Dear Allen and Nick,
Greetings from Minnesota, gentlemen. I'm writing to you on this fine first day of June to do something I feel I must do to you guys: apologize. Trust me, it's not easy, especially after chastising your work so much in my The Week in Review column, but after finally seeing both of your movies, I feel I must.
Let's go back to January of this year. Through the hazy fog of my New Years Day hangover, I recall starting to see commercials for a flick called Grandma's Boy. I wasn't surprised, really, to see this commercial at this time of the year. The first weekend of January is probably the 2nd worst movie weekend of the year, with Labor Day weekend, traditionally, the only weekend that's worse. Normally, these two weekends serve as a dumping ground for the studios, throwing out flicks that they probably think will fail. It's win-win for them, really. If it fails, then it's nothing shocking, but if it hits big, well, that's obviously good too. After seeing the commercial for the first time, I was certain that this would be utter garbage and flop horrendously at the box office. It turns out that many of the nations critics had the same contention, as it only received a 17% "Fresh" rating on the critic compilation site RottenTomatoes.com, and audiences also thought the same thing, with Grandma's Boy taking in less than $6 million at the box office. Nonetheless, even if this flick did happen to make its way to any theater in my area, I probably wouldn't have seen it anyway.
The year prior, I had heard about a flick being made called The Benchwarmers. When they first did a news bit on that movie for this site, I tore it apart in my The Week in Review column. Usually, whenever there was any news bit on this movie, I would give it a Worst News of the Week Nominee, and most times it would get my Worst News of the Week. I loved Jon Heder in Napoleon Dynamite, like many many others, but I thought he made a terrible choice to be in this movie that just sounded utterly retarded. When the trailer came out for The Benchwarmers, my stance was still pretty firm and the trailer did nothing to warm me up to this movie. It just seemed like a jumbled mess of poorly strung together jokes that would surely fail, much like Grandma's Boy, and I had no plans of seeing it. I was sure that my local theater would get Lucky Number Slevin and that would be my movie for the weekend. Alas, we didn't get that flick here, but, of course, we got The Benchwarmers. There is rarely a weekend that goes by where I don't pay at least one visit to my local theater, but it was looking like this would be one of those weekends... until many of my friends thought it would be funny. I was a tad shocked, honestly, that they believed this would be funny, but, I decided to go anyway, insisting this flick would be terrible all the way to the theater. 85 minutes later, I couldn't believe it. It was actually a damn good movie! I went home, had a cocktail (it was Friday, after all) and decided that I had to write a review on this flick and admit I was wrong. You can see it here. You might want to read it, since it's one of the only positive reviews out there, sadly, since it got just an 11% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I was pleasantly surprised at this flick, and I felt pretty bad about trashing it as much as I did. Although I was a little more intrigued to see what Grandma's Boy had to offer, I wasn't really in a hurry to watch it.
Then May 9th rolled around, the day Grandma's Boy was released on DVD. I went downstairs to get my mail, and on my way down the stairs I heard many of my friends laughing hysterically. Of course, I wondered what they were all laughing at and I was just shocked that they were damn near dying of laughter from watching Grandma's Boy. Everyone saw me come in and a few said, "Dude, this is f***in hillarious!" They were towards the middle of the flick, during the party at grandma's house. So, I started watching for awhile and I was surprised to find myself laughing along with them. One of my roommates had blind-bought the DVD, and I borrowed it from him the next day. I really couldn't believe I was doing this, but since they all loved it... and since I wanted to see the Milk Maid again (damn!), I swallowed my pride and gave it a watch. Again, I was shocked at how insanely funny and well-crafted this flick was.
Allen and Nick, I apologize for jumping to conclusions about your two movies and trashing the crap out of them on my column. They are two wonderful and smart comedies that I'll definitely add to my DVD collection. You guys are two very talented writers, and I'll be looking forward to your next offering. After watching those two flicks, I couldn't help but think back to your cohort Adam Sandler's humble beginnings. Although he gained a loyal fanbase from the start, his early flicks like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore were panned by the critics and didn't do so hot at the box office. But he kept plugging at it, steadily gaining a fanbase, until one of his flicks hit big, The Waterboy, and now he's been branching out to many different areas in the biz and making more mainstream flicks. Although I used to criticize Sandler for putting all his buddies like Mr. Covert in his flicks, a group I dubbed the "Sandler Regulars" it looks like it's starting to pay off. I see the same sort of thing happening for you guys, if you keep writing the flicks like you have been, and then perhaps you'll help some of your friends into the biz, the way Sandler helped you. I'll be watching out for you guys from now on, and not just for sardonic fodder for my column, because you've proven that you can make some damn funny movies. Keep on plugging away, Allen and Nick, even if it takes the rest of the critics, who are probably to snobby to endorse a flick like yours, and audiences to come along for the ride. If you keep writing flicks like this, trust me, they'll on board soon enough. Godspeed, gentlemen. Godspeed.
Questions? Comments? Ideas for other Open Letters? Hit me up on that email thing at [email protected]