"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Trying a new approach


Even though you’re mad at me for liking the EVIL DEAD remake hopefully you’ll all be sticking around for a while, so let’s discuss some business. You might’ve noticed I changed some things on the sidebar and added a Paypal tip jar/donation box, as some of you suggested a long time ago. I am a proud man and haven’t begged for money before so I figured I should explain myself.

This is the latest episode in my struggle between hating crass commercialism and wanting to make outlawvern.com self sustaining. I’ve always been reluctant to put a bunch of ads on here. Google Ad Words or whatever are too invasive for my tastes, and I don’t have a big enough audience for getting real advertisers like The Ain’t It Cool News or somebody would. I tried Commission Junction, those ads I had for a year or two where I got to choose from a selection of sponsors (if they accepted me that is – I got dissed by Shout Factory!) and then had different deals for what happens if somebody buys through the link. Well, in all the time I had them up I made less than $25, and they don’t pay you until you get to $50.

The Amazon ads have been much more successful, but hardly enough to pay the bills. When I wrote about this stuff back when I first added those some of you said you’d rather support me directly through a Paypal link than have to buy something to give me a small percentage. I felt a little weird about it and also worried about anonymity issues, but I later found out how to set up a business account which (I think) keeps things private. (Thanks to Franchise Fred for helping me test that out a while back.)

I’ve never made much money from my writing, and haven’t tried as hard as I could. I’ve always chosen writing what and how I want to over trying to get paid. But this means I do my real job (this) between shifts of a low-paying full time job, and I never have the time to do as much as I want to. Plus, my day job has a shelf life on it and when the expiration date hits I don’t want to find myself scrounging for some other shitty job when I know this is what I really should be doing. As I have always said, “I Am A Writer,” and as Eminem has always said, “if you only have one shot, something something something, lose yourself.” I gotta know I at least tried to go pro.

With that in mind I decided to dump all the ads other than Amazon and streamline the sidebar to explain some easy ways you can support me and outlawvern.com if you want to. I’m not trying to guilt anybody and I don’t want you to feel obligated to do anything besides read my reviews for free. That’s how the internet works and that’s why it’s great. But I’m looking at it as a public radio type of model now. I’ll try to get support from the kind souls who are willing because if I can ever dedicate myself to it full time I’d have more reviews and projects and it would be great. I don’t want you to think it’s money grubbing. It’s a continuation of my Striving For Excellence ethos.

And don’t worry, I’m not gonna start having pledge drives. I have something better planned that I think you’ll actually enjoy.

I’ll have to be looking for other angles too, more freelance work and what not. If you have any suggestions for me let ’em rip. Also I’m working on some books, if hollywood is reading please have your wallets ready for movie rights.I am looking to close a deal on MARSUPERMAN as well, so don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity Hollywood.

thanks everybody,


This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 10:20 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). 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.

131 Responses to “Trying a new approach”

  1. Vern you are a class act. I come to this site every day. I’ve come here every day since it wasn’t here, it was geocities. I’ve been reading your work for almost ten years (has it been ten years? I want to say ten years). Your website and your writing are a part of my routine at this point. When new movies come out, I find myself wondering “What will Vern think of this?” before any other critic or site. If I’m in a bad mood I can pull up any one of a dozen favorite reviews, or the Tells It Like It Is columns, and I’ll be smiling within a couple sentences. You’ve been a truly fresh breath of air in a mostly barren fucking wasteland for years now. I’ve gotten hours upon hours of enjoyment directly because of the time and effort you’ve spent on putting out a high volume of excellence on a weekly and even daily basis.

    I would be more than happy to help contribute to you continuing to be able to do this.

    Most of all, thank you for the last decade of truly inspiring film criticism. You’ve made me cry laughing, you’ve made me appreciate things in movies I’d never been able to articulate myself, and you’ve made me think about things in different ways. You’ve got the best commenters on the internet, due in large part to the Outlaw code and attitude you’ve cultivated here over the years. You’ve created a place where like-minded movie fans can get together and discuss things like 80’s action movies, Isaac Florentine, and the inherent Badass-ness of the Step Up series. There is no other place on the internet like it, and no other site I’d rather support.

    Looking forward to the next ten years of Badass Cinema discussion.

  2. Vern,
    Just wanted to reiterate what Jsix said above so eloquently.
    As an aside, horror and dtv are not my cup of tea, but I will read the hell out of any review you want to write.
    Thanks for are the great reads!

  3. For me at this point, Your site and avclub are about the only reason I bother with the internet anymore. Will tip when I can and I’ve gone through your amazon portal for every purchase I make since you put it on here. I think everyone here will be happy to help you. You’re a class-act Vern.

  4. I’m not a huge giver for several reasons, but every once in a while, I’m gonna date a few bucks. I hope it will be enough.

  5. Vern,
    I rarely comment, but I’ve been visiting your site since Geocities, highly value my copy of Seagalogy, and am happy to have a way to contribute. You are a truly gifted writer and reviewer. I love reading your classic reviews, and there have been countless times when I have checked your site multiple times in a day, hoping you’ll update with a review of a new release I’ve seen.
    I’m glad you decided to add the Paypal tip jar. I think all of us would agree you deserve to be doing this full-time and should be able to support yourself doing it. You’ve earned it. You have been an inspiration to me in motivating me to do my own writing. Thank you for everything you’ve done over the years, and I hope this new stream of revenue will give you the freedom to focus on what you love doing.

  6. Vern, it really aint a big deal, everybody’s got a donate button these days, but it’s still so enduring how humble you are, stay classy man

    are you gonna do some special thing where if someone donates like 100 bucks they get to pick a movie, any movie, for to review? because that would be….pretty funny

  7. Knox Harrington

    April 11th, 2013 at 2:44 am

    Ooh, I like that idea. Someone pay this man a hundred bucks to review Josie and the Pussycats.

    I know Paul will pay big for that Juggernaut review.

