Mailbagsukidoji:

Your letters. My smartass replies.Hey folks,

You have a comment and don’t want to send a letter? Please click HERE and pipe up on the message boards. Please? That thread is deader than Persis Khambatta. Now that I’ve gotten another Leak out of me, the letters are coming nice and steady. Makes me think I oughta keep it up. And I am, expect a new Leak next week. What, it’s my birthday next week? Wow, thanks for remembering!

Here’s the letters.

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Verbose and Good!

Mitch to the left!Jeremy writes:

I just read the latest version of the Leak Letters (#41) and I took
issue with what "Feline Goddess" wrote. That person claimed that the
magazine reviews have been uniform in praising Superman Returns and thus your assertion that the (online) reviewers couldn’t be trusted was suspect. I would like to return the favor and ask Ms. Goddess how
many of those published reviews came from magazines that are owned by
(or affiliated with) Time Warner, the very same entity that also
happens to own Warner Bros. Pictures? Time Warner has a lot to lose
if this film tanks…and its more than the $250 million spent on the
production budget. To my knowledge, that price tag does not include
the marketing costs, nor does it include the millions that Warners
spent over a decade-and-a-half trying to relaunch the franchise and
consequently wasting it on stalled productions as well as the payola
they gave to Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage for accomplishing nothing.

To me, I find everything to do with this film completely insincere.
Warner Bros. seems to be emulating Halliburton in doing whatever it
takes – except making a film we actually want to see – to artificially
ensure the flick is a hit. The difference between the two companies
is that Warners does not seem to have a competent Dick Cheney
character pulling the strings but instead has plenty of execs like Jon
"Giant Frikkin’ Spider" Peters calling the shots.

Case point. When you are a giant media company and have a hit
television series, you ultimately try to transition that series to the
big screen. Take for example Paramount. When *Star Trek – The Next
Generation* was ending, Paramount had already decided to transition
the series to feature films. When this happened, did Paramount recast
all the leads with well-known "motion picture" actors? For example,
did Rick Berman decide to give Patrick Stewart the boot and replace
him with Ed Harris? The answer is "no". Or how about Fox with *The
X-Files*? I cannot seem to recall John Cusak replacing David Duchovny
in the lead role. In both cases, the studios were smart enough not to
alienate their fanbases. Warners had a chance to do the same with
Smallville but instead chose to give the cast and its fanbase the
cold shoulder. And yet they expect those very fans to buy tickets in
order to justify their own incompetent decision making skills? No
way.

If Warners collectively had a brain, they would have transitioned the
cast of Smallville to the big screen to relaunch the studio’s
Superman franchise. This is not meant to praise the writing of the
series, but the cast. There have been plenty of times that the
writing on the series has made me groan, especially with its slavish
reliance upon "freak of the week" plotting that was tired even when
Kolchak was smiting Chicago area monsters while engaging in verbal
judo with his boss Vincenzo on a weekly basis. Yet what works with
the series is the cast. Do I think Tom Welling deserves to wear the
red & blue on the silver screen? The answer is "without a doubt,
yes". Do I prefer Erica Durance to Kate Bosworth? Duh! And would
I rather see a multi-layered performance made by Michael Rosenbaum
over Kevin Spacey’s "Dr. Evil" take on Lex Luthor? Of course. But as
a fan, I am not receiving any of this.

Instead of giving the fanbase a movie that it wanted, Warners is
giving fans a film that is merely a rehash of the Donner films with
extra special effects. Even worse, they’ve literally "jumped the
shark" by introducing a kid into the plot; a character that has
already been tagged online as "Superbastard". Sorry, but adding
children backfired on Alf and *Married with Children* a long time
ago. Perhaps when the next management team at Warners decides to give
the franchise a proper reboot, we’ll see a picture of Superman’s kid
appear on the back of a prop milk carton on the set exactly like what
happened on *Married with Children when Seven was rightfully cut from
the show. Now that would be funny. And once again, we are treated
with a lame interpretation of Lex Luthor who this time is scheming to
recreate Cobra Island out of Kryptonite. I sure hope Larry Hama is
receiving a royalty check from this, and if not, I hope he strikes up
a conversation with Ted Newsom on how to deal with studios who
"borrow" story elements without offering compensation in return. But
out of fairness, I won’t address the homoerotic nature of Lex
"penetrating" Superman with a Kryptonite shard that infects his blood
because well, that is just too easy and I would not want to be labeled
as an online slash fiction writer.

In conclusion, if people like Feline Goddess wish to trust "plant"
reviews written months ago, then so be it. I’d prefer to not see the
film in order to teach Warners to listen to its fans instead of
dictating what the fans wish to see. The lessons learned from *Batman
& Robin* taught Warners to respect the Batman character and the end
result was that the majority of the fans subsequently embraced *Batman
Begins*. Perhaps Warners will learn to do the same with Superman.
Maybe then when the so-called "Metropolis" (sequel film to
Smallville themed film hits the silver screen, we can all agree
that Superman has returned. But until then, I think I’ll spend my
movie dollars on seeing the return of Captain Jack just like the rest
of the general public will this summer.

