The Fish
for 4 February 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
Suck Staff
 

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief

 

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Art Director

 

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Havrilesky
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Senior Editor

 

[Copy Edit]
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&
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Copy Editors

 

[Phillip Bailey]
Phillip Bailey
Production Editor








	
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Suck Alumni Text
 

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Carl Steadman
Co-Founder

 

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Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor

 

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Welch
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Copy Editor

 


T. Jay Fowler
Production Manager
& Ass Kicker

 

[yes, it's
a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
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Production Manager

 

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Goode
Monte Goode
Ghost in the Machine

 

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Matt Beer
Development Manager

 

[Brian
Forsyth, " we're just spanning time "]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor

 

[the fixin'
pixie... ]
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Production Manager
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[Ian
Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager



Faux Film Festival

I love your Suck article on
movie knockoffs so much that
I thought I'd write you with
a 'dote that might enhance
your love for the non-Disney
Mulan.

I'm an animator for a kid's
software company, and I went
with some co-workers to the
International Animation
Celebration (the Nickelodeon
portfolio frenzy is more like
it) in LA a year or so ago.
The three of us went to a
seminar titled Animation on a
Shoestring Budget to meet the
Blue's Clues producer, who
didn't get a word in edgewise
because the guy responsible
for the non-D Mulan and other
atrocities wouldn't shut the
hell up. He told us about
hiring animators with low
esteem because they work
cheaper, renting a tiny
office in the industrial part
of town for the production
team, and finding ways around
the law to avoid paying
benefits. He also told us how
important it is to go to
Korea for ink and paint
because of the cheap labor.
This is standard practice
with just about ALL
animation, but he had an
edge: "What you do is go over
there with key chains and
shit for the Ko-reans. You
know, little toys and crap;
they love that shit!"
Apparently he had learned all
he knows about business from
the guys who bought Manhattan
from the Indians.

He talked about the need to
avoid Disney lawsuits. "OK,
the REAL Mulan is a Japanese
girl (she is Chinese, Mr.
Bunker) who cross-dresses and
saves her people. So we gotta
change it around. Let's say
she's ... oh, I dunno ... a
beautiful butterfly! And the
ants are invading...."

At that point, we all got up
and left.

Tom Verre
<fleabite@seanet.com>

It's a great story, although
I have to admit: I think it
adds to the experience of
watching movies like Legend
of Mulan
when the people
flogging them come across as
the seedy profiteers we know
they are.

40th St. Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Visit Thailand for knockoffs
done right. It's
unbelievable.

Itz Me
<omytisis@loxinfo.co.th>

I bet it is. Although, when
something is exploited for
consumption in a non-American
market, it sort of loses the
straight-faced, cheery irony
of a Wal-Mart offering whose
primary aim seems to be to
fool the consumer.

40th St. Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Dear 40th et al.,

While reading your
outstanding piece on
cinematic knockoffs (bravo),
I was surprised to see a
glaring omission: Concurrent
Knockoffs.

These are movies that are
knockoffs of each other,
released simultaneously by
competing studios. And our
winners? Those lame excuses
for cinema that are (drum
roll) Touchstone's
Armageddon and Paramount
Pictures' Deep Impact.

Deep Impact, despite its
not-so-subtly pornographic
title, was a major cosmic
letdown that preceded its
better-FX-and-bigger-
stars-yet-still-
equally-shitty cousin
Armageddon by a whole two
months. The similarities in
these movies ensured that
either you didn't have to see
one because you had already
seen the other, or you had to
go see both to make sure they
weren't actually the same
movie (they were).

Consider:

• They shared a plot (We're
all toast because of renegade
space debris).

• They shared a release
season (summer 1998).

• They shared hyperbolic tag
lines ("It's Closer Than You
Think").

• They shared an affinity for
second-rate acting by
pseudo-babes (Téa
Leoni and Neve Campbell).

Their only real
differentiating factor, other
than the actual flavor of
their respective space
threats, is the general
stupidity of Armageddon's
characters. Yeah, right —
a comet the size of freaking
Texas is coming at us and we
don't see it until 18 days
before it hits?

As if the Aerosmith
soundtrack weren't torture
enough.

Eddie Hoover
Director of Central Intelligence
<ehoover@ BSMG.com>

Eddie, you bring up an
interesting point. I'm
certainly aware of what you
call concurrent knockoffs.
Other examples are the
dueling pig movies Gordy and
Babe, the spate of Freaky
Friday rip-offs that
culminated in Big, and the
animated insect movies of
1998, Antz and A Bug's Life.