  8. Knox Harrington

    April 11th, 2013 at 2:50 am

    If I was a rich man, I’d pay Vern a thousand bucks to play Dead Space. Vern being a non-gamer who loves horror, I’d love to hear his opinion on one of the greatest horror games of all time.

    Also, I’d pay him to write a screenplay for the next Die Hard sequel and see what happens.

  9. I also have no idea how “donate” turned into “date” in my earlier post.

  10. I’m sorry, my poor english only allows me to say: ”Thanks for what you’re doing and for your inspiring work, we’ll be glad to help support you every way we can! Keep up the good job and hang on :)”

    [May i add: OutlawVern, we love you?]

  11. copy Jsix /paste – man I love the Louis C.K. model of direct pay to the source! You are so gonna hate yourself for not putting up that paypal link 10 years ago!

  12. Vern, thanks for the paypal-thingy !
    Now I can support my favourite writer on the interwebs directly.
    Just donated a couple of bucks and wrote in my “benefactor”-comment:
    “Keep up your excellent work”. But I guess the computer ate the comment and therefore there´s only a mysterious quotation mark left. Nevermind. That´s ok.
    But please – write more books!!!

  13. You deserve all you can get Vern, and I shall certainly dip my hand into my pocket as soon as I’m out of my current slump. I think the freelance thing could be your best bet for getting some regular writing gigs, but maybe your anonymity is hindering that? I’m sure that all of us Outlawverners respect and actually enjoy not knowing who you realy are and what you look like, but maybe an agent of some sort could help you out? Just spitballing here, anything that means we get more of your writing is a good thing.

    Especially more published works/review compilations!

  14. Eh!?! My quote didn’t work. REFUND REFUND REFUND.

    It’s disrespectful to post here as I am, and I tried but can’t be anyone else so fair enough, but I figured since you are whoring yourself I can pay for the privilege one last time.

    J/K about the whoring jab though, thanks for your work. Always appreciated.

  15. Vern, you’ve given us all so much, it’s about time you gave us a chance to give back. The internet is an ugly, inhospitable place, and it’s crucial to have somewhere to go where everybody knows your (fake) name. I’m out of work right now so I gave what I could. When I’m back on my feet, I’m going to set up a recurring payment. I know firsthand how hard it is to work a 9-to-5 while trying to pursue your creative goals, so any way I can do my little part to help you pursue yours is a better use of my cash than whatever bullshit I’d waste it on.

  16. I agree with my buddy Norm up there above me.

  17. Vern, if it’s not an unproportional amount of work you could add Amazon links for other countries like amazon.de, maybe on a subpage.

    It’s great that all your readers are able to donate now. As others have said more eloquently: I’ve learned so much and had such a great time reading every review on this site as well as your books that it isn’t a difficult question if I would pay for your writings or not.

  18. I’d suggest adding amazon.fr, too, if that’s not too much trouble for too little income.

  19. And .co.uk!

    Come to think of it, Vern, are there any plans for Kindle versions of your books? I got the print ones, but they’re all the way back in Ireland and I’m all the way over in Madrid now…

  20. There is already an Amazon UK thing for a while! Underneath the US one!

  21. Vern, thanks for everything you do. I would be happy to donate when I can even though I am not in a position to donate much.

    In the interest of creating fun ways for you to generate more donations what if every once and awhile fans of the site could donate money toward you reviewing one if the films in the suggestion section and you review the film that gets the most donations.

  22. Jam, I bought a digital copy of the updated version of Seagalogy on Amazon for the Kindle app on my IPhone (I already have the original edition in print).

  23. Sad to hear that you are leaving your post as Professor of Chinese Archaeology at Yale but excited for your future Vern. Its a great decision and I’m sure its the right one! jSixfingers says what i’d like to say better than I ever could so i’ll simply agree wholeheartedly with him.

  24. CJ: Whoops!

    Charles: I was just trying to get it on my Kindle there, but nothing’s coming up. If you’re in Ireland (sigh) you have to download books from the .com sight instead of the .co.uk one. But for PRINT copies, I buy from the co.uk. sight, ’cause the shipping’s less.

  25. Jam, I just looked and amazon.com has both if Vern’s books for Kindle, not sure why they are not showing up for you.

  26. “Your search “outlaw vern” did not match any products in: Kindle Store”


    The first time, I was going straight through the Kindle, just tried the store there. Strange.

    Well, I’ve read them both twice, so maybe I’ll just get my old copies posted over and stick a few bucks in the donate jar instead.

  27. Jareth Cutestory

    April 11th, 2013 at 10:03 am

    One of the coolest things I saw recently was a guy at a bookstore pick up a copy of YIPPIE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER from the table where a stack of the books was being displayed. He had a perplexed look on his face as he tried to make sense of the title. Ten minutes later, when I wander back over to that section of the store, the guy is standing in the same place, reading the book with a big grin on his face.

    Only downside of the story is that the bookstore was selling overstock copies of the book at a reduced price, little of which Vern will probably see.

  28. Thanks for all the support and kind words everybody, I truly appreciate it. I’m sorry that the comments wall from the donation widget isn’t working, I’ll see if I can figure out what the deal is.

    I tried to set up some other Amazon links besides US and UK, but I had some trouble with it. I think it might’ve been a language barrier or something. Also the overseas ones don’t seem to do direct deposit unless you have some kind of bank code that doesn’t exist in the US, and if you go by check you have to get up to a certain amount before they’ll send it out and if I’m not getting alot of traffic from that country it might not ever happen. But I appreciate the suggestion so I’ll look into it again.

    Jam – I think the issue is that the books are credited to me as Vern, not Outlaw Vern. If you can use the US Amazon for Kindle books go to the ad in item #1 on the sidebar and click through to page 2, that should be the Kindle versions of both books.

    Jareth – Great story. I would’ve preferred a happy ending but maybe that would be too commercial.

  29. You should have a donation option where, if someone gives you 20 bucks, or whatever figure, you will review a specific film of their request. Personally, I’d donate just to make you watch Josie and the pussycats.

  30. If you made a poster depicting the cover of your book 5 On The Outside I would buy in a heartbeat. Love the artwork on it.

