Monthly Archives: March 2017

Terminating Trolls

I interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger only once in my career, when he was considering suspending acting for a run as governor of California.

There wasn’t much to the interview, though he did drive himself (new Hummer, of course) to the Santa Monica diner where we met for lunch. In my 10 years as a film critic, only one other actor drove himself to an interview, sans publicist or handler: Emile Hirsch. He drove a beaten up Prius.

I don’t remember a thing about the chat, only the call I made to my buddy Spencer after it was over. “I think he’s going to run,” I said. “He may even win. I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy ran for president.”

He didn’t, of course, as infidelities and inexperience eventually drove him back to Pixelville.

But now I wonder if we didn’t rush him from office prematurely. Schwarzenegger has also become a spokesman for The Special Olympics, and was in Austria this weekend to commemorate the games.

Of course, some Internet asshole attempted to urinate on the promotional video that ran on The Special Olympics’ Facebook page.

“The Olympics are for the best athletes in the entire world to compete against each other to determine who is best,” the slackwit wrote. “Having retards competing is doing the opposite.”

 Schwarzenegger was having none of it.

“As evil and stupid as this comment is, I’m not going to delete it or ban you (yet) because it’s a teachable moment. 

You have two possible paths ahead. Right now, I guarantee you that these athletes have more courage, compassion, brains and skill ― actually more of every positive human quality than you. 

So take their path ― you could learn from them, and try to challenge yourself, to give back, to add something to the world. Or you can stay on your path, and keep being a sad pitiful jealous Internet troll who adds nothing to the world but mocks anyone who does out of small-minded jealousy.

I know that all you really want is attention, so let me be clear. If you choose to keep going this way, no one will ever remember you.”

Both the troll’s comment and Schwarzenegger’s reply were subsequently deleted. But not before Twitter users screen grabbed the exchange and used it to praise Ahnold.

I’m still convinced the Internet will ultimately be regarded much like the handgun; capable of working as an agent for remarkable good, strong-arming tyranny, safeguarding the weak. Instead we’re likely to blast ourselves in the face.

But every once in a while, someone will get off a straight shot.

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Dear Oscar: Never Mind


I hate to break it to the Academy and the studios that support it, but there’s no need for a Best Picture race for 2017.

It arrived last week, courtesy of the BBC and North Korea, which are like perpetual leads in a meet-cute romantic comedy. Internet dullards have dubbed it “Children Interrupt BBC News Interview,” but it’s real title should be The Buffering.

It’s got great acting, like when professor Robert E. Kelly’s 3-year-old daughter monster-steps her way into the room like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

And it’s got action. Kelly’s six-month-old son comes hurtling into the room so fast his head is craning from the g-forces. That’s real infant peril, people. And it makes you wonder whether a friend, perhaps tipsy on wine, talked mom into giving the toddler an intentional shove into the office of Mr. Too-Important-To-Wash-The-Dishes.

And her Kramer impression, from room entry to exit, has gotta be worth at least an Oscar, if not Emmy. At least a People’s Choice.

Most importantly, Buffering works as do all Oscar-worthy films: on multiple levels. It may be the first time the camera has ever captured an example of human buffering.

We’ve all experienced electronic buffering; allowing for technology to catch up with the real world. Some of us wait minutes for a resumption of service, some nanoseconds.

Here, though, we get to see a man freeze his entire life until the chaos around him settles. Kelly has taken a lot of grief for not helping his wife round up the little Diapers of Disaster. And I have to admit, I did love his immediate instinct: to cover his daughter’s face, as if it would block everyone’s vision. Still, you gotta admit: that man has a helluva poker face.

And Oscar need not worry about its sagging ratings with this pick. Imagine the viewership just to see what these mini-monsters would do with a mic and a podium.


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