Eric D. Snider

Eric D. Snider's Blog

Archive for May, 2007

Eric is lucky, whoever he is

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

I got this strange e-mail:

Hi Eric,

My best friend is really in love with you when she heard about your car crash she was sad then happy that god saved you .SHE HAS ALL YOUR PICTURES!!!! and thinks your wife(or ex) was really lucky. Please email me saying hi or watever because I want to show her the emal as a birthday present because her birthday is in 2 days.

Thank You,

At first I thought this was merely an instance of someone seeing a celebrity mentioned on this site and mistakenly (stupidly) believing the site to be affiliated with that person. But then I noticed: She addresses the e-mail “Dear Eric.” So the celebrity Zeena thinks I am is someone with the same first name as me.

And now I’m dying to know: Who did she think I was? Which celebrity Eric has recently suffered a car accident? So I Googled a few of the famous Erics I could think of off the top of my head, along with the words “car accident,” and discovered that Eric Bana crashed a car during a race a few weeks ago. Mystery solved. Except for the mystery of why Zeena thought was the website for Eric Bana.

Eric’s friends are amusing: Hailey Smith

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

My friend Hailey Smith (a performer in the previously mentioned Thrillionaires improv troupe) stars in this little video that is evidently going to be part of some marketing campaign. The site it touts isn’t functional yet, but the video is very funny on its own.

‘Snide Remarks’ Classic: ‘What You Missed’

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

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The “Snide Remarks” Classic column we’re spotlighting this week is one that I find terribly amusing but that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s called “What You Missed,” it’s #229, and it was published on Nov. 30, 2001. It’s simply a parody of those listings you see in TV Guide and elsewhere where they summarize what happened on the daytime soap operas last week. So it’s a spoof of the conventions of soaps (evil twins, dead people coming back to life, etc.), as well as an excuse to engage in wordplay and other mischief.

These lines make me laugh: “Francesca joins the Navy” and “Monkeys, everywhere monkeys.” They’re better in context.

What do ‘the people’ want?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Mark Harris is by far the best of Entertainment Weekly’s three rotating back-page columnists. (Dalton Ross is too hipster-ironic-snarky, and why should I care what Stephen King has to say about anything other than books?) His entry in the June 1 issue is a prime example of his insight and intelligence. I nodded in agreement through the entire piece, and I’m not much of a nodder.

Entitled “Power to the People,” the column addresses this common Hollywood lie: “We’re just giving the people what they want.”

It’s the defiant lie told by those who want to pretend that their failures of ambition are your fault -— that because “the people” eat what they’re fed, they must like it. The moneymen behind Spiders of the Shrekibbean brag about meaningless numbers (Spider-Man 3 had the biggest opening weekend of all time!) and shrink from meaningful ones, like the fact that Spider-Man 3 cost more and will likely gross less than the first two.

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Fox ‘apologizes’ for overlong ‘Idol’ finale being even more overlong than they thought it would be

Friday, May 25th, 2007
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They could have started here. Snippy-snippy! I’m just sayin’.

“American Idol” viewers who worship at their altar via TiVo or a TiVo-like device were horrified to discover that the two-hour results show Wednesday night ran 10 minutes long, thus preventing them from seeing the giant girl win over the guy who does sound effects. In other words, they missed the whole POINT of the show.

Fox has responded by issuing a statement of apology — although it’s worth noting that the apology stops short of actually accepting responsibility for the mistake:

We’re sorry that DVR users may have missed the conclusion of the American Idol broadcast. It was always our intention to bring the show in on time, but just as with any live sports, variety, awards or entertainment event, there is no way to absolutely guarantee that the show will end exactly on the hour. Fox and the producers apologize to those viewers who were inconvenienced.

Comparing the “American Idol” finale to a sports or awards show sounds reasonable, until you realize that sports and awards shows have a lot of unpredictable variables: overtimes, time-outs, and the unscripted acceptance speeches. Everything about the “AI” finale, on the other hand, was completely scripted. The only ad-libbing was during the three “Golden Idol” award segments,

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Friday movie roundup – May 25

Thursday, May 24th, 2007
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Yarr! Avast, mateys! And other assorted pirate things! The latest giant film in this summer of giant films is “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” I think it’s the best film in the series — much less chaotic and much more coherent than the last one, in particular.

You know, I pride myself on being a fairly non-snooty movie critic. I like plenty of “popcorn movies” as well as the kinds of movies that film critics stereotypically like. And yet the whole “Pirates” things escapes me. I was surprised when the first one was a huge hit, and downright mystified when the second one became the 6th highest-grossing film of all time. It’s not that I don’t enjoy high-flying swashbuckling adventures; it’s that these particular high-flying swashbuckling adventures struck me as overlong, overcomplicated, and overproduced. And not in a fun way.

Anyway, I think the new one is better, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Adding to my enjoyment was the fact

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Another fun thing that happened in Utah County: The Thrillionaires

Thursday, May 24th, 2007
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I found myself in Provo, Utah, on Monday, and I went to see a performance by the Thrillionaires, an improv group started last year by some of my friends. It was the second show of theirs I’d seen, and I continue to be astounded at their level of talent.

It’s not just improv comedy, you see. Most of the performers are ComedySportz veterans, or alumni of other comic organizations, and they’ve mastered the improvisation skills. With the Thrillionaires, they take it to another level.

Usually the first half of the show is a 40-minute improvised play in a particular style. Past themes have included Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, and film noir. This week it was John Steinbeck: dusty, impoverished people working on ranches in the 1930s, that sort of thing. The Thrillionaires’ on-the-spot creation was hilarious, multi-layered, and even a little touching.

In the second half of the show, they often do a musical. Improvising a musical is hard enough, and they tend to make it even more rigorous

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A couple of fun literary things that happened

Thursday, May 24th, 2007
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I was in Utah for a few days last week, visiting friends and family in my old stomping grounds. It’s always nice to see my bros and hos in the Beehive State.

On Monday, a couple of fun things happened. I had a few minutes before I was supposed to be somewhere, so I stopped at the Barnes & Noble in Orem to browse. There was an exceptionally large crowd of people milling around, many of them youngsters, so I wondered if I’d happened upon a field trip of some kind. Then I saw that an autograph-signing was in progress, featuring Brandon Mull, author of the “Fablehaven” books.

Brandon and I are both BYU alumni, and we’ve occasionally crossed paths over the years. He was part of Divine Comedy, the sketch troupe that was inspired by my Garrens Comedy Troupe, and now of course we’re both writers. Except he writes fiction, and he has fabulously well-attended book-signings.

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‘American Idol’ amuses me, briefly, then doesn’t

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

I stayed with a friend in Las Vegas last night, and he watches “American Idol.” I gave the show up back in 2005, during the season of Carrie Underpants and Bo Bice and that other guy who was Bo Bice but with a different name. I’m two years clean now, and I’m proud of it.

But I watched it last night with my friend, and I’m glad to report that doing so did not make me fall off the wagon and back into “American Idol” addiction. My thoughts were these:

– Apparently one of the two finalists is a guy who “beat boxes,” which means he makes annoying sound effects with his mouth, just like that guy in the “Police Academy” movies.

– Apparently this is considered by some to be a laudable skill even though it is hilarious and stupid.

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‘Snide Remarks’ Classic: ‘Aging Bull’

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

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This week’s “Snide Remarks” Classic column (we’re spotlighting one every Wednesday in celebration of the column’s 10th anniversary) made me giggle a few times when I re-read it a few months ago, which means I had forgotten almost everything in it. It’s called “Aging Bull,” it’s #209, and it was originally published on Sept. 28, 2001. It makes fun of old people. When has that ever not been fun?

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