  31. I think you’re doing the right thing. It’s better for you not to be a starving artist because if you have to choose between eating and catching a movie you’re going to take the food and sneak into the movie. Then you’ll get caught by the usher who takes his job WAY to seriously and go to jail. Then we’ll all have to raise the money to bail you out. And for a lawyer. And we’ll all get cranky cause we’re not getting to read our reviews. So in the long run it’s better for all of us if you let us just do some donating here and there. We get to give money to something that we consider a good cause and you don’t get gang raped in the shower. Win win for everyone.

    You’re a classy and humble dude Vern. Keep up all the good work.

  32. Speaking of which, was 5 ON THE OUTSIDE only available through Vern’s Lulu store? I’d love to see it reissued someday.

  33. Yeah it was. My copy was recently stolen along with everything else I owned from a storage space in Phoenix. I’d love to see it reissued.

  34. What these guys said, Vern! Will definitely tip a few bucks when I can, for the years and years of great reading, and hopefully many more laffs to come.

  35. I had to stop printing 5 On the Outside as part of my contract for Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer. But I was okay with it because I had alot more to choose from for the second book so I think it is a better best-of collection. Sorry your copy got stolen, though, Andy.

  36. I cannot wait /
    to donate.

  37. I might be tempted to rummage through the couch cushions, skip a few coffee fixes, or break into my kids’ piggy banks to get Vern to review Peggy Sue Got Married.

    (Don’t judge me! They stole the money from me first!)

  38. if someone were to donate, like 1000 bucks, would they get to learn your secret identity? (Bruce Wayne?)

    I wish I had the money, that’d be epic, like the time Moses on Mt. Sinai actually asked God if he could see his face (and God said no, because it’d kill him Indiana Jones style)

  39. The idea of donating so that Vern has to review what the donors want kind of goes against “I’ve always chosen writing what and how I want to over trying to get paid”, though, doesn’t it?

  40. Just tried the donate button and it worked! :)

    I’m a faithfull (books and website)reader from the Netherlands.

  41. Toxic – but it would be coming from the fans, so it’s not like he’s getting paid to review the latest releases or anything like an average critic

    he gets some hard earned money and us fans get to see him review movies we’re passionate about, everybody wins

  42. Chopper Sullivan

    April 12th, 2013 at 3:19 am

    I think reviews on demand is a bad idea. It creates an obligation for Vern rather than just letting him do what he does. Part of the appeal of this site is Vern reviewing obscure titles or getting on weird kicks. I’d hate to lose that because he’d be busy reviewing what the fans want. And he might then feel obligated to review something he doesn’t have a lot to say about, which would result in mediocre writing and go against Striving for Excellence.

    It’s a little sleazy too. “Here’s my fifty bucks, now REVIEW for me, monkey boy!”

  43. dance for papa! dance for papa!

    that’s why I did say 100 dollars, I think that’s fair, that’s not a price people are going to be throwing around left and right, so those reviews would be rare

  44. Oh thank you Vern. I’ve got people searching used bookstores around the city for it. You never know. I do need new copies of your other two books so I’m glad I can still get them.

  45. Hey Vern, I very rarely comment due to being in self imposed internet comment exhile due to always sounding like a complete twat, however I would just like to join everyone else and says thanks for all the reviews and striving for excellence and what not.

    Now you’ve got a .co.uk link I’m gonna go buy a copy of Death Machine (UK cut) via it, and I’ll drop a little something into the donate section too.


  46. It’s about god-damned time you let us chip in – I’ve been feeling really guilty about reading all the stuff on this websight for free (I bought the Seagal book by way of a partial contribution and keep meaning to get a Val Verde t-shirt…).

    Vern – stay proud, and keep Striving For Excellence.

  47. Mook, don’t worry about coming off like a complete twat. It never stopped any of us.

  48. Just don’t be a mook, Mook.

  49. I finally bought “Yippie Ki-Yay Moviegoer” last night thanks to this post! I own a copy of “5 On the Outside,” but I read that book so hard it fell apart. It was time for an upgrade.

  50. I feel a little bad b/c I’ve been cheating on Vern’s Amazon link here. Sorry, dude, trying to help a friend’s website at the expense of this websight. She’s prettier than you in my opinion, so she gets the clicks for a while. I did buy a bunch of fight-training equipment & shorts again from the UFC store here several weeks ago, but it’s possible that when I went back to an e-mail inbox for a coupon at checkout that that move, those intermediary clicks, broke up the ad-link and thus didn’t give Vern his commission. Whoops, maybe?

    I’m sadly familiar with the pay-for-click format that only results in tiny monetary benefits for independent sights & “web logs”. I rarely made more than, like, $3 a month purely from clicks when I was contributing to something online with a similar set-up. My colleagues got lucky and got bought & subsumed by a bigger website and then found different outlets & ways to cash in. I simply quit; it was always just a side project, anyway.

    Oh well, keep this new $ format and I’ll eventually do my part to make it worth [y]our while. All my funds goes to a fairly strict budget of bills, investments, travel expenses, and charities. Though I loosen up when I’m on vacation or when I get good stock portfolio news (Obama and MacDonald’s stock have been very very good for my accounts lately.), I got a bunch of weddings coming up & gifts I have to pay for, plus moving expenses to look forward to and stragglers in my posse to feed. All good problems to have. The land of fuckin’ plenty, despite the best worst efforts of pundits, big banks, & Congress to fuck it up.

  51. I would just like to add to what Jam said about Vern’s books on the Kindle. I have never ever been able to find any of them in the Kindle store, and I’ve been trying for a very long time. Not on Amazon.com or through my Kindle itself. I’ve had to make peace ages ago with the possibility that I will probably never read Seagalogy.

  52. Vern, if it weren’t for you and the Badass 100 I never would have seen the Lone Wolf and Cub series, and I can’t imagine how empty and grey my life would be without that. If it weren’t for you, I doubt I would have ever heard of John Hyams, let alone have watched his direct to video Universal Soldier movies, which turned out to be some of the best action movies of the past decade.

