|by Chris Parry
Last week, we got a ridiculous email from Nick Swardson, screenwriter of Grandma's Boy, The Benchwarmers and Malibu's Most Wanted, in which he castigated one of our reviewers for daring to not like his contributions to the annals of world cinema. We responded in kind. Usually, that's enough to get a bonehead to back off and let bad enough alone, but Nick Swardson isn't your average everyday bonehead. He's the bonehead that wouldn't die.
Swardson's most recent epic is copied below:
Subject: your best friend
Ok, you write an article saying why am I "wasting my time writing critics emails?" when you devoted a whole feature about me. I wrote two critics that specifically bothered me. I didn't "stay up all night" writing to critics. I like certain critics. Some are really great and insightful. Those two guys weren't.
You said in the feature, "I wouldn't seriously want to attract attention to the movies Malibu's Most Wanted, Grandma's Boy and Benchwarmers". Well, my name is on the movies (I have never done a rewrite on a film). So, I do take pride in them. I also promote them on my web site and on late night talk shows.
You call me a "bottom feeder" and then "successful and powerful". And you said I "had a high opinion of myself". I never gloated. I never said I was a big shot, or powerful. I never knew bottom feeders did so well.
You said I compared 'Grandma's Boy' to 'Lebowski' and 'Office Space'. I am not comparing my movie to those. I said that they are in the catergory of different comedies that don't do big business at the box office. In no way did I compare content of the films. Also, I did reference 'Annie Hall' twice. Big deal? I love Annie Hall. It's one of the best comedies and films ever made. Is that wrong to use that as the top of my film list?
Now, you also say I can only find work in Sandler's stable. Really? 'Malibu' I made with Jamie Kennedy. [Ed: HAHAHA!] I'm on Reno 911 and in the upcoming movie. I'm shooting 'Blades of Glory' with Will Ferrell and Stillers company. And I'm in 'Art School Confidetial', directed by Terry Zwigoff, opening this weekend. So, again you're wrong.
You said farting was the "central focus" of Benchwarmers. Really? Their were two farts in the opening minutes, that's it. The movie, I believe, was about little league baseball and excluding nerdy kids from participating. By the way, the movie was for kids. You said if it was then why was their press on ESPN. Because kids watch ESPN. During the Little League World Series most of the kids on the teams said their favorite show was 'Sports Center' on ESPN. Those kids are 10-12 years old.
In summation. I show no "cowardice". I always said who I was. I never hid behind Covert. You and your staff hide behind a web site. I'm one guy. You can approach me in person anytime. I don't hate all critics. Many cool people were nice to Grandma's Boy and Benchwarmers. I had a problem with two people and I said so. "Bonehead of the Month"? Wow, pretty scathing. Maybe I'll be up for "Dumb-Dumb of the Year", or "Jerk Face of the Millenium".
I'm sure you will revel in destroying my films from now on. But I make people laugh and I have a great fan base. Plain and simple. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to living a life in which my dreams have come true. I doubt you can say the same.
So many things to laugh at, so much to ridicule. I mean, "I worked with Jamie Kennedy" is a defense? "I never said I was a big shot" followed by a recap of how famous the guy is? I mean, it's all so sad. In fact, we were going to just let it go, but then Swardson emailed us a THIRD time, with the following:
Hey, just hoping you got my response to that essay you and your cohorts wrote. Have a great summer.
Oh god, he WANTS to be beaten by daddy!
So in the interests of keeping this going for as long as Swardson will bother looping the noose around his neck, here's our official response to Nick Swardson... "SUPERSTAR!"
Thank you for your most recent note(s). Unfortunately, Dave really doesnít want to talk to you anymore. Itís nothing personal, but he feels, like several others on the site did when asked if theyíd like to respond, that refuting your most recent litany of excuses and half-truths is kind of like hitting a piŮata with a semi trailer. Itís just all a little too easy.
But hey, Iím always up for a little behavior correction, so allow me to chime in with a lesson or two about the way the world works, since it seems youíre just dying for some form of attention and Iíve always got a few moments to spare for the needy.
Lesson #1: Weíre film critics. We watch movies. Often we see movies that are really bad, much like yours, and we write reviews about them, much like the one you took offense at.
Lesson #2: Youíre a film-makÖ Oh man, Iím sorry, I just couldnít finish that word without feeling like a liar, but you get the sentiment, Iím sure. Someone paid you actual money for 85 pages; well done.
