When I was a kid the letter column was one of my favorite parts of any comic book. The internet, with its comments, talkbacks and message boards, has taken away from the good old fashioned lettercol, so I’m happy to give it a spitshine for the modern day.
What you see here are the best questions and answers from the well over 250 submitted to me at www.formspring.me/devincf in the last 48 hours. 48 hours! I’ve compiled some of the best, funniest, weirdest or most interesting, but you can read every single answer I’ve given (and so far I’ve given over 100) by clicking that link in the first sentence of this paragraph.
Do you have other questions for me? Use the form below to easily and quickly ask them. Right now anonymous questions are enabled, but if things get too shitty I’ll make it so only registered Formspring account holders can ask, and that sucks for everybody.
Devin, you’ve been doing great work on CHUD.com for a good while now. What would you say are the best perks of being an online journalist, as opposed to other media? And conversely, what are the disadvantages? Raggedy Adams
I’m part of a dying breed of online journalist in that I get to write about whatever I want. More and more of my friends work freelance or have jobs where they get assignments; they also get edited heavily. I like that I choose what to write about, what to say about it, and when to run it. I like the freedom of talking directly to the readers.
How do you make a living as an online jouranlist? I don’t mean that in a condecsending way, I’m just curious how your salary works, where the money comes from, etc.
I am an employee of CHUD.com and get a monthly salary. The money for my wages and for site upkeep comes from the ads that we run on the site, which is why we really hope you don’t block ads on CHUD – it’s what keeps us floating.
What do you REALLY think of the commenters? I’m an online writer, too, and I don’t even read the comments section anymore. People get angry when they know an online writer’s making money. But how often do you read the comments? And what do you think?
I think the commenters are about 2% of the entire audience. This weekend I met a bunch of incredibly nice and supportive readers, and I have to remember that the best people are usually the ones who comment the least. There are some smart, funny commenters, but the reality is that any anonymous system will attract a ton of unhappy, pathetic shitheads just looking to spread their own pain.
Devin, Whats worse, Can you read me mind or Otis? Personally, I like both, think it works to balance the madness of superman.
I used to really hate ‘Can You Read My Mind,’ but I’ve come to love non-ironic wrongheaded things in movies. They’re fascinating. I actually kind of hate Lex, Otis AND Miss Tessmacher, to be honest. They’re cartoony in an ironic, ‘we’re too good for this material’ way.
If you could revive one fallen directors career, who would it be, and why.
John Milius. He’s crazy, but he’s interesting crazy. I actually think there’s serious shame in the fact that Milius shaped so much of our current cinematic landscape and he gets left out in the cold of television movies.
That’s not a question, really.
Do you feel that the art of criticism and the art of creation are diametrically opposed to each other? Do you think that these two disciplines can ever be complementary to one another?
I think they ARE complementary to each other right now. I think that those who create art and those who interpret art can and should exist alongside each other in happiness. There’s real value for filmmakers in reading the views of good, smart critics. The good critic can illuminate aspects of filmmaking in ways that others can’t; beyond that critics are invaluable to filmmakers as cheerleaders. I feel like the best part of my job is being a film activist, trying to get other people excited about films that excite me.
Do you think porn can be approached critically?
Conceptually, yes. I don’t think there’s been much porn that’s worthy of critical thought beyond examining it in a cultural context. I think there were a couple of such movies in the 70s – I’m a big fan of the very sick, but very well-made perv piece WATER POWER – but modern porn rarely has anything going on beneath the gross surface.
How did you become involved with CHUD?
I started at CHUD as a message board poster. I had a day job that gave me a lot of time to fuck around on the internet, and I ended up doing much of my fucking around on CHUD. As a regular presence who seemed smart (and who was in NYC), I got asked to cover first the GODFATHER DVD release party and then the Woody Allen HOLLYWOOD ENDING junket. In between I began contributing news items. It stuck.
now that i love you phillip morris has been delayed, again, indefinitely this time, are there any decent gay themed movies coming out that DONT involve 4 sluts? I find most queer cinema trash, and I was really looking forward to this movie for a long time
It’s too bad because PHILLIP MORRIS is really good. I don’t know if it got delayed due to being gay or if the distrib just couldn’t afford to put it out. But you’re right about queer cinema – honestly, much of it is garbage. There are plenty of terrific gay filmmakers (some even out of the closet!) but the reality is that any ‘agenda’ filmmaking always falls short. Tell a good story first.
What’s the future of film criticism?
It’s dying right now but I think it will come back. At the moment there are too many stupid voices, too much noise drowning out the signal. Too many critics are writing book reports – recaps of the plot and then a verdict (and I’ve been guilty of this myself, honestly) – and not putting thought into what they’re watching. That will, I hope, change, and THINKING ABOUT movies will once again become cool. But criticism has forever been seconded to social media buzz when it comes to being a consumer tool. And I hate consumer report criticism, so I’m happy about that.
Did you write a review of How To Train Your Dragon? If not, thoughts?