    You were one of the few voices of sanity when the first Transformers movie came out, bravely fighting for higher standards in action films (and that’s still one of the funniest film reviews I’ve ever read in my life; I still quote the part about welding car parts into a big ball and rolling it down a hill and filming it in close-up). You also defend the internet’s favorite whipping boys when warranted, like Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull and the dance/sex scene in Matrix Reloaded. I love that you are never swayed from your opinions by popular sentiment and that you watch at these films without an agenda.

    You have given me countless hours of entertainment for free and frankly it’s time I gave something back. I visit this site on an almost daily basis, so I think it’s only fair I start donating $10 a month. It’s not much, but I hope it helps. Nothing would make me happier than to see you writing full-time. Keep striving for excellence!

  53. Hmmm, my comment on the benefactor’s wall didn’t show up. That’s weird. And it was sooooo funny too! (it wasn’t really that funny)

  54. Knox, did you try the widget under item #1 in the sidebar? Just click to page 2 and it will link to Kindle versions of both books.

    (Now I see why you should have a last name. But it never stopped Prince or Madonna from selling shit. Maybe because they were pre-internet?)

  55. Hurray for Vern and his quick and efficient legions of benefactor-comment-wall-repair-people!
    Nearly 4/6 of all global problems solved (I wish).

  56. Vern, thank you for all you do and I hope you know this is the only website where I would probably cry if it went away. Finally bought Yippe Ki-Yay Moviegoer for kindle, it’s really a no-brainer at that price and considering how often I re-read your best reviews it’s money well spent.

  57. Justified theme song

    April 12th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Just donated, even though I feel like you were kind of a dick about the Justified theme song. I love the site, though, and have even quoted your reviews (with attribution) when talking to friends about movies. So thanks!

  58. Kevos Gris Gris

    April 12th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I definitely check this site more than any others. I say keep the reviews random. Much respect to you Vern.

  59. Sorry Justified theme song. I have strong opinions re: wackness but did not mean to offend you. I will concede that the first few notes before the rapping starts are awesome. Thanks for your support.

  60. I would like to also second JSixfingers post

    When I can get some cash together I’ll make make donations for sure. This is the best website on the internet.

    This site is not only great for your amazing movie reviews and thoughts, but also the great fans on here. Gods among men you folk are!

    I’ll be picking up an Argyle t-shirt at some point too

  61. Vern, it would be worth your time to read this link from another writer looking for ways to pay for his writing full time.


    I thought this was an eye opening and thoughtful read. Not suggesting you necessarily use kickstarter, but Buckell’s reflections on what worked/what didn’t might give you some ideas for future book projects (and I would be interested in getting anything you write)

    Like others above, I check your site daily and would also cry if it were gone!

  62. Sight not site…egregious error on my part!

  63. Vern, while we are on the subject of finding new ways to compensate you for all your hard work, have you considered releasing audio book versions of your published work? I doubt Seagal would read SEAGALOGY for an audio book, but I would love it if you could get Keith David, Lance Henriksen, or Nic Cage to record audio versions of your books. If they are all to pricey or not available I would be willing to do it for free. That is not a joke, if you like I could even record me reading one chapter and post it online to give you a taste if it was something you would be interested in.

  64. Been reading you site for years (never commented before) and have been waiting for a way to drop a bit of donation to help keep the magic flowing. Excellent site Vern, you always make my laugh and have introduced me to some germs over the years. Plus you’ve somehow managed to cultivate a forum of genuinely insightful and amusing commenters – can’t think of any other movie-related site where the same could be said.

    Yeah, you nearly lost me the other day with your comments on the Justified theme song, but I hung in there; everyone’s allowed to be wrong once in a while.

  65. …hence why I never comment; I can’t type for shit. “Gems” not “Germs” ;)

  66. Charles, I’ve thought about that before. I don’t know what my contract would allow for those books but maybe a new review collection. Problem is I wouldn’t know how to go about finding, recording and paying for the actors. It would be funny, though.

    One time I put some of my reviews into a computerized voice program, and I learned that my GARFIELD review as read by a robot is hilarious.

  67. I thought you could just PayPal Lance Henriksen and he has no choice but to show up and say whatever you want him to.

  68. Mr. M, if that is true I know who is coming to my birthday party this year.

  69. Knox Harrington

    April 13th, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Hey, Vern, thanks for trying to help, but being a computer moron means that shit like “widget under item #1 in the sidebar” makes my head explode. I don’t see no sidebar.

    I know this: When I search for “Seagalogy” on Amazon.com, the book shows up no problem, but nowhere is there a Kindle version or even a link to a Kindle version. Just the paperback.

    When I search “Vern” in the Kindle store on Amazon.com, Amazon’s Vern Page appears just under The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne. I click on that and it takes me to a page containing Seagalogy and Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer (again, paperback versions). When I click on “Kindle Edition” just above these items, nothing appears.

    I’m telling you, dude, your book does not exist on Kindle. I’ve tried for years. Either that, or I’m an idiot (which is very possible). It could also be some international issue, meaning it’s available to people in the States, but not in other countries. I don’t really know. All I know is I’ve never been able to find a Kindle version of Seagalogy on either Amazon.com or through my Kindle. It just doesn’t exist in the Kindle store.

  70. Hey Knox,

    On amazon.com you’ll find Vern’s Kindle editions here:



    Of course Vern won’t get any link credit that way. Searching for ‘seagalogy’ should bring up a picture of the book with two links to the right, paperback and kindle. If not clicking the paperback should show the Kindle edition in the middle under “other editons”. If not you’re not on the most recent edition of the book (Amazon lists three versions).

    The “widget” is the easy way. On the right side of this page, the part with the dark background, Vern has added a list of ways to lend support. Under “1.” you should see a rectangular box with two ook covers. Below this are the numbers 1 and 2 meaning page number of this “widget” and a greater than sign. Clicking the 2 or greater than sign will take you to the second page of book covers which link to the Kindle versions. Click either cover on page 2 to be taken to the Amazon product page for the Kindle edition while giving Vern’s affiliate account credit.