Nick’s Reply: Well said. I will never "get" the appeal of Smallville but I’m the guy who doesn’t watch Battlestar Galactica either. That said, preach on!

(SEND A LETTER)

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Batman Begins Fan Naught.

Mitch to the right.John writes:

…IS such an incredibly overrated bore that each time
someone brings it up as some sort of high water mark
for comic movies I want to fucking vomit.

But that’s what movies are all about, those who have
taste (anyone who enjoyed the hell of out Superman
Returns) and those who don’t (The Batman Begins(to get
lame ten minutes in) crowd and anyone who defends
their like of that piece of shit X-3).

And for the love of Christ, I wish people would stop
glorifying the Donner films (the first two). They
would have been shit without Reeve owning the role as
he did, and they are almost pathetically laughable
even with him present.

Otis and Gene Hack….man, et all can suck my ass.
Terrible camp all around, and a Lois who as much sex
appeal as Bea Fucking Arthur.

Nick’s Reply: Holy shit. You’re bonkers!

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Advice.

Mitch to the left!Cody writes:

I’m a long-time reader of CHUD and a huge fan of the site. It’s a really cool community for a high school student who aspires to have a career in entertainment journalism… I clearly have a lot to learn.

That said, I was wondering if, for curiosity’s sake, you could answer a few of my questions about how you got your foot in the door in such a huge way. I’m graduating soon, and I’m interested in following a similar path.

Basically all I’d like to know is: how’d you do it? How did you manage to insinuate yourself into the industry in such a way that you are sent passes to advanced screenings, dvds for review, and invited to all those press junkets and set visits? I’m especially fascinated by it because you seem to have established yourself without any prior connections to the movie and journalism industries. Did you just start your site, and they eventually came to you, or did you actively seek their support yourself?

Anyway, if you’d made it this far, I thank you for your patience with this obnoxious, wide-eyed youth…

Nick’s Reply: When I got my so called foot in the so called door there was really no door. About a decde ago, sites like these (or mailing lists, as this originated) were out there but there was no real set of standards and the film business had no grasp on how to deal with it.  I get this question a lot and I always cringe a little. Most everyone has their minds set on the benefits: the free screenings, the early screenings, the DVD screeners, and all that jazz. It’s a cause and effect thing and I think it needs to be. You need to earn those benefits in my mind. Once you have an editorial focus, opinions that offer something to folks, the work ethic, and the writing ability and web design ability to make them all come across you start doing your thing. Eventually, people will notice and you’ll get a crack at the perks. My advice: Don’t copy anyone. Don’t expect goodies and don’t do it for the goodies as they’re a blessing and a curse. Do it out of passion always. Otherwise, you’ll just be one of those rotten apples that spoil it for the others.

(SEND A LETTER)

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The Goods.

Mitch to the left!Aaron writes:

I’m gonna keep this short so as not to bore the piss out of anyone. I read your piece on web film criticism with much interest and thought I’d just add my two penneth. I enjoy reading the opinions of others, from the earnest to the totally crazy. Sure, some folks are less than honest. Some have been coerced. Others do obviously have hidden (or not so hidden) agendas, axes to grind, what have you. Opinion can be swayed. It can be bought outright. But I believe any sane, intelligent film lover will have the capacity to see what exactly what reviews are: opinion. No matter how misguided or cloak-and-dagger the shennanigans behind them. If you have a brain you will read, absorb but then – crucially – see whichever flick for yourself and make up your own mind. It’s sad to think that some people will be misled or have their minds made up for them by others regarding any piece of art. But fuck them. They’re idiots. Maybe those of us that can judge things for ourselves are a dying breed. Maybe less and less people can see through the bullshit these days. Sure, it makes me sad but (shrugs shoulders) what are you gonna do? As long as I have my own soul and my own mind I will continue to read reviews and articles and what-have-you and not take them at face value. I’ll continue to like what I like and hate what I don’t. Not be swayed by anybody. And that’s just fine by me.

So, once again, Nick – great article. That’s why I come here. A smattering of intelligence and debate amongst the anarchy. I sincerely hope to ‘see you’ around these parts again soon.
All my best to you and yours, mate.

Nick’s Reply: Thanks man. I’ll try to keep the intelligence down to a smattering!

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Support.

Mitch to the right.Carl writes:

Not for Nothin’

Great to see the Leak back at CHUD. You are still my go-to site for movies. Not only my go-to, but my only. I like being in the know about movies, but I will not wade through the bullshit. The point is – CHUD.com is the best. But, it is better with you around. Good luck with the big shark. Bring on the Leak.

