Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
An appreciation of John Milius.
It is the mid-1980s. There is a party at the house of screenwriter Paul Schrader. Milius, who wrote Dirty Harry and Apocalypse Now and directed Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn, is there when Pauline Kael arrives. Kael is the liberal New Yorker film critic. To her, a Milius film is only slightly better than a slime mold. Milius has had some wine. He has an intermediary tell Kael that he would like a “conference” with her.
A message comes back: Kael wants to know if Milius, who in meetings with executives was fond of displaying pistols, is armed.
“Tell her I’m not armed,” Milius says. “But I myself am a weapon.”