of Wireless Magazine
how's the whoring?
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!"
You is "The
most hilarious film of the year!"
to Steve Iervolino for declaring Tomcats "Wilder
than American Pie!"
Raymond Chandler - The
The Fall - The
Wonderful and Frightening World
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.
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
You Can Count On Me
"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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
to tell Filthy something?