Merrick here…

Here’s the inimitable Vern with a look at TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY – a film I really, really enjoyed (the racing sequences were surprisingly well done, too!)

What does Vern think? Read on…

I don’t usually review these “comedy” type movies for you guys but I felt like maybe I should do this one just to show some of my talkback pals that I do know how to laugh and have a good time, etc. I think last time I reviewed a comedy for you guys it was the fucking WEDDING CRASHERS movie and I caught some hell in the talkbacks for saying that it was “something your friend’s girlfriend who you hate would claim is really good.” Of course, America is in a vulnerable state right now so she quickly fell in love with the movie and they are still happily married. So I was very wrong when I said nobody would remember it two weeks after it came out on video. Even I still remember the movie and how much you motherfuckers are crazy for thinking it’s good.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky BobbyTALLADEGA NIGHTS THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY I knew was gonna be more of a straight ahead type-A type of comedy where they actually try to make you laugh from beginning to end instead of pretending that you give a shit if the characters are able to be together despite their crazy misunderstandings and all that horse shit. But I was a little bit skeptical because NASCAR seems like kind of an obvious target, the ads didn’t seem all that funny and what the fuck is with these titles, ANCHORMAN THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY/TALLADEGA NIGHTS THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY… what, you boys can’t come up with a new rhythm for your title? Plus, what kind of a name is Ricky Bobby, that doesn’t even sound like a real name.

But there was no reason to fear, TALLADEGA NIGHTS THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY is indeed a high quality comedy, well executed with many laughs, etc. Will Ferrell (CURIOUS GEORGE) plays Ricky Bobby, a borderline retarded dude who drives the fastest. Academy award nominee John C. Reilly plays Cal Naughton, Jr., Ricky’s borderline retarded best friend who drives the second fastest. And you can imagine where it would go from there.

It has kind of a mythic feel because it opens with Ricky being born in the back of a speeding car, continues through his childhood when all he ever says is “I wanna go fast!” and then quickly gets to his reign as the #1 NASCAR driver, sponsored by Wonder Bread, sporting a skanky trophy wife and two scary hellion kids named Walker and Texas Ranger. This is all funny, but the movie really gets into gear (get it, that is some kind of a car pun I believe) when it introduces a rival for Ricky Bobby. Jean Girard (Sacha “the Baron” Cohen) represents the stereotypical opposite of Ricky Bobby the stereotypical middle american dumbass. Girard is a married, gay, thick-accented, French Formula One racer who menaces the Americans by playing jazz on their juke box. Cohen is the best one in a really good cast. He makes a hilarious villain, somehow managing to be ridiculously over-the-top and perfectly restrained at the same time. Shit, I guess I’ll finally have to rent those Ali G DVDs everybody claims are so funny. This guy is great.

And then the movie takes a left turn (get it, cars) when Ricky crashes, becomes afraid of invisible fire and ends up under the Pai Mei or Mr. Miyagi style cruel tutelage of his deadbeat dad, played by Gary Cole (A SIMPLE PLAN). This was one of my favorite parts because the dad comes up with some completely retarded ways to teach Ricky wise life lessons about driving, but if you think about it they’re not all that exaggerated from the way they do this kind of thing in a serious movie. I mean come on Mr. Miyagi, you know Daniel-San is assistant manager at a car wash somewhere and not a karate champion. You didn’t teach him shit.

Like I said it’s a good cast, and there’s another Oscar nominee in there besides Reilly (Amy Adams), but I would like to single out child actor #1 and child actor #2, who play Ricky’s sons. These kids are hilarious, first as some foul mouthed little bastards and then they’re even funnier when they have a profound change in life. They could’ve gotten away with the one-note joke of having them as little GUMMO type shitheads, but they go the extra mile. (a mile is a distance that a car drives, get it)

I should mention that I don’t know jack shit about NASCAR. As far as I could tell this was not like KINGPIN where the directors are obsessed with the sport and throw in celebrity cameos and shit. It seemed like a reasonable portrayal but not as fetishistically detailed as this summer’s other NASCAR movie, the cartoon CARS. Did you guys see that one? It was pretty good but it kind of freaked me out. I still feel sad that there was a train in the movie. All the cars get to drive around wherever they want, this fuckin train probaly has to stay on the tracks his entire life, delivering coal back and forth. It’s such bullshit, man. Why should anybody be born into that?