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Comic Rant.

Mitch to the left!Ryan writes:

Re: Your comics rant.

I’m not really sure I see your point. If there are more indie books being published now than ever before and you even admit an abundance of quality stuff is on the shelves, how do you arrive at "all I see is a medium that losts its way and became a goddamn chore."? There has always been mainstream, trendy, over-hyped crap, and there always will be. It’s nothing new, and it doesn’t spell the death of the industry, much less the medium. I go to the shop almost every Wednesday and see that crap staring me in the face. I usually walk right past and pick up some quality comics. Is it that hard to ignore or fight against (with your wallet)?

Your editorial sounds dangerously like the complaints of someone out of the loop and pissed about it. Someone…well, old. Especially that Manga comment.

Glad to see the leak back,

Ryan

Nick’s Reply: There’s no loop to be in. You either go to the shop or you don’t. The rant was more a look at the business with disgust and sadness, and a lot of that comes from the shit Wizard chooses to cover and how they do it but also at how many of the indie stuff is being done to create a property rather than create a compelling contribution to the medium. Dave Davis and Sean Fahey will eventually do a much better job than I.

(SEND A LETTER)

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We Choose Well.

Mitch to the right.Joseph writes:

Back when Running Scared first came out in theaters, I would have never even thought twice (or once) about seeing it, other than the recommendation CHUD gave it. I never saw it in theaters, but it was top of my list when it came out this past Tuesday. As expected, I loved the hell out of it. I rarely see movies in theaters anymore, but I try to see whatever I can once it’s out on DVD. Like Shaun of the Dead before it, Running Scared drew in a person who normally doesn’t see that genre of film (I’m probably a minority on this site, but Tarantino flicks don’t do it for me and these kind of shoot ‘em ups usually bore me to tears). I’m excited to see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I’m sure it will exceed expectations.

P.S. Ever seen Little Otik, a rather bizarre but hilarious film from the Czech Republic?

Nick’s Reply: I have seen Otik and have it proudly in my collection under "W" for Wood Beings Who Kill. The next little film you’ll want to recommend to everyone is The Amateurs, starring Jeff Bridges. Really fun stuff.

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Earth Was Askin’ For It.

Mitch to the left!Russell writes:

Michael Crichton is the only person who makes sense in the Global Warming debate. He argues that we Humans are an insignificant blip in time and space. We showed up soon after the last Ice Age (which we did not cause) and we will disappear when the next Ice Age comes around (which we again will have no influence over). The real Inconvenient Truth is that we are as powerless as a flea on a dog. We could all kill ourselves tomorrow…and there are numerous Earth First wackos that believe that’s the only logical solution…and Global Warming would continue unabated since it is the Sun that drives the weather. You concede, I’m sure, that Human activity has no effect on the Sun. Furthermore, there are internal geothermal forces below the earth’s crust so powerful that one Mount Saint Helens eruption like the one in 1980 spews forth in one week more carbon monoxide than all the cars ever made. The reason the subject of Global Warming is so near and dear to leftist anti-Christians such as yourself is that you can dream of possessing god-like powers. What can be more god-like than Saving the Planet or Preserving Endangered Species? Why, it’s like replaying Genesis 1. "And Man said ‘Let there be Spotted Owls!’ And Lumberjacks were expelled from The Rainforest. And it was Good." All you manage to do is display vanity and conceit, nothing more.

On a practical level, another Inconvenient Truth is that pollution is the worst where poverty is the worst, and the cleanest communities are the wealthiest. And the reason is obvious: clean air and clean water are expensive and only wealthy nations can afford to spend the money necessary to clean their environment. So, the solution to both poverty and pollution is wealth. But of course the Kyoto "solution" is to lower our standard of living, eventually to make us as poor as the Third World nations that live in squalor. Once again, Socialists and Liberals get it exactly backwards. Al Gore needs to find something useful to do like Jimmy Carter. Build a Habitat for Humanity home for a Hurricane Katrina victim.

Nick’s Reply: I think this is a response to Devin’s review of Gore’s film or an article on it. I also like the fact that this person (hummerfan@hummer.net) isn’t biased at all.

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Constructive Criticism.

Mitch to the right.Gary writes:

Your reviews suck

Nick’s Reply: So, you’re a fan, g.yambor@comcast.net. I have not pleased g.yambor@comcast.net with the review prowess of CHUD.com. Of the many readers out there, one of the biggest fans is not g.yambor@comcast.net.

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SPAM OF THE DAY!

Mitch to the left!

Cheyanne writes:

chuck i never got an email 4rm her! sorry i was just excited but now im sad well i hoe she does so uknow cuz i just want to meet her!! or talk to her thats all even on the phone come on pleze!!!where does she act i want to act there too!!!!!

Mr. Grunt and Point’s Reply: God, I wish this were an exaggeration of netspeak amongst the barely almost legal.