  71. try this. copy and paste this link and it will bring you directly to an ad you can click on that uses my affiliate information.



    For some reason it’s saying a direct link to Yippee Ki Yay is not allowed, but you can still use that ad in the sidebar of this page under the number 1 that i have been trying to describe. do you not have the column on the right side of this page underneath the “striving for excellence” logo?

    god damn shift key

  72. I think you’re working in such a particular niche area, that there’s only so big you can get while staying anonymous-ish. But the Amazon doo-hickeys are a good idea and worth doing. There may be some more incremental things you can do to make more money and widen your audience while staying true to your interests. For example, a more generalist book on 80’s action cinema would be a way to broaden your audience while staying in your wheelhouse. A foreword by Stallone and a release timed to accompany that of the next Expendables wouldn’t hurt. Alternatively, insert [action star] and [upcoming film] here. Another book on slasher movies timed for a Halloween release would be good, too. A book called “Michael Bay is the anti-christ and other observations” would be cool, if derivative. Time it to be released ahead of the next Bayformers and find some outlet to publish an excerpt (or let you do a shorter, similar piece) in that outlet to herald the book’s release. This is all pretty obvious stuff, so sorry if I’m repeating stuff others have said or that you’ve already tried.

    I can’t promise any of those would be super-lucrative, but maybe more so than the Seagal book but without totally selling out?

    Did your Village Voice thing result in a large, immediate bump in your web traffic or sales? How long before it died out or was there a net increase in your readership even, e.g., 6 months later? Would more of those kinds of gigs more often help not only in terms of whatever they pay (probably not much, if anything)? Even if not, if they drive more people to your books and site, then doing that work on the cheap/free may still be worth while, just as free advertising.

    I’m no expert. Keep on keepin on.

  73. I still say Vern should write a book about nerd shit (Batman, Trek, Wars, Ringlords, Hobbits, Potters…), just because it’s always refreshing to read his completely nostalgia and often background knowledge free but (or therefore) fair takes on these properties.

    (Unfortunately now that this stuff is the hippest shit in the world, it would make him look like a bandwagon jumping sell-out in the eyes of potential readers who don’t know him that well.)

  74. he could write a book about anime, that’s not exactly hip….

    ……I’m just sayin’

  75. One more well deserved donation on its way to you. Love our work, happy to chip in to support it. If you do good work, don’t be shy about passing the hat!

  76. I think a lot of the recommendations Vern gets come from the wrong perspective. Because of his writing style, it feels like Vern is a guy you know and have watched movies with, and you instinctively want to recommend movies as you would to any other partner-in-movie-watching-crime.

    But just because Vern would like it doesn’t mean that it’s going to make for an entertaining Outlaw Review. A lot of my favorite Vern reviews are the oddball ones like THE FOUNTAINHEAD where it’s something I would NEVER have expected him to watch, something perhaps from a culture he’s less immersed in and therefore affords him an ability to see the entire forest without it being obscured by the trees type of thing.

    I do agree with CJ that it’s really fun when Vern reviews nerd stuff; his bit on the LOST finale is one of a fekkin kind let me tell you.

  77. The original Paul

    April 14th, 2013 at 3:42 am

    Knox – Vern actually did Juggernaut I believe.

    Vern – good to know that you can now be bribed, just like the rest of us. Personally I bought both editions of “Seagalogy” (not Seagalology!) when they came out. I would definitely give twenty bucks for a (spoiler-free) “Headhunters” review though.

    What I mostly come here for is the reviews of the good-but-less-common stuff (although it’s definitely fun debating the relative merits of a film like “Passenger 57” in the comments also). Stuff like “Universal Soldier: Regeneration”.

  78. Knox Harrington

    April 14th, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Thanks, Chris and Vern. Shit, I didn’t know you were talking about the sidebar on this site. I thought you were talking about some sidebar on Amazon.com.

    Well, the link on your site works perfectly. But just so you know, whenever I search for Seagalogy in the Kindle store, I always get the same “Your search Seagalogy did not match any products in: Kindle Store” heading, which is why I’ve never been able to find it on Amazon.com or directly through my Kindle. When I do a general search, I get the book, but those two links (paperback and Kindle) that you mention are not there, Chris. Again, I don’t know if it’s some region thing.

    But anyway, this link on your site works, and I’m an idiot for not looking here in the first place. Thanks again.

  79. Knox Harrington

    April 14th, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Oh. I just read on the Amazon page that your link took me to that “This title is not currently available for purchase.” So clearly the Kindle edition isn’t available to South Africans.

    Amazon is racist.

  80. Well lets just take it out back and beat it then!

  81. Knox for whatever reason e-books tend to only sell to a given country, so even in the UK you can’t order a lot of US targeted e-books and such. No idea why that is but they are super picky about digital books from country to country.

  82. I have mixed feelings about the idea of reviewing requested movies for certain levels of donors or whatever. On one hand it sounds like fun, on the other hand I want to do that without you having to pay me for it. But I do know that the person who has contributed by far the most money and time to the cause through his web hosting and technical skills is Chris. So I would be willing to do a requested review as a thank you to him. But I would warn him I have already reviewed FIST OF LEGEND and some of the other anti-Japanese films.

  83. Hey now don’t get me started! Plus the Japanese are but a whisper, unless all of the Central Powers are made to suffer my jingoistic ire cannot be satiated. Second World War? Bush league.

  84. Knox Harrington

    April 15th, 2013 at 4:38 am

    How about you do the reviews-for-money thing for a limited time only? Like one week in the year where guys can pay you to review their movie of choice, and you only do a limited number. That could be fun.

  85. I’m with Renfield, Vern’s picks are as much part of his style as anything. Plus Vern has reviewed our suggestions from time-to-time, he even chose THREE O’CLOCK HIGH from a comment when doing his Back-to-School series. You have to remember Vern doesn’t even review every movie he sees, and I’m sure not always because he doesn’t have anything to add. As an example, I’d love to hear Vern’s take on Terry Gilliam’s BRAZIL. But a lot of people have written about it, there are even books, and while I have no doubt Vern would have something to add he might not feel like it given the film’s history.

