Artists Pay Back (The Blog)

June 10, 2011

Adam Sandler doesn’t care about you

Pictured: Adam Sandler not caring

Hey Adam. How’s it going. Just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know I’m on to you. I get it, you don’t give a damn anymore. Not that you really should. Clearly it doesn’t matter.

AT&T couldn’t even phone it in as good as you have in your recent movies. Actually, you don’t so much make movies anymore as you do vacation plans. You call up some of your talented friends (and Rob Schneider), pick a cool location (Hawaii, backwoods retreat, etc.), grab a hack director (whoops, sorry, that should read hack director) and start rolling. Plot isn’t that important, so you just reheat a stale sitcom premise – pretending to be married, old dudes reliving past glories, a twin brother and sister (BOTH PLAYED BY YOU!!) and go through the motions. You just crank out the same man-boy, ne’er-do-well schtick (who, incidentally, is still the smartest guy in the room) and wait for the eight figure opening. Rinse. Repeat.

Of course, this formula is working for you. Clearly. So if it ain’t broke, then don’t ever break a sweat. And I know that when you’ve tried to branch out the results have been impressive as an actor but your core “fans” stay away in droves so the movies are deemed flops. It reminds me of John Cusack back in the early nineties. I was working in a video store when a woman came in to return Say Anything. “Did you like it?,” I asked. “No. It wasn’t funny. And I like when he draws the cartoons.” (Further proof that the influence of Savage Steve Holland CAN NOT be underestimated.) This is how many Sandler fans feel about movies like Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me. (For the sake of this argument, we’ll go ahead and ignore Spanglish and the colossal misfire Funny People and focus on the untraditional roles that are actually worth watching.) It’s too bad, because both of those largely ignored (and often derided by your fan base) movies hint at what you might be able to pull off. Punch-Drunk took the latent (or, sometimes outright) rage simmering in most of your characters and turned it into a tragic portrayal of repression while Reign Over Me amped up the sorrow and loneliness behind the rage.

Of course a case can be made that your movies have always been a high-concept, low-brains premise (rich man-child goes back to school, athletic man-child plays golf, backwoods man-child plays football, and so on) but at least there was some anarchic fun about them whereas, with your recent movies, I sense an underlying contempt for the audience. Perhaps there is a sense of annoyance that when you do something outside of your comfort zone it gets ignored or deemed a commercial failure. Maybe you’re annoyed that your fans won’t follow you anywhere (you’re in good company, Bill Murray and Jim Carrey both suffered through this – though Bill finally broke through to much aplomb while Carrey is promoting his newest cautionary-tale, Mr. Popper’s Penguins.) It feels like you’re saying, “You want me to do dumb comedies? Fine, then dumb comedies ye shall have!”

Maybe I’m reading in to it and you’re just trying to give your core fans what they want. I don’t doubt that you’re having fun and being successful at it – not a bad way to make a living. Still, I’d like to see something better. You’re a smart guy and you can be funny (though this is obviously not based on any recent evidence) so how about a little effort. How about stretching those dramatic muscles or putting some actual effort into a comedy script with a fresh idea.

Or not.

Advertisements

August 13, 2009

5 Reasons To Avoid* Twitter

Okay, first off a little admission. I’m on Twitter (Follow me!) and I don’t think it should be avoided.

Well, not anymore anyway. I first had to go through the requisite Seven Stages of Twitterification to arrive at the emotional state in which I currently reside:

1. Disregard (“Oh yeah, I heard about that thing. Sounds kind of silly.”)

2. Mocking (“Oh boy, I’m having eggs for breakfast. I better ‘tweet’ all my ‘followers’ so they can get through their day.” – Complete with air quotes, of course.)

3. Contempt (“I don’t care who is Tweeting. It’s pointless. LEAVE ME ALONE, YOU ZEALOT!”)

4. Hunger (Really has nothing to do with Twitter per se, but these steps take some time and a fella needs to eat.)

5. Intrigue (“Hmmm, I wonder what noted TV star John Larroquette is doing right now.”)

6. Embarrassment (“What? No, of course I’m not on twitter. It’s like all stupid and awesome, uh, I mean awful. So awful.”)

7. Acceptance (“Of course I’m on Twitter. It’s awesome. You’re not? You have to sign up, RIGHT NOW!”)

And that’s where I currently am – Acceptance. I have been baptized in the information stream and accepted Twitter as my Social Media Lord and Savior. I fully understand that it is a viable (and entertaining and fun) tool in the not-at-all-made-up field of “Social marketing.”

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its flaws. There were some issues I had prior to joining and others I’ve discovered as a proud member.

So what’re my problems with Twitter? I’ll break it down (and in as many damn characters as I please…actually let’s start there.)

 

1. The 140 Character Rule Is Further Debasing Language

I like language and I like words. They’re fun and useful. In fact, I like them so much that I have been trying to turn them into money for years.

But Twitter puts a limit on these wonderful words. Now, in and of itself, this isn’t a problem. It is entirely possible to write coherent statements on Twitter within these constraints. (And even ones which contain no numbers/symbols in place of words. I know, right?) Except a lot of people don’t do that. They compose statements that don’t just mangle language, it’s more akin to grammatical genocide.

