Hey, Paulington! Is a new Cinephile advice column that looks at life, love, and the movies. Anyone can send in a question, and Paulington will answer it. Sure, it's a really cryptic, cliched concept that has been around since the dawn of time. But we're going to spice it up a little bit. Topics can range from anything: Sex, violence, haints and taints, your favorite movie! Paulington doesn't care. He's basically doing it for a paycheck. He's not really an expert on anything. But he sure does know a lot about movies and human nature. You can send your questions to (as in, click on the giant red letters and you will automatically be sent to his email):
And he will be sure to answer all of them in a very timely manner. Here are this week's letters. Enjoy!
I work for a local NBC TV affiliate in Ohio. The other night, I dreamt I was getting in trouble for not rewinding a VHS tape before the live news. Just as the sports anchor was reprimanding me, you came in the room and started punching me in the mouth. Then you started beating me up with a giant wooden pole. Thing is, I know I rewound the tape. What do you think this means? Signed, "Scared to Sleep"
Dear Sleepy. You poor, sad, son of a bitch! I know I'm a handsome man, but don't you find it troubling that I've started to waltz in and out of your dreams, punching you in the mouth? It sounds like you have some serious issues with work. Subconsciously, you feel as though you've gotten in trouble for something you didn't do. And it's eating at your insides like a snake on No-Doze. The question is, did you or did you not rewind that VHS tape? Huh, mother fucker? You say you did. But did you really? Prove it! Wait; maybe this doesn't have anything to do with a rewound tape at all. Maybe you are dwelling on the past. You feel that certain individuals have blamed you for things you did not do. No matter how hard you try to convince them otherwise. Me punching you in the mouth only reaffirms your position as a put-upon soul. You are struggling against these past accusations that you will never be allowed to prove false. You want vindication. You want a fair trial. For god knows what reason, I represent the past without access to a time machine. I am a tsunami wave that keeps pushing you into the sand with your eyeballs open. The sting burns like razor blades through the urethra. Your inability to prove yourself an innocent man has pierced your pee hole like a juice box straw, and it's making you sweat at night. Best advice: Get over it! The past is the past. No one cares about a rewound tape. Unless, of course, that old musty VHS is standing in for the dead body of a congressman. And that congressman is lying at the bottom of a lake near your house! Maybe you didn't kill him. But you know who did. Maybe my fist is your subconscious mind, telling you to keep your yap shut. Or, maybe it's just a dream. You went to bed after watching a DVD, and for whatever reason, your Pavlovian brain is confused as to why you didn't rewind it. Even though you've owned a DVD player since 2001. And you don't rewind DVDs. Do you, punk? Dreams are a personal porthole into the soul. Only you truly know what this dream represents. Again, why I'm costarring in your late night reveries is beyond me. I just hope I'm getting paid scale. I could really use the dough.
I already know your opinion about watching the Wolverine bootleg before it has a chance to hit theaters. I'm not looking for a lecture. My question is this: I went to a friend's house last Friday night, and he had about sixteen people over. They were all getting ready to watch Wolverin on a giant HD plasma screen. I knew it was wrong. But I didn't know what to do in that situation. Should I stay and watch it, and have a good time? Should I tell them it is wrong and throw the DVD out the window? Or should I just walk away and say nothing? What would you have done in that situation? Peer pressure got the best of me, and I stayed and watched it (no comment). Then, a couple days later, a co-worker reprimanded me for watching the film, calling me a thief and a jerk. Later in the conversation, he admitted that he'd paid to see Adventureland, and then snuck in to watch Fast & Furious. Because he refused to "give that shit film his money". Am I a moron? Or isn't that just as bad as me watching a bootleg? - Signed, "The Pirate!"
