Angry Letters: ‘M:IIII,’ ‘Akeelah,’ ‘She’s the Man’

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It’s been a busy few days for angry e-mails, so we’ll dispense with the chit-chat and get right to the anger!

First up: Lydia, a reader at DVDTalk (where my movie reviews have started appearing as of recently), had this to say:

Let me preface this by saying that I have seen none of the three movies you just reviewed–not Hoot, not MiIII, not The Promise–and yet, I couldn’t help but notice that you rated Hoot and The Promise as rentals because of their unbelievability, and MiIII as a recommended because of its unbelievability….a little inconsistent! Why not just say you like things being blown up better than owls or foreign movies, and have done with it?

Well, I do like things being blown up better than owls, but I think I like foreign movies better than I like things being blown up. So it’s a toss-up.

If believability were the ONLY factor I was considering in reviewing the movies, then it would indeed be inconsistent to rate one positively because it’s unbelievable while rating others negatively for also being unbelievable.

But even a casual glance at the three reviews in question will show that each of them is several hundred words long, and that most of those words have nothing to do with the films’ believability. It’s just one of many elements, and often not even an important one. For example, “The Promise” is only so-so as a film — but it’s not being unbelievable that gets it marked down.

Next we have Matt Levison, whose mattlevi12@hotmail.com address was “unavailable” when I tried to reply. He also reads my reviews at DVDTalk, and he was upset when I made a joke about Tom Cruise being a “gay scientologist.” But because his reply was so impassioned (read: profane), I’ve had to bleep out a lot of parts, and now it reads like a “Match Game” question:

I read your review of ‘Mission: Impossible III’ and… I think you should go [blank] a big fat [blank]. What the [blank] are you talking about when you say he is a gay scientologist. Show some respect you [blank] homo. Calling people gay is a direct admission that you are gay. Go [blank] [blank] your father with a [blank].

My word! Why do I get the feeling that I could call Tom Cruise a brainwashing kidnapper rapist and it wouldn’t bother Matt Levison nearly as much as when I called him gay?

(I don’t really think Tom Cruise is gay, by the way. Just crazy. There’s a fine line.)

Moving along, I received this missive from one B.W. Johnson. He writes:

Mr. Snide er [Hooray! It’s the 1,000,000th incident of someone thinking it’s clever to point out the “snide” part of my last name!]

If somebody had been killed with a flying axe at the end of a spelling bee movie, would that satisfy your blood lust? [Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yes, but only if Akeelah is the one swinging it.] Can you spell Deus Ex Machina? [Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yes, but what does deus ex machina have to do with anything?] I note that you are long on violent movies. [No, I’m long on GOOD movies. Sometimes good movies are violent, yes. But lots of times they’re not.]
Akeelah & The Bee is the kind of movie I would take a teenage daughter to see. I would be just as comfortable if she saw the movie with some of her friends. Take a sugar pill and watch it again.

I truly have no idea why he mentioned deus ex machina. It doesn’t apply to “Akeelah and the Bee,” nor to any other part of his e-mail. I wrote back to ask him what he meant, and he didn’t reply.

Finally, you may recall that after I panned the dreadful Amanda Bynes film “She’s the Man,” I got an angry letter from Robert Mackey, operator of the “Amanda Bynes NOW!” Web site. He subsequently included me on his list of the 10 “most hateful critics,” which in this case meant “the 10 critics who disliked ‘She’s the Man’ the most, if you can imagine someone not liking a film that stars Amanda Bynes!!!!”

Well, in my review of the Lindsay Lohan disaster “Just My Luck,” I noted that I hadn’t been as frustrated and annoyed by a movie since … well, since “She’s the Man,” two months earlier. This reference prompted Robert Mackey to write to me again — only this time, he claimed his name was Bill Mackey. (The e-mail address — which doesn’t work when I reply to it — is “rwmackey.” So maybe his name is Robert William (Bill) Mackey.)

Could you take some advice and act on it for perhaps the first time in your life, Eric?

“Just My Luck” stars Lindsay Lohan. It does not star Amanda Bynes, nor is it “She’s the Man”. Therefore, there is no reason for you to continue to trash either in your review of “Just My Luck.”

This is your final warning. If you continue to slam “She’s the Man” in further movie reviews, I will ask whatever association that polices you film nerds to drum you out.

I am delighted beyond all measure that a 40-year-old Amanda Bynes groupie is so tunnel-visioned that he thinks he could somehow persuade my bosses to censure me for my constant (twice now) denigrating of Ms. Bynes’ work.

In my reply to him — which I sent through the “contact” address at Amanda Bynes NOW, to ensure he got it — I invited him to go ahead and contact everyone I write for. I even provided their e-mail addresses. I also reminded him that any editor receiving a letter on the order of “tell Eric to quit picking on Amanda Bynes!” would assume it had been written by a 14-year-old girl and disregard it.

Obviously, I’m going to slam “She’s the Man” as often as possible now, just to see what Robert “Bill” Mackey does. If he comes to my house and kills me, well, it will have been worth it.

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