But I know what you’re asking, how does it compare to FAST AND THE FURIOUS TOKYO DRIFT. Well I was wondering the same thing but honestly these are not very similar movies. TALLADEGA NIGHTS THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY does have a show-offy digital shot where the camera floats through the back window of his speeding car, rotates around his head and then goes out the front window, but it does not go through the engine like it would if it was a part of the Furious Movement. So it’s totally different.

Also this might not jump as quickly to mind as a comparison, but it is the same team that made ANCHORMAN THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY so I’ll compare it to that one too. For me personally, and maybe not for you, I think this one is better. I am not prepared to measure them on a laugh-to-laugh basis, either by laugh-to-not-laugh ratio or by measurement of laugh size. Both are very funny. But to me the randomness of the plotting in ANCHORMAN THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY made it kind of feel like a series of sketches stapled together instead of an actual story. I know people liked that about it but personally I thought some of it was less funny because it felt like they were trying too hard to be weird or outrageous. For example I didn’t think that whole anchorman gang war was as funny as everybody else did. TALLADEGA NIGHTS THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY has jokes that are just as unexpected, but I think they grow more organically out of the story and the world that it takes place in.

TALLADEGA NIGHTS THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY also has a little more of a satirical point to it, if you’re into that sort of thing. Ricky Bobby sort of represents America at its dumbest. His whole life is based around a competitive philosophy that he later learns was just something his dad said when he was high. But you can recognize it as a cartoonified version of an actual “winners vs. losers” attitude that real people take seriously. Ricky doesn’t have any romanticized philosophy about the art of racing, he just wants to make car go fast and be declared #1. He takes advantage of his best friend, he disrespects his elders, he has a hollow relationship with his wife, he’s ignorant of foreign countries and hostile towards outsiders. He’s a joke-hero for the Bush years, covered in corporate sponsors, hating the French, fearing gay marriage, but thinking he’s great because he’s the best at driving fast. Ferrell’s accent reminds you sometimes of the way he used to play Bush on Saturday Night Live, and please note that his sons are named after Bush’s favorite TV show. There’s even a reference to Halliburton in here. But it’s all very lighthearted, it’s not like it gets preachy. I think I just blew the dickhead whistle as far as the talkbacks go but that’s genuinely what the movie is about I think.

I do have a few qualms about it though, the movie is pretty insulting toward NASCAR fans, middle America, etc. I kind of thought that they would pull their punches to get cooperation from NASCAR. Thankfully, for comedy’s sake, they didn’t. But maybe if I was into that shit I would be a little bothered that they portray most of these people as such fucking morons. I’m sure there must be plenty of intelligent people who enjoy cars driving fast, just like you and I are intelligent people who enjoy Steven Seagal films and that movie TORQUE. And there is a little bit of a classist vibe in here too. So what if somebody considers Applebee’s gourmet? I never been there before but I got more respect for a family that eats at Applebee’s than these “foodies” who will spend thirty, forty bucks for a goat meat entree or some shit. I mean come on man, don’t you know you’re just gonna shit that out later?

So it is a little cruel but there’s a certain amount of affection there too, they don’t really make fun of the fans of NASCAR, and I think most of them would have a sense of humor about it anyway. Plus, it’s not like Girard is painted in any more positive light than Ricky. And Michael Clarke Duncan, as the head of Ricky’s crew, seems like a reasonable person.

But obviously the most important thing is it made me laugh alot. There were no serious montages of people falling in love, riding bikes or holding hands on the beach. I don’t remember too many jokes falling flat. They even managed to avoid having cameos for Ben Stiller or Owen Wilson. I’m sure those guys assumed they were in it and showed up, but they didn’t make the final cut. Will Ferrell does find a way to run around in his underwear twice, but otherwise they don’t really fall back on old easy formulas.