Dear Mr. Pirate. Wow! You sort of blew my mind with the last part of that question. After asking around, it's seems this is a very common practice amongst fanboy bloggers. And they're the ones preaching the loudest about the evils of bootlegging practices. To answer the first part of your question as honestly as I can: I would have done nothing. No friendly lectures. No throwing the disc out the window. No watching it on the couch, cuddled up next to some nerd girl with a snot-glued clitoral rash. I would have calmly walked into the kitchen, shot gunned three beers, pocketed the smaller bottles of booze, and then blatantly stood out on the balcony, swigging straight from the rocket-sized pitcher of Gin that used to sit on top of the microwave. If anybody said shit to me, I'd reply, "It was there to drink. I drank it. Wolverine was there to watch, you watched it. Now shut the fuck up." You can't stop people from doing what they're going to do. And nobody likes a crybaby or a tattler. If you truly believe that bootlegging hurts the artistic community, don't indulge yourself. If you don't give a shit, watch away! In the long run, it will only hurt the quality of the films you "really" want to see. It's an easy evil to avoid, but I honestly understand the excitement and appeal of it. Sixteen people, though? That sounds like a party. Why not convince them that watching any movie is stupid, and that you should instead be caterwauling the night away. You only live once, and the thrill of pushing someone down the staircase in a shopping cart far outweighs any visceral push Wolverine has to offer. Now, about the second half of this question. It's really about your own personal ethics. When a film goes to a theater, it is under consignment. Like a Mexican day laborer. Most of the money goes back to the studio, not the theater. And a dossier is kept in light of any given film's performance. In truth, the practice of "sneaking" from one shoebox screen to the next actually does hurt the performance of any given movie. Imagine if everybody did this. It would pull the high grosses out from underneath the rug of whatever blockbuster failed to perform. The movie would be considered a "failure", even though it was seen by a theater full of non-paying costumers. On the reverse side, you have the argument that Paul Blart: Mall Cop opened to unexpectedly high numbers because most teens were purchasing that PG-13 ticket only to sneak into the R rated My Bloody Valentine 3-D. It's a reverse situation that helps the lesser movie. Your friend is a self-aggrandizing twat. It makes him feel special to say he gave his money to the "art" film, when in truth, he really wanted to see the fun, trashy Drive-In movie. He is patting himself on the back, pretending to buck the trends of commercial pop garbage while fully buying into it at the same time. He believes Greg Mottola is going to walk out of the ether like a fairy and pat him on the back. Bullshit. That's a retarded way of thinking. Considering the budget, fun films like Fast & Furious need your money just as much as Adventureland. Think about the meaning of that film for a moment. Imagine if all the carnival rides disappeared, and you were only left with boring teen angst. Revolt, anyone? I don't know if "theater hopping" hurts as much as bootlegging. But it's definitely a pinch of change. If the pundits are correct, the practice can change the outcome at the box office. Though, Blart's staying power seems to prove otherwise. Theaters don't usually care if you hop from one screen to the next. They look away for one simple reason. Hardly any of their revenue comes from the actual ticket sale. They've got you in the multiplex; they want to keep you there as long as possible. The more $12 Cokes you buy, and the more $18 bags of Reese's Pieces you consume, the more actual money they make. It's open. That twenty-three screen pyramid they just built in the center of town? Consider it an all-you-can-watch buffet. Just remember to visit the concession stand between viewings. And leave the camcorder at home.
How can there be waves for Sponge Bob to surf on if he lives under the sea? And how can they start a campfire? These questions plague my mind. Signed, "Superman!"
Dear Superman. This is my favorite question of the week. I love that you are sitting at home, blasted off your ass, contemplating the inane intricacies that go into making a children's cartoon so hyper-realistic. You'll be surprised to learn that it's all based on actual science. For starters, Sponge Bob and Patrick live at the bottom of the ocean. On a sandy enclave. This is where the salt water is at its coldest and heaviest. Gravity still works way down there, and it's as flat as most barrier reefs. The hypolimnion, a dense bottom layer of water, is ultra-smooth in this area. Just like on the water's surface at the beach. When this layer flattens out, the water above it rushes downward. This is caused by the high winds coming from up above. It causes a wave thrust that would, theoretically, be surfable. As more cold wind is pushed on it from above, the stronger and faster these waves become. An internal, underwater wave is usually longer than your average surface wave. Some can grow to be thirty feet or higher. When the wind stops blowing above Sponge Bob and Patrick, out for a day of surfing, they might as well pack it up and go home. About the fire? Its been addressed on the show a couple of times. During one particular episode, Patrick asked, "How can there be fire?" And the fire went out. That doesn't really answer the question though, does it? While sitting on a bar stool at the Whiskey Bend in beautiful Burbank, California, I ran into one of the animators from Nickelodeon's most popular show. (The animation studio is just a couple of blocks away). Over a quite dice game of Ship, Captain, Mate and Crew, I posed this question to him. And his logic was sound. The fire is actually blades of red and orange seaweed rippling in the water. During the day, the seaweed soaks up the heat from the sun, and at night, these slick and beautiful leafs of underwater cabbage provide a modicum of warmth. Hmm. Sounds pretty plausible to me. Mystery solved. Hope that helps out, cartoon boy.