    I have a hard enough time thinking of what to add to the Suggestions page. I think he’d enjoy OUTLAND if he hasn’t seen it, and drawing attention to an older mildly well-known movie that has had remake rumors and was directed by a Hyams would be great, but is it too obvious? Something like DON’T BE A MENACE TO SOCIETY WHILE DRINKING YOUR JUICE IN THE HOOD would be interesting, but Vern tends to not do comedies which is why I hesitate to suggest HOT SHOTS or TOP SECRET despite some badass riffing. There are a number of films that come up often but haven’t been reviewed, the positive (like BLADE) and the negative (like BATMAN & ROBIN), which would attract a fair number of comments, but I figure after all these years there’s a reason they remain un-reviewed.

    So I look at the Suggestion page and hesitate. I’d love a Vern review of HEATHERS, I imagine what parts he might focus on. That’s the great surprise, much like his picks.

  86. I’d like to hear what he has to say about this Steven Seagal guy.

  87. The original Paul

    April 15th, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Clubside – I could’ve chosen any one of about fifteen really really great films to ask Vern to review from just last year (seriously, best year for film of my lifetime, easily) but I went with “Headhunters” because I thought that, as well as being a much-underappreciated film, Vern would be able to have a ball with it. There’s SO MUCH that he could say about that movie, in particular certain scenes about it.

    And there marks a slight pause in my campaign to get Vern to review “Headhunters”. Anyways…

    Knox – great idea on the Seagal thing, I don’t know why nobody’s thought of that one before!

  88. The original Paul

    April 15th, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Ok, adding to my last comment, a little more seriously…

    I don’t ever want to be in the position (again, I guess) of asking Vern to review a film that he doesn’t enjoy writing about. Plainly I disagree with his “Kill List” review, but what depresses me is that I yammered on about that one for MONTHS. And in the end, Vern couldn’t find very much to say about it. (I feel safe to say that that won’t be the case with “Headhunters”, even if he hates the film. Which I doubt that he will.)

    The thing about Vern’s reviews is that you can almost rate them by how much fun Vern had writing them. Even the eviscerations. I mean, “Cursed” was a really, really, really great review, that made a lot of interesting points about how films like that get made that felt like they “needed to be said”. And as for a review like “Chaos”, to this day I quote the “Makes Jesus look like kind of a dick in comparison” line at every available opportunity. I got the feeling with both of these reviews that even though Vern didn’t like the films, he liked writing about them. And obviously, with the really good ones like “Regeneration”, you get the same thing, only in those cases it’s a recommendation that’s obviously heartfelt. The “Not bad, not good, not interesting” films are the ones that don’t make for great review material.

  89. Vern reviewing movies for cash is a bad idea. I have favorite films I’d like to see his take on too, but the tit for tat of “here’s some money, now write, monkey!” is just contrary to what this here institution is all about. Vern should write about what he wants and we should be happy to have our vistas broadened. Buying movie reviews, well, that’s pretty much prostitution.

    PS Vern please don’t forget to review ‘Miller’s Crossing’ sometime please, I am counting on you sir!

  90. Brandon L. Summers

    April 15th, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I’m going to try to donate $5 per month, since that’s what I’d pay for a magazine or a comic book. Yours is one of the few sites worth reading daily and I’ve got that much.

  91. Cursed is a great review. I’m commenting without checking if they’ve been added but Cursed was an aint it cool review and most of those were not added to the new site, (not complaining Chris did a great job). Look up Man-Thing and Verns VHS Shelf for some great stuff.

  92. They are on here cool. Look up Frankenfish in any case.

  93. Knox Harrington

    April 16th, 2013 at 1:26 am

    I guess now would be a bad time to ask for a review of Four Lions.

  94. Yesterday made me think about Four Lions too, and I felt really, really bad about it. It really is a great movie tho. It takes big balls to intelligently tackle that subject matter in a comedy.

  95. Hope I caught ’em all Andy C., I added over 150 external reviews when building the Timeline, most from AICN which I’m working still to tag. I’m glad I did it when I did since Vern’s reviews for screengrabblog (nerve) seem to no longer be accessible at that site. If you do find any external reviews I missed let me know, I’ve got a spreadsheet and everything lol

    In fact, now that AICN has retired their old comments for Disqus maybe I should find a way to capture the old talkbacks while they’re still there in case later they aren’t. Maybe just an expandable html block…

  96. Brandon, that’s an excellent point. I’d like to do the same thing but the donation widget is far too complex for me, does anyone know if there’s a way to set up a repeating donation for more than once a month?

    The Comedy Bang Bang podcast does a thing where people can “sponsor” the studio for a day (http://www.earwolf.com/donate/) and they get like a personalized thank you letter and their name mentioned on the show, but it still keeps the financial and creative sides of the show separated. Just an idea since people seem torn between wanting personalized donations and not wanting to intrude on Vern’s process.

    (Reggie Watts does the theme song for that show and is the co-host of the TV version so it’s totally not a weird non-sequitur, I swear!)

  97. Clubside, make sure to prioritise the Choas comments. Priceless.

    Also, Vern, I made a little donation but can’t see it in the benefactors section, that’s find, just wanted to make sure you received it.


  98. I will clubside. It sucks those old talkbacks disappeared.

  99. Okay, here’s something to test. While Vern will make any final decisions I’ve put up a sample embedded AICN Talkback on the CHAOS review:


    So if you have any suggestions leave them here and once I’ve finished mapping all of the AICN posts (you can see the work-in-progress through the AICN tag like at the bottom of the page) and a format is set I’ll start bringing all of them in.

  100. Looks great, clubside. Thanks for doing that.

  101. Did anybody else notice that Juggfuckler’s second post got cut off? I don’t think it’s anything you did, clubside, because I remember it was like that the last time I revisited the talkback on AICN. I suppose rampant threats of juggfuckling were just too much for the internet to handle.

