If you (or someone you know) have borrowed or are waiting to borrow the much-maligned 1987 film “Ishtar” from the Toronto Public Library (within the past 2 years), I want to interview you. Your interview will appear alongside original “Ishtar” cast members, film critics, Tony Award winning songwriters, and Canadian celebrities, like filmmaker Don McKellar. You can contact me by leaving your email address here, or you can email me directly at


12 thoughts on “HELP ME FINISH MY MOVIE

  1. Dear Mr. Taylor,

    I’m sorry it took a day to get back to you. It is too bad that you are/were not on the library’s waiting list, because you are exactly the type of person I am hoping to find and interview – intelligent, passionate and devoted to this underappreciated movie. I too am a songwriter (musical comedy) and was pleased to see that somebody else connected with the movie for much the same reason that I did. “Ishtar” should be seen by anyone who has ever tried his or her hand at songwriting.

    I would be happy to help indoctrinate your grandson into the joy/shame of being an “Ishtar” fan. There are a few copies available at video stores around Toronto, like Queen Video. I don’t know if you live in the Toronto area, but I found a few rental copies by calling around town. If you are looking to buy a copy, then I suppose you could try ebay, as Ms. Maxim suggests.

    As for the DVD, I called Sony Pictures a few months ago and was told that there are plans to release “Ishtar” on DVD possibly this year. I know the DVD was released in Europe; however, it is a different format.

    I hope I have been helpful. Thank you for the comment and I hope that your grandson enjoys “Ishtar”.

  2. Mr. Taylor, I really enjoyed reading your comments – I was enlightened, because I didn’t realize the movie was so difficult to find! There’s a copy on ebay for sale, if you’re interested. It’s new and resides in Montana, but the seller ships worldwide.

    Greetings to a fellow Ishar fan – I only saw the movie once, years ago, but I remember thinking it was very funny and wondering why it got such bad reviews. Now I really want to see it again.

    Thanks! Good luck finding the movie.

  3. My husband & I looked at each other and almost laughed ourselves silly watching your Speaker’s Corner request. How apropos for us! We have been trying to see Ishtar for several years now – yes, on that TPL waiting list!!! Well that was until the tape disappeared. I’m sure others must have told you by now that THE ONE TPL copy has gone – disappeared – stolen – lost – misplaced. I wish I could remember how close we were on the waiting list I was when it did a bunk! Very broken-hearted once it was gone.

    We both grew up with all the “over-budget/worst movie of all times” jokes which clearly must have influenced us into not seeing it at the time of release. Didn’t think much more about it until several years back when we realized the fabulous & greatly talented Elaine May directed it. Just HOW BAD and different would the quality be from that of say A New Leaf!?

    And so to the TPL waiting list we went…to view it with open eyes & minds. But there we sat and sat…and sat…and sat. Once it disappeared we of course checked amazon & their Z shops – but that was as far as we got. How far should we go to find a movie that is allegedly one of the worst ones ever made?

    Looking forward to your movie! Usually never watch Speaker’s Corner so quite the odd coincidence to find out about it/this/you!

    Next you should consider Journey to the Far Side of the Sun – another mysterious library tape – signed out & constantly renewed by one person for over a year now – as the rest of us sit & wait & wait to see this Gerry Anderson gem!?

  4. I got my copy from the video store I rented it from. When they went out of business I bought the one (of course) copy. Later I got two copies on DVD. One is the European edition – you have to reset your computer to play it, and after a certain number of times doing this, it will get “stuck” on the latest setting you’ve used. The other one is a bootleg – a pretty high quality dub (probably from a Laserdisk). I got them both from EBay from different sellers at different times, for reasonable prices.

    You should not remain an Ishtar virgin any longer than you have to. Your suspicions are correct – you’ve been lied to. It’s a great movie. Lots of people agree; check out these sites:

  5. This is awesome news. I knew there were other people out there like my family. All of my friends (and I mean every single last one of them) completely hate this movie, and give me so much grief, it is not even funny.

    My girlfriend hated it, too, and I made her watch it again years later. She now loves it, and can now fully comprehend the weirdness that encompasses the lives of my brother and I.

    We had one copy of this on VHS growing up, and my brother took it with him. I moved over seas, and found a VHS copy in Japan.

    Dig this…it has Japanese subtitles. It is awesome, and I still have it. Mint condition.

    I might watch it tonight!

  6. Whoa! I never thought that there were other Ishtar fans out there besides my husband Andy and his friend Jeff. I always thought they were nuts. They’d quote lines and sing the awful songs. I guess it was their all time favorite when it came out in high school. He actually asked for a copy of the movie for his birthday 15 years ago. I found a used one at the video store and to this day, we still have it!

    Good luck with the documentary!

  7. My friend Daniela and I have loved Ishtar for I don’t know how long. If you were able to get a U.S.A. Release special gold sand edition in the works that would be awsome! lol. It is clearly worth any price. And what if we were able to get the actors to come in to an independently financed studio and sing those songs to the unreleased album! I would pay 100 dollars to help finance it! If you need someone who seriously wanted to revive this movie and make it better than ever like what George Lucas did for Star Wars contact me.

    Please release this doc. soon!

  8. I’ve never had to be on the waiting list because fortunately I own a copy of Ishtar. It honestly is one of the most cherished movies in my collection. It is my parent’s favourite movie, so I grew up watching is again and again, and know all the songs by heart.

  9. Hey – glad to hear of your project. I am probably one of the biggest fans of this movie out there, and am lucky enough to work at a company that will finally be putting this out on DVD for North American audiences. Let me know if i can help in any way…

    D. Schrader
    Los Angeles, CA

  10. Dear Mr. Mitchell,

    I am waiting for Waiting for Ishtar. I run an MFA program in writing (including screenwriting) at UCR, and along with the Rancho Mirage (CA) Public Library I am putting on a series of desert-based readings and films. Is your film finished? Screenable?


    Tom Lutz

  11. For years I thought I was the only person on the planet who enjoyed Ishtar. I saw it when it came out and I bought the video when it became available. I have over 1000 movies in my DVD/Video Library and Ishtar is the most watched video. I’ve made a DVD copy from the VHS because the VHS tape is almost worn out. I’ve show the movie to my 10 and 8 year olds, they actually sat through it and enjoyed it. I can’t wait for a Wide screen version DVD.

    p.s. I would love to see “Waiting for Ishtar”

  12. Is “Waiting for Ishtar” still a possibility???? My whole family loved it – and I won’t marry anyone who doesn’t get it. It just wouldn’t work. If they can’t sing “Telling The Truth” then I’m not interested. But seriously – Wired magazine said recently that Paul Williams wants to release a record of the songs!!!!

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