Category: Miscellany

An open letter to the creators of “Grown Ups 2”, from one of your biggest fans….

Grown-Ups-2To Sony Pictures, Happy Madison Productions, et al.,

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste….

Actually, that’s not me, that’s my boss. I haven’t been to anywhere NEAR the places he’s been to (I was in St. Petersburg once, but it didn’t look like any czars have ever been there. But that one Kardashian’s boyfriend who keeps knocking her up threw out the first pitch at Tropicana Field when I was there, so that was pretty awesome!)

I’m pretty new to my current place of employment. I can’t really tell you where it is, but I can never leave. But I can say that, yes, it really is as HOT as everybody says it is. And being one of the bosses minions (we’re not as cute as those yellow ones in that movie, but many of us only have one eye), the only internet we get is 56k.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell all of you how FANTASTIC your movie “Grown Ups 2” was! Yeah, it only got a 7% from, but what do stuck up critics know.

They care about stupid things like story and characterization and things making sense. When I saw it, it was after work, and all I wanted to do was get wasted. Well, mission accomplished. And I did it while watching your movie, and I felt like I didn’t miss a thing!

I love that it starts right off with the jokes. When that deer pissed all over Adam Sandler’s face, then in the very next shot, his face and hair and shirt were all dry, like Sandler couldn’t even be bothered to maintain continuity… well, being wet in a T-shirt sucks if you’re not a hot chick in a wet T-shirt contest, so I don’t blame him.

And kudos on all the hot women with big breasts in the movie! And for those breasts to be prominently featured at all times (especially since it’s advertised as a family movie and all.)  It’s like women only exist to be hot, or be butch, or be crazy stalkers. I never really had a real girlfriend for any real length of time, but that’s pretty much my experience with women, so thank you for portraying such an honest portrayal.

It looks like the guys are having fun, like they’re on vacation. They’re just chillin and looking at all the hot women, and not putting ANY effort into being funny. I’m mean, if I was David Spade, I don’t even have to try to be funny. I just know that everything I do or say is automatically HYSTERICAL! That’s why I’m on that TV show that’s been on for years that nobody really watches or even knows when it comes on.

I love when Kevin James’s character does his patented burp-snart (or burp-sneeze-fart)… laughed my ass off!! And it’s like he knew it was brilliant, because he did it like every five minutes! I’ve burp-snarted eight times since I started writing this. Make that nine!!! 😀

And Nick Swardson… what can I say! It’s like he doesn’t even TRY to be funny… BUT HE IS!! The way he just acts hyper while standing around in tighty whiteys or wearing women’s makeup or making out with a dog… THAT’S COMEDY!! I can’t get enough of him!

But I don’t know why some of the people look embarrassed to be in the movie. I mean, why does Colin Quinn look so miserable? Or Chris Rock? What about Steve Buscemi, like you have anything BETTER to do?! Even Kevin James, when he’s not burp-snarting, looks like he’d rather be doing something else.

I read (according to the movie cost 80 million dollars to make. It’s not like “Pacific Rim”, where I can see where all the money went. That must mean that all you guys in the movie made most of that money, for just standing around and pretending to be funny! I would LOVE to make that sort of coin while being pampered and doing nothing.

But I wanna defend the movie from critics who say the movie has no structure. The movie begins with the peeing deer that Sandler saves from attacking his family by distracting it with his daughter’s favorite doll. When the deer destroys the doll, the doll is repaired by the gay aerobics instructor who happens to sew. Then, when evil Taylor Lautner taunts Sandler at the end of the movie by waving it in front of his own crotch, the deer sees the doll and rams Lautner right in his crotch! (Oops, I probably should’ve said SPOILER ALERT.) I believe in the business that is known as a callback. See, structure… BOOM!

Even though critics hate the movie for whatever reason, the movie has made 116 million dollars. So there, the people have spoken. That’s what we want. So why should we complain when we’re OBVIOUSLY getting what we want?

All of the people involved have worked hard to get where they are in their careers and never sold their souls to my boss to get there. I checked the files. Like I said, I LOVED every lazy second of it.

So keep doing what you’re doing! And I can’t wait for “Grown Ups 3”! But you know what you should do? Make it in 3D. The deer-pissing will be even MORE awesome!

Sincerely yours,

A dutiful servant of S.


