13Here’s the second installment of my very own letter column, Shout at the Devil. It’s been a little while since the first one, but I’ve been pretty busy, and most of it has been supplying this site with some content – I hope it shows.

Right now I am in sunny Los Angeles, so of course I am sitting on a computer going through my mail. What else would I be doing out here? Last column I asked for logo submissions – I got great images from Simon Wright and "Jason." Sadly, I didn’t bring the pictures with me, so they will debut next time. Trust me, though, they’re good. One other guy sent me a logo as well. That one I did bring to LA, and that’s at the very end of the column.

This time around we’ve got mail stretching back a while. I have to admit that I left out some of the Batman Begins hate mail I received – most of it was pretty much the same letter again and again, although I did receive a couple of interesting death threats. What’s been interesting this month, though, is the fact that some people got pretty upset that I gave Fantastic Four a better review than Batman

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64How Dare You?

Alec shouts: While I agree that Fantastic Four is probably the most fun and lightest of the event films released this summer, it doesn’t seem right that FF gets a positive review and higher score than Batman Begins. Batman is the more accomplished of the two in almost every way: fleshed out story and characters, great performances from all the actors outside of Katie Holmes, and good action sequences and special effects. It may be split in tempo due to the development of Bruce Wayne into Batman, and you may not like than Batman is reacting to things at the end and he needs help from other people to save the day(God forbid if the hero isn’t perfect when he’s new at saving the day), but as a whole, Batman Begins is far superior to FF. FF had a weak plot, weak characters outside of the Chiklis and Evans, a boring and weak villain, and weaker effects. It seems you rewarded FF for not sucking as hard as you thought it might and penalized Batman Begins for not being the Batman movie you had in your head, even though it is worthy of a positive review. If you are going to review films, maybe you should try more objectivity and less fanboy pressure.

Devin says: Batman Begins is, without a doubt, a better film on most technical levels. But since when does that make a difference with a movie? I am sure that Day After Tomorrow has better production values, performances and effects than Evil Dead II. But I know which film is in my DVD collection, and which film I like to watch.

I rewarded Fantastic Four for being successful at what it set out to be – a light, fun family film. Batman Begins set out to be a serious, dark film, and I don’t think it was fully successful on that count because of a weak second half and a disastrous last act.

Here’s the thing – you can’t just compare movies. No two films are exactly alike, and you have to take into account what the film is trying to accomplish when you review it. You don’t give Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure a pan because it doesn’t deal with the Holocaust. And even more importantly, you can’t compare all movies because most films just wouldn’t stack up. If I gave out numeric grades based on a single system, where Citizen Kane and Seven Samurai are 9.9 or 10, most films released every year would get a 5 or below, even the ones I really liked.

As for fanboy pressure – I think you have that backwards.

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44464Ice Cube Aint Hard?

Vronsky78 shouts: Come on, brother. People evolve and move on. Yes, being hardcore was a necessity growing up the way Cube did, however, the man is now a father, which definitely changes priorities. He’s also gone up and moved out of the hood. You don’t need to be hard living in Beverly Hills or Brentwood, just comfortably…rich. One’s art reflects one’s life. For him to still be doing things that are no longer true to his daily situation, now that would be a TRUE misrepresentation and thus…SELLING OUT. Perhaps he might some day return to his hard scrabble roots in a filmic form but for now stop reminescing and just accept it. Or are you so morose because of the fact that another brother has busted out of the stereotype cage, and liberated himself. This, in spite of the fact that so many "fans" would prefer that he just stay in the cage and be "hard" and "real" till Kingdom Come. Crunk-n-40’s anyone? N.W/o.A

P.S.

"Luxury corrupts far more than Power." -Oliver Stone.

Devin says: Hey, I’m not saying that Cube should only be playing gangbangers. I just believe that the guy can make softer, more family oriented films without making tripe like Are We There Yet?. That’s my real problem with the guy – he’s making absolute garbage just because it can make him a couple of bucks.