I know this didn’t start with Twitter, it’s just the next outlet in a string of technological terrors that have slowly conspired to turn our written communications into playgrounds for ‘tards. It began to fester in quickly dashed-off emails which begat message boards which begat IM’ing which begat texting which begat Isaac which begat Jacob and so on…

Sure, @Biz would have you believe the limitation “fosters creativity” when in reality it simply 4-ces U 2 rite like a Prince song title. Or it makes people spout gems like these actual Tweets:

“live n the j…whats good with u..i might need to stay there for like a week or two…i need a apt and job n the h..”

“16xs we knew how 2 keep each other goin I thnk it was cuz it was da 1st time u knw how u try 2 impress each other “

Um, really, Biz? That’s your creativity being fostered?

 

2. It Makes People Want To Be Funny

I know you say funny things all the time. You are constantly cracking up the girls in Accounts Receiving with your wry take on the most recent Vanessa Hudgens nude** scandal. You’re always quick with a joke or to light up a, er, fart.

But in reality, it’s not easy to come up with comedy nuggets when you have lots of words at your disposal. But on Twitter, you have to contend with the character limit in which to promote your underappreciated comedic talents. Sorry folks, but not everyone is Stephen Colbert or Aziz Ansari or Rainn Wilson. Believe me, I know. I’ve got clunkers stinking up my stream like dead salmon.

Yet a quick perusing of self-appointed Twitter tags on http://www.wefollow.com tells me that there are:

• Over 8,000 people who are listed under ‘funny’

• Over 1000 ‘comedians’

• 260 who go the extra mile into ‘hilarious’ (and one trailblazer of ‘hilariosity’)

However, by my unscientific accounting (yes, I carried the one and everything) I came to approximately 347 genuinely funny Twitterers. And, no, you are not one of them. Sorry.

(On the positive side, Twitter is a tremendous resource of unintentional comedy.)

 

3. Let’s All Be Honest, It’s Not Revolutionary, It’s Not Even New – It’s Essentially A Message Board

When I first checked out Twitter last fall, I laughed. (Seriously, that intro video is great comedy.) Then I realized it was serious. Then Ashton Kutcher got involved and I was back to thinking it was a joke. Sadly, that too was serious.

But it wasn’t until my wife was telling me about the Tweet Up (her words, never mine) she was engaged in that I realized what Twitter really is – it’s a chat room.

Yes, the great cutting-edge social media leader that is changing how information is distributed is really just a glorified chat room. Well, I suppose it’s more like a bunch of private chat rooms that you log into at once.

So, private chats. That’s it.

Real time updates? Chat room.

Worldwide connections? Chat room.

People trying to be funny? Chat room.

People pretending to be someone else? That’s right, chat room.

So why are they getting so much credit? 

 

4. It’s More Masturbatory For Its Users Than YouPorn

You know what one of the hottest topics on Twitter is? (Besides AT&T which is always reappearing on the Trending Topics list.)

Twitter.

People on Twitter LOVE to talk about Twitter.

Twitter promotion. Twitter validation. Links to Mashable articles about Twitter. What’s wrong with Twitter? What’s right with Twitter? Who’s on Twitter? Who isn’t on Twitter? What are people saying about Twitter? How do I get more followers on Twitter? How can I use Twitter to get celebrities to give me money? What will I do if Twitter ever goes down again and I can’t talk about Twitter on Twitter?

Twitter loves itself some Twitter and if you don’t believe me, just ask someone on Twitter.

 

5. The God-Awful “Twitter-Speak”

This may be the most offensive for me. The words, THE HORRIBLE CUTESY WORDS!!  I’m talking about: tweet, tweeps, tweet up, twitterverse, twitmigo, twugs, twitterection, twelp, and all the other horrible “tw—-” words that have been and that ever shall be.

Though I have begrudgingly come to terms with using “tweets” (and, shamefully, I even used the phrase ‘sweet tweets’ once with utter sincerity) I really can’t bring myself to employ any of the others. I used to have a hard enough time at Wendy’s ordering a “Biggie fry” with my “Biggie Frosty” without my testicles reascending into my body. (Not fun, but really, square burgers! How can I say no?) 

This is the internets dammit, it’s serious business and we have no time for cutesy.

And no, you cannot has cheeseburger.

 

So there you have it. Five legitimate reasons to avoid Twitter. 

But all that pales in comparison to one fantastic reason to love Twitter.

And it can be found here.

—————————————

Are you or is someone you love (and/or have incriminating photos of) a big Hollywood star? Great, then send them here.

* Full disclosure: This article was originally titled 5 Reasons to Hate Twitter but I changed it partly as a regrettable inital urge to be “confrontational” which is admittedly lame and largely because I’d rather people actually, you know, read the whole article rather than just the title before dashing off derogatory postings.  

** Yes, that was a shameless stab at SEO. Still, I’m glad you’re here, you creepy creepy bastard.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.