What's with all my favorite TV shows coming to an end this year and next? Battlestar Galactica! Lost! Supernatural! Nothing can compare with these shows. And the weak ass spin-offs (*cough Caprica *cough) are NOT going to fill the void of such awesome TV. Are we doomed? - Signed, "D. Winchester"
Dear Dean. At least we have one last season of Supernatural to look forward too. We hit a TV boom in the 00s, and that, like any good trend, is slowly coming to a halt. There was a surge of imagination that rode in on the coattails of reality based programming, and both mediums have fought it out to the death. Now, they are tired and want to go home. The cycle has spun, and great TV is returning to the classic sitcom. That's the trend now. What has the 00s given to this genre in particular? A one-camera conceptualization that moves the audience away from any idea of a live audience, giving the three-walled experience a much more intimate, cinematic feel. Two and a Half Men is popular because its easy and thoughtless. Most consensus poles show that gen-pop America want fluff in these harsh times. At least shows like In the Motherhood and Bob Saget's sarcastic drunk on Surviving Suburbia are somewhat funny. Sadly, they don't bring the same-sorted type of episodic drama urged ashore by the shows you mentioned above. What producers have learned in the 00s is that shows need to have a proper lifecycle. They can only survive so long, and it's best to end them on an up note. Most of our great hour-long series have become marathon movie experiences. With a beginning, middle, and an end. Most of these shows all debuted at the same time, so its no wonder that they are all ending now. Do I think we are doomed? A little. But there is always potential waiting in the wings. There are quite a few great series out there you should catch yourself up on and start checking out. Mad Men and Dexter are still hurtling along. You'll adore Breaking Bad. Eastbound & Down got picked up for a second season. Everyone really seems to love it. And It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia might just be the funniest shit on TV. It will be sticking around for quite some time. Like Supernatural, Fringe left the gate at half-gallop. It's starting to really pick up some speed. If you like reality programming, you can't beat Dateline's thrilling way with an investigative story. We're not doomed. Dig around. You're bound to find something new to love. Though, I must admit, nothing will ever reached the euphoric buzz of watching the Winchester brothers in action. So sad.
What do you suggest I do when someone pulls a gun in a movie theater? Signed, "Poppa Cap"
Dear Andy Cap. It seems like every time I turn on the news, someone is getting shot. At the movie theater. At the ball game. At church. In their own home. The funniest shooting happened last week, only because it took place outside of the "My Dung" restaurant in Rosemead, California. People being fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting isn't a laughing matter. Until two news anchors try to get through a story while saying "The My Dung Restaurant" various times throughout without cracking a smile (the location reporter failed). Here is the story from our local CBS 2 affiliate. Obviously, someone forgot to rewind the tape right before they went live on air. Lately, a lot of people have been getting shot inside the movie theater. Some for talking. Some because they didn't like the depiction of Biggie Smalls in Notorious. Last week, some dude in Eugene, Oregon shot himself halfway through a midnight screening of Watchmen. Though, it's unclear why he did it. Did he hate the movie? Did he love the movie, and come to realize it would never get any better than that? Was it Alan Moore, offering Zac Snyder is critical response? Who knows? When the trigger is pulled, and you hear that mesmerizing "Pop!" in the darkness, followed by the smell of gunpowder and burnt ozone, none of these thoughts are gong to race through your head. Instead, you're going to wonder when the next one is going come. Instinct will tell you to hit the floor. Its not cowardice. In a theater, crowded or not, you most likely won't be able to see where the shots are coming from. It's best to stay on the ground if an immediate exit is not available. Play dead. If you can jump the gunman from behind, that's a pretty cool way to go. Especially if you manage to save someone. Calling the gunman's attention away from other members of the audience will make you a bigger hero than the guy faking it on screen. If you can stand the hit, take it! If not, lie low. Running away will only get you shot. And that shit hurts.
My boyfriend is a bitch. What's the nicest way to break it to him? - Signed, "Allen Smithee"
Dear Mr.Smithee. HAHAHHAHAHAHHA HAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAH HAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA HAHHAHAHHAHAHHA HAHHAHAHAHAHAH HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAH HAHAHHAHAHAHAH HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAH HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH HA HAHHAHAHHAHAH HAHAHAHAHHAHAH HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHA HAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHA HAHAHAHHAHAHHAHA HHAHAHHAHA HHAHAHA!!!!!!
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