I didn’t see it.
From what I’ve gleamed from some Twitter and message board posts, you have a real love for music. Do you think you would excel at music criticism the same way you are obviously very talented at film criticism? What are you really digging in music now?
I would be a terrible music critic because I don’t know a damn thing about it. I can talk about music history or what I like, but beyond that I have no expertise. I sometimes can’t even tell you what’s making what sounds in my favorite songs, just that I like the song. To me a critic needs to have a serious understanding of the subject; just loving it won’t due. These days I listen to a lot of old music. I’ve become re-obsessed with ZIGGY STARDUST this past week.
I want to know with what’s up with all of the deleting of certain comments? Look, I initially posted a comment and it was not exactly nice-though it did not hurl any personal insults from what I recall. I did accuse you of being unoriginal in some of your
I guess your question got cut off. Here’s the thing: You have no right to post on the CHUD comments. It’s not a democracy; your First Amendment rights only protect you from THE GOVERNMENT obstructing your speech. If you want to comment on my articles you can do so, but making personal attacks, writing lies about me or just being stupid, annoying or a dick will get your comment deleted as soon as I can. And since I get email notifications of every comment, I can usually do it pretty quickly.
Why is everbody hating on Serbian Movie before seeing it?
Any movie that’s going to be as violent and in your face as A SERBIAN FILM apparently is (I haven’t seen it yet) will get people whining in advance. When you make a movie like that you have to count on it, in fact. I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself so I can have something to say about it. I wish more people would also wait before condemning a movie they haven’t seen.
If you were gay: Steve McQueen or Keanu Reeves?
You don’t need to be gay to know the correct answer is Steve McQueen.
If someone in high school wanted to grow up and have your job what would you suggest they do?
Make sure you really want my job. Too many people get into film writing because they want to do everything except be a writer about film. If you want to be a screenwriter or a director or a producer, go do those things. If you want to be a film writer, spend lots of time reading about film, writing about film and watch every single film you can get your hands on. Know how movies are made, know the history of movies, understand movies in the context of the time when they were made, get to understand genres, styles and trends in cinema. See entire filmographies of directors. Get to know the trivia and minutia of Hollywood. Know as much as you can, and keep learning.
Devin, I really liked your analysis of the Rocky movies “Going the Distance” but it seems that you stopped at the first one. Are you planning to do the rest of the series? Oscar G.
YES! I have these big ambitions that get away from me sometimes. The Going the Distance and Star Trekkin’ series both require a ton of time – not just watching the stuff again and again but also in writing. Each entry can take eight to ten hours of work before it’s ready to even code on the back end. Since I’m the site’s main news guy and critic it’s hard to find the time to do that stuff. Also, I’m the kind of writer who has to be in the zone to write that kind of material; if I’m not in the right frame of mind, it’ll be terrible and I’ll be very unhappy with it.
Lately a lot of Internet thugs have been accusing you of “trolling your own site” by posing, um, “provocative” questions that seem designed solely to piss people off and elicit emotional responses instead of generating a meaningful dialog. Are you?
This is the most baffling criticism levied against me. I believe everything I write. CHUD is an opinion site, and I have my opinion, which I make known. I think my opinion is fairly consistent, and I think anybody who believes I’m just saying things to rile folks up are fooling themselves.
THAT SAID… normal people will realize that they have certain opinions that piss people off and once in a while keep quiet about it. I’m incapable of keeping quiet about it. I don’t hold back just because I know I might make somebody angry. But seriously, if you get angry because I don’t like AVATAR you probably have issues you need to deal with on your own time.
Do you think Micky Rourke looks like too ridiculous in Iron Man 2? I think it’ll good, but he looks like an even more cartoonish version of Obadiah Stane. (YIKES!)
Mickey Rourke is what’s making me most nervous about IRON MAN 2. I guess we’ll all know in a couple of weeks.
There’s a few films I’m on the fence about this summer. Based on what you’ve heard or think how they look, what will: Predators, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Adjustment Bureau, and The Last Airbender be like? (I’ve heard meh things about Airbender)
LAST AIRBENDER looks like a joke to me. I saw some SORCERER’S APPRENTICE stuff at WonderCon that made me much, much more interested in it. PREDATORS and ADJUSTMENT BUREAU both excite me a bunch.
Are you still looking forward to A Nightmare on Elm Street? You made a comment on twitter about how the acting looked goofy. Personally, while I agree the acting looks like standard tween acting, it looks promising- digging the imagery/Haley’s Freddy.
I’ve never really been ‘looking forward’ to it. I’ve never been much of a NIGHTMARE fan, honestly. I feel like the first one is the only one worth watching. Although I’ll probably revisit them all soon.
Do you think an interview should be a straight up conversation about the film? I heard someone tell me that’s what it should be– I thought they didn’t get the concept of interviews. Am I wrong?