  102. Yeah, sometime around 2006/2007 AICN altered their Talkback database in some bizarre fashion. You’ll find loads of subjects that are cut off which makes sense when you’re too stupid to set a field length properly, but the bodies of the comments don’t make sense unless some hidden character was used to signify the end rather than grabbing the whole body during the transition. I’m working with raw server responses now rather than just saving a page in a browser (like I did or the sample) so I’ll take a closer look.

  103. Pretty great.

  104. Cool, if everyone’s happy with the style I’ll begin attaching the comments as I map all of the AICN posts. Speaking of which we have identified Vern’s very first post to AICN which wasn’t on the site before, so consider it the first fully-mapped AICN transplant:


    What do you guys think about embedding linked images (something not automatically handled during the transition). Valid YouTube links are showing up as embeds without any work so since I have to run multiple steps as it is to finish the conversion is it worth it to link images when they are still valid?

  105. That’s pretty fuckin’ cool clubside.

  106. I think it’s worth it if it’s not too much trouble. It’s cool you found the Mayfield obit. He did one for Westlake too. Not sure if that’s on here.

  107. Okay, we’re now at over 100 Talkbacks added. You can currently find all of the AICN reviews that have been completed by choosing AICN from the Categorizations sub-menu under the Home menu. I’ve found some weird things when exporting that obviously resulted from various changes to the Talkbacks over time: truncated subjects, empty posts, posts referenced that are now gone because the user was banned, weird HTML entities. But it’s all there as it shall remain now that AICN has implemented Disqus for comments.

    If you enjoy Vern putting the smackdown on a Talkbacker, especially one whose posts have since been removed, follow along with the stylings of Ringbearer9 in these two:


  108. PAIN AND GAIN does not disappoint. I laughed a lot, more than at most movies made by so-called comedy professionals. Mark Wahlberg (as Officer Jack Pain) brings a nice edge of banal sociopathy to his usual well-meaning dope persona, and The Rock (as Detective-Sergeant Hezekiah Gain) gives probably his most versatile performance ever, veering from sweet-natured man-mountain to coke-addled berserker over the course of a fast-paced, well-spun yarn. Removed from the contractual need to deliver an unironic hero’s quest in keeping with the demands of toy makers and other corporate overlords, Bay lets spectacle arise from story instead of the other way around for the first time ever, and the result is an admirably feverish black comedy delivered by some of the best straight men in the business. The lower budget furthers blurs the line between Jerry Bruckheimer and Lloyd Kaufman that Bay has been straddling like a snotty teenage colossus for his entire career. It’s no BAD BOYS II, but if you don’t laugh at “Jesus Christ has blessed me with many gifts. One of them is knocking people the fuck out!” you might just be hatin’.

  109. Chopper Sullivan

    April 27th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Sounds awful.

  110. Brad Jones did a midnight screening review for it and said that he loved it as much as he hated Transformers 3, and that it’s the sort of story that only Bay could do justice to, because it’s about 90s excess and stupidity…and an actually true story. Sadly it doesn’t come out till August over here.

  111. There’s a fun runner about Neil Cumpston in a few Talkbacks in and around this one:


    At one point Vern even seems irritated, almost to a “I believe the lady doth protest too much” level lol. Look for his approximation of a Cumpston review it’s wonderful!

    p.s. boner!

  112. That’s funny, I don’t remember trying to start a feud with Neil Cumpston. I was harsher in the KING KONG talkback too. It made me mad because people would compare me unfavorably to him in all my talkbacks, and I had been reviewing longer and I felt his were just jokes and not actual reviews. I didn’t know originally that it was Patton Oswalt (it looks like I did at that point) and I have all the respect in the world for him for being in BLADE III and seeming to be a really smart and cool guy. But I liked my Ain’t It Cool reviews better than his as actual film criticism so I took that personally.

    He could clean my clock in comedy or rat-voicing though.

  113. That’s why I went with the word runner, it wasn’t you trying to start a feud (though you do challenge him in one inspired comment) just him coming up in the Talkback, and unlike the way you dealt with Talkback douchebags you got a bit worked up. Of course it wasn’t Neil himself so the fact that other dudes were bringing him up was probably a factor.

    Hope you found the multi-part comment where you offer your take on a Cumpston review, that’s where my p.s. came from, it’s almost as good as your Shallit on EIGHT BELOW.

  114. Yeah but when I read those it does look like I was trying to start a feud with him, throwing in comments about his height and stuff. I wouldn’t have meant that seriously so I think I was up to something there.

  115. I will admit, PAIN & GAIN looks like a very solid rental, I’m looking forward to it, but no way am I shelling out to see a Bay movie in theaters after TRANSFORMERS, never again friendo, never again

  116. I just finished reading the PAIN & GAIN book (also available here: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/1999-12-23/news/pain-gain/full/) and while I’m curious to see how Bay has treated the story, there is no way in hell I will put down money for the dubious privilege. This is the sort of story and characters that could have come straight out of an Elmore Leonard novel, but the tone is such a delicate blend of black comedy and horror that I could only imagine a handful of filmmakers that could pull it off; the Coens, Tarantino…

    Bay isn’t one of them, in my opinion. I am very much looking forward to Vern’s review, though. Are you going to do it, Vern? Take another Bay-Bullet for the team?

  117. I think I will continue my undefeated streak of missing every single Michael Bay movie at the cinema.

  118. I can’t go that far with you Mr. Majestyk on PAIN & GAIN.

    But I’ll say this: Bay really tried to make a good movie here. He doesn’t quite get there, but its obvious he tried. And some of P&G is legitimately funny. Also the pacing is mostly good, so that’s good. I give this is a miss but unlike OBLIVION, I was always somewhat engaged by the story. It actually might be worth seeing, if not for being a really good movie. (OBLIVION doesn’t have that.)

