An Open Letter to Wiseau Films Regarding Internet Reviews

Dear fine folks at Wiseau Films,

I have been a fan of your movie for the past year, ever since seeing it at a midnight screening in Los Angeles. It was the most unique filmgoing experience of my life, and I purchased the DVD out of a desire to relive the experience over and over.

I have also been a fan of Doug Walker and his Nostalgia Critic reviews for several years now, and I was delighted to discover that Doug would be doing a review of your movie. The review was every bit as hilarious as I was hoping, and I enjoyed the review on the site by Allison Pregler (aka Obscurus Lupa). Both of these reviews were funny, and more importantly to me, they helped spread the joy of “The Room” to others. I have friends I’ve tried to recommend the movie to, and they weren’t interested UNTIL the Nostalgia Critic’s review. After that, I got them to watch the whole movie, and convinced them to check out any theatrical midnight screenings they might come across.

Thanks to the Nostalgia Critic, you have more fans than you did before. By asking the Channel Awesome/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.Com team to remove the Critic and Lupa reviews, you’re hurting your own profits.

In the words of a great man, “When you watch The Room, you can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourself, but try not to hurt each other.” All the Channel Awesome team wants to do is help spread the laughs that your film has given them, by expressing themselves. They did nothing to hurt you; they only helped you gain a wider fanbase.

Everybody deserves a chance to discover the joy of “The Room”. Thanks to the Nostalgia Critic and Obscurus Lupa, thousands of more people will get that chance. By telling them to remove their reviews, the only people you are hurting are yourselves.

I hope you will reconsider your attack on the team, because allowing the reviews to remain online would be a very good thing for “The Room”‘s fanbase.

Growing Up With Children’s Playthings: The Obligatory Toy Story 3 Review

I can’t be sure yet, but the Back to the Future series may have just been dethroned as my favorite cinematic trilogy.

The new candidate has some similar circumstances. Like Robert Zemeckis in 1985, the Pixar gang were relative unknowns when they released Toy Story in 1995 and changed the face of family entertainment. Like Universal with Back to the Future, Disney demanded Toy Story sequels. In both cases, a trilogy was never part of the original plan. And in both cases, now that I’ve seen all three movies, I can’t imagine watching just one without the other two to complement them. In both cases, the three films really come together to make a complete experience. Continue reading

The Obligatory Kickassia Review

(Warning: For those of my followers who care, the videos linked to in this article contain strong language, violent slapstick, and other things you may not want your kids to see.)

Last year, when (one of my favorite websites) celebrated its one-year anniversary with a massive brawl featuring all of its talent and many of its partners, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Mainly, I thought it was cool that they actually flew all of the contributors to Chicago. This was the first time most of these people had ever been in the same state, let alone the same room. Sure, the Angry Video Game Nerd and the Nostalgia Critic had come face-to-face before, and the Nostalgia Chick also stopped by to cross over with the Critic, but this…this was on a scale I never imagined. Sure, the lighting was bad, the sound was uneven, and many of the participants didn’t really get much time to shine in the fight itself, but it was cool to see so many people whose work I was watching (and a whole bunch of others whose work I had totally been meaning to get around to see, seriously, guys) working together, not only on the fight, but on a veritable deluge of crossover reviews, sketches, interviews, and more.

So when various Channel Awesome contributors started mentioning on Twitter back in April that they were all at a hotel together, the immediate assumption was we would see another fun and goofy fight scene, and more mini-crossovers.

I don’t think any of the fans suspected they were actually shooting a feature-length film in four days. Continue reading

In Memory of a Genius

20 years ago today, we lost one of the most original creative geniuses ever: Jim Henson. The man knew how to take ordinary materials like felt and ping-pong balls and turn them into some of the most memorable characters in the history of entertainment. As a designer, writer, director, and actor, Jim brought characters to life that we fell in love with as kids, and who often continue to stick with us today. Not only was he creative, but he knew how to surround himself with creative people, like Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, etc, and how to bring out the best from them.

I recently watched through season one of “The Muppet Show” and was delighted–but not surprised–that it held up so well. Looking past the celebrity guest stars, the intentionally stupid puns, and even the remarkable physical special effects, at the heart of the show were wonderful characters and their relationships. Kermit wanted to put on the best show he could. Fozzie wanted to make people laugh. Gonzo wanted to fit in, even if it had to be through bizarre stunts. Piggy wanted to be a star, and to get Kermit’s love…and despite his irritation with her, he still liked the attention, as evident from the times she would make him jealous. Even Statler and Waldorf, for all their complaints about the show, enjoyed the very act of mockery, and would miss Fozzie when he wasn’t there to heckle. Everyone can easily identify with at least one of the Muppets, though we may not always want to admit it.

We leave here with this video by YouTube user “TimeMachine”, set to the heartwarming and tear-jerking song “A Boy and His Frog” by singer/comedian Tom Smith. If you don’t get at least a tiny bit choked up by this video, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.

“Press Start” Review

A long time ago, in an era we’ll call “mostly between 2000 and 2005 but especially 2002”, an elite race of geeks was making fanfilms. Largely out of holding out hope that the next Star Wars prequel wouldn’t suck, people filmed their own space adventures, ranging from serious attempts at in-universe stories to goofy parodies, from ten-minute shorts to seventy-minute features, all the time knowing that they would never receive a profit. Like any big movement, the Golden Age of Fanfilms had its fair share of entries that sucked, but even so there was something pure about them, as long as they were being made for the love of it and not for the attention. Films like “The Formula“, “The Empire Strikes Backyard” (and its later sequel, “The Emperor’s New Clones“), “Revelations” and more were the result of passion, dedication, and the desire to make a feature-length movie with lightsabers. The stories weren’t always airtight, the acting wasn’t always stellar, and some of the effects left a lot to be desired, but the one thing that made every great fanfilm stand out was the passion.

