Monday Morning Critic 10.18.2010- Teenage Paparazzo and Twilight

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

The first time I went to college is far enough behind me that I find it amusing about what people are able to get to study as actual class work. Jeremy Piven once said in PCU that you could major in Gameboy if you could b.s. good enough and oddly enough it’s become true. How?

You can take classes on Twilight for actual college credit at seven fairly good courses. I’ve been stewing on this for a while and kept thinking that for all the useless classes I took as an undergrad I couldn’t see myself taking a class on something that barely passes for literature adapted into a film that barely passes as entertainment. I’ve never understood the point of getting a female director and a female screenwriter together for a film involving a female protagonist based on a book by a female author that has one basic theme: all a woman needs is a man to be complete and if he leaves her she should try to kill herself. But that’s just me and Summit’s made several billion off of Kristen Stewart and gang. I’m wrong so I guess I lose this one. But it got me thinking

Alright, as always listen to me now and believe me later.

Since Twilight has now become able to be taught next to writers who actually wrote profound things that shaped generations centuries after they were published, as opposed to cheesy romance novels with bloodsuckers, that I figure it’s about time we let more classes in college be dictated by pop culture whims. And why not get a bunch of actors/directors/screenwriters in to teach them? If they can teach “Twilight and the Great Gothic Literary Tradition” at Iowa then what I’m thinking can’t be so hard.

Couple of dictates first:

One, I’m putting this together like a college schedule. Why? Because it’s funnier that way.

Second, since I’m American and this column originates in America there’s only going to be taught by those who speak English fluently. It’s not that I’m xenophobic, but let’s face it: most American college students aren’t bilingual and some barely speak English well in the first place. So let’s keep this nice and simple, if only for the sake of the children.

Third, everyone has to be alive. As much as it’d be most triumphant to have Steve McQueen teach “How to be me” we just can’t reanimate him at this point. And let’s face it: Zombie Steve McQueen would be so cool that no one would want to shoot him. Let’s call it:

Kubryk’s Cinematic College Course Load

9am – “Shoot the Honkies: Interracial Relations Over the Years” – Spike Lee
10:15am – “We’re Wittier than You” –David Mamet with teaching assistant Aaron Sorkin
12:30pm – “Explosions as Art” – Michael Bay

11am – “Originality is Over-Rated: Using Johnny Depp In The Exact Same Way” – Tim Burton
1pm – “Mailing it in for $20 Million and Parts for Your Friends: An Illustrated History Of Adam Sandler” –Rob Schneider and David Spade

2pm – “Bowling and the White Russian: A History of the Lebowski Effect” with Jeff Bridges
4pm – Explosion Machines for Dummies Internship – Pyrotechnics guy behind every Iron Maiden video

8am – “The Man-Child & You: Ruminations On Tapping Into Your Inner 12 Year Old” – Will Ferrell and John C Reilly
11am – “Being Cool: How You Can Never Be Me” – Denzel Washington
3pm – “Escaping Childhood Stardom for Professional Dignity: The Ron Howard Experience” – Clint Howard

9am – “Pissing Your Career Away in 30 Seconds or Less” – Mel Gibson

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – Teenage Paparazzo

So this is partially a bit of a cheat, since I saw in HBO as opposed to DVD properly, but it looked so interesting that I immediately through it into my DVR. It was on at the same time as Dexter and Eastbound & Down and you have to have priorities. I’m a fan of documentaries but those are two of the best things on television, usually. The thing that sold me on recording it for a later viewing was that it was directed by Adrian Grenier, better known as Vinnie Chase from Entourage.

Grenier follows 13 year old Austin Visschedyk, a paparazzi that he met randomly doing the follow/stalk routine most paparazzi do on people with any measure of fame in Los Angeles. A look into the world of the celebrity gossip photographer, Grenier uses his connections to speak with a handful of celebrities about the nature of the beast. Consulting with some psychologists and whatnot about the nature of fame and celebrity, as well as candidly discussing it because of the fame he’s acquired from Entourage, Grenier follows Austin around (and delves into his newfound career) and delves into the world of the paparazzi.

I usually tend to turn my nose up to any sort of films crafted by most actors, if only because the sheer bulk of them never live up to expectations, but a minor celebrity doing a film about the people behind the fame machine was too much of a temptation. Everyone wants to be famous, it seems, but the people who owe their livings to a worldwide audience fascinated with the minutia of celebrity is something that doesn’t get explored as well as it could be. Grenier goes into the belly of the beast; engaging in paparazzi behavior to get the adrenaline rush Austin discusses he gets while on the prowl, he starts to see what it’s truly like before his own celebrity gets the best of the situation and he ends up in the spotlight.

Grenier takes an unusual approach by acknowledging his fame and the pratfalls that come with it in a surprising amount of candor. His time in the spotlight will probably fade away soon after Entourage ends, probably, but right now it makes for something much more insightful than having someone from the outside looking in. Seeing a celebrity explore their own nature and current circumstance makes for something to behold; Grenier has a deft touch behind the camera and I’m curious to see what he could do with a feature length film.

Strong recommendation.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Paranormal Activity 2 – The sequel to last year’s shocking hit

Skip It – This decade’s version of The Blair Witch Project 2.

Hereafter – Clint Eastwood dabbles in science fiction and the paranormal with Matt Damon.

See It – It’s gotten mixed reviews so far, but Clint’s always good for at least an entertaining film if it isn’t a masterpiece.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @MMCritic_Kubryk.

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