September 8, 2008

I woke up this morning and discovered Jimmy still sprawled on my couch in his underwear.

"I thought you were going to LA," I said, muting the TV.

"Next week," Jimmy muttered, grabbing the remote from my hand.

"Your Superman gig still on?"

Jimmy punched the sound back on the pirated copy of Elegy he was watching. "Bigger than ever," he murmured as a shuddering close-up of Penelope Cruz' left breast filled the screen. "Pitt, Clooney and DiCaprio are reading."

"For which parts?" I asked, incredulous.

"For whatever part I feel like giving them. I told you, bro; Hollywood--it's the new Independent. You should check it out."

His words cut deep. So deep I feared they were true. Which made me want to punch him.

"See, look at this flick," he went on, crooking a lazy finger at the TV. "It's Critic Proof."

"Critic Proof?"

"Yeah. It's got some arty shit, a pair of killer tits and just enough long, boring parts to make it seem like it was directed by a 13 year-old who just toked up. I'm gonna do the same thing with my Pregnant Superman flick.  I'm gonna show him naked and he's gonna have boobs. Real ones. Big ones. See that? Most critics know Transexual equals Art."

Another close-up of Penelope's chest blossomed onto the screen. "Poor critics," Jimmy sighed, doing something to his balls. For a moment I wondered if he still had the frog glued to them. "I feel for 'em. They're havin' a tough time right now."

"A lot of people are."

Jimmy sat up. "See, it's that kind of attitude that really bugs me."

"Why?" I asked, genuinely curious.

"Cuz you don't get it. Critics are in serious trouble. You go online and you see 50 million people writing reviews. 'This film sucked. Licked the chick with the voleyball tho. Click hear to read more of my rivews'. mrSalty Butterpopt."

"Isn't everyone entitled to their opinion?"

Jimmy's eyes flicked over me in blatant disdain. "No, they're not. Some opinions are better than others. What's the first thing you look at when a movie opens? The blurbs. The bigger the critic the more power the blurb has. You can tell right away when a movie's gonna tank because all the blurbs are from no-name dipshits like The Wasilla Herald."

"I still don't get it," I confessed.

"There's too many critics, man! C'mon, open your eyes. It used to be fewer critics with more clout. And now even the heavy hitters have to review Batman just to keep their jobs. I mean how many times can you say, New Crusader tepid but dark, dead Ledger saves the day?"

Jimmy punched the TV off and stared broodingly at the remote in his hand. "This tide of illegal Nobody's is fuckin' the whole thing up. And if we lose critics then the whole game comes tumbling down."


Jimmy threw the remote at me. "Are you even in the business?! Critics are part of the System. They help people figure out what movies to go see."

"People can't figure that out on their own?"

"No, you fuckin' idiot. Most films suck and I'm happy to have someone point that out to me. Besides, every 10-year old with a digicam knows the reviews feed the audience which feed the Numbers which feed the Box Office which feed the Nominations."

I contemplated this for a long moment in silence as Jimmy continued.

"We should start a Save The Critics campaign," he stated. "They're way more important than whales. And everybody dumps on them. As if they don't have feelings. You know what Godard said about critics? He said, "Critics are like soldiers who fire on their own troops."

"What did he mean?"

"Who gives a shit?! It's a nasty fuckin' thing to say; Critics are like soldiers who fire on their own troops."

"Here's one I heard: Crickets have shoulders and eat their own poop."

Jimmy stared at me in a long, cold silence. "You've lost it, man," he said finally.

"Define it."

"You no longer have the ability to perceive reality in a way that enables you to function."

"What should I do, Jimmy?"

"I don't know. But you better watch it. Critics are just as sensitive as you and me. Now I'll have to be careful with you."


"Cuz you're probably writing all this stuff down."

"What makes you think I'd do that?"

"Cuz I'm reading it on your blog right now."

"Oh." I stared at him. "Then you won't be too surprised if I do this."

And I Critic Proofed him.

Hi Elaine,
Funny I should meet such divergent characters as Jimmy and Tregor. And yet, there is something similar about them. At the moment I’m leaning toward Tregor. Jimmy ain’t no friend of mine.
Hey Tom-
Perhaps Jimmy and Tregor should duke it out with samurai swords? Or maybe just taking a sword blade to Elegy.
Looking forward to more Doors info!
Hey K,
So you think I’m a nutjob!!!! Dr. Owen prefers whackjob.
Glad you are enjoying the forays into lunacy. The only place I can find sanity these days.
I will write a blog directly on the Doors feature doc very soon. As soon as Jimmy gets the fuck out. He just did something today that really pissed me off and now I have to deal with that crap.
Hello Edward R,
Thanks for writing. I will keep the indie spirit burning. Perhaps even as all bridges go up in flames behind me.
But, hey; I guess someone’s got to do it.
Big changes are coming, no question about it. Probably the biggest shift in how movies are seen and made since the advent of Edison’s movie projector.
No bullshit.
Hi Tom,
Good to see you posting more frequently, even if it is delving deeping into your inner nutjob!
What’s the score with the Doors doc, really looking forward to seeing it. Also, if you don’t mind me asking how did you get involved in it? We know you as a Fiction Director.
All best!
I’m really enjoying following your blog, Tom. Keep that indy spirit burning.
Hey there Elaine,
So, you didn’t like Elegy? And you bein’ a woman, and all. Just goes to show you; twaddle is twaddle no matter if you sit or stand.
The Doors film is coming along very well. I am just about finished cutting the picture. Now comes all the sound work, like effects, narration and music. I’m doing the “score” myself. It is really just soundscapes that drift in and out in between the very intense sections of all the Doors music. Kind of cleanses the audio palate for a moment before the next surge kicks in. I’m enjoying it.
I agree with you about independent film–it can lift the soul. But, there is no question–big changes are in the air.
I’ll be talkin’ at you.
Ciao Victor,
Good to hear from you. Don’t take me too serious, amigo. I’m just throwing peanuts to the monkeys in my brain.
But this issue with the critics is real. As independent film changes so will many other things. And who knows how we will judge films in the future? Perhaps the whole world will just press buttons on their computer to rate a movie. And this will be posted on a huge new website that everyone goes to to “decide” which movie to see.
Later, my friend.
Hilarious blog post, Tom! And it seems you hit the nail on the head with Elegy. Guess I should have waited a week to read your blog before I watched it, huh?
Indies may be struggling, but they nourish the human soul in ways nothing else can match, so I hope the Doors project opens up some doors for your future films.
In the meantime, keep that hilarious sense of humor of yours–it’s contagious 🙂
Oh, Tom, now you don’t have the ability to perceive reality in a way that enables you to function. It’s terrible.
An ilegal copy of Elegy? That’s something despicable, but Jimmy is right in part when he says that critics help people figure out what movies to go see. Fortunately, not always. Of course, also affects other things like the promotional poster, advertising… And the most important for me: the story. Critics can say marvellous and horrible things about a movie, but at the end, the people decide what they like. I feel sorry for another kind of people, who are unable to make their own decisions and are influenced by certain conventions.
See ya,

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Independent Filmmaker & Musician