    I think the biggest problem with P&G is that Bay can step outside his usual movies, but he can’t get the Bay out of his movies. I mean P&G gives us the same problems that are always in Bay movies: Overlong (boy that 3rd act fucking drags), lame fratboy sense of humor makes a streaky appearance (please Majestyk don’t tell me that fat guy shitting all over the bathroom made you laugh.) Oh and oh yeah the Rock beats up a gay guy for hitting on him. Look I get it, Rock is a bad guy and so bad guy doing bad stuff. But was that really necessary?

    Still that real estate agent assuming Anthony Mackie was a rapper or pro athlete because he’s black was hilarious.

    And you know what? Every Bay movie for me annoyed me with whiney, unlikeable protagonists. For once, the protagonists in a Bay film are intentionally meant to be loathed. You’re supposed to hate them, instead of hpoing shia La Beof wins or survives instead of a Transformer stepping on him. Or Nicholas Cage the bitchy Beatles fan in THE ROCK saving the day or whatever.

    Plus I dig that Shaloub actually gets his revenge. I liked that.

  119. I’m glad you gave it a shot, RRA. I’m a but more in tune with Bay’s sense of humor than you are so I’ll bump it up to actual good movie and not just earnest attempt. I didn’t laugh at the guy shitting, but I did laugh at Shaloub’s reaction to it. I was part of a very receptive audience so it wasn’t hard to get swept up.

    As for the Rock beating up the creepy gay priest, that kind of rubbed me the wrong way, too, but then he made up with the guy at the end. That’s the guy he was sitting with in the church when he got arrested. So it kind of evened out for me on the homophobia front, which has historically not been Bay’s strongest area.

    On a similar note, I heard some critics calling Ken Jeong’s character racist. Can somebody explain that to me? The character was just a huckster. He was a douchebag, but there wasn’t anything stereotypically Asian about him. The character could have been any race whatsoever and it wouldn’t have changed a thing. What, because he’s named Wu, that’s racist? Is having Jeong in your movie automatically making fun of Asians now? I don’t get it. It’s almost like certain individuals have an axe to grind with certain other individuals.

  120. “I didn’t laugh at the guy shitting, but I did laugh at Shaloub’s reaction to it.”

    That’s not exactly any better honestly but whatever we just disagree. Reminds me of the robot pissing in one of those TRANSFORMERS films. I would insult it as a Jay Leno level of humor, but that’s just a mean insult in general.

    “As for the Rock beating up the creepy gay priest, that kind of rubbed me the wrong way, too, but then he made up with the guy at the end. ”

    I know but that still rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe not as much as it would otherwise because Rock was playing a villain, but really bothered me was that my East Tennessee redneck audience who saw P&G with me laughed at that scene. And I’m certain Bay didn’t intend that scene to be funny. Bay has always had a jock, fratboy view of the world where gay is a weakness and well that’s always played well in Jesus/Nixonland. I know Bay more overt than usual is showing what a douchey view that is, remember Marky Mark asking those kids if they’re straight or not?

    “On a similar note, I heard some critics calling Ken Jeong’s character racist. ”

    I didn’t find it racist. Rather I found that cameo hilarious, like a Rockstar Games transparent parody satire you know?

  121. Did the shitting/Gay Priest beating happen in real life with those guys though? Cos I heard that one point in the movie the Rock’s character is using a barbeque grill to [spoiler for something that’s dumb] and the movie actually pauses to remind you that that this is still a true story.

  122. And that they try dressing up as ninjas at one point and that actually happened too.

  123. being 1995, do any of the characters sit down to play the Playstation 1 at any point?

  124. I don’t remember, but there is a completely anachronistic GameCube controller in one shot.

  125. lol whoops, how could they make that mistake? is there a time travel plot twist or something?

  126. The barbecue bit was real, but it was Mark Wahlberg’s Lugo character who does it; after telling the other guys he’d “take care of it”, one of them returned to find him on the street, barbecuing away.

    I’d strongly recommend reading the book/article.

  127. The original Miami New Times 3-part article series published in 1999 which became the basis for PAIN & GAIN.



    You even have a “where are they now?” article, and the real-life detective (that Ed Harris played) actually recorded a blues track and put it up online. can’t find that track, but I’m sure Vern can track it down on his own.

  128. Okay, this is the big one! Over 175 archived Talkbacks have been added and all of Vern’s AICN contributions have been marked. You can find all of those posts under the AICN entry under Categorizations on the menu or you can click this:


    Five of the Talkbacks were too big to paste at the end of their entries without making a change to the server so those open in separate windows/tabs. Can you guess which ones? No, CHAOS isn’t on the list, I think you’ll find the gargantuan Talkbacks are where you’d least expect them for the most part. I tried to format the pop-ups to work on tablets and phones as well as desktops so let me know if you find any problems.

    You can also find a dozen or so articles written for Nerve, Film.com and others here:


    If you know of any articles/reviews I missed on any of these sites or others please let me know. I searched as best I could and the hope is to at least have a record of all of Vern’s writing as you never know what will happen on other sites (such as screengrabblog at Nerve which is no longer available and their articles are no longer available).

  129. PAIN & GAIN finally came out over here today and I loved it. Hilarious and really well put together take on a batshit insane story, and everyone in it is brilliant. I think it was a testament to the writing that as much as I was laughing at how much those guys were dumbasses and despicable, I was still a bit bummed out by the fate two of them got.
    re: the gay priest scene. I was surprised that got such a reaction. I was expecting something more prolonged and unpleasant, but it’s literally 2 seconds long, really brief and blunt and played partly seriously immediately afterwards as The Rock’s character regrets losing it and the fact he “could have killed him”. It also seemed like a believable character trait for a macho born again Christian who’d just got out of prison to have. I wonder if there’s any deleted scenes of when he goes back to the priest at the end.
    Also, I LOVED the little detail with his character being shown carrying a skateboard around in several scenes early on, but never actually being shown riding it.

  130. I will give a movie like P&G credit in that I still stand on my problems with the film, yet something about that film sticks positively in my mind after all these months. I still also believe its absolutely worth seeing. I’m surprised Vern hasn’t reviewed it yet.

    Does Bay have a cult hit on his hands?

  131. I relish, result in I found just what I used to be having
    a look for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.

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