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Can I call you Judd? I feel like I can. You’re that kind of guy. You’ve built your career out of making movies and television shows that connect with the average dude, the kind that really get what the normal, run of the mill guy is all about. So we sort of feel like you’re one of us. Maybe that’s unfair. You’re probably not one of us, but take it as a compliment. Some have dismissed your work as the dreamscape of geeky man-children, but I don’t think that’s so. Your characters aren’t really immature geeks, they’re just dudes. Sometimes they’re not even dudes, sometimes they’re women. Still, they’re dudes too (dudettes if you must). Sometimes they’re freaks, sometimes they’re geeks, sometimes they’re pot smoking stoners, sometimes they’re lonely, middle-aged men working dead end jobs. They’re young men afraid to grow up or college kids struggling to figure out what they want to do. Sometimes they go to donkey shows and occasionally they meet celebrities, but through it all they’re dudes. Poor people, middle class people, normal people struggling through often mediocre lives and excessive wood paneling. Sure your movies are funny, but lots of movies are funny. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle is funny. What sets your work apart is that you get it, you get us, you get real people; or you used to.
Something seems to have misfired. You’ve made a movie called Funny People and it’s like watching a snake eat its own tail. You’ve made Entourage with cancer, a movie about how horrible it is to be a rich celebrity, a movie filled with LA douche bags, a movie populated entirely by people who are either in the entertainment industry or are themselves entertainment industry wannabes. You’ve given us a self-indulgent two and a half hours about how tough it is to be successful and famous. You’ve given us a movie without anything that could be considered normal. It’s as out of touch as the rest of your movies and television shows are in touch. I’m wondering where you went wrong.
Signs And Portents
I guess we should have seen this coming. The signs were there in your last movie, Knocked Up. There two worlds collide in the form of Seth Rogen and his friends, another bunch of your masterful average dudes, and Katherine Heigl’s family, a bunch of rich LA types working in the entertainment industry and sucking down lattes. It didn’t sting all that much because after all, the movie’s really about Rogen and he’s real. He’s something the dudes out here with me could connect with, so we didn’t mind all the faux, Hollywood inside stuff that trailed around after Heigl. Probably we just blamed it on what a bitch she is and let it go at that. Except she wasn’t just a bitch and it wasn’t a fluke, it was the beginning of a new Apatow trend. It was the genesis of Funny People, right there in front of our noses.
So you’ve taken all the worst parts of Knocked Up and made an entire movie out of it. I get it. You’re rich and powerful now and of course, you write about what you know. These days what you know is being famous and spending your days texting back and forth with Hollywood agents. Even though you’re a family man, your life is probably closer to the life of Funny People’s Adam Sandler played character George Simmons than it is to ours, the average dudes. So you wrote about that, after all don’t they always tell you to write about what you know? Please believe me when I tell you they’re wrong.
There’s a way to make a movie about spoiled millionaires and celebrities that connects with people. This is not that movie and even if it was, you have no business making that movie. Hollywood already knows how to make that movie. That’s the movie everyone else is making. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but most mainstream Hollywood movies play out that way. They’re all about high-powered agents or struggling writers or wealthy tycoons with nothing to do but stroll around town looking for love. We’re positively drowning in those movies. If you’d started out making those movies we wouldn’t be talking, you and I, right now. No one would know who you are because you would never have stood out from the crowd. You would have been just another Hollywood snake, eating his own tail.
Judd I don’t mean to tear you down or bum you out. Please understand that this comes from a place of love. What I’m saying here is that you’re wonderful, you’re talented, and you connect with people… but not like this. What were you thinking man? I can respect making a movie about the shlubby world of starving stand-up comics, in fact I thought that’s what you were making. Instead you’ve made this pile of shit in which Adam Sandler wanders around being rich and complaining about how much it sucks. Motherfucker there’s a depression on! Some of us can’t afford to put gas in our cars, some of us don’t have jobs! How do you respond? You make a movie about a guy so famous he has to buy his friends, and then expect us to feel sorry for him. I used to have friends. Then I got this job and started blogging twenty-four hours a day so I could make enough money to pay my rent. I probably still have friends, assuming I ever had any time to hang out with them.
Odds are Funny People will get decent reviews. It’s not a horrible film and besides, most of the critics reviewing it are in Hollywood with you. Their view of the real world is as skewed as yours has become. It’s because of that that I’m writing you, because maybe you need a friend to let you know that it’s all gone wrong. I am a friend. I’m a fan. A huge fan. I’m one of those nerds who forces people to watch Undeclared, even if they don’t want to. My DVD collection is filled with everything you’ve ever done, but it will not contain Funny People.
Look Juddy (can I call you Juddy?), it’s just one movie. I’m probably overreacting. Everybody but Pixar screws up once in awhile. I’m just worried because I’ve seen this before. It happens, over and over and over again. Filmmaker makes amazing movies about the common man, he’s a success. He gets rich, he gets powerful, suddenly he doesn’t have to buy his own groceries and he travels only by limo… and he starts making movies like this. He makes Funny People.
Juddy, don’t make another Funny People. I accept and look forward to your continued growth as a filmmaker, but right now you’re growing in the wrong direction. Get your head out of Hollywood’s ass and come back here with us. No more working with A-list celebrities, even if Adam Sandler used to be your roommate. You don’t need them. You make stars, you don’t cast them. Hop in a Winnebago and go someplace that isn’t about making films. Get away from your high-powered LA douchebag friends and remember us, the dudes you used to know and make fun of. Start feeding Seth Rogen, fatten him up, and come back to us buddy. We need you. Haven’t you heard? Kevin Smith is making buddy copy movies now! Goddammit you’re all we have left. All will be forgiven. Funny People will be forgotten. We’re sorry you’re rich. How about a hug? Now go fuck a goat.
Josh “Man-o-Lantern” Tyler
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