Important warning: the title is misleading. Pretty much the entire movie takes place during the day time. I don’t remember one scene showing Talladega at night, or even dusk. So if that’s the reason you want to see it, stay away. Other than that though I recommend it.



Thanks a ton for the review, Vern. It’s always a blast when you drop in!

TALLADEGA NIGHTS opens this Friday.

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/24051

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 7:50 p.m. CST


    by optimus122

    I DID IT

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 7:53 p.m. CST


    by The Ender

    And this movie looks stupid

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Wedding Crashers is Garbage!!!!!

    by Orionsangels

    Until Will Ferrell shows up. Before that anyone who found that movie funny needs their head examed. It’s predictable tired humor that only people who haven’t seen a real comedy would find humor in. The same people who thought Dodgeball was funny. Anchorman, now there is a true comedy classic, with charm and personality.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 7:56 p.m. CST

    I saw it last night

    by JoeyRusso1290

    and boy did I laugh my ass off. Vern wasn’t the only one to revv his engine over Talladega…. Check out my review @


  • Aug. 2, 2006, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Offending Middle Americans?

    by The Ender

    Okay….that statement gets my “What the Fuck are you talking about????!” Award…

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Ricky Bobby is basically President Bush

    by Orionsangels

    I’m there!

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 7:58 p.m. CST


    by lilgoodmn

    I better go get my head “examed” because “Wedding Crashers” was one of the best comedies to come out last year. I like “Anchorman” but “classic”…not a chance.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 7:59 p.m. CST

    Help Me Jewish God

    by Johnny Drama

    That’s got to be one of the best lines ever written.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:06 p.m. CST

    Offending conservative middle Americans is like…

    by Terry_1978

    ..making prank calls to a deaf woman. A victimless crime.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:07 p.m. CST

    Wedding Crashers is a FUCKING CHICK FLICK

    by chrth

    The only funny part is when the brother demands the painting back and Vince Vaughan says NO, IT WAS A GIFT. Other than that IT’S A CHICK FLICK AND ONLY GIRLS LIKE IT. Also, on Anchorman’s fight scene: I understand Luke Wilson being there. Vince Vaughan, of course. Ben Stiller without a doubt. So what the fuck was Tim Robbins doing there?

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:11 p.m. CST

    Vince Vaughn

    by Mr Brownstone

    every moment he has in Wedding Crashers is gold. The rest I can do without. I fee like I’m in Highlander right now.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:13 p.m. CST

    I heard it is REALLY bad. Like 2 laughs total bad..

    by Doom II

    A radio dj here who I trust reviewed this film and said he was amazed at how unfunny it was. He said people were laughing, but at things that just weren’t very funny. Two scenes total that are really great and the rest is sheer lameness….unless you are a NASCAR lover.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:14 p.m. CST

    it’s almost the same thing as anchorman…..

    by jig98

    i’m sorry but some movies these days whether we notice it or not are resembling all these other great movies from 8-10 years ago and guess what, it just doesn’t help last year’s so called “box office slump” and i just saw the ant bully and no, not paris hilton {rim shot} it’s that new computer animated tom hanks produced flick with nic cage, julia roberts and paul giamatti i saw it with a bunch of kids{i may see cars at last next week with my sis and this movie with her and others opening nite friday} and thought it dragged in some parts but picked up speed later on and it did have some private part jokes and clever ideas {jelly beans as sweet rocks} although it was very similar to antz, a bug’s life and honey, i shrunk the kids, it was a pretty good film with good animation, voice work and i liked it. this movie looks freakin’ funny. “i represent corona EXTRA!!!”

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:16 p.m. CST

    Horrible review. Can’t wait for movie, though!

    by Go24Day5

    Vern, that was aweful. It was like me back in college when a professor said you had to write certain amount of words on an essay so I would BS three to four paragraphs on a topic closely related. So you chose Cars and feeling bad for a train? Or Mr. Miagi? Also, NASCAR gave them full cooperation and even supported the jokes thrown at NASCAR fans, which I am not a fan of.

    BTW- You are right about Wedding Crashers, it blew.

