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Along Came a Spider is "a tightly woven cinematic web of intrigue and suspense... An intense and riveting psychological thriller that will keep you glued to your seat!"

Someone Like You is "The most hilarious film of the year!"

Honorable mention to Steve Iervolino for declaring Tomcats "Wilder than American Pie!"

Raymond Chandler -
The Big Sleep

The Fall -
The Wonderful and Frightening World

Dr. Strangelove Yeah, okay so this one is always brought up as a classic, but if you haven't seen it, you should stop being so damn cynical about all the praise. It really is as funny (and weird) as eveyone says. I'm not sure it makes the big ol' anti-nuke statement the NPR crowd declares. That part of it is pretty fucking prefdictable. But, Jesus, it's funny as hell. Besides, if you see it, you'll finally get all the jokey references people make to it. You know the ones where you have to pretent to get the joke when you don't.

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This week:

You Can Count On Me

Filthy says:
"Either you love movies, or you hate them. Either way, you can make them."

I felt dirty. I felt so fucking ashamed of myself after seeing Tomcats that no amount of jerking off in my basement to dog-eared copies of Juggs could supplant the remorse with a new remorse. Thank you, Candy Bottoms and Sherry Cherry, for your eight-page lesbians-in-a-bomb-shelter spread from February 1996, but this time you failed me. I felt violated and worthless, paying to see something as awful, grotesque and pointless as Tomcats. It was like opening the front door for a man holding a rusty monkey wrench, and then bending over the sofa so he could ram it up my ass until I could feel my kidneys banging against my lungs.

The only way to clean the greasy, green bile of Tomcats out of my system was to chase it, so I did with You Can Count On Me, a fan-fucking-tastic flick made by people who actually have a story to tell (not a gross-out bandwagon to jump on), and who loved doing it. So, this week, I will make my hot-looking high school English teacher, Mrs. Kearney, proud by doing a "compare and contrast" essay. Well, at least I'll make her prouder than I did that senior-year night I got really drunk and her neighbor caught me hiding in her bushes jerking off. Some of you may say it's not fair to compare these two. Well, why not? Only because one of the guys is an asshole and his movie sucks is it an unfair comparison. If he had tried just a little, it would be a different story.

Tomcats and You Can Count On Me are similar in that they are both the works of writers who felt compelled to direct their own material. Both Greg Poirier and Kenneth Lonergan apparently didn't feel they could trust directors to correctly interpret what was written, and so took it in their own hands. But, I'll be skullfucked by imps if Greg Poirier interpreted his own material well. If he did, holy fuck is he a shitty writer.

The movies are different in that Tomcats' auteur Poirier is a man with no interest dearer to his heart than abusing the trust of an audience, and You Can Count On Me's auteur Lonergan is a man who trusts his audience and takes the time to tell his story, develop his characters, and then let them breathe and blossom. Tomcats is a brutally simplistic, loud, overly-pleased waste of time about caricatures of shallow frat fucks. There is more insight about the human condition, and more laughs, in a Jeff Foxworthy comedy tape. You Can Count on Me is a quiet, beautifully written, often funny story about likable people that fuck up but keep trying. It's funnier, sadder and more involving, and it doesn't make you ashamed.

In Tomcats, failed basic-cable actor Jerry O'Connell is a disturbingly immature 26-year-old run through a story more painfully convoluted than my Uncle's inverted lower intestine. At 19, O'Connell made a bet with his six friends: The last one to marry wins a pot of money they all contribute to. After seven years, all but two are married off and the pot stands at the impossible sum of $475,000. Bull-fucking-shit. O'Connell loses an asswad of money while in Vegas for his pal's wedding. See, in the Tomcats world, Vegas casinos loan $51,000 to anybody without doing a credit check. It's just that simple because Poirier is too fucking lazy and stupid to base his story in anything resembling reality. Resembling reality would mean doing research, and then maybe he'd discover all those lame fucking jokes and plot points he was deadset on using don't work. Resembling reality means he'd have to try.

O'Connell has to pay back his debt in 30 days, or the casino boss, an ugly and unfunny Bill Maher, will do unfunny things to him. O'Connell schemes to get the last of his pals, rich-swinger-serial asshole Jake Busey (all teeth and bad skin), married off so he can win the money and pay off his debts. This, according to Poirier's world, is the only solution. He can't just borrow the $51,000 from the huge pot of money he and his friends are sitting on. No, because then there would be no movie, and no way for Poirier to make our eyeballs bleed. Never mind he never would have gotten that kind of money from a casino, and never mind that nobody believes casinos still beat the fuck out of debtors. No, we're in Poirier's lame-ass world now, and we must accept the ludicrously unreal.

O'Connell finds the one girl in Busey's past that he pines for and tries to hook them up. But, in a plot twist about as surprising as me coming home drunk on a Friday night, he falls in love with her himself. Will he get the money (yes), will he get the girl (yes), will anyone come out of this thing better off (no)? Fuck you, Poirier. If you don't care about these people, why should we?

You Can Count On Me is about a single mother (Laura Linney) still living in the town where she was born, afraid to leave. She is in and out of contact with her flaky brother (Mark Ruffalo). They have an unusually strong bond because their parents died when they were only kids. After traveling the world and spending time in jail, Ruffalo is back in their home because he needs money. He's a fuck up, but he knows it. Thank you to Kenneth Lonergan for pointing out that us fuck ups who disappoint the family and occasionally back up the toilets are not necessarily bad people. We know we're fuck ups, but God didn't give us the skills not to be, so we do what we can and try to stay out of the way.

