 25, 2007


I very much enjoyed the short story. Reminded me of Orson Scott Card meets Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
posted by lizzicide at 10:10 AM on November 25, 2007


IIRC, an episode of Star Trek Deep Space 9 was dedicated to Jerome Bixby.
posted by dr_dank at 1:48 PM on November 25, 2007


Downloaded and watched this when it was released and thoroughly enjoyed it.
posted by Onanist at 2:14 AM on November 26, 2007


Downloaded and watched this when it was released and thoroughly enjoyed it.

That was good, wasn't it? So well written and performed that it could have been a Master Class demonstration on imrovisation, save for those beautiful shots where John stood apart from the group in the lower right-hand corner of the frame and the other characters quarreled among themselves like thought-bubbles.

(And to see Tony Todd in another good dramatic role – 2nd time this month; something must be in the air. He's been literally *demonized* and underutilized by the Hollywood machine. Shame, that)

Bravo to the Bixbys! Have any of the cable nets ponied-up to broadcast it? Showtime? IFC? Sundance Channel?
posted by vhsiv at 5:08 AM on November 26, 2007


« Older Air Supply formed in Australia in 1975 and became ...  |  Fast Eddie Felsen's... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments