Jersey Shore Migrates South for the Winter

14 04 2010

Or summer. Or whatever.

I, like everyone else on the internet, feel I need to share my two cents about the recent decision to move the next season of Jersey Shore to – gasp – NOT the Jersey Shore. And THEN the decision to announce that don’t worry, actually, Jersey Shore will take place mostly at – gasp – YES the Jersey Shore.

Because no one digs a little not-really-suspense more than MTV.

You can read the full story here – and by full story, I mean it will take you a full 30 seconds to understand the situation. See what I did there?

Let’s discuss how this decision will affect our lives:

1. The cast will include the entire cast, including Angelina!

Pro: It was discovered on the reunion special that Angelina may or may not (hint: yes) have some sexual history with one The Situation. Will this play out on the show? Will The Situation realize that he’s almost 30 and should probably start dating a woman who, though she is not interesting, at least has the least aurally offensive name of all the gal’s on the show?

Con: There are no second chances at the Jersey Shore, let’s be real. Except for Snooki. And Ronnie. And everyone at the Jersey Shore because if you black out every night, every night is a do-over!

2. They will be starting the season in South Beach.

Pro: There are probably more exotic forms of STDs to be found in Florida.

Con: I think that’s how the Native Americans died.

3. They’ll be coming back to Sleazeside!

Pro: In all seriousness, this will probably be really good for NJ tourism.

Con: It will mostly attract the kinds of creatures that many often take vacations to get away from.

Pro: At least all of the be-gelled juiceheads will be at Sleazeside, trying to catch a glimpse of these warlocks.

Con: How will the rest of NJ shore-goers entertain themselves with no be-gelled juiceheads to giggle at?

4. The article mentions a Jersey Shore casting website, started “in case the show decides to explore the option of adding new castmembers to the second season.”

Pro: A dream come true for anyone who watched Jersey Shore and thought to themselves, “I’m tan enough, I’m drunk enough, and gosh darnit, people like me! Or at least they say they like me to my face but still have not introduced me to anyone in their social group, for fear of judgment.”

Con: I am too pale to have a chance at landing on this show. Also, an intense fear that The Situation will grasp hold of a friend and when I try to take her away, I will unfortunately be forever known as “The grenade” on national television. And that I will sign a release because I’ll think that this was somehow a flattering way to be presented on national television.

5. We are promised “party-hopping, bass-thumping, emotion-filled escapades.”

Pro: They will have to top last season’s emotion-filled escapades. So I only assume Snooki will get shot in the face, everyone will get arrested, and someone will probably die.

Con: The only con is that the season doesn’t start until late July. What am I supposed to do until then?

All in all, I can’t get enough. I’m glad they won’t be staying in South Beach the entire time, though it would have been interesting to see what might happen to them. Poor Seaside Heights, though. I can’t imagine the residents of this town are excited in any way. Hoping to see some cast members getting egged on the board walk. Then going back to the house, drinking a bottle of vino, and eating a bunch of sausage. Entendre INTENDED.



Question: What is another name for the Jersey Shore ladeez?


Alternatives: Jersey Skanks, Jersey Slooters, Jersey “What-do-you-mean-there-is-a-totally-obvious-joke-here?”s

Some Kinda Hot Tub Time Machine

1 04 2010

Recently, I was attacked via Twitter because I loved Hot Tub Time Machine and some kid did not.

Besides using my student film as a reason that this real movie was not good (what’s that, audience? That’s a completely illogical argument? That my own Northwestern University grant film has nothing to do with Hot Tub Time Machine and therefore shouldn’t be referenced? You’re right!) I felt like the reasons given were also unfounded. Everyone is allowed to dislike whatever they want as long as they have a good reason. Don’t like me? Fine. Don’t like me because I’m tall? You’re a dullard.

I am not one to dismiss a grudge, nor am I one to back down from an argument simply because I’ve been belittled, and usually I AM one to throw insults your way that will give you a complex for life – fair warning all present and future friends. However, I’ve taken a moment, collected my thoughts, and would like to take this time to rationally explain why I liked this movie. You are free to disagree with me. But, if you’d like to insult anything else from my own personal body of work – Food Day project from 2nd Grade, playing Glenda the Good Witch in 3rd Grade, any and all collected papers written during high school history class – I ask that you keep those thoughts to yourself. And choke on them. In your sleep.


Basically, the main ish with this line of argument is that I was told that “You can’t do a ‘send-up’ of a comedy.”

Let’s think about that for a second. says:

Send-up, noun: an entertaining or humorous burlesque or parody; takeoff.

Ok, so send-ups are, by definition, comedic works. Does that mean you cannot do a comedic tribute to a comedic work?


It’s like saying you can’t do a spin-off of a spin-off. Television has proved us wrong, so very very wrong on that front. Or that you can’t do a play within a play because you’re already doing a play. Shakespeare, among others, hearts plays within plays. Just because two things are in the same genre doesn’t mean one can’t send-up the other. In fact, comedies lend themselves to being sent-up.

Examples: Down with Love is a send-up of romantic comedies from the 50s. Not Another Teen Movie is a send-up of teen comedies. Date Movie is a send-up of romantic comedies. Thus, Hot Tub Time Machine is a send-up of 80s comedies, of both time-travel and non-time-travel persuasions.

Does that mean all send-ups are good? Absolutely not. The point is that arguing that Hot Tube Time Machine cannot possibly be a send-up of Back to the Future because Back to the Future is a comedy is not factually correct. That’s the issue here that has been infuriating me and my cavalcade of film school graduates who all saw this movie and enjoyed it. Was it the best movie I’ve ever seen? No. Would I see it again? Absolutely.

Now, besides not understand what a send-up is, this person’s main argument against the movie is that it’s a rip-off, namely of Back to the Future. I would like to refer your attention to this excellent review by A.O. Scott in the New York Times, who, besides calling “Hot Tub Time Machine” a Critic’s Pick, I think hits the nail on the head as to why this movie is referential, not rip-off-erential. Everyone involved in this film knows that it’s a joke and similar to Back of the Future. The difference between ripping it off and sending it up is that they’re all in on it. Crispin Glover is IN THE MOVIE. John Cusack is IN THE MOVIE. To say that these casting choices are not references to the 80s movies, namely “Back to the Future” and “Any John Cusack Movie Ever”, is shortsighted. A.O. Scott calls John Cusack “an ’80s allusion in his own right”. As a friend put it, they don’t go back to the 80s, they go back to an 80s movie. Why does casting not qualify as referential (and, arguably reverential) and only explicitly quoting from or about “Back to the Future” would?

What’s that? The characters DO actually quote from or about “Back to the Future”? They do. At one point, they reference that their situation is “Some Marty McFly shit.” Rob Corddry’s character goes as far as to say that now that they’re back in the past, they can change their future, “like that shitty Back to the Future movie”. If those are not ridiculously obvious points of reference – in case plot points and casting decisions were too subtle  – then I don’t know what is. It’s not fair to write something off as not-referential because you don’t think the references are funny. They’re still references. Setting it in a ski lodge IS a reference to Better Off Dead. Having Craig Robinson sing Black Eyed Peas twenty years too early IS a reference to Back to the Future. It would be a rip-off if the writers and director weren’t blatantly aware of these shared points or tried to pass them off as their own. Which brings me to my next point:

Borrowing plot details from an original work is also referential, not a rip-off, because – and I cannot stress this enough – the difference is tonal. Craig Robinson breaks the fourth wall during the moment everyone has seen in the trailer, saying “It must be some kinda… hot tub time machine.” He’s looking RIGHT AT US. All he needed to do was wink, and that blind guy in the back who likes watching movies even though he doesn’t really get the “movie” part of it would’ve seen that tonally, this movie is a joke. It’s joking about its present incarnation, it’s joking about its past incarnations, and it’s joking about the future incarnations of time travel films to come. You know what also included a breaking of the fourth wall? Back to the Future – Doc looks right at the audience and says he has to get us back to the future too or something along those lines. Do you see how that is a reference without having to say “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. We need a HOT TUB.”? Me too.

To me, when a film is both aware of and embraces its predecessors, it is a lot more fun to watch and does not qualify as a “rip-off.” In 17 Again, there is an entire scene where Tom Lennon and Zac Efron discuss the time travel and body swap mythology from previous works, both comic books and films. That movie works because of it – they don’t need to pretend that there isn’t any other movie that follows the same plot, but rather embrace that there have been many before and include them in the film’s world. There’s no pretense that this is an original story concept, but by incorporating past stories into this version, everyone gets to walk out feeling like they’re in on the joke. And if they’re not in on the joke? Then they feel like they’ve seen an original film. It’s a smart move and adds to the intertextual relationship between films in general. It’s fun for the writers and it’s fun for the audience to see how characters in a fictional world can still reference characters from another fictional world created in the real world. Metatext, y’all.