Ruffalo's return to their upstate New York town is at first a blessing for Linney. She is maternal toward her brother and wants him where she can see him. As she is with her son, she's overprotective and doesn't trust him to make his own decisions. But, because of her hard-ass new boss (Matthew Broderick again doing a great job as a intimidated, confused wimp), she has to put her young son in his care. The son and brother bond, and although Ruffalo's a fuck up, he's the best male role model the kid has. Linney is so worried about Ruffalo that she can't even see what a fuck up she is, too. She sleeps with her married boss and strings another poor sap along. But the real heart of the story is Ruffalo's struggle to find some worth in himself. He's so beat down and convinced that his mere presence spells disaster that he tries not to touch anyone. His relationship with the son teaches him that it's worth connecting and that he is important. Similarly, Linney has to learn to let Ruffalo and her son free. She has to stop mothering them and just know they can take care of themselves. There is no easy solution, just characters that grow believably.

Well, fuck, it's not the kind of movie that's easy to describe, but you just have to take my word that it's worth every fucking penny to see, and if you're like me, you might bawl a little bit but not let anyone see. It's so refreshing to see someone say "Hey, fuck ups can be decent people, too." We can, you know.

Tomcats dialog is a wet fart of failed jokes and missed opportunities. Poirier has no interest in enlightening us or showing a single Goddamn thing about human nature, or these characters. There isn't one shred of subtlety. The script was written backwards; the bastard wrote the punchlines, and then came back and forced the characters to do shit to reach those punchlines. It's lame, unnatural, and what you get is conversations where people don't listen to each other. They just wait for the last person to shut up so they can say their shit. This isn't how people talk, it's not even how interesting, unreal people talk. It's like a Happy hour and TGI Fridays but you only hear half of what's said. With You Can Count On Me, Lonergan started with the characters and then let them loose. You get the sense that these characters are so complete that he didn't even know what they would say when he started writing a scene. And that's fucking beautiful. They talk and act like real people, with real things to say, and surprising observations.

In Tomcats, Poirier announces every fucking joke about five minutes before the punchline. I mean, the guy is so convinced we're going to be amused by his antics that he can't help but drag them out until there's nothing left to wait for. The boys drink wine spiked with Viagra at a wedding. Ho-ho-ho. Guess what happens ten grueling minutes later. We see boners! But not before the movie acts like a snickering six-year-old, saying over and over that we're about to see boners. O'Connell seduces a mousy-seeming librarian. But she's really a dominatrix! Holy shit, thank God I saw those ZZ Top videos 15 years ago or I would have popped in artery and bled to death from surprise. Good fucking gravy boats, does Poirier really think we don't see it coming? Is he that stupid, or does he think we are? The "centerpiece" scene is the unfunny, unbelievable, loose-testicle gag, where O'Connell has to chase a nut around a hospital for what seems like 20 minutes. Seriously, is this what passes as a good sense of humor in Hollywood? It's sad that Poirier thought this was such a brilliant gag that he leans on it for so Goddamn long, but, hell, this is the same asshole who wrote See Spot Run, after all. He has no shame. If he did, he wouldn't have a "hilarious" scene of a woman being repeatedly hit and run over by a golf cart.

In You Can Count On Me, you don't know what the characters will do next. And I sat there most of the movie thinking "please don't fuck up again, please don't fuck up again," because I liked them and I could see the damage they could do to themselves. Yet, sometimes they do fuck up, and they pay and it's awkward and uncomfortable. They make real decisions that come from who they are. They aren't set up like bowling pins, to be knocked over by loud, dirty gags.

Poirier as a director is as appalling as Peter Cohen, the asshole writer/director of Whipped. He's a man who does not like women, and obviously has never had a serious conversation with one. He thinks they are mannequins to be run over and dumped into lakes for big laughs. He thinks they are sex objects, dumb as bricks. He thinks that making one a cop is all he needs to do to give her "depth."

In Tomcats, the actors look like they're wired to the eyeballs on crank. Poirier is convinced that louder and hyper is always funnier. O'Connell, Busey and Shannon Elizabeth are less believable than my ass is when I put makeup on it and pretend it's Shirley Temple singing "Good Ship Lollipop." But Poirier does nothing to temper them. He never defines the conflict or how they should interact. He just plows through lame gag after lame gag. Lonergan as director is subtle. Maybe slightly too subtle, but it's clear that both he and his actors know who the characters and conflicts are. He lets some scenes linger too long, and about two-thirds of the way through, there was a little repetition of the messages. But still, Lonergan respects his audience to fill in the blanks and to understand the point. He doesn't beat us over the head with a bedpan because that's funny.

The problem really is that the grassfuckers in Hollywood are a bunch of greedy sons of bitches who don't know funny if it came up and kicked them in the nards. Tomcats sounded enough like There's Something About Mary to them. Since they don't know funny, they just assume gross is funny. Fuck characters, fuck anything intelligent to say, fuck trying to share something wonderful with an audience. Thank you, Lonergan, for bucking the trend, being patient and telling the story you wanted to tell. Thank you for reminding why I love movies. Fuck you, Poirier, you lowest-common-denominator asshole. One Finger for Tomcats, Four Fingers for You Can Count On Me.

Now, because I am appalled at how fucking easy it appears for any jackass to write and sell a script, I am going to write a better script than Tomcats by April 15. Fuck, I could shit out a better script on toilet paper after Mrs. Filthy's Romanian Cow Casserole, but I want to take my time to actually write something that is actually worthwhile, that even makes sense and shit. I'm shooting for Lonergan, but I know I'm not good. Even still, I can beat Poirier. See, Poirier, you pissed me off so much I have to cut out the drinking and get down to business. Somebody has to write a comedy worth seeing.

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