Diana D. writes: Regarding “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” I appreciate your comments regarding "Brokeback Mountain." I absolutely respect your position about not wanting to see the moving because “it’s just not for [you].” I am tired of being inundated with raves about the movie and shocked stares and stammers when I say that I have no intention of seeing it because I really don’t approve of the story idea. I find it interesting that Hollywood has rammed this movie down our throats with the Golden Globes and Oscars. But at the SAG awards (the awards given by the Screen Actor’s Guild) "Brokeback Mountain" was completely ignored! I also agree with "Crash." I didn’t really understand the movie the first time. I’m glad I watched it a second time. The nuances are fantastic!
Nancy in Mo.: My grrr ... is the overuse of the word "fresh" in advertising. We have "fresh" television shows, fresh job alerts, fresh shoes, fresh spring collections. Please! Stop! Vegetables are fresh ... this word as an advertising term is STALE.
Jack H. writes: Nice piece on the Oscar runup. I was arrested by your frankness regarding "Brokeback Mountain." You said it wasn't for you, and you "would expect people to respect my decision not to see it as I respect theirs for loving it." Well I have not and do not intend to see the film, and I used almost the same language as you to get my wife to back off a bit. So I am with you there. Still ... Mike, I read your stuff, and I think you are a terrific writer with some keen insight. I do sometimes feel you could adopt a more, um, respectful posture toward the rest of the world. So while I hope you get the respect that you seek, I also hope that this paragraph may be a harbinger of a new phase of your career. Of course, I could just be acting like a complete obliviot here, worthy only of a double helping of snide derision, but a guy can hope.
Rob C. writes: I was puzzled when reading your latest Grrr! You say that you are not going to see "Brokeback Mountain," which you say is just not for you, which I respect. But then you say you are going to Elton John's shindig. Just found it strange that you won't go see a great movie because it portrays gay characters, but you will go to a party hosted by a gay musician and icon.
R.J. in Des Moines, Iowa: As a gay liberal, not only do I support your decision to not see "Brokeback Mountain," I encourage it. As you can imagine, I was pressed into seeing it because it was a monumental step forward in "Our" movement.
I left the movie theater horrified. Your reasons for not wanting to see it probably differ dramatically from my reasons for hating the film, but the bottom line is: It's not a good movie. It's not a good story, and, regardless of how "brave" Hollywood is for making this movie, this is the WRONG time, period, for a story like this particular one to be told. Now, as bad as you think your experience with the ticket taker at the comedy store is, I can top it. I went to get a haircut on Sunday, and signed in as "R.J." (my name). When it came time for me to get in the chair, the girl called out "D.J.", to which I responded "Do you mean R.J."? Her response was a snappy "I think I know what the name is!" and rolled her eyes at me like I was a moron. Needless to say, she was the only person in the entire shop when I felt compelled to tell her "I'm fairly certain I'm going to win the battle over what MY name is." It takes all kinds.
Tabitha in Vegas: A huge GRRR to the snotty kid I almost ran over yesterday! I was going the speed limit, within blocks of my house, and this approximately 13-year-old girl comes sprinting out of a condo complex and did not even bother to glance for any cars. She barely stopped short of the curb. My window happened to be down, so I gently but in no uncertain terms told her that if I had hit her, I would have killed her! I was going about 35 MPH, but I drive a gigantic SVU. She then proceeded to cuss me out (like this was somehow my fault)! My mother would have beat me if I pulled that! What is wrong with kids today?
Fred H. in Menominee, Mich.: My wife, my mom and I went to the local chain restaurant after a day of painting our living room. It was a long day and we had not eaten during our project. After perusing the menu, I decided to try one of their highly publicized and often advertised combo specials. You know, the ones that come with an appetizer, an entrée and a desert. My wife and mom ordered soup and salad. My wife, who is always thinking, reminded me to ask for the appetizer prior to my meal so I could eat it while they enjoyed their soup. I thought that was a great idea -- NOT!!!
Our waiter refused to bring out my APPETIZER before my meal. He said he could not do it and that it had to be served with the meal. I laughed because I thought he was joking only to find out he was completely serious. I won’t go into the details of our conversation because one can use their imagination as to how ridiculous it must have sounded discussing whether or not an appetizer can/should be served before a meal. If that wasn’t bad enough, I asked for the manager in charge and she confirmed that they could not and would not serve me my appetizer before the meal. She told me it was a corporate mandate and she would have to contact her supervisor at their corporate offices in order to do it. Can you believe that? She would have to contact corporate Applebee’s to ask them permission to serve me my appetizer before my entrée!!!! If we wouldn’t have been so tired and hungry, we definitely would have got up and left. I informed her that this would be the last time we would be in her restaurant as there were plenty of local establishments that would be happy to serve an appetizer before a meal.
To the manager’s credit, even though I changed my order to something without an “appetizer," she brought me the original appetizer while my wife and mother had their soup. She also gave me a little coupon type form that would be redeemable for $3 if I called a number and told them the problem I encountered. It doesn’t take financial reimbursement for me to call and explain idiocy, but it did contain the phone number, so I took it. I called the number and after going through an automated question/answer section, the automated system then informed me that I had 30 seconds to describe my problem ... yes, 30 seconds. I told them I had a situation I couldn’t communicate in 30 seconds and gave them my home phone number to call me back. It’s been at least three weeks and I have not heard from them. I won’t go back.
Rich M: Well Mike, let me start by telling you that I rarely write back and I can usually find at least one thing nearly perfect it the things you write. Now that I have the "suck up" part out of the way, here goes my rant.
This is something that perhaps is personal with me, but, I will never, not on anyone's suggestion, recommendation, urging or begging ever see anything with George Clooney involved in it. OK, so now is when you get back at me like I would with a vegan and ask about belts or shoes or other animal skin products. You ask if I know that George was a producer in this or that or had some other behind-the-scenes role? And I reply, nope. Then you say that he is talented and this and that and I shake my head, shrug and say, "So?"
George falls into that lowly club that I label "Never to be seen", which already has members Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and many more members in it. George is one of those people who does what he wants, claims no beholding to anyone and doesn't care if you like him or not. Which I say is just fine. Nicole Kidman and Johnny Depp fall into that club too and I haven't seen a movie from either of them in years. How can someone think they can insult me and then look for my money to keep them in the style they flaunt in my face. Mike, if you do nothing else other than report in your fine way, please corner some or more of the Hollywood morons and let them know that people out here in the real world sometimes really hate them. And it's not from poor acting, it's their attitude toward us. Thanks very much and you can now hit your delete key.
Joel on my Stupid Lit'l Dreamer lexicon: I am glad to see there's someone out there who still knows who Supertramp is/was ... and from the pre-"Breakfast in America" days.
VIDEO: Watch Mike's "Real Deal" webcast.