Dear Judd Apatow:

You are an ASSHOLE.

But don’t despair, there’s hope.

Apatow and leslie mann

Apatow and wife Leslie Mann…

I know you think you’ve done amazing things with your Hollywood writing, producing and directing career. And if you were 14 years old, I’d agree wholeheartedly. But you just gotta know, Hollywood box office bucks don’t equal quality. OK?

To be fair, you were the driving force behind a TV show years back called Freaks and Geeks that was truly inspired. Your sensitive take on awkward teenagers coping in a COOL and cruel high school world was heartrendingly beautiful. But you’ve plunged to the depths of depravity in recent years making movies such as Knocked Up, and This is 40, that glorify and promote male infantilism, shallowness and immaturity.

And it’s the misogynism of your characters that really bugs me.

I don’t like it when men put down and/or objectify women as you have your ManBoys Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Jonah Hill do in much of your stuff. To be fair, I don’t enjoy it either when the tables are turned and women gorge on the weakened entrails of us men.

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The world is full of assholes…YES, EVEN I AM AN ASSHOLE…at least to some (badly misinformed!) people or at least some of the time. (Please don’t overload the comment section of this blog post with agreeing statements on this point, OK?) I guess you could say that about most of us.

To soothe your fractured ego, I should tell you that you’re not alone. Following is a shortlist of those on my current Asshole list:

  • Lance Armstrong
  • John Mayer
  • Madonna
  • Billy Bob Thornton
  • Tiger Woods
  • Chris Brown
  • Charlie Sheen
  • The Lumineers
  • Stephen Harper
  • Kanye West
  • Donald Trump

For all I know, you are a really nice guy Judd, which raises the question:

Do we, should we, separate the abilities and talents from the person him/herself?

I don’t have a good answer here. Using Lance Armstrong as one example, I greatly appreciate the athleticism and drive that he brought to his cycling career. Watching him pedal his way up the stunningly steep slope of Alp d’Huez on his bike was a wonder to behold. With or without the aid of drugs, I believe he is an extraordinary athlete who just happens to be an ass in many ways. Maybe I could say the same about you Judd if I only knew you better.

Today’s cinematic world is full of great inspirational and aspirational moviemakers eg. Steven Spielberg, Nora Ephron(late), Ang Lee, Martin Scorsese, Kathryn Bigelow, Woody Allen, Jane Campion. These people, through their artistic genius and skill, can have us sit in the dark and laugh, cry, and think, often within the same scene. I celebrate their amazing prowess. Judd, you have it too. I can see it slyly peeking out and seeping around corners in some of your movies. It’s a waste of talent, shedding its tears in a dark secluded alleyway.

Our young men are watching your cinematic product and living the life that you project as appealing and good. Only you, Judd Apatow, are benefitting…you see, you’re making a bunch of “prostitutes” out of men and collecting millions of bucks on the sidelines and laughing your head off at all the ManBoys you’re helping to create.

Sure, we shouldn’t just shoot you as the messenger. We all have the ability to make choices. But just like prostitutes who are forced into doing things they don’t want to because they have limited choices, your writing and filming takes full advantage of the weaknesses and frailties of young men. Our young fellas are struggling with a world that has changed dramatically in a short time span and is pulling the rug out from under their feet. They need help moving forward, not in slipping back into the anal recesses of their own wretched flatulence.

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Even Shakespeare plumbed the depths of childlike humour, so at least you have some divine company. “O Romeo, that she were, O that she were an open-arse and thou a popp’rin’pear.” –Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene I.  Shakespeare generally reached down with subtlety, nuance, and craft. Try following his lead, you could find a worse mentor out there.

I don’t normally rant on about things like this. And please let me finish by repeating myself. I think you have some great talents that have been hinted at at times in films like The 40 year Old Virgin and Bridesmaids. You have the neurons and synapses in abundant supply to do great stuff.  There’s a dumptruck load of money in your back account now, so don’t settle for the low bar. More truckloads of films making manure-into-money won’t make your smile any bigger at this point.

You’ve passed 40 now. It’s time to grow up. Don’t confuse inanity with good-natured and harmless boyishness. There is some wisdom and humour in you that can be unleashed in fine fashion.

Make the second half of your career funny, but uplifting and aspirational. Find your internal wise wit. I hold hope in my heart that your best time is coming.

Take off that Pimp’s fedora and fur coat and pull yourself up from the fetid gutters. The finishing cut of real man’s clothes will fit you better than you realize.

Cheering you on from the Cinema Sidelines,

Man on the Fringe

Steve Martin to Judd

Apparently I’m not the only one who writes to you Judd!

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