Your letters. My smartass replies.The Steady Leak
may not be so steady these days, but your letters have been, so I must
share them and answer them so that the wheels keep turning on this
crazy little bitch. Feel free to ask whatever about whomever or
whatever, and I’ll do my best to answer it. Letters in here might be
positive, negative, or indifferent and I’ll try to maintain a balance.
Please keep sending them in (SEND A LETTER), as it’s you who fuels this column. With that said, here we go….

Come around here often?

Broken 8-Track.

Mitch to the left!Andrew writes:

Every time I read your leak/letters columns, I see what
amounts to you begging for feedback from readers due to the apparent lack of
emails you receive. Let me point out the first posted letter from today’s Leak
Letter column as a reason why no one responds to you – a reader of your site
writes to you, asking about the ads on the site. Rather than ask the team
responsible for putting the ads up what they can do to improve the experience,
you insult your reader by first titling the entry "Broken Record" and then
encouraging them to leave. You’ve proven yourself to be a douche bag. You want
feedback? Dump your holier-than-thou poseur attitude. Feedback given.

Now, feel free to post this in your next Letters column and rip me
publicly, or better yet, don’t respond at all and delete this email. You can’t
take criticism so I wouldn’t expect anything more from you.

Nick’s Reply: I have addressed the ad issue over and over again. They are a minor but neccessary evil. The site’s free. We update like madmen and with actual content that features writing and opinion and stuff. We provide the gamut in terms of variety. I could give a piss if people don’t like an ad or two. They are annoying but they are a part of the deal and if you’ve noticed, the past year or so has featured a rise in not only the FILM related ads but films that are of interest to our readers. Sorry, until I become a Nathan Fillionaire or someone comes over here and offers to bankroll us all the ads are staying. People need to realize that they’re pretty spoiled with the web. Oh, and my holier than thou poseur image isn’t poseur. I am in fact, holier than thou.


Come around here often?

Joker 101.

Mitch to the right.Chris writes:

After reading your comments on your lack of interest in the Joker character for
the next Batman installment, I was wondering if some updates to the character
would change your mind, taking away the goofiness of Nicholson’s version and
finally putting on a shelf to rot away (I HATED him as Joker in ’89, still do to
this day). I was mulling over how they’d be able to pull off a character like
the Joker, yet root him firmly in the reality Nolan and Goyer worked up for
Batman Begins. I was thinking about how it’d be cool if throughout this proposed
trilogy they filmmakers used the attack on Gotham from Batman Begins to have
lasting effects on the next two films. Like the gas that was unleashed on
Gotham. There were a huge amount of escapees from Arkham, who’d mostly been
experimented on by Dr. Crane. So as it stands, they are all sane thugs who
pretty much worked for Falcone in once capacity or another, then had been driven
to TRUE insanity by the Scarecrow during their time at Arkham.

I think
it’d be pretty sweet if there was a Plan B by Ra’s Al Ghul to ship another
container of the hallucinogen that made it to the docks but were overlooked by
authorities, that had been discovered by a core group of nuts from Arkham. The
underlying theme for these films would be the fear toxin. Now, take a guy like
the Joker for instance. You could write him very closely to the origin from the
Killing Joke, where he was a failed nameless comedian who has to resort to petty
theft to keep his wife and daughter fed. Until he rips off the wrong guy one day
and they come calling for revenge… Long story short, his wife and daughter die
at the hands of the thugs, and they torture and maim our comedian to the point
where he ends up looking not unlike Lee Bermejo’s concept art.

If I
haven’t lost you yet, sweet…

Have this destroyed shell of a man
discover this toxin and get somewhat addicted to it. After time, his supply
starts to run out, and he beings to synthesize it himself in a makeshift lab at
the ACE Card company factory. His disfigurement, coupled with exposure to the
fear toxin over the span of months, literally drives him to the point of
insanity people only write about in horror stories. So his addiction to the drug
could be the reason he is so whacked. One night while synthesizing the toxin, a
chemical explosion bleaches his skin and makes his hair grow green.

drives him even MORE flappy, so he begins a crime spree that defies all
conventional logic. Taking his act to the streets, he creates a misting machine
he hides in a lapel flower that disperses the toxin into the air in a 145 yard
radius. If he is coming, you know it. Seeing as the Jokers toxin is synthesized,
it could have slightly different properties. Anyhow, I’d have it that every time
he approaches, people would get slightly dizzy, then be overcome with a sense of
dread, and then slowly out from the shadows come this grotesque caricature of a
clown. But seeing as the victims would be induced with the toxin, they’d see a
Joker not unlike the visions of the Scarecrow. This is where very creative CGI
could be used.