A small, sincere appreciation to Baz Luhrmann (by someone who is not a fan)

Baz-LuhrmannI haven’t really liked any of Baz Luhrmann’s movies. I find them shrill, simple as that. But I don’t hate any of them; there’s way too much talent in them to completely write them off. There isn’t another filmmaker today who makes such fetishistically designed movies; when I watch, I just want to soak in all of the detail that went into the costumes and the sets.

One of my problems is Luhrmann’s hyperactive way of cutting; he’s like a tour guide who grabs you by the head saying, “LOOK AT THIS,” then before you get to see what it is he wants to show you, violently twists your head the other way and screams, “NOW LOOK AT THAT!”

And then there’s his exuberant way with actors; the more over-the-top a facial expression, the better, I guess. It’s like he’s directing for the stage, as if the audience member in the very back row of the auditorium has to know what actor on stage is expressing. That’s fine for theater, but when you then stick a camera with a wide-angle lens on that actor’s face, it becomes cartoonish. And after two or more hours of that type of visual assault, I’m both exhausted and annoyed.

It’s all just too much! His movies are like one of Nigel Tufnel’s amps that goes to 11. And, like Tufnel, he doesn’t have the self-awareness to see how ridiculous it is.

Many people disagree with me. Many people LOVE how rapid-fire and over-the-top Luhrmann is; they still feel an emotional connection with the material amidst all the chaos. And his fans are passionate! And that’s what I appreciate.

There aren’t many filmmakers today (I’m talking about those who make movies for the masses, not niche filmmakers like Lars Von Trier) whose work inspires such division and debate. And that’s wonderful! When a popular movie that’s not a sequel to some juggernaut franchise, but actually inspired by a piece of literature, a work of true merit, becomes the basis for heated water-cooler conversation, the cinema is all the better for it.

So thank you, Baz. In his own, excessive way, he’s keeping popular cinema culturally relevant beyond talking about how much money a movie made over the weekend. And though I’m frequently frustrated by him, I’m never bored. So whenever the next Luhrmann opus opens, I’ll be there the first weekend… and all geared up for those inevitable arguments shortly thereafter.

Thank you, Roger

If there is anything that defines who I am, it is my total obsession and infatuation with the movies. It was sparked when I was seven and was taken to see The Blues Brothers at the long defunct Diana Theatre in Homewood, IL (and yes, it was rated R, but my parents were awesome in their leniency.) But my love was fed every week by the show Sneak Previews on WTTW. And it was cultivated by the two most important professors of my entire life, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I see now that what I loved was their artistic egalitarianism. They weren’t snobs. They would discuss My Dinner with Andre with the same passion and aplomb that would discuss Oh, Heavenly Dog (and believe me, at the time, I had ZERO interest in a movie about a couple of guys sitting around and eating. Give me the review of the new Benji movie! And they better LIKE IT!)

But I was more drawn to one of my professors, and that was because my parents were subscribers to the Chicago Sun-Times, the paper of Roger Ebert. And every Friday was like Christmas, because I’d get to read his new reviews. And every year, I would buy the new Roger Ebert Movie Yearbook and read it from cover to cover. And to read his reviews at such a young age and to continue reading new reviews by him until today is the single greatest gift a movie nerd like me could ever wish for. Anything I know about watching a movie, or, for that matter, reading a book, or listening to music, or ANYTHING that requires a leap into the psyche and abilities of any artist and his or her work, and to be able to critically analyze why it is good or why it is not, was brought into fruition by reading the reviews of Roger Ebert.

I only get to meet him once. I was at Ebertfest a few years ago to attend the screening of Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. I was in line waiting to be admitted and out of an SUV emerged Roger and Chaz Ebert. He waved to everybody in line and walked into one of the side entrances of the Virginia Theatre. But moments later, he came out of the theatre and shook the hands of EVERYBODY in line. There must have been at least 200 of us waiting outside. And as he was making his way down the line, all I could think was, “Oh shit. One of the most influential people of my life, a person whose work I’ve devoured for thirty years, is going to eventually shake my hand… and all my cognitive ability has evaporated from my brain! Where am I? What am I here to see? What’s my name?!”

Then he shook my hand. And I think I was able to muster enough verbal dexterity to spit out how important he was to my life. And he gave me the Thumbs Up. And he made his way down the rest of the line. The exchange may have lasted all of ten seconds. Ten lovely, glorious, magnificent seconds with one of the people who taught me how to think about art and how to love art.

This is being written through a veil of tears. The idea of not being able to read something new from Roger fills me with so much sorrow. But the thousands upon thousands of words he left, and will always be there to read, fills me with so much joy.