Sunday, November 09, 2008

Heckler - A Rambling Review

I was walking through the local video store, when I should have been writing a paper or two for school, and something caught my eye. It wasn't the first time this particular video had caught my eye and I knew I had to rent it. (No, it had no naked ladies on the cover promising to do inappropriate things) You simply can't walk past a movie over and over again, stop to read the back, think "Man that looks interesting" and not take it home eventually. So I rented it....

It should have been interesting. The cover was interesting, the people that took part in it were all famous and successful people..... so what went wrong? Nothing. It was a good flick. The movie is called Heckler and it was made by Jamie Kennedy in response to being heckled during live shows and some seriously brutal reviews. Jamie Kennedy has had a crazy backlash after movies like Malibu's Most Wanted and Son of the Mask. I have seen Malibu's Most Wanted and the movie is completely retarded but it is supposed to be. It works for what it is, a ridiculous naive rich white kid attempts to "keep it real" while spending time in the "ghetto". You don't walk away enlightened but what is wrong with you if you expected to? I have not seen Son of the Mask... so I have no opinion about it. I didn't even know that there was a movie called Son of the Mask. I am getting off track a bit..... and you probably thought "A Rambling Review" was just a clever name and not an apt title. So, without further ado, I give you my review of HECKLER!

The movie starts by displaying the word heckler and supplies a definition.

Heckler (noun) one who tries to embarrass, harass and/or annoy someone speaking or performing in public with gibes, questions and objections. Someone who provokes to affect a performer in a critical or negative way.

It starts off showing an example of Jaime getting heckled and then interjects comedians, movie stars, directors and sports stars being interviewed about their take on hecklers. They continue to go from interviews and splices of people getting heckled and their responses to those people. They have David Cross, Joe Rogan, Louie Anderson, Paul F. Tompkins, Vince August (who has a scene with a fantastic come back to someone heckling him as he completely rips the rug from under her feet), Lewis Black, David Alan Grier, Dave Attell, Jon Lovitz, Bill Maher, Craig Ferguson, Paul Rodriguez, Mike Ditka, Andrew "Dice" Clay and a lot more. It is a documentary of how people who entertain you feel about the abuse you dish out to them while they are doing their jobs. The comments they make in the interviews combined with the clips of these comedians handling the hecklers are absolutely fantastic. I was laughing hard and the harder they came at these hecklers the more I laughed. They have a clip of Bill Hicks going absolutely crazy when a woman yells "You suck!" at him. He is so mad that he just keeps verbally bashing her but the entire time it was hysterical. Brilliant.

They then kick it up a level by having Jaime talk to some of his hecklers and hear what they have to say. The scenes are slightly uncomfortable but that is what is pretty amazing about it. He sits there and listens and asks for more detail... Who does that? It was brutally fantastic.

Then they move on to critics. This is where I found out that Jamie Kennedy made a movie called Son of the Mask. I knew people had universally panned Malibu's Most Wanted but they do that to all movies that are like it. Critics don't seem to like silly, funny movies. They like art films and movies that have "meaning". Or at least that is what I get from reading critics' reviews. I stopped reading critics' reviews before seeing a movie because that guy/gal does not know me enough to make a recommendation for me.... and I like to see it, possibly review it and then find out what others said.


Yes, you are right I critique movies from time to time. So this is about me too isn't it? I guess the simple answer is yes. For every movie I have told you to go see I have definitely ripped one apart. Just take a look at last month where I tore apart The Happening. So how can I sit here and judge these other critics? How can I pretend that I am any better then they are? Well let's get this straight right now. I am a critic and so is every other person on the planet. The only difference is some people feel the need to publish their critiques and some people actually get paid for what they publish. I fall into the first category, occasionally I either see a movie I liked or disliked enough to write about. I would even say I have tended to write more about movies I disliked then movies I liked because they are more fun to write about. It is great to make fun of the dialog or the silly plot. It is even stupendously entertaining to make fun of horrible acting or to pretend like you knew what the director was thinking when they lost their mind and made that movie. Here is the other thing about those reviews.... people like them because people like to get a laugh or two themselves. I don't feel guilty that I reviewed a film and was rough on it nor that I was rough on those involved in the making of the film. It is what it is. When you make a movie and get people to pay you to see it you have to expect they will say what they think. I think in reality people do expect people to say how they feel about movies, actors, comedians, musicians, athletes but that their message in this movie is "Hey we are human too. I have feelings and they are no less delicate then yours." Fair enough.

For those that are curious I listened to the running commentary of the movie as well. What that says is that I really liked this movie, I never listen to commentary. The point for me to bring up listening to the commentary is they make some great points in the movie and then even more directly in the commentary. Not all movies are made to be measured on the same scale. Jaime Kennedy talks about Spy Kids vs. There Will Be Blood, two completely different movies and genres, why exactly would the same reviewer be used for both movies. It would make more sense to get a review of Spy Kids from a kid and perhaps their parent. Who knows if a kid movie hits the bulls eye on the target better then a kid? Add a parent to round out the recommendation for parents or adults who are thinking of seeing it. The point I took from this was have the reviewer be a genuine fan or the right market for the movie. Jon Lovitz talks about the movie Benchwarmers, which took a beating in the press. If you were the right market (adolescents), it delivered all the farts and nose picking you come to expect in a fine movie. Now, it might sound like I am saying we should pick people that will like the movies to do reviews of the movies..... but I'm not. We should pick people who might actually know what a good movie in that genre should be like. Grab the overly literary guy/gal to review Cold Mountain, There Will Be Blood and The Red Balloon. Then grab the guy/gal who still laughs when they fart to see a movie like Benchwarmers.

Then I learned I am completely damned for doing my criticism in a blog on the internet. I am such a bastard. The internet and all of us reviewers are scum. Here is the thing.... I am over it. I am going to continue to critique films and occasionally I am going to make fun of people that made the movie or appeared in it. I figure it this way... I write these reviews and publish them publicly and you can say whatever you want to me, about me or my writing. I don't delete any comment unless I wrote it myself and I realized I misspelled half the words because I did not read it before submitting it. You are also free to say whatever you want about my writing skills or lack of them on my creative pieces. I put it out there and you have the right to say whatever crosses your mind about it. Film, comedy, music, art, writing that is mass produced is going to be critiqued and occasionally a little fun will be poked at your expense. You have to learn to move past the negative, even if that means making a movie about it. I do not, however, think you should heckle a live act. Ask yourself this: would I start making comments like "You suck!" to my boss while he was presenting the quarterly presentation to you? I am thinking you wouldn't. First of all you would be unemployed and secondly it's not polite. Leave the live presentations alone.

Wait.... I take that back. Continue heckling, I like watching them rip you apart piece by piece.

Great movie. Check it out and make sure you see the extras. There are some classic deleted scenes and edited scenes that add a laugh to the viewing.

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