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654Jim Dale

Trevor shouts: Am I the only guy on this rock that thinks that Jim Dale is the absolute best part of the Harry Potter adventures? I read the first book but then went across the country for 6 weeks with my wife and we got hooked on the audio versions of these books. Since then that has become our preferred method of experiencing Harry’s adventures. The presentation from that weird ass music intro to the many character voices he does is absolutely amazing. I was blessed enough to see Jim Dale as scrooge on Broadway and I just don’t understand why that guy hasn’t been offered a part in the movies. He’s got talent and an undeniable presence and he’s old which makes him a perfect candidate for anyone of the non-child characters. Have you had the pleasure of hearing his version of Hagrid or Dumbledore?

Devin Says: I have to admit that I’m not that familiar with the audio versions of the Harry Potter books. My friend likes to listen to them when she goes to sleep, and apparently she has them all but memorized at this point.

It would be a cool nod to the fans to have Jim Dale play some role in the movie.

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oijoijYou like us!

Doug shouts: I read a lot of your stories, and always see that you invite feedback. I always think of shooting you an e-mail, but never get around to it. Well, I’m here in crappy Ohio visiting my parents, and I decided now would be a great time.

First, obviously I’m a movie geek, or else I wouldn’t be reading your site in the first place. I frequent other movie nerd sites, but in the last several months I’ve found myself coming back and reading CHUD more often than other sites.

Your site’s ‘personality’ is by far the best of all the movie sites I know of. You don’t have dopy nicknames, and don’t try to suck up to get the ‘exclusive’ set visit (you know: the exclusive set visit that pops on on one movie site, and then within a few weeks after reading other sites and magazines you realize EVERYONE got the ‘exclusive,’ and even visited the set on the same day/s). But I’m not really trying to knock your competition. I love how brutally honest you guys can be about movies: both in a good way and bad way. I can relate to your sometimes scathing humor, and while it’s never personal or too mean spirited, I find it refreshing.

Every week I look forward to reading the ‘Special Edition,’ and I’m a casual reader of Ron (I don’t catch it all the time, but when I have a few minutes to kill I find myself reading the current and back strips). I REALLY like how you break down your DVD reviews, and I can honestly say I’ve bought DVD’s because of your recomendations: especially the way you break down every aspect of the discs.

I also like your movie reviews, even though I don’t read all of them (I skip the ones I know for sure I will go see, but usually read reviews after I see the flick to compare ‘notes’), and I enjoy your interviews from the press junkets. Again, I don’t read all of them, but they are intresting. I like how I can read thoughts from your subjects that aren’t asked a million times by every other journalist.

Anyway, GREAT job. You give me a reason to turn on the computer in the
morning and evening :)

And by the way..

I live in San Diego, and I’m a big nut when it comes to Comic-Con. I go for the full four day run, and I tend to go to all of the more interesting lectures, discussions, and studio shilling. If you need someone to help you out (i.e. if there are two cool things going on at once), or anything, feel free to drop me an e-mail. I know you guys don’t do contributors very often (which I think is a good thing, as it doesn’t dilude the quality of CHUD), but even if you need someone to take notes for you to publish your own article or recap, I’d be more than happy to help out. Thanks for the great site, and keep the stories comin’! :)

Devin says: Thanks Doug! It’s nice to get some positive feedback every now and again.

I think the net has clued us all in a little bit on how manufactured a lot of the press stuff is. Everybody is running a lot of the same stuff, it seems, so I think you’re right in that the way it’s being covered is what makes the difference. While I think that the attitude that CHUD brings to the news is the best, we don’t really have "competition." It’s more like "friendly rivalries." Except for one site, which I actually think sucks and rips us off. Send me emails guessing!

As for San Diego – we’ll be there en masse, so we won’t need help, but don’t be afraid to say hi if you see us.

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obBatman… nonhate?