As the Joker menaces his victims, you could have him
constantly smearing lipstick on his face, like an addiction (and you could kinda
write it that his lipstick would have a highly concentrated amount of the toxin,
and he is basically a junkie). This could explain why he has ruby red lips. When
the victims see him, his voice could distort into some sort of weird Satanic
laugh. You could cast a guest actor like Kevin Spacey in Seven, and throughout
the film, you never really get to see HIS TRUE face or body until the last scene
when he is apprehended, and the mist dispensing flower is removed, and people
see him for what he truly is. A psychotic, yet pathetic shell of a man who is
deformed and disfigured with green hair and white skin.

Would this be too
far from his true comic origin? I thought it’d be a neat idea.

Nick’s Reply: Your ideas make sense but the only way I’d want to see the Joker is if he were portrayed as Satan. The great Trickster, someone whose motives and efforts are mired in something only his brain can comprehend. His joy should not come out of killing or winning or getting rich but by seeing the look of disdain on his enemies when the rug comes out from under them. I think the character is such a dead horse it’s not even funny. That said, Warber Bros. is most definitely going to want to see a Joker in the near future.


Come around here often?

Nice Things.

Mitch to the left!Jeremy writes

I was wondering what happened to your
Movie Microscope column on You haven’t done one since August of 04.
I, for one, always liked them. They had this quick, editorial type style
that really made them work. If you stopped doing them due to a lack of
response, then mark me down as a fan who’d like to see more. Anyway, I was just
wondering. Also, mark me down as a serious Leak fan who would hate to see it go
(although I can’t blame you for your reasoning if you do discontinue it). But
even if they both go forever – we still have RON which is pretty much
brilliant. Basically, I (and I’m sure alot of other people) totally dig and
appreciate what you do on the site and hope to see much more of it in the
</kiss ass>

Nick’s Reply: The CNN stuff was a bit taxing and it came at a time I was really focused on the site, a children’s book idea (that became the CHUD book), and the seemingly endless quest to get Meg made. Money was tight and CNN isn’t known for tossing dough at their freelancers. I was really feeling the exhaustion from the Monday night stuff and the column was something I just kind of felt wasn’t reaching people. In retrospect, I miss it. I’ve had dozens of ideas that made more sense as CNN articles than ones but alas. One day I may return to the fold, but they’ve since changed their entertainment style over there and I wonder if I fit in anymore.


Come around here often?


Mitch to the right.Scott writes:

Susan writes:
Am I the only one who is pissed off in the morning when there’s no new Ron up?

Nick’s Reply:
Yes. Yes you are. Other than me, of course.

Oh that is SOOOOO not true. I am a Ron convert thanks to the contest that made me go back and read them all.

Nick’s Reply: Much appreciated. I personally think the strip is a total blast to read every day because more often than not the stuff we come up with is much better and different when Lewis draws it. I really thought that 100 strips along, people would be more in its corner and the IM’s I get from people about it are encouraging but on the boards and in email there is very little stuff going on. That said, the people that are vocal and do like the strip… the JGButlers, Rob Glenns, and Werbals of the world… we will reward them somehow.


Come around here often?


Mitch to the left!Charlie writes:

It’s not all Firefox’s fault, Internet Explorer’s oversaturation, and use of non-W3C compliant rendering engine and plug-ins (like ActiveX), is mostly to blame.

That being said, I love the site. The articles and reviews are written with a sense of humor that closely matches my own wise-ass sense of humor. I’m sure you hear that a lot.

And the reviews are well thought out and fair, as well. I may not always agree with them, but at least you guys put a lot of thought into it. Harry over at AICN tends to have an intense love of a movie on a surface level, and his reviews are fun to read, but if I want an honest opinion, I come to you folks.

Nick’s Reply: What makes this site work is that there’s a certain amount of people out there with compatible senses of humor. When we clash with people, they think we’re elitists or malcontents and assholes, but only because we are.


Come around here often?


Mitch to the right.Robert writes:

After seeing the teasing nod about the Joker at the
end of Batman Begins, I had to groan just a bit. Aside from The Killing Joke,
the Joker to me represents perhaps the most absurd comic book villain ever,
aside from maybe Modok. I’m in total agreement that he should NOT be in the

Wouldn’t it be preferable to see maybe some villain
that hasn’t been on the big screen? I’d hate to see the potential to a great
franchise squandered over a villain whose main weapon is deadly laughing gas.
Certainly there must be a decent villain aside from Joker, Penguin, and Riddler
who could make the sequel stand out. If they use any of these villains, all
we’re getting is a retread of the last Batman films.