    Anyways, I am glad you liked it and further cemented my proof that Will Ferrell is the comedy gold right now. I can’t wait to see the two kids performances! And I would have loved to have seen Steve Carell take the part they offered him. I can’t wait for their final film in their trilogy to see what they come up with next.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:17 p.m. CST

    Dumb & Dumber Vs. Any Will Ferrel Movie

    by The Ender

    I dont hate Will Ferrell, I think some of his old SNL Skits were great, and I laughed like…3 times in Anchorman. But put any of his films against Dumb & Dumber. And you see, they just arent that funny. Maybe I will be impressed at some point in the future. But for right now, Ill stick with his Harry Carey Routines, and Robert Goulet.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:18 p.m. CST


    by jig98

    will ferrell was in my fucking town saturday night visiting his cousin’s college roomate’s friend’s sister of something, i don’t know. anyway, that clip from wedding crashers is at you tube.com {type wedding crashers in search and go to the 3rd page}

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:19 p.m. CST

    ANCHORMAN is the funniest movie since SPINAL TAP.

    by Mr. Anderson

    There, I said it.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:21 p.m. CST

    “…the movie is pretty insulting toward NASCAR fans..”

    by cutest_of_borg

    Don’t worry about it. The slack-jawed Wal-Mart crowd will never notice. I mean, come on. Have you ever seen these people? Sleeveless t-shirts with Dixie flags on the back. Women with bellys to rival their beer guzzling husbands, and rat-tailed mongoloids with no goddamned manners at all. Of course, I just went to Busch Gardens over the weekend and had to share space with these people so maybe I’m a bit biased. Oh, yeah. Will Ferrell is done folks. Not funny.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Only 2 laughs???

    by Go24Day5

    Cmon now, I laugh all the way through the previews every single time! Who seriously thinks of cougars, lines like “Dear Lord Baby Jesus” and naming their kids that.

    The only funny parts in Wedding Crashers were Will Ferrell’s part, Vince Vaughn’s motorboat comment and the whole jerkoff scene under the table which I laughed at the first time only. And Dodgeball did suck.

    Anchorman, Old School and The 40 Year Old Virgin are all classics. If I am a betting man, this one will be right up there with them.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:22 p.m. CST

    The other problem with Wedding Crashers (besides

    by chrth

    it being a movie for girls) is that Owen Wilson doesn’t work as a crasher. I know they hired him for his ‘dopey falling for a chick’ persona (see? chick flick), but he’s just not believable as a babe hound. Also, while Will Ferrell was funny, they made him kind of pathetic (see? chick flick) … it would’ve been better if we was normal except for the fact he scammed chicks at funerals. But of course, then it wouldn’t have been a chick flick. All the men had to be Neutered, Vaughan by hooking up with a crazy girl that dominated him, Wilson by becoming a sick love puppy, and Ferrell by living with his mother.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:29 p.m. CST

    “Im-ah gunna win-ah!”

    by Shermdawg

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:29 p.m. CST

    Ricky Bobby

    by AshleyMonday

    “Ricky Bobby doesn’t even sound like a real name”

    I think that was point. Its a parody of Nascar names like Dale Jerrit.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:47 p.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    are you referencing Mario Kart? “I’m Wario, I’m a gonna ween!!”…because if you are, you know that giggly little Toad has the best line, “he he he, I’m the BEST!” (imagine it in his voice and it’s funny)

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:47 p.m. CST

    Or Dick Trickle. One of my friends (the one who

    by CreasyBear

    hunts, and roots for Bama even though he never went there) tells me this is an actual name of a NASCAR guy.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:48 p.m. CST

    I’ll call the head doctor, lilgoodmn

    by Orionsangels

    Ferrell is at his best when he creates an original character that exist in his own universe. When he does romantic comedies or worse. Family comedies. As himself. He’s not funny.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 8:58 p.m. CST

    The trailer had it least 2 laughs in it

    by Bob of the Shire

    Srsly. Radio DJs are just pissed because their medium is crap and they make shit money.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 9:14 p.m. CST

    Not gonna see it

    by nef

    lame, unoriginal, not funny, takes cheap shots, anti-american if anything, needs to stop. On the other hand wedding crashers is a FUCKING CLASSIC, I LOVE THAT SHIT

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 9:49 p.m. CST


    by underscore_only

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 10:02 p.m. CST

    There was a clip that made me laugh…

    by JohnGalt06

    When the grandpa is telling Will Ferrel’s wife that they are raising Walker and Texas Ranger wrong. Wife: “If we wanted them to be wussies, we’d have named them Dr. Quinn and Medicine Woman!”