Chris shouts: Hey Devin,

After reading your post on "Mort – The Dead Movie" I just wanted to send you some love, bro, cause I really liked your Batman review and agree with every point you made.

Stay as critical (and cynical) as you are, man, and don’t become a sell-out like the fat guy from "that other site".

Keep up the good work.

Devin says: If the fat guy is who I think you’re talking about, I don’t think he’s a sell-out. Unless you mean Dom Deluise, who has really abandoned his fanbase.

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konMore Batman… nonhate?

Nicholas shouts: Hey Chud fellas. You can throw this in the Leak if you want or whatever. Doesn’t matter to me really as long as you take a sec to read it.

I’m just dropping Chud a line to say that BATMAN BEGINS was indeed a sad excuse for what was supposed to be (and what every fanboy and person in my office thinks was) a fantastic Batman film. Yes, it was an improvement over Joel Schumacher’s takes, but really that’s not saying much.*

For my $9.50, I got the following:
- an unbelievably poor plot about a drug in the Gotham water system
- a terrible excuse for a car chase with the Batmobile flying off of rooftops
- fight scenes that NEVER pull away for a wide shot
- expository dialogue explaining the evil plans of Alfred Kinsey
- THREE villians to keep up with (Scarecrow, Falcone, Ducard… four if you count Ken Wanatabe’s Ra’s).
- ending dialogue between Bale & Holmes that sadly borrows from SPIDERMAN 1’s final scene between Maguire & Dunst
- Liam Neeson using Gotham and Rome in the same sentence to describe corruption

I have to agree with Devin on just about everything he said. I was hoping for a dark, realistic Batman film. Instead I got a David Goyer fantasy story with some dark imagery. All BEGINS did was reboot the franchise and did little in the way of doing something truly innovative. Plots involving drugs that float into the air due to a microwave transmitter don’t really cut it in my book.

I’m sorry America, did we see the same movie?

*I actually believe Joel Shumacher is not a terrible director. Haters need to see TIGERLAND for proof. BUT, BATMAN & ROBIN is complete dreck.

Devin says: Phonebooth is pretty good too. Phantom of the Opera sucks, though. The moral is that Schumacher needs to be restrained with a small budget.

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jhgbjhbUhhhh

darthgaydar@hotmail.com shouts: Glen writes,

Dear Devin, I enjoyed perusing your letters column at 5am. I don’t usually post on the boards, or enter contests, write e-mails, etc. because I enjoy the site incredibly but don’t wish to be part of a community that may sap my time further. I love discussing movies and their impact- the best resonate emotionally (what a freshman student cliche) – and yeah.

Your updates are without fail the best on the site. I always like reading about your opinions so I can adopt them and argue with my friends as if I truly believed in anything. J/k. I can’t believed I just typed j/k, I’m just as disgusted as you are. You’ve often been spot on in your write-ups of films. I just read your I Heart Huckabee’s review and I’m glad you trumpeted the merits of that cunt.

I’m so high right now. You ever do yay? It’s alright. Apparently a lot of writers were inspired by cocaine. Like Stephen King when he was good. And some other cunts as well.

BTW (there it goes again, rock and roll) you should print this letter in your next column because I can provide a perfect snippet of question directed at you:

I think you should do a "Devin Likes" column. I’m sure you talk about this type of shit alot on message boards or some other outlet, but I’d be curious to know: What is Devin reading? What is Devin eating? What noise does Devin’s poo make when it evacuates his bowels? Crackling is generally good.

What? oh huh

Devin, you are my little gentleman. And keep up the good work,

P.S. You should visit canada and make a moivie and my friend acould shoot it and i have grawet saongs lined up and ita would be great and it’s all about a driving bass with a touch of high-hat and thrahsing

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Devin says: I recognize some of that stuff from Vice Magazine. The rest, beats me.