There’s Talia, Dr. Hugo Strange, Firefly, and
Deadshot just to name a few. I"m sure that with some WRITING, these villains
could make an incredible sequel and stand out from the Burton films entirely(not
that Batman Begins didn’t, thank goodness). I just don’t want to see the future
of a franchise to be lost before it has a chance to become great.

Anyway, here’s hoping. Thanks for reading

Nick’s Reply: Honestly, I’d prefer villains more grounded in the real world. Not that I’d do a flick about the horror of landmines (remember that comic?), but I always prefer the Detective over the Warrior.


Come around here often?


Mitch to the left!John writes:

I love the site, I prefer your movie news to Harry’s or any other for that
matter. You provide a lot of humor and the Ten Grabs and Ron are the shit! What
bums me out though is that I know you have a rep for your site out of Boston,
yet us readers here in Beantown miss out on all the sneak screenings. I know
Serenity has been screened in Boston already as was Sin City weeks before it was
released. But whenever I see a screening, its for Charlotte or Atlanta. Can
you include us in the advance screening shenanigans?

Keep it Hilarious

Nick’s Reply: Well, Harry gets actual SCOOPS. You can’t fault them for that. We have different goals. Harry’s a good shit. Thanks for the nice comments, but the main reason we don’t do screenings in other towns is more because it’s a hunk of work and I don’t know the reps in those towns. It was always my goal to expand outwardly with the screenings but until there’s a nice amount of money backing the site and justifying the man hours (and Man-Thing) I think it’s counterproductive. For example, I spent about six hours on Monday organzing and stuffing and sending movie passes out. SIX HOURS!


Come around here often?

Massive Missive.

Mitch to the right.Andy writes:

Hi Nick – Andy here in
Leeds, England, again.
I’ve sent a couple of bits of feedback in over the years, and have entered some
of your give-aways/competitions even though I know it’d be too expensive for you
guys to ship any prizes over to old Blighty – but hey, when the topics you set
as discussion points prick my interest, I like to share my views with fellow

So, I read the site every day while
at work, because I’m one of those luddites who still doesn’t have internet at
home. I enjoy most of the content, and was saddened by the apparent lack of
feedback you receive from pieces you and the team work hard to put together for
our enjoyment. With that in mind, I’m offering a few pieces of feedback on
different topics – my bosses are out today so I have to capitalise on being able
to spend time typing to you instead of re-drafting my latest press

Ok, where to

: I’ve mentioned in correspondence
before how I often buy a movie based on your recommendations, but the list from
Movie Insider was exceptional. There were so many great films listed there; some
that I already owned, ones that I’d heard of but never “fancied”, and those that
I’d previously heard were not worth my time. As a result of those
recommendations, I now own Equilibrium and Rounders (which I’ve detailed to you
before) and also 25th Hour, which was truly exceptional, and the 80s
remake of The Blob, which by Christ was a bloody fun B-movie (no bloody or
B-puns intended.)

I really enjoy the lists – your
“best kills” was awesome, and maybe you could get some others in there, like
best gunfight, fist fight, catfight (I’m thinking Two Days in the Valley with
that one) amongst others. Or most annoying children on screen? Or most
over-rated movies?

One of the things I truly enjoy
about CHUD is that while you’re not ashamed to quote cheesy 80s movies or
profess your love for those cult/iconic figures like Robert Z’Dar and Jesse
Ventura, neither are you closed to reviewing older films. A few years back I
made myself stop buying only the contemporary movies I’d just seen, and started
digging into the archives to actually watch the “classics” that I’d heard so
much about. I discovered just how awesome “12 Angry Men” really is, how cool
Bogart was in movies like The Big Sleep,
and The African Queen, and how a
generation raised on Joe Pesci should learn that the best psycho midget gangster
was on screen some 50 years previous in the form of Jimmy Cagney. I thought
David Chen’s review of Angels with Dirty Faces was bang on – if you love
gangster films you HAVE to see this. I just wanted to say thanks for being so
broad-minded about what films can be great, rather than only supporting those
based on a comic book.