Then YouTube showed up. Suddenly, amateur video production was no longer a thing that only the most devoted geeks did; it was available to EVERYBODY, and it was (relatively) easy. There were still fan projects, but mostly in the form of short parody sketches, rarely longer than five minutes. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with brevity, a shorter and simpler piece shot for fifty bucks is much easier to do, and as a result, rarely demonstrates the same devotion as a 75-minute epic shot for a hundred or so.

Enter Ed Glaser’s Dark Maze Productions, with their first feature, “Press Start“. Continue reading

Another Freaking Late-To-The-Game Review of “Avatar”


For being such a self-proclaimed pop culture geek, I tend to miss out on a lot of the most widespread phenomenons when they first hit. I still haven’t watched past the second episode of “Lost”. I’ve played, in total, maybe two hours of any of the “Halo” games. I never actually heard a Lady Gaga song until Molly Lewis covered Poker Face.

So it’s not that surprising that before this Monday, I hadn’t gotten around to seeing “Avatar”. In this case, there are two specific reasons I’ve held off so long:
1. I’m just a bit broke, and
2. Unlike certain close friends and frequent collaborators I’ve roomed with for two non-consecutive semesters and one summer in LA, I’m not exactly passionately in love with James Cameron, for reasons I will get into shortly.

But now I’m in Orlando, right across the street from the movie theater that my old friend Rich manages, and he offered me free IMAX 3D tickets. And who am I to say no to an offer like that? So, I finally managed to see “Avatar”.

Before we get into this, I should explain that I haven’t actually been impressed by special effects since…well, probably since I saw “Toy Story” in the movie theater at age 8. Since that moment, I take it for granted that it is possible to get anything on screen. Now, I definitely appreciate the hard work that goes into the effects, but an effect on its own doesn’t get a reaction out of me. The image it creates or its role in the story might be phenomenal, but the mere fact that a computer graphic looks photorealistic doesn’t affect me any more than, say, a photorealistic painting–I appreciate how much effort it took, but it’s not like I’m surprised that it’s possible.

Because of that, while the technological innovations may wow many viewers, my view on “Avatar” lives and dies with the story, the characters, and maaaaaaaybe the action. Using this criteria, I can sum up my review of the film (and, indeed, much of Cameron’s work) in one word: “Calculated”. Continue reading

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away…

When I said I was actually going to get work done on projects, I never said blogging would always be one of them.

I’ve actually been quite busy since I last shared stories of playing a bunch of adventure games. Here’s the short version: I’m in Orlando now, with an apartment and a Florida driver’s license and everything, and I’ve been doing story development for Broken Phonebooth. (In fact, I’m posting this from my NEW WORK MACBOOK PRO.) It’s a lot of fun so far, and I’ll be doing more and more jobs for them as time goes on.

Also, for those of you who missed it, I uploaded a bunch of videos from another time I was very busy, long ago:

(Each episode will play in order, or you can click the guidebook icon to select a video.)

ALSO also, I highly suggest you all pick up season three of The Guild on DVD. And I’m not just saying that because the back of my head made it into about three seconds of BTS footage in the “Axis of Anarchy” bonus feature.

More updates about life as a Floridian to come.


<a href=";from=sp&amp;vid=2090d74c-bc07-4300-916c-4c15520ba718" target="_new" title="&#39;The Guild&#39; season 3 finale">Video: &#8216;The Guild&#8217; season 3 finale</a>

Here it is. The season finale.

I don’t have any major insights about the making of this episode (other than “High five!” is one of my all-time favorite Sandeep adlibs), so just enjoy it. And enjoy the outtake reel.

Working on this show was one of the most fantastic experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t even begin to describe how much fun it was, even though, like any shoot, it had its tedious and exhausting moments. Still, I’m eternally grateful to the whole cast and crew for being so awesome, because I’ve worked on far less enjoyable sets before.

I have to especially thank the following people: Christian and Jenni for helping me find my way around the job; Jared, Noah, Greg, and the whole G&E crew for being so patient with my lighting-related incompetence; Denise for the snacks and soda and chatting during the slower parts of the shoot; and, of course, Sean, Kim, and Felicia for letting me be contribute to one of my favorite webshows in my small way.

It’s unlikely (but not impossible) that I’ll be able to make it back to LA to help again anytime soon, but speaking solely as a fan of the show…I can hardly wait to see the next season.

“You…how…how did that just happen? That sentence?”

<a href=";from=sp&amp;vid=7f00df00-3871-495f-86f0-6f412fb25ad0" target="_new" title="&#39;The Guild&#39; Episode 11: Battle Royale">Video: &#8216;The Guild&#8217; Episode 11: Battle Royale</a>

It all comes down to this…

* Tyler tried out several different designs for the menu on the whiteboard before filming started. One included a menu item for fish and chips…and chips, and another included a sketch of a vaguely familiar-looking dragon named “Dagron the Stompinator”, with consumate Ms, beefy legs, and a little stick arm.
* I believe this episode marks the first time in the show’s run where we get a look–however small and out-of-focus–at the game itself.
* Riley shooting Zaboo’s laptop with the paintball gun is a simple effect, but I think it works really well. I actually forgot about that part when watching the episode for the first time and was slightly startled!
* You know how I’m always talking about how funny this show’s cast is? My favorite example of off-camera wit happened at this location, so I might as well share it now. Sandeep was talking about cell phone services, and mentioned Verizon. He pointed to the empty space behind him and say, “That’s my network. See, behind me? All those people and helicopters and shit?” I interjected with “I believe those are what we call hallucinations.” Sandeep looked behind him, looked at me, and said, “Really? Well, whatever you say, Giant Teddy Bear.”