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 10:13 p.m. CST

    Wedding Crashers is a chick flick comedy.

    by fiester

    Right there with My Best Friend’s Wedding and Bridget Jones’ Diary.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 10:40 p.m. CST


    by Smurfette

    Could be good after all.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 10:41 p.m. CST

    he thread killer

    by Bobo_Brazil

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 10:48 p.m. CST

    Vern said it all…

    by Kingdaddy

    Saw it last night. Fucking hilarious. A couple of jokes fall flat, but I can’t wait to see it again so I can catch the 20 or so jokes missed because the audience was laughing so hard…

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 10:50 p.m. CST


    by Go24Day5

    I hate NASCAR, but isn’t this the first NASCAR movie since Tom Cruise was in Days of Thunder?

    How can you say this is unoriginal, anti-American or even not funny. I just don’t understand.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 10:52 p.m. CST

    nice review, Vern, and you can check out ali g clips on

    by eraser_x

    youtube.com . Just search for “ali g”. The “feminism” bit and the Posh/Beckam interview are classics and are probably his best of all time. The Buzz Aldrin interview and the Pat Buchanan “sandwich war” interview are very funny, too. The dangerous drugs and dangerous weapons bits are funny, too. The Sam Donaldson interview is funny, too. The Noam Chomsky interview is pleasant, and the juxtaposition of those two is interesting, even though the actual interview isn’t the funniest. The Ali G Indahouse excerpts are lame. In general, the bits where he interviews more than one person at the same time are not as funny. The Borat bits are surprisingly not very funny, considering the rave reviews that the Borat movie has been getting on AICN. The Andy Rooney interview is not funny but is kinda sad because Rooney seems like a jerk. Yes, I wasted a ton of time the other day watching a bunch of these clips.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 10:56 p.m. CST

    For the record, Vern…

    by The Guy Who Nods

    Your “something your friend’s girlfriend who you hate would claim is really good” assessment of Wedding Crashers is not only exactly how I felt about the movie, it’s the best quote I have ever read in a film review in my life. I even go as far as to quote that line everytime someone brings that movie up. Of course my friends aren’t AICN savvy, so I just say “some guy on this movie website said this”.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Vern is neither

    by Damer1

    funny or informative. The whole nature of the pun is lost on him.

  • Aug. 2, 2006, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Thanks, talkbackers…

    by The Pusher

    I seriously thought I was the only person in America who hated Wedding Crashers. Apparently a few people out there still have some sense.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, midnight CST


    by Shermdawg

    I was quoting the Ricky Bobby ad.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 12:14 a.m. CST

    All this review did…

    by Manatee

    Was make me look even more forward to “Borat” this Fall. Can’t wait for that flick.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 12:47 a.m. CST

    speaking of mildly retarded…

    by God Shamgodd

    Vern, go finish that GED! And AICN, please get an editor.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 2:02 a.m. CST

    cohens, cole and reilly…

    by the_pissboy1

    The three reasons I will see this movie. Those guys know how to play parts. Ferrell i can do without. He’s obvious and boring at this point. but the reviewer was right, Wedding Crashers was a 2 hour douche commercial.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 2:18 a.m. CST

    Who the hell are all these newbies…

    by colematthews

    trying to front on Vern? Vern’s reviews have *style*, folks, the kind of style that one must have read a lot to appreciate. Since Vern has been posting reviews here for like 5 years or some shit, I submit to you that he is not, in fact, mildly retarded, but is cultivating a persona. When he makes bad car puns and comments on them, he is commenting on the Shalits of the world, that still think that is a clever way to talk about a film. It takes a lot of brains to play dumb this well, but it also takes a lot of brains to understand the genius of it. Sorry God Shamgodd, Damer1, and YackBacker, better luck next time. btw, YackBacker, I know you’re not a newbie, so I expected more out of you.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 4:25 a.m. CST

    apology accepted

    by Vern

    IF you say that I have credibility and DO NOT need to fellate some bullshit movie. AND if you write me a compare and contrast essay about TOKYO DRIFT vs. TALLADEGA NIGHTS. It has to be a serious well thought out essay though, no shortcuts. I demand elbow grease. You know what, on second though, in the name of world peace, you don’t have to write the essay. I accept. Good luck with the heat and the headache bud, thanks for the apology.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST

    ‘cultivating a persona’

    by blackwood

    The crop is failing.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Will Farrel?

    by Billyeveryteen

    I like the movie, where he runs around in his underwear, and shouts a lot…

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Vern has earned the right over the years…

    by Alonzo Mosely

    to fellate or not anything he damn pleases.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Vern rules

    by AZJim

    Vern is right about Wedding Crashers, though you immature “he-man woman haters club” types are taking the “chick flick” thing a bit too far. One day, you will kiss a girl and hopefully realize they are really alright. The problem with Wedding Crashers is not that it’s a chick flick, but that it is a lame, formula Hollywood comedy pretending to be edgy and naughty. Mainly, it is just not that funny.

    I wasn’t sure about seeing this, but if Vern is this enthusiastic, it’s worth a look.

    And yes, you should check out Ali G. And Deadwood and The Wire, too, though I’m not sure of the relevance.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Vern is great

    by magic34015

    Vern’s reviews on this site are some of the best out there. Not only does he give you a good idea of what the movie is about he also writes some of the funniest reviews I have ever seen. Vern, Keep it up man your reviews are the best on this site.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 4:47 p.m. CST

    great review as always, Vern

    by zombieslayer

    no political dickheads I’ve noticed, even though you pushed the button… lol

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 5:10 p.m. CST

    hey, colematthews

    by God Shamgodd

    I’m not a newbie, strictly speaking. I registered about five years ago and used to comment a lot. Just been away for a while.

    I love the site, but my one complaint about it back then, as now, was that pretty much anyone can post an unedited, hastily assembled, sloppily punctuated, grammatically challenged, rambling, poorly constructed review and get it published.

    This is a written medium; people come here to read words written by others (and respond to them in the talkbacks). Soooooo, maybe there should be a little quality control on the reviews that get posted — a proof-reader, an editor, an automatic grammar/spell-cheker. That’s all I’m saying.

    Yeah, I know I don’t have to come here if I don’t like it. Problem is, I do like it. I’d just like it more if the guys responsible for content were a little more conscientious about QC on the stories/reviews that get posted. Or, if you’re writing a review and you know you’re not a whiz-bang writer or speller, show the thing to your girlfriend, your buddy, whomever, and say, “Hey, I’m gonna submit this thing for publication on AICN. Do you think maybe you could help me put it in a little better shape?”

    With that said, I’m off to fuck myself and stop taking this shit so seriously and quit being such a tool, as I’m sure I’ll be encouraged to do.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 5:45 p.m. CST

    note the irony of my misspelling “spell-checker”

    by God Shamgodd

    As Pee-Wee Herman might say, “I meant to do that…”

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 6:05 p.m. CST

    to God Shamgodd

    by Vern

    Oh, so that’s what you meant when you called me mildly retarded and said I should finish my GED. I thought you meant that I was mildly retarded and should finish my GED. Well I have a challenge for you bud. I challenge you to take the above review and edit it in some way that would make it better. Or at least explain what it is about it specifically that you find so god damn lacking. I’m not saying it’s my best review ever but I bet you don’t go typing off unsolicited writing advice to Rex Reed or Richard Roeper or some of these other jokers. Dear Rex Reed, you are a moron, suck my dick asshole (translation: I find that your reviews lack depth and rely too heavily on cliches and formulas).