Comic book

The only comic I ever read as a kid
was one called “Buster”, a poor relation to the Beano. Spider-man, Fantastic
Four, X-Men…I never read them. I used to watch the cartoons when they came on
TV, but I never made a “viewing date”. I tell you all this because I’m fed up of
hearing so much whining about how an adaptation is not faithful to one of the
1,000+ comic book stories that it’s based on. Let me reiterate that – “BASED

How many times have we seen
adaptations of a book not live up to the expectations of a fan of the original
material? I’ve lost count. So why is it that amongst comic “fans” it is always a
surprise when the screenwriters have the audacity to put some of their own ideas
into something, put a fresh spin on a character arc, or a new plot device to
serve THEIR story? I knew roughly how Peter Parker became Spider-man, mainly due
to the 70s TV movies with Nicholas Hammond. But I thought the Raimi movie was
great fun as a movie…despite these “organic web-shooters”…

I had no idea about the origins of
Doc Ock, yet thought the sequel was simply an awesome film. All this stuff about
Dr Connors though…meant nothing to me. I really enjoyed X-Men, and was actually
a little disappointed in the sequel (mainly due to the immense hype I’d read on
web sites prior to the film’s release here in the
UK) but
honestly wasn’t bothered about black leather costumes.

While I appreciate the level of love
people can have for the source material – God knows that as a kid who grew up
enjoying Stephen King’s books, I’ve been burned enough times by poor adaptations
– I think there is a certain amount of managing expectations required on the
part of the fan/viewer. The stories and characters are licensed by the
production companies to be a part of the story they want to tell. You’ve already
pointed out that your adaptation of Meg (a book I have yet to order, but
undoubtedly will) will have some changes from the book. The Bourne movies have
been huge successes but differ GREATLY from the source novels. LA Confidential
is a fantastic movie, even though it veers wildly from the equally brilliant

My point is that while these
comic-based movies might not incorporate an individual’s favourite character,
set-piece or monologue, there is still a movie there. Can’t we just judge the
movie on its own merits?


You know what? I TOO am fed up with
lazy production executives coming up with a lame sequel to a movie, just for the
sake of milking some cash out of us movie fans. I’m not going to list all the
dreck that we’ve already witnessed being shovelled into cinemas, nor am I going
to bore you with the same list of those sequels that are actually worth a damn.
I just wanted to say that I am a movie fan, a lover of films, and if by putting
out sequels to sub-par movies gives the studio enough cash and guts to make a
sequel to a film I really liked, about characters I’d want to spend time with
again, then so be it.

The choice is yours/mine what we go
to watch at the cinema or rent/buy on DVD. If there’s a new Steve Martin comedy
coming out that you don’t want to see – don’t go. But if that film’s success –
and the success of countless other films that may not be my cup of tea -means
that a company can afford to finance another Sin City, for example, than I’m not
gonna complain.

Over the years there have been some
APPALLING sequels made. But does that REALLY detract from your enjoyment of the
original? Most recently I was severely disappointed by the Matrix sequels. But
does that mean I can’t enjoy The Matrix again? Not at all. Likewise Alien Vs
Predator. I was expecting very little but as I enjoyed the previous visits with
the chomping monsters I gave it a go. I thought it sucked – but does that mean
“they’ve” ruined my enjoyment of the movies I love? Nope.

I agree, there are too many sequels
being made that pay no attention to the good work accomplished in the
fore-runner…but hey, if they’re successful then we may get another fix of Jason
Bourne or maybe even a new, and good, Alien/Predator movie.


I admire you Nick for putting your
hard-earned where your cake-hole is. You want to see a certain type of movie.
You know the story because it was in a book you love. You feel for the
characters because you read so much about them. So instead of hoping that
someone makes a half-decent job of it, you go for it. Whether Meg lives or dies,
you have done what so many people wouldn’t have half the stones to do. And for
that I applaud you.


The lack of feedback must be so
disconcerting, given the amount of time and effort that must go into the Leaks.
I must put my hands up and say “yup, I’m one of those” who reads, laughs, thinks
about your stuff, then moves on to the next article. But please, don’t think
that the lack of feedback is a reflection of the column’s worth. I, like many of
your long-term readers, became a loyal visitor because of the style of writing.
The gags that only those steeped in absolutely useless movie trivia would get.
The sarcastic humour on display during discussions of such politically-charged
hot-topics. The streak of cynicism that colours your view of the world – in
fact, this last one has become alarmingly more apparent over the last year. I
don’t know whether the attacks from third parties, the immersion into
Hollywood or the lack
of feedback from Chewers has made you so, but there’s a definite bitter streak
on show. That not withstanding, the Leak is a vital component of a tremendously
entertaining web site, and I for one would sorely miss it.


Listen, I’m not a big fan of “the
funnies” anyway, and I’m afraid I gave up on Ron after reading the entire first
arc and simply not getting it. But hey – you can’t please all the people all the
time. I’ve seen the letters from people who really dig Ron, and so I hope for
THEM you carry it on. Just because something doesn’t float my boat, doesn’t give
me the right to call for its execution, you know? I think there are a few people
out there who’d do well to learn that.