The main point I’m trying to make is: Hot Tub Time Machine is not a rip-off. It is a referential send-up, as evidenced by the casting choices, dialogue, plot points, and most importantly, the tone. Back to the Future is a straightforward comedy that takes itself fairly seriously, as far as comedies go. Hot Tub Time Machine does not take itself seriously at all and is a film for people who like 80s movies and like to be in on the joke of poking fun of other movies. It was clearly written by people who loved the 80s and it shows.

If it doesn’t appeal to your taste, that’s fine. But I’ll leave you with a thought from A. O. Scott: “If you are a connoisseur of sexual, scatological or just plain stupid humor, you will find your appetite satisfied, even glutted.” AKA, if you have a sense of humor and/or an appreciation for references to pop culture and other films, you’ll enjoy it.

(NOTE: My third biggest problem from this Twittack, was the actual personal attack itself: that since you can’t “send-up” a comedy, my senior year film, which was very much in the same vein as Heathers, was in fact, a rip-off. I’m very proud of my film and very proud of the 50 or 60 people that put hours, weeks, even months of their life into this film with me, so to call it a rip-off is low. It is not a perfect film, it is a student film, but I once again find the difference in tone – Heathers is a great film, and “Slit and Commit” knows that. If anything, it is reverential. Outside of all of that – it’s also not based on Heathers, but similar to Heathers and based on something that happened to me in my own high school experience. So if I’m ripping off anything, I’m ripping off my hometown and my high school. But whatever. I could spend all day defending “Slit and Commit” until you want to slit and commit for realz. Instead, You can watch the trailer and decide for yourself. And then if you still don’t understand what a send-up is, I recommend you invest in some film classes and get back to me when your brain is full of knowledge.)


This is not an April Fool’s Day Post

1 04 2010


In keeping with my true loves – puns and misunderstandings – I bring you several misheard April Fool’s Day Pranks:


1. The old standby: salt and pepper shaker gags. Switch the salt and pepper. Switch the salt and sugar. Unscrew the top of the salt shaker so your intended target pours way too much salt on his food and gets heart disease. Classic!

2. Call your spaghetti sauce ‘pasta sauce’ repeatedly.

3. Send someone a case of Diet Coke because you think they’re fat. Hilarious AND thought-provoking!

4. Start a blog about balogna and call it a Bablogna.

5. While no one’s looking, put needles in all of the fruit at your local supermarket. Get a job at a canned food company. Reap benefits.


1. Get gas.

2. Don’t get gas.

3. Laugh at someone else getting gas.

4. Put premium into your Toyota Celica.

5. Put sugar in your enemy’s gas tank. Watch the fireworks.


1. It’s Tuesday?

2. It’s not Tuesday.

3. It’s Thursday.


1. Know that your clergymen are abusing children, but shhh! Don’t say anything! That’s the joke!

2. Abuse children and be super obvious about it, even have other people witness it and BAM! They’ll send you somewhere exotic to keep doing your job. Hello, free vacation!

3. Be a known member of the Nazi youth. Wait a bunch of years. Get elected Pope!

4. Make everyone miss the good old days when being Catholic wasn’t as embarrassing and was vaguely normal. Feel guilt for a hundred years for thinking said thought.

5. Use Lent as a thinly veiled weight loss tool. Give up fast food or candy because oh em geez, you can’t live without it. Cancun or bust, spring break 2010.


1. Tell people they won a cruise. Bring them to a boat. Push them in. Have the boat go to Africa, where they will be sold into role-reversal slavery. Send them a telegram that says “HOW DO YOU LIKE THESE REPARATIONS. STOP.”

2. Tell people you won a cruise. Sit in your apartment for 2 weeks, photoshopping yourself into tropical island pictures and boat pictures. Catch up on your shows. Eat pizza. Sleep.

3. Actually go on a cruise and enjoy it. Make sure your intended victim finds out through third parties that you went on a cruise. Living well is the best revenge, after all. You know who said that? Me either.