6516Bradford to the rescue

Jack Bradford writes: Some guy makes fun of you for liking Old Boy? God I hate the internet. If Palpatine’s plan was to have Anakin fuck his Mom that would have made the movie better so that’s not a valid point. If Lucas could write fucking emotion that would make a better movie. I like episode III but also know that any other director on the planet even a man called Uwe could have made better Star Wars movies. I’m actually more pissed at Spielberg and Opie for not directing the first two than at Lucas for doing them. Those movies made him rich enough to eat babies and get away with it. Who could refuse that.

High Tension? Seriously. The awful twist ending ruins what would have otherwise been the savior of the slasher genre.

I will fight every single person who sent you Kinsey related hate mail. And will one day have to as I have come to the realization that The book of Revelation is in fact true and that the Conservative Christian movement is the Anti-Christ. They are the going to be the ones who force you to put the microchip under your skin and chop off your head if you refuse. Who else will ever have enough power to do something like that. Maybe Islam, but all the most powerful cats in that group are in league with the leaders of the Christian right. Bottom line. guys like us are doomed to go down in a blaze of glory.

Devin says: As long as we can go over that cliff in our convertible ("Don’t say my car’s topless, say the titties is out") together, I got nothing to worry about.

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pojBatman Hate

LOGOS shouts: I’m a big fan of chud.com, and I have been for a while, but the constant negativity, a complaint from your fans you’ve acknowledged, has become grating. Before "Sin City" came out, there was apprehension. When it finally came out, most of you were willing to eat crow, but a couple made sure that you had your digs (it was good, but still…). I know that George Lucas first two prequels made it hard to get TOO excited for the third one, but the negativity prior to the film’s release was annoying. The reviews weren’t scathing, but it felt as though you wanted to justify the negativity. Then there’s "Batman Begins." For months prior, the usual negativity spewed forth, the trailers did little to excite you and whatnot, and then when your reviews come out, it’s mostly lukewarm, and the one from the always ambivalent Devin is expectedly negative.

"Sin City" was brilliant, and most of your fans would agree. "Star Wars" was flawed, but it was a fun ride. I haven’t seen "Batman Begins," but I’ve read most reviews on the other geek sites, and the reviews on chud.com are, as usual, the most negative.

But you guys had glowing reviews for "Guess Who" and "A Lot Like Love."

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!

What’s next? Are you guys gonna devote a column to the brilliant works of Nora Ephron?

If I go see "Batman Begins" and end up feeling as you do, I’ll write you guys again, and I’LL be the one eating crow, but I’m almost certain that won’t happen.

Devin says: I never heard back from you, so I assume you liked the film. You know what, you can’t win with this job. If I like a movie a lot and promote the hell out of it, I get accused of being a sell-out. If I don’t like a movie, I get accused of being negative.

What baffles me is that you note that when we’re down on a movie and we end up being wrong we own up to it (I was down on Fantastic Four as well as Sin City, and while I didn’t like FF as much as Sin City, I still gave it a positive review. It would have been easy enough to just go with the critical flow and pan the shit out of it, considering some of the snark I dumped on the film in the last year), you don’t think we own up to it enough. So we thought Sin City was pretty good but not great, and we had reservations on aspects of it… the problem is what? We come at you with our honest opinions. Our honest opinion was what we printed.

Here’s what I keep noticing: people react to negative reviews of films they like or are looking forward to as if the review is an attack on them. Unless you made the film, feeling that way is silly at best. Take yourself a step back. Build your identity around something other than Batman Begins. That way, when someone doesn’t like it you can discuss it with them and not take every pan to heart. Also that way you can maybe one day rejoin normal society, where people build their identities around their favorite colas and football teams.

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And that completes our second edition of Shout at the Devil! Keep your feedback coming to devin@chud.com – putting SHOUT in the subject line will help me see it through all the spam.

In the meantime, here’s one of the logos I received. I don’t know that I’ll be using it, but hey, I thought I would share. Next time look for the real logo concepts. Feel free to send yours as well!

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