War of the

I have to say I have LOVED your
coverage for this movie. I am so hyped up about seeing it this evening (there
are preview screenings across the
UK and me and bunch of
friends are going to the
8pm screening). Thanks for
not ruining any surprises, unlike some other irresponsible people, and also
thanks for the genuine sense of wonder that you and the guys have put into your
coverage of it. At last, a summer movie that’s more than just a tone of money
shots (and yes, I’m setting you up for countless porn gags…ooh, there’s another
one. The Porn Gag – is that like Deep Throat or something?)

Anyway, I guess that’s about it for
now. Like I say, whether you use any of this or not is immaterial. I just want
you to know that the huge amount of time and effort you and the team put into
the site is worth it to me. And I’m sure there are thousands upon thousands of
people who think and feel the same way, even if we don’t always give you that

Thanks for reading Nick, and I look
forward to my next daily dose of CHUD.

Nick’s Reply: Wow! I’ll address these in reverse. War of the Worlds. That’s Devin’s excellent coverage you’re thinking of. Funny enough, he had this extensive coverage and gave the film an amazing review and still the people are not pleased. Devin is like Alex Rodriguez in New York. He could literally do everything perfect every day for two years and people still won’t give him a pass. Well, except A-ROD makes 25 million dollars a year. Devin only pulls in 13 million. Ron. Sorry it’s not your cup but what if we add boobies? The Leak. I have enough material in mind for a new one. If there’s gonna be another Leak, it’ll happen next week. Meg. Thanks! We should have some Meg news by September 1st. Movies. The next list will arrive in mid-July and is going to be a lot of fun. I so appreciate your patronage and comments and hope to meet you should I ever hit the UK.


Come around here often?

WOTW Plot Issues.

Mitch to the left!Justin writes:

So how exactly did
the machines get underground? I understand the little pilot aliens shot down
through the lightening but how, for the love of god, did people build cities and
happen to miss giant bio-mechanical robots buried under them? Subways just
happened to miss them while the city was being built? The aliens plopped them
down thousands of years ago and decided not to invade then, but when we had
nuclear weapons? Thoughts, feelings, ideas?

Nick’s Reply: They very easily could have been some sort of tiny object that telescoped out into the Tripod craft or some kind of organic matter that spawned into it. Or they could have been REALLY deep down and had a self-destruct mode should anything tamper with it. I’m not worried about that, because it’s actually spookier knowing they were down there hating us all along.


Come around here often?


Mitch to the right.Gilles writes:

This will be the second email I’ve sent you. My first was posted
in Leak Letters #14, but you mispelled my name as "Giles" when its actually the
french version "Gilles" – although I can barely speak french. Not that any of
that matters. I have a pertinant question for you. I’d like to know how you
feel about Xenu and his rich and retarded celebrity following. Scientology has
been in the media alot lately, especially with Tom Cruise’s recent statements
about psychiatry and chemical imbalances and such with Matt Lauer. Apparently
Tom has scientology tents at all his movies now, trying to recruit new morons
like his equally rich and stupid fiancee Katies Holmes. Personally, I think
he’s crazy. Crispon Glover crazy (Have you seen the trailer to that movie he
directed? one word: awkward). Also, regarding Batman Begins:

- Katies Holmes’ one-dimensional acting and the fact that another
stupid bimbo found out Batman’s true identity was its biggest flaw.
- Who should play the Joker? Cesar Romero’s reanimated corpse.

Nick’s Reply: Sorry about getting your name wrong. I’ve never seen the name Gilles, but now I have. I think that Tom Cruise’s recent public appearances have hurt Scientology in the eye of the public. I think for the most part there was a passing knowledge of it, but no real understanding. No fear and no interest. Aside from the people already in its embrace. I know a few Scientologists and my experiences have ranged from weird to normal to slightly erotic. In essence, just like when I deal with people in any sort of religion. I guess if it works for you, do it, as long as it doesn’t affect me. That said, Cruise’s appearances have caused local radio shows to do stories on it, news programs, and others. I feel that the more focus there is on it, the more layers that are revealed, the tougher it will be for Scientology to remain as whatever it is. Additionally, in my research for my latest script there was some rather damning evidence about L. Ron Hubbard that makes the whole thing seem a little shaky but I’m going to find some more to corroborate before I draw a conclusion.


Come around here often?


Mitch to the left!Great Dealz writes: