The Fish
for 13 April 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.
[Suck Staff]

[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


[Terry Colon]
Terry Colon
Art Director


[Heather Havrilesky]
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Joey Anuff]
Joey Anuff

[Go to the Suck Alumni page]
Scenes from the life of a Death Row Film Critic

Slotcar —

I haven't laughed that hard in quite a while. You managed to satirize Mumia Abu-Jamal and his followers, the famous anti-death penalty protesters, all of the film industry, and the Bushes in the same column. Almost split my sides.

Colin Seiler, Grinnell College, Iowa

It's nice of you to write in, Colin, and I'm glad I made you laugh so hard. I'm proud to know I've made someone in Iowa laugh. But I won't be happy until every last person in Iowa has read The Death Row Film Critic and then written in to let me know how they felt. Can you help me out here? I'm assigning all of Poweshiek County to you, including the Fun Valley Ski Area. Now get out there and start delivering those url's. Send your gas receipts to Automatic Media and I'll make sure you get reimbursed.

Slotcar H.

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Whoo hoo! James Agee.

Love that guy.


Lori Deffenderfer

Thank you, Lori, for another testament to the power of James Agee. Nobody ever sends an email that says Whoo hoo! Pauline Kael. There's a reason for that. Whoo hoo, Roger Ebert? Forget about it. Whoo hoo, Peter Travers? If the only way to stop the earth from plummeting into the sun was for one person, just one single person, to send someone — anyone — an email that read Whoo hoo, Peter Travers, I'm afraid that would spell the end for this tired old globe and everyone on it.

On the Agee-an list of yocks — the titter, the yowl, the bellylaugh, and the boffo — I hope I managed to get at least one or two out of you as you clicked through the story of Ali's plight.

Slotcar H.

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

great article, especially considering film criticism is the equivalent of death.


Danny, thanks. I read you email dozens of times. Well, actually, I read the first two words of your email dozens of times.

One thing about me, though, is I'm easily bored, and no matter what they are I can only read the same two words so many times. It was inevitable that eventually I'd discover the rest of your email. After I happened upon it, I — being tenacious and willing to go the extra mile so as not to appear stupid, even to myself — read it not just once but like with the first part of your email several times. And I have to tell you that maybe because of its gnomic =E9lan it has remained a little obscure to me. I just don't get it. Film criticism is the equivalent of death, you write. I was wondering if you'd care to elaborate on that, or if you'd rather just leave it hanging, a conundrum — no, a dare! — to puzzle us for the ages, and if we're film critics, make us feel bad about ourselves indefinitely. Whichever, I'm glad you read "Scenes from the Life..." and liked it enough to write in.

I mean, is it the equivalent of death or is it it just dead? Or what?

Slotcar H.

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

I only fear I will wake up some morning to hear a similar story reported by Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America.

Big Pete

Diane Sawyer's still on TV? Next thing you'll tell me they're still letting Barbara Walters interview movie stars before the Oscars come on. (Yeah, right, like they'd really let someone like her talk to John Travolta and Kelly Preston. No way the publicists of big stars like that would ever allow their touchy clients to expose themselves to the no-stone-unturned approach of a hard-hitting journalist like Walters. Those days are o-v-u-r, over!)

Slotcar H.

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Filler 04.4.01

Dear Polly,

Wednesday (Filler day) is my favorite day at Suck. I really enjoy the funny cartoons. The other Suck days are good too, but usually there is too much writing and I get bored because they use big words and I can't understand what they're saying. I like your writing though. I really like the cartoons. huh huh.

Scott Carroll

Usually there is too much writing. I see.

I'll pass this bit of feedback on to the editor.


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

The "No Almond Rocha for Chunky?" is probably the best single sentence in the english language EVER at this point. Unlike the preceding which is just mere praise from a loyal follower....I mean fan. Yeah. Fan. That's what I meant.

Jonas Bailey

Well, if it's going to be the best single sentence in the English language, it has to be understandable out of context, otherwise it'll never make it into Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, where all the greatest sentences in the English language go to enjoy their last glorious days among other great sentences. It's sort of like a Palm Springs for sentences.



[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Subject: Obscure reference?

So, call me crazy, but is the line in this week's Filler "no almond roca for chunky" a very distant reference to the Superchunk album title "no pocky for kitty"?


I love Superchunk, but no, that was not intended as a reference. Maybe it was a subliminal reference, but it wasn't a conscious one. Mac McCaughan went to my high school, actually.

So much fascinating trivia to share with the world, so little time.

Usually there is too much writing,


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Subject: The Way Young Losers Do

Dear Polly,

After reading this week's Filler, I impulsively read the whole Filler Archive. Every last one. Then experienced an epiphany. You are Toni Morrison, Howard Zinn, Kurt Vonnegut, and Cervantes all rolled into one. Don't mean to drown you in praise, but you are a hoot.

Keep up the scathing critiques.

Sincerely yours,


Scathing critiques? Is that how you would characterize Filler? Very interesting. And how does Toni Morrison fit into the picture? I mean, I'm impressed. I had no idea I was a lot like a talented fiction writer who brings social injustice to light. I should probably be on Oprah's book group list, shouldn't I?

Committed to fighting the good fight, won't stop till I get enough, etc.,


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

[Contacting Us]
[Contributors Index]

 The Shit
Physical Strength and How to Obtain It, by Eugen Sandow
Bamboozled, A Spectacular New Film by Mr. Spike Lee
G. Beato's all-new Soundbitten
William Demarest, Sultan of Snarl, in The Lady Eve (1941), The Palm Beach Story (1942), and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
George Wallace: Settin' The Woods On Fire, directed by Daniel McCabe and Paul Stekler
Bobby Darin, Darin at the Copa (Atlantic)
Shinji-San in the floating world of indeterminate duration, by Peter Richardson
American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation, by Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor
Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1996, Merge)
45, by Bill Drummond
Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards, Singing in the Rain (ASV)
Do you know of stuff that doesn't actively suck? Things so good they deserve to make the Shitlist? Send your suggestions to us.
[The Smoking Gun] [Net.Moguls]