I think it should be a conversation. What it’s about is up to the interviewer and the subject. I don’t think a good interview is a series of unrelated questions trying to hit specific points. The problem with the kinds of interviews I usually get to do is that when you only have ten minutes, you can’t get a real conversation started.
Who’s hairier, you or Eli Roth?
Eli Roth. I’m only really hairy on my head.
The main complaint I see regarding RedLetterMedia’s Star Wars reviews is the serial killer subplot. What the hell is wrong with these people? Do these people live in a cartoon only aesthetic world where horror movies and dark humor do not exist?
I agree with them. The problem is that the serial killer stuff isn’t that funny – and he doesn’t have enough material to keep it going for as long as he has it go. It’s funnier as a quick glimpse.
I bet you got really hairy balls. -Joe
No, as I said earlier, I’m mostly hairy on my head.
There will be Blood or No Country for Old Men?
THERE WILL BE BLOOD for me. The sweep, the photography, the music, the Daniel Day Lewis… I love the shit out of that movie.
Did you intentionally avoid reviewing Funny People because you did not want to go on record against the Apatowverse?
I like FUNNY PEOPLE. I didn’t review it because I have little discipline – I saw the film very early but was embargoed. I’m lazy and don’t like writing reviews until they can actually get published, so I waited. Then I got busy the week it came out and stuff happened and the review just never got written.
And for the record, I’m not particularly ‘in’ with those guys. I know that Seth Rogen at one point was a CHUD reader, and I know that Apatow knows who I am, but I couldn’t even get good interviews for that movie, let alone special treatment.
Have you ever shaken hands with and/or touched Zach Gallifinakis (sp?) and if you did, were you initially frightened that you would end up as a puddle of goo like Ron Silver at the end of Timecop… for reasons that should be obvious?
I met Zach on the set of THE HANGOVER. He didn’t think we looked alike.
Why isn’t the forum accepting new members? Are you working on repairing the comments captcha?
I don’t have anything to do with the forums. If I were you I would try to get in touch with Eileen or Nick. And I’m not involved in the CAPTCHA, but I hope it doesn’t get fixed before we move to the new system. I’m not interested in making it any easier for trolls to leave nasty comments on my articles, to be honest.
Who is the coolest actor/producer/director/grip/extra you’ve ever met?
I’ve met a bunch of very cool people in the business. Without a doubt the two coolest are Edgar Wright and Guillermo del Toro. They’re everything you’d want from a nerd director and then some. Also amazingly cool is Rian Johnson, and all of the guys from DERRICK Comedy (whose MYSTERY TEAM is coming to DVD soon!)
What’s your opinion on the Zombie thing; has it reached its peak or will it go bigger?
So done. So, so done. Which is too bad, because zombies are elastic enough to be used in many scenarios and to mean many things. And they’re cheap enough that anyone can make a zombie movie. And those are the same reasons why they’re totally overdone.
I’ve seen you at a couple of screenings and events but been nervous about introducing myself. Do you like to meet readers or would you rather be left alone?
Feel free to say hi. It’s always nice to meet cool readers. And sometimes it make me feel like I’m going nuts when people look at me a whole bunch and don’t say anything to me.
I want to win this chat. Please give me 7 points. I think that will be enough.
Please accept these NINE points.
What do you think of these comic book films: Elektra, The Punisher (Jane’s one), The Rocketeer, and Daredevil– the director’s cut if you’ve seen it.
Unwatchable shit, boring shit, I liked it when I was a kid but haven’t seen it in decades, and watchable shit (haven’t seen the director’s cut).
Best/Worst Set Visit?
Both were AEON FLUX. I got to go to Berlin, one of the most amazing cities in the world – and it was my first trip overseas! I got to visit Studio Babelsberg, one of the great historic film studios. And I made some good friendships out of it.
But the visit itself was a waste of time. They flew me to Berlin to watch Charlize Theron stand in front of a green screen all day. Total snooze.
A lot of bad set visits are like that – you go all that way and see nothing interesting. But often even bad set visits have great trips that go with them – unless they’re to Albuquerque, the worst place in the world.
Another example is my visit to the set of THE DARK IS RISING – it was in Romania, a country that barely counts as second world. The set visit was okay, but it was obvious the movie sucked, the whole cast hated being in Romania, and the local catering was inedible. But I got to go to Romania, a country I would have never otherwise visited, and that’s very cool.
Did you watch Joss Whedon’s flawed-but-interesting DOLLHOUSE? And why are the CHUD folks giving him a hard time these days?
I never bothered watching, but now that it’s on Netflix Instant I probably will.
I don’t think we’re giving him a hard time. I just don’t think SERENITY/FIREFLY is that good. And I don’t know that he can really work outside of his own stuff. It’ll be interesting to see if he can, but I’d rather not have THE AVENGERS be his testing ground.
What’s funny is that I think SERENITY/FIREFLY isn’t THAT good. Not that it’s horrible, not that I hate it. But the Browncoats go ballistic when someone has the opinion that their beloved property isn’t worth all the adoration. How unshiny!