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 7:17 p.m. CST

    hey, vern

    by God Shamgodd

    You’re right — that was rude of me, even ignorant. (I don’t know shit-all about you.) I apologize, seriously. I don’t write to Reed and Roper because either they are good writers to begin with or they have good editors. Here’s what I’ll do, though. I’ll take a paragraph from your review and proof/edit it, and then I’ll post the original and the edited versions. Or, if there’s some way I can email you, I’m happy to do that, too.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 7:31 p.m. CST

    to vern: your original version

    by God Shamgodd

    Like I said it’s a good cast, and there’s another Oscar nominee in there besides Reilly (Amy Adams), but I would like to single out child actor #1 and child actor #2, who play Ricky’s sons. These kids are hilarious, first as some foul mouthed little bastards and then they’re even funnier when they have a profound change in life. They could’ve gotten away with the one-note joke of having them as little GUMMO type shitheads, but they go the extra mile. (a mile is a distance that a car drives, get it)

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 7:32 p.m. CST

    to vern: edited version

    by God Shamgodd

    As I said, it

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 7:37 p.m. CST

    to vern: final comments

    by God Shamgodd

    On the edited version, I

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 7:43 p.m. CST

    thanks Shamgodd

    by Vern

    Thank you for the apology and for accepting Vern’s 2006 Red Pen Challenge. However, I don’t agree with your editing and I honestly wouldn’t submit to this sight anymore if they wanted to edit my writing like that. Some of your changes are fine (not better, but not an embarassment) but I think alot of what you’re doing is just taking the tone and personality out of my writing. If a man likes a run on sentence then let him write a run on sentence. This is America. There are different ways to express yourself and it happens that I’m not trying to be the guy you’re trying to make me into. That might be foolish of me but I don’t think so. This talkback is probaly pretty much dead by now but if there’s anybody out there still reading I would like to know which version they prefer, if any. Just out of curiosity.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 7:51 p.m. CST


    by Vern

    I’m not against tightening though, and I am always striving for excellence, so thanks for the criticism.

  • Aug. 3, 2006, 11:47 p.m. CST

    Shamgodd, you’re a clueless rube!

    by eraser_x

    You obviously learned some rules that your English teacher taught you in school. But did nobody tell you that once you know the rules, then you are free to break them, if it serves a purpose and if you are good enough? Did no one point out that Shakespere often was ungrammatical for his own reasons? You seem to be in your late teens or early twenties. Once you live a little, you’ll lighten up and laugh at yourself, I’m sure. In the meantime, you are laughable and boring. As someone once said in a movie or something, “you are so far behind that you think you’re ahead”.

  • Aug. 4, 2006, 12:21 a.m. CST

    clueless rube here

    by God Shamgodd

    Totally true. I’m just not sure Vern knows the rules. That’s why I suggested, snottily, that he finish his GED. And that’s why I edited the paragraph the way I did — to demonstrate the rules, to give Vern a jumping-off point. Yes, he can and should develop his own style from there. That style just needs to be more reader-friendly, I think. But if you and he like it, more power to you. I already apologized to him for being an assbag in my first post.

    Footnote: As for being a clueless teenaged rube, I’m 40, and have made a good chunk of my living over the past 10 years through writing and editing.

  • Aug. 4, 2006, 2:16 a.m. CST

    actually Shamgodd

    by Vern

    Eraser X is right, I am like Shakespeare. Anyway, everything’s cool, don’t worry about it bud.

  • Aug. 4, 2006, 6:42 a.m. CST

    God/Sham/God: If you or anybody else is still reading.

    by FatPaul

    I hate to break it to you, God/Sham/God (edited for proper spelling and grammar), but you might just possibly be missing the point. I’m a member of the grammar police myself, but this just isn’t the place for it. Please try to understand: When Vern first arrived at AICN, there were a thousand God/Sham/Gods in the talkbacks, and all of them were calling Vern a retard for his glaring mistakes in spelling and grammar. So, trust me when I tell you that Vern has already had his mistakes pointed out to him. He knows what a run-on sentence is. He knows that it’s called a “website” and not a “web sight.” Most of the talkbackers eventually figured this out and stopped trying to fix his grammar, realizing that it was an element of his writing style and not simply the result of ignorance. Still, every time he reviews one of these big mainstream movies, somebody (either a newbie or just the sort of talkbacker who doesn’t read reviews of straight-to-video Steven Seagal movies) has to pipe up and educate Vern on the proper use of the comma. He already knows. He has his reasons for writing the way that he does.