Honestly, I really don't
consider these to be
knockoffs as much as a
symptom of Hollywood's
desperate competitiveness and
lack of original thought. There
are two key differences
between these movies and
knockoffs. First, such movies
are close enough in terms of
overall quality that one is
not a clear, inferior copy of
the other. Second, unlike a
knockoff, the producer of a
like-minded big-budget film
knows that the success of the
competing work can actually
damage the box office for his
or her project. In knockoffs,
the bigger business done by
the original, the better;
because they count on the
popularity of the original,
they are wholly subservient.

I agree with you that the big
rock movies were stupid, and
I think it bears pointing out
that one of them could have
been made for one-twentieth
of the price, starring Justine
Bateman and Jared Leto and
presented on Fox's Sunday
Night Movie to killer
ratings.

40th St. Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Speaking of Disney knockoffs,
have you seen the X-rated
version of Snow White,
produced during off hours by
Disney animators? I've
attached a GIF.

Jim Cook
<jimcook@panix.com>

One occasionally hears those
kinds of stories, but other
than things like a few frames
of Jessica Rabbit nudity in
Roger Rabbit, I'm not sure
how much hard evidence there
is that these kinds of movies
actually exist. In fact, Jim,
the GIF you sent looks less
like a still from an animated
film than a copy of detail
from Wally Wood's famous
Disneyland Orgy drawing that
originally appeared in The
Realist.
And I probably don't
need to remind Suck readers
that "Disney porn" is sort of
redundant.

40th St. Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


In your knockoffs column, you
mentioned how an "enraged
parent" complained of the
swearing in the Mulan
knockoff.

The review actually seems to
be by a sibling: "But to my
very great surprise, Mulan
SWORE; yes she SWORE while my
little brother was watching
it. This is not right."

To me, this seems to be an
example of big brother or
sister attempting to protect
the tender ears of other
kids, though it's too late
for the writer's own little
brother. This is all right.

Thanks for an enjoyable
column, nevertheless.

Brian McCarthy
<brian.mccarthy@click2learn.com>

You're right! Change that to
"irate adult." Unless, of
course, you're willing to
grant me a really loose
meaning of parent to include
those fulfilling the parental
role in supervising or
raising children. In other
words, don't blame me. Where
are this kid's mother and
father? And why are they
letting him watch shoddy
knockoff videos?

40th St. Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Hit & Run

What ever happened to the
short interviews that ran on
Thursdays? Surely, there must
be some more suitable people
to interview. Didn't one of
the people from Urge Overkill
just release a solo record?
You should interview him. Or
would that be too easy?

Josh Ronsen
<jronsen@my-deja.com>

Sad but true, Josh. I just
suddenly lost interest in
doing it, and I don't know
why. I think it was that, when
I was in the middle of an
interview, I'd start
thinking, "The stuff I say
is, like, 10 times as
interesting as whatever this
clown is babbling about. Why
isn't anybody interviewing
me?"

Would you find it interesting
if I interviewed myself? I
could interrupt myself like
Charlie Rose. I could ask
myself who my Oscar picks
are, like that woman whose
name I can't remember on CNN
Newsstand. Or I could be like
one of those scrawny little
English wiseguys who goes
around with a camera trying
to blurt out embarrassing
questions before I kick
myself out of the
party/set/headquarters. It
could be pretty damn
exciting, if you ask me.

Maybe not.

Take heart. The Suck
interview will be making a
comeback one of these days.

I don't know about members of
Urge Overkill, though. I can
never think about that band
without hearing that Men at
Work song:

I can't get to sleep
something something something — ation
Diving in too deep
Blah blah blah blah blah — ation
A bunch of other stuff ...
It's just overkill, hmmhmm ...


Now if one of the Men at Work
did a solo project, that
would be pretty exciting,
don't you think?

Yr pal,

Tim
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


I've gone and enrolled in the
requirement-for-graduation
undergraduate Western
Civilization course. So far I
have discovered the saddening
yet unsurprising fact that I
appear to be the only one in
the lecture audience capable
of producing an on-the-fly
Marxist refutation of Max
Weber's interpretation of
Calvinism.

News of Ananova makes me
wonder where I can order a
boxed complete set of Max
Headroom
videotapes. What
year was that thing set in,
anyway — 2002?

Also, in response to your
claim that "all superheroes
are stone homos," that
Captain Marvel was straight.
Billy Batson's adult form
even had a realistic
courtship involving dress-up
dinner dates with his
believable Lois Lane analog,
whose name I do not recall.
Also, the interior dynamics
within the X-Men, Fantastic
Four, and Metal Men reveal
mostly heterosexual tensions.
And the Swamp Thing, who was
doomed to wander around the
deep South after he got
transformed into a plant;
there is no gay subtext
there! Just sympathetic
characters enduring
difficulties, congruent with
James Gunn's formula for good
fiction.

I can't believe I'm actually
writing this. Curse you and
your effective flame-baiting
tactics, Sucksters!

David L. Nicol
<dnicol@cstp.umkc.edu>

It's good to have you back,
David. I assure you that
Suck's next editor will have
to pass a litmus test by
showing that he or she favors
gay superheroes.

Yr pal,

Tim
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Hi Sucksters

I've just finished reading
Harper's "Notes on a Native
Son." I hope to hear your
version soon! Y'all keep up
the good work, and thanks for
your great and timely humor!

Michael McNeil
<milawmc@earthlink.net>

Sorry, Michael. We barely
made it through VALERIE
Harper's "Notes on Carlton
Your Doorman."

Yr pal,

Tim
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Sucksters rule! You've won my
heart once again with the
quick turn of a phrase. My
new email signature:

"Just in case Time Warner had
any doubts: Guys, Batman and
Robin are stone homos. All
superheroes are."

Sweet!

Yr pal,

Cameron

We're glad to help out,
Cameron. We may be a little
premature in our judgment,
though. Hell, we even think
the sexual tension between
Shields and Gigot is
unbearable.

Yr pal,

Tim
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

You've made the cut. A true
endorsement. I just received
notification today of Yahoo's
new Bulk Mail folder, created
to help protect its customers
from spam and other
e-indignities.

And lo and behold, if Suck
wasn't the first item in my
Bulk folder.

Luv 'n' kisses from Kanadia

I don't know that this
factoid really merits five
Ha's, but my Yahoo mail
filled up and started
rejecting new mail after only
two days. I don't recommend
Yahoo mail.

Yr pal,

Tim
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


The link you had in the 20
January edition to the Sega
Poo-Chi announcement had a
very odd statement. You
even quoted from it. I'm
surprised you didn't take
it any further. It's probably
for the best.

"Women in their 20s are
expected to be the biggest
market for the 7-inch-long,
13-ounce toy."

Thanks for sucking.

Michael Konold
<mkonold@home.com>

I think everybody who
encountered that sentence,
probably including the
author, thought the same
thing. But everybody left it
alone. Thus, sly comedy
survives, if only by the
slimmest of margins.

Yr pal,

Tim
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Doods,

You should offer more
merchandise with your shit
plastered on it. Your logos
are cool, your attitude is
right. Fubu built a $500
million business on the same
concept.

It's sort of like the faux
film festival for
merchandise.

It's cool that you don't try
to make too much money. Four
bucks represents a value
T-shirt acquisition. So do
more.

Any chance you'd consider
licensing your name?

I'd be a buyer.

Out.

Sunil Daniels
<sdaniels@msn.com>

We considered selling
merchandise with our shit
plastered on it but found
that merchandise with our
logos and characters was far
more popular.

Yr pal,

Tim
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

 The Shit
Fully Committed, Becky Mode, the Cherry Lane Theater, New York, New York
Paris in the Twentieth Century, Jules Verne, Del Rey, 1997
Chow Yun Fat's haircut in Anna and the King
A Comment on Mini-skirts, Thornton Dial
"Leonardo's Grave," Ian Jacks, Granta #67
The Long Swift Sword of Siegfried, directed by Adrian Hoven, 1971
The annual reappearance of cheap clementines in bodegas
The New Meaning of Treason, Rebecca West, Penguin Books, 1985
Five-Card Nancy (a card game played with individual panels of Ernie Bushmiller's comic strip)
The Birthday Party Live 1981-82, Four A.D., 1999
Black Sessions 10/22/98, Belle & Sebastian , (unreleased)
San Lorenzo's Blues, Nuzzle, Troubleman Unlimited, 1999
The Story of Time, exhibition in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England
Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery, John Michael Vlach, University of North Carolina Press, 1993

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