Lesson #3: In the world that is yonder entertainment industry, certain indelible rules apply. One of these is that, no matter what the critics say, you shut the fuck up and take it like a man. Whether weíre right, whether weíre wrong, itís not your place to go haranguing us for doing our job, any more than itís my place to email you personally and call you a clueless cocksucker for making a movie I wouldnít piss on if the reels were aflame. Your job is to make the Ďartí, our job is to critique it; the earth keeps on turning just as long as we all remember our place within the circle.
Now, you clearly have some sort of delusion that what you do puts you in the same stratosphere as the Coens, or Woody Allen, or even Nora Ephron, so hereís your lesson #4 for the day: It isnít.
What you do is make 'Adam Sandler' films. Whether you do them for Sandler or the Oscar-nominated Jamie Kennedy, or the Palmes Díor-winning Ben Stiller, whether you score a bit part in a sitcom, or whether you get four scenes playing the effeminate queen in a Zwigoff misadventure, youíre really still just Ďmaking Sandler filmsí. And I say Ďjustí because, frankly, itís not an art form that requires a lifetime of education to pull off.
But hey, thatís okay. Youíve found your range and youíre working within it. Youíre like the big screen equivalent of Jared from Subway Ė youíve fallen ass backwards into a gig that pays, and youíll ride it Ďtil itís dry, and there are few who would damn you for doing so.
In general, nobody has any problem with a guy earning coin on a work-for-hire gig. You clean Sandlerís pool a few times and he lets you pen the next Joe Dirt film Ė I get the shtick - and hey, after all, if you werenít doing it, thereíd be a lineup of others more than happy to take Sandlerís fiddy large in return for a few pages of jokes off their stand-up B-list.
But what youíre missing is a very simple and evident truth: Itís nothing to be overly proud of.
You got paid. You got your name on a credit sheet. Well done and all, but itís a HAPPY MADISON production, dude! Little Nicky, Joe Dirt, Dickie Roberts, Deuce Bigalow, 50 First Dates, The Hot Chick, Eight Crazy Nights, Master Of Disguise, Mr Deeds, The Animal Ė Let's be honest, itís one step up from Girls Gone Wild.
Bob Saget made more money than any 500 stand-up comedians put together on the worst TV series of all time, and followed that up with the worst reality show of all time while pulling in even more. You think he emails people that make wisecracks about him and says his ďdreams have come true Ė I doubt you can say the sameĒ? Iíll bet you a dollar he doesnít.
Rowdy Roddy Piper does straight to video films with Tawny Kitaen Ė do you think he goes home at night and tells his wife how proud he is? Of course not. Heís earning a paycheck making crap, and so he keeps his head down, he shuts the fuck up when people mock him, and he hopes for the day when he can actually create something that people over the age of 12 can enjoy.
I doubt anyone has ever said these words in the course of modern history, but you, Nick Swardson, could learn a lesson or two from Rowdy Roddy Piper.
Look, Iím sure youíre a heck of a guy when people get to know you. Iím sure folks who meet you out by Sandlerís pool really enjoy hanging out with you and hearing your tales of life on the road in Dubuque and seeing how many fries you can stuff up your nose while farting the Star-Spangled Banner. And I bet you have a ton of friends who would never think of riding your coattails to a job in Hollywood, just like Sandler does.
All Iím saying is that the impression you put across of yourself when you send hatemail to a guy who doesnít like your movie, is that youíre an utter shit-heel with an uber-elevated opinion of what heís contributed to society, and some misguided notion that by emailing film critics who donít like your work, that youíre somehow doing yourself any favors professionally.
Lesson #5: People who engage in such bitterness tend to get passed over when the real jobs in Hollywood are being doled out. Nobody wants to work with a guy whoís going to email critics and get them in a vendetta state of mind when there's five mill on the line, ya dig?
So, in closing, by all means hate us. Despise us. Wish cancer upon us. Shun us if you see us at the Viper Room. But keep it to yourself, Champ, because it wonít earn you any respect where it matters, and when it comes right down to it, of all the sites you could start an argument with, this is the last one that'll take your shit lying down.
Your move, chief.
Executive Editor, eFilmCritic/HollywoodBitchslap
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1828
originally posted: 05/17/06 12:16:54
last updated: 06/05/06 17:52:43