  • Aug. 4, 2006, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Shamgodd, I just found a video of you

    by eraser_x

    trying to educate another guy who needs a GED: Ali G: http://youtube.com/watch?v=3hd19voNX30

  • Aug. 4, 2006, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Vern’s Grammar: A Post That

    by blackwood

    Will Fall On Deaf Eyes, Seeing That No Respectable Person Will Still Be Checking This Talkback ***** I’ve been coming to this site for about a year. When I first read a Vern review, I bust a gut. Funny, funny stuff, and not necessarily at the expense of easy, obvious targets. But over time, they have become less so – or maybe with more exposure it became apparent that Vern’s a one-melody guy, even if the notes sometimes change from review to review. Vern’s review style in a nutshell – pick a basic joke, ride it through the entire review, call attention to it when it starts to lose steam in the hopes that ironic self-awareness will give it a bit more gas to make it to the end. Sometimes, the joke is very funny. More often lately, it’s not, at least to me. Picking on grammar is petty and easy – Vern’s reviews are tiresome because he repeates his once successful formula ad nauseum.

  • Aug. 4, 2006, 6:48 p.m. CST

    hey, fat paul

    by God Shamgodd

    Duly noted, thanks. Vern seems a decent guy, and if you and he say that “this isn’t ignorance; it’s just his style, which he and others like,” then fine.

  • Aug. 5, 2006, 8:19 p.m. CST

    Vern’s one joke

    by AZJim

    Shamgodd’s okay. At least he realizes he was wrong to attack Vern’s intellect the way he did, and his name is not gramatically incorrect, but is purloined from a forgotten NBA backup point guard, I think it was.

    Vern is a masterful reviewer. I am a film critic myself, and read a LOT of reviews, and he is probably the most consistently funny and insightful film writer around. Certainly, he’s a better read than me, though I do use proper grammar in all my reviews.

    Blackwood, so wise, explain to me, what is the “one joke” that Vern is running into the ground in this particular review, for example. What you have presented here is not a thoughtful and coherent argument, but an ad hominem attack. Please explain yourself.

  • Aug. 7, 2006, 5:18 p.m. CST

    A Thoughtful and Coherent Argument

    by blackwood

    by blackwood ******* The one joke of the above review is

  • Aug. 7, 2006, 7:59 p.m. CST

    Still Later

    by AZJim

    Blackwood, thank you for responding. Sorry you find it difficult to take me seriously. I do, too. I misunderstood your original point, which I did not take to be, “Vern’s one joke is, I’m dumb, and he repeats it ad nauseum.” If you’re tired of Vern, that’s fine, but I find that there is much going on beneath the schtick that makes his writing worthwhile, and that goes for his politcal rants as well as his reviews on the films of cinema. And I don’t see his references to Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Steven Seagal, and Torque as being cheaply ironic, ha-ha-look-how-dumb-I-am-pretending-to-be-type comments, as you apparently do. I think Vern genuinely appreciates those things, and genuinely considers himself intelligent, so his reference to them in this context is more a matter of him pointing out that we all, even a vaunted AICN film critic, have our own very individuated obsessions when it comes to film, and that perhaps it is not for us to judge other people for theirs.

    Anyway, I continue to enjoy his work.

  • Aug. 10, 2006, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Vern is Brilliant

    by mikeness

    Someone mentioned Vern’s political reviews – they are potent. (He should do more of them, though I understand why he might not want to.) As for the movie, I’m surprised to hear Ricky Bobby is all that funny. The previews made me think it might be moronic and regrettably dull. After reading Vern’s review I MIGHT go see it.

  • Dec. 27, 2006, 12:13 a.m. CST

    This movie sucked shit

    by webslinger48

    Fucking garbage

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006 at 7:37 pm and is filed under AICN, Comedy/Laffs, Reviews, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


  1. “So what if somebody considers Applebee’s gourmet? I never been there before but I got more respect for a family that eats at Applebee’s than these “foodies” who will spend thirty, forty bucks for a goat meat entree or some shit. I mean come on man, don’t you know you’re just gonna shit that out later?”


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