Friday, April 13, 2007

Jamie Kennedy Grinds His Axe

Jamie Kennedy dislikes criticism so much, he's made a documentary called Heckler all about audience members and online critics who dare admit they don't like something.

The trailer is quite upsetting. It shows a whole heap of people bitterly resisting any kind of knock back at all. What's their point? That people who aren't informed have and share opinions and that this is wrong? Admittedly, most hecklers have nothing in mind other than trying to look smart (at which they most regularly fail) and many online critics don't have the first idea what they even mean to say (much like similar numbers of offline critics) but that's not exactly the point, is it? Either you believe all criticism is subjective and there's no hope of attaining an objective point of view to relate or share - in which case everybody is entitled to their opinion; or you believe that there are objective truths we can agree on about a work of art or piece of media - in which case the wrong points of view can be discredited and the right ones defended with evidence.

For the record, I think Kennedy was very well cast in the Scream films, mildly annoying in Three Kings and shockingly weak in everything else of his I've ever seen. The Jamie Kennedy Experiment was perhaps the low point of his career, but Heckler isn't looking much better. Lumping online critics in with the fools who shout out in comedy clubs is perhaps his biggest single mistake - one of them is an opinion that needs to be sought out, the other can be described as an abrupt, rude interruption. The interruption factor makes heckling in a live environment a completely different animal to any other way of sharing your dislike of somebody or their work.

I was surprised for a second that Kevin Smith wasn't in the trailer someplace, venting against the myriad Talkbackers and bloggers who have dragged him through the dirt in every direction, but then I realised a likely reason why he wasn't. Smith is probably as depressed by Jamie Kennedy as the rest of us.

I'd like to collect opinions on Jamie Kennedy, the Heckler trailer and the premise of the film in the comments section below, no matter if you agree or disagree with me. Please leave a few words, taking his side or against it, because you just know Jamie's going to find his way here someway or another.


badMike said...

I don't think I'm with you on this one. First, I don't agree with you about the Jamie Kennedy Experiment. That show cracks me up. BUT, Malibu's Most Wanted was atrocious and Kickin' It Old Skool doesn't look like much of anything. I think Jamie's a really funny guy, but needs someone to really push him into great material, or at least just better material.

Heckler doesn't look like it's going after all online critics. If it does, then that's stupid, I will agree. But, if I'm getting the right impression of the trailer, if he goes out and sits down with his biggest online haters, that has the potential to be funny/interesting. Yes, there are lots of legitimate online film sites/critics, but there are also a lot of juvenile jerks out there who just want to write hateful things and I don't see what's wrong with singling them out, if that's in fact what Jamie is doing here.

Anonymous said...

i didn't check the trailer do to lack of interest in the guy making it, but i do feel that this is a subject that is very interesting from a psychological point of view. the internet is a pretty cruel place for criticism - there are no barriers and not much accountability for what is said or why. it's a phenomenon, really and pretty fascinating. aint it cool has gotten away with scathing observations and biases in a way that no other film-related publication has or can. beyond that, perez hilton plays to the lowest common denom and racks up 4 million unique visitors a day. what's the psychology at play here? and when is criticism heckling? it's not like porn, you don't know it when you see it on the internet. hecklers in physical space are obviously more obvious to point out. but i can't read anymore due to its snarky criticism of the media and individuals that borders on psychotic. it shouldn't be outlawed - not at all. but it should be examined by a documentary. the snarkiness of criticism on the net reminds me of the profile of the modern day corporation: psychotic. how does that reflect on where our culture is going? and who will be the moral barometers, the al sharptons, of the net in the future as it grows more mainstream. criticizing a film is one thing, being a vehement talkbacker who spews hate over a film and the people behind it is another. good points though.

Anonymous said...

This is truly sickening. It's the job of a critic to do just that; criticisize, and the way in which our culture's heard mentality is abusing them for this is beyond ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Kennedy is a homophobe. Forver going on about 'homos' and 'fags'.

He needs to be taken down. Thankfully hes doing a good job of that himself.

Anonymous said...

he goes after any critics he can get not just his biggest haters

he couldnt get many

Gus said...

Mostly agree with you Brendon. Hecklers in a live audience is one thing, people getting online and voicing their opinion, even if it's a stupid opinion, is something completely different. Every time a high profile director or actor goes ballistic over the commentary of some random person in the Internet I cringe a little. It's really kind of sad that people who are obviously successful seem unable to accept gracefully that there is someone who doesn't like them.

And from what I can tell from the trailer, his version of going after his critics mostly involves mocking them for not having girlfriends and other silly personal stuff like that. Which is just pathetic.

mikeaddis said...

If you guys want to know anything about the movie HECKLER, just go to and email me there. I'm the director of the film, and can let you know what it's really about. You don't have to guess.

Mike Addis