Was interviewed about JEFBOT with the guys on the live Internet radio show, spaceoffice tonight. Stuff that gets mentioned includes, how the strip relates to my acting career, my inspirations, and a possible animated short for JEFBOT…? All props to my buddy Kurtis Bedford (one of the hosts) for inviting me on. I come on right around the 68 minute mark, but check out the entire show for some fun talk by clicking on the following link:
Longtime readers of this site will know how much I love the videogames, so I’m ecstatic to report that JEFBOT has been nominated for uber game site Joystiq.com’s Weekly Webcomic Wrapup. This contest has readers voting for the best videogame-related webcomic of the week so head on over, check out the other nominees, and vote!
In addition to celebrating birthdays for my brother-in-law Ted and myself last week, I also went to a birthday party with friends Michael Cornacchia and Lacy Baxter for Kerim Ekonomi, one of Michael’s theatrical agents at the Stone Manners Agency. The party was held at Life on Wilshire, a lounge-type restaurant/cocktail bar off (yep) Wilshire near Crescent Heights, which had a cool outdoor patio and a small dance floor. I spent the night eating tasty hors d’oeuvres (the little burgers were especially good), taking pictures and hanging with Lacy on the couch. Although I met them only briefly, Scott Manners and Kerim both seemed like personable, laid-back guys along with the other agents, actors and party-goers who also seemed cool and friendly.
I spent the end of the night on the dance floor with Lacy once the DJ started spinning some 80s dance hits which lured us away from the couch. Although I was shakin’ it pretty hard to BBD’s Poison I didn’t get too stupid out there, although at one point I could be seen doing the Running Man. Good times.
Went on a GREAT casting director workshop with Erica Silverman of April Webster Casting yesterday and I can’t recommend her class highly enough. If you’re an actor in L.A. and get a chance to see Erica, do so. She was funny, articulate and gave out great scenes for us to work with.
Before we got to the acting though, she had a lot of great tips, the most profound of which was: BOOK THE OFFICE, NOT THE JOB. I’ve heard this sentiment before, but I like how succinctly she put it. Basically, there’s a million reasons besides talent why you aren’t going to book a certain part (look, hair color, height, ethnicity, etc.) but if you do a good job and they like you at the casting office, chances are they’ll bring you back for other parts in the future. If you’re an ass, or unprofessional, unprepared or untalented, you’re probably not going to get another chance for future parts at that office.
I’m hoping to get the opportunity to book that office, soon.
I really thought I was going to love this movie. It seemed tailor-made for me, really; Hong Kong director/actor Stephen Chow’s previous two films Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer are among my favorites, and I’m a sucker for the whole “monster pet” genre – Pokémon, Gremlins, Lilo & Stitch, Digimon, etc. are all gold to me. Unfortunately, I was left mostly disappointed by this story of a boy-and-his-alien by the time the credits rolled.
The movie starts out promising enough, with a father (Ti, played by Chow) and son (Dicky, played by actress(!) Xu Jiao) living in squalor so the boy can attend a nice school and get a decent education. Dicky’s a likeable kid and a good student until he becomes jealous of a schoolmate’s toy robot dog, CJ1, and throws a tantrum in a department store when his dad can’t afford to buy him one. Sadly, Ti must scour the local junkyard to find a toy for his son, and comes across a green, gumdrop-looking thing which, unbeknownst to Ti, was deposited there earlier by an alien spacecraft. He brings the object home to his son, telling him it’s a toy even better than CJ1 (Dicky christens it “CJ7”) and, just about the time Dicky becomes bored with it, the glob morphs into an adorable, big-eyed, soft-haired, ready-for-toy-shelves, cgi creature. This is where the movie took a downturn for me.
After CJ7 is “born” most of the humor derives from violence towards it. First we see Dicky mistreat it by stretching and pulling its limbs and face, then Ti finds it and, thinking it’s just a toy, stretches it even more and smashes it with a pan, then CJ7 gets taken to school where it’s terrorized by the kids there, and soon after, Dicky gets angry with it and tries to literally kill it. Sure, the violence is completely over the top and cartoony, just as in Soccer and Kung Fu, but here, it comes off more disturbing than funny, since it was apparent being cut, hit, stretched and smashed physically hurt CJ7. I mean, I’m all for violence against extraterrestrials but at least let them fight back. If CJ7 bit off Dicky’s arm after being stretched one last time, it would have been hilarious. Unfortunately, the most the alien can muster is shooting little Raisinettes of poo at the kid, which is, again, disturbing.
I’ve heard this movie is doing huge business in Hong Kong, where it’s second only to Titanic in box office receipts, but I don’t think it’s going to do as well as Chow’s past couple efforts here in North America. Yeah, the acting’s good (even if the dubbing isn’t so hot) especially from the children, which is rare, and the special effects are okay, but unlike say, Steven Spielberg’s E.T., there’s no emotional connection to the people, the story or anything going on, really. Even when the script takes a dark turn near the end, I wasn’t invested in the characters enough to be really touched.
If you’re a fan of Stephen Chow’s, you should go check this movie out to see some familiar faces from the casts of his past movies and to support Sony Pictures for releasing it in the States. If you’re not a fan, I’d suggest renting Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, and giving this a pass.