BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
Satan needs a space heater Ben Levy 2, February

This post may have kicked off an entire category on BrokenJPG that’s produced some of my most popular rants. But make no mistake- I was using humor as a defense against the horrible, mind-searing agony of the monumental fuck-fest that was the first live-action GI Joe movie.

It still stands as one of the shittiest piles of excrement to ever get squeezed out of Hollywood. It didn’t have to be the greatest film of all time. It just had to be campy. Or have over-the-top action. Or avoid putting an entire generation’s beloved childhood heroes into fucking mech suits like some kind of anime fan-fiction.

But the live-action GI Joe film failed all these things. It failed them so badly that even though I didn’t ever see this crapfest, when the trailer for the second came around, I called it shit again. My friends told me I was wrong, that ninja’s fighting on the side of a cliff was pretty damn awesome. But my eyes were blinded by the stinging remains of the feces from years past. I would not- nay, I could not- take a chance. Some trauma is too deep.

But then, this morning, I saw this.

That is a trailer that starts out with Dwayne The Rock/Roadblock Johnson quoting Jay Z. And then using the song that was just quoted as the soundtrack. Which includes ninjas shooting bullets at shuriken, ninjas stabbing other ninjas on the side of a cliff, and Bruce Willis shooting a machine gun out the back of a pickup.

Do you hear that, dear readers? That’s the sound of my cold, blackened heart beginning to beat once more. Am I scared? Terrified. Would I have thought it possible that I would even consider seeing the sequel of the cinematic sin that launched a thousand (or, like, ten) angry posts? No, I would not.

But that looks like a great “bad” movie. And that’s all we ever needed it to be.

Comments Off

I love that I no longer have a car, even if it means I no longer get to write posts like this one. I love the fact that once I get on the train, someone else drives me to work for an hour each day, and I get to read a book. There’s just one catch. The train is full of people.

Now listen, it’s not that I hate people. Well, it’s not just that I hate them. I mean, I totally do. In fact, I’ve been thinking of putting it in the WTF, just so there’s no confusion. No what it is, is the fact that you slimy, mucus-excreting, bacteria crucibles don’t know how to cover your gdammed mouths when you sneeze.

My wife is a doctor. A pediatric resident. That means she sees kids. Sick kids. All day, every day. And then she comes home and hugs me. Do you know how many times, since medical school, we’ve been able to trace a cold I caught to her work? Maybe twice.

She works in an environment where they catch this “everything and the kitchen sink” variety of illness they term “pede-rot” and make fun of the fact that they’ll all catch MERSA, which is an acronym that loosely translates into “super virus culled from the dark necrotic pit of the devourer of worlds, which will slowly disassemble your body from the inside out”. But I’ve avoided them all.

But you. You festering pot of barely evolved protoplasm. One fucking sneeze. One nose wipe with your stupid fucking fingerless gloves which you then rub all over the subway car pole like a penniless stripper who has to make rent by 9am tomorrow. You manage to do me in every winter.

And they’re not bacteria, explains The doctor Wife, no no. These are viruses. Can’t do anything about viruses. We can cure testicular cancer with a 98% rate of success now, but we can’t clear your left nostril. Now come here and give me a hug.

Comments Off

If it were up to me, there would only be two movie genres: Action and Comedy. Watching the news for 5 seconds will prove to anyone that there is more than enough horrible, terrifying, depressing shit going on in the Real World as it is. I see no reason why I should pay money to spend 90+ minutes subjecting myself to more of it in a theater. Which is why, when The Wife brought home “Hachiko, A Dog’s Story” I told her I didn’t want to watch it.

That’s because a better title for this film would have been “Hachiko: The Cure for Happiness.” Let me share with you the official trailer.

A few observations about what you’ve just seen:

1. You can tell the trailer just explained the entire story of the film. All of it.
2. It is depressing as fuck.

That was the entire film. The whole thing. I will now sum up this honey-where-do-we-keep-the-sleeping-pills-I-need-to-OD-on-them story for you in two sentences: A man’s dog loved him so much that every day it waited at the train station for him to get home from work. Then one day he died, and it kept waiting for him for ten more years.

I have communicated this to you in two sentences. The trailer has shown you all of it in two minutes (and with decent editing could have done it in one). THE MOVIE DRAGS IT OUT FOR 90 MINUTES.

The worst part was, I knew what would happen. The guy was going to die. The dog was going to be more depressed than a hobo who just discovered they make non-alcoholic mouthwash. But it doesn’t happen at first. No. The film spends the better part of an hour showing you how much the dog loves it’s owner.

At this point, you have to ask yourself if this movie is the work of Satan. Do it’s creators derive sustenance from the torment of depressed souls? If so, every viewing of this film must feed all the demons in hell for a thousand years.

And just when it’s dragged on so long that you think maybe you’ve misinterpreted the trailer in some way and the guy actually lives- he dies.

And the dog can’t understand why he doesn’t come home.

It may interest you to know that I have trouble crying. This is not a macho thing I’m making up to impress you. It’s just a fact. There have been times where I have wanted to cry, times where crying would have been appropriate, and I have been unable to do so. From the time this fictional character dies, until the end of the movie, I CRIED FOR 45 MINUTES STRAIGHT.

Forty. Five. Fucking. Minutes. I am in advertising, ok? I have written scripts with montages that had to show the birth, life, and death of a human being in five seconds. The soulless assgoblins who directed this dog-lover’s nightmare went and dragged out the canine’s heartbroken, lonely existence for forty-five minutes.

You might think the moral of the story is that the dog eventually moved on, and rediscovered love in the family it’s owner left behind. You might think this is some story about how the whole town adopted the dog as their own- how they took him in and sheltered him. You might even think that maybe it turns out there was some big mistake and the guy wasn’t dead after all he just went out to get milk and then his car broke down and his GPS battery died and he got really really lost before hitting his head and getting amnesia and hey it’s all right now boy I found you at last and we can go play fetch in the yard.

None of that happened. The guy died. The dog waited ten years for him to show up at the train station. Then the dog died.

I bet you’re fairly depressed now, aren’t you? Maybe you do what I do when something in a movie scares or upsets you- you tell yourself it’s not real. Remind yourself they’re just actors. Think about how as soon as that scene ended somebody yelled “Cut!” and everyone clapped and then opened obscenely large checks before jumping into their limos and heading off to do really expensive drugs at the wrap party. That’s what The Wife was telling me to think of when the screen went black.

Some white words appeared. They say that Hachiko was a real dog. They tell you the date he was born, and the name of his owner. They tell you the year his owner died, and how he went and sat at the same spot at a train station in Japan for the next nine years, waiting for his owner until he died. And then they show you the bronze statue that was erected in the spot he always sat in. The real statue that’s still there today. At the real train station. Commemorating the real dog.

So I hope you weren’t just feeling better about yourself. Cause everything you just saw and felt was totally justified. It was a true g-damned story. If anyone needs a razor to slit their wrists, you can borrow mine. It’s only been used once.

And when the coroner rules my death a suicide, you tell him to arrest The Wife on charges of murder. I told her no, but she made me watch that damn film. Because she’s trying to kill me.

I’m not watching another movie for the rest of my life unless it contains at least 12 explosions during the opening credits or a fat man slipping on a banana peel. Preferably both.

Comments Off
Hallmark is Trying to Kill Me Ben Levy 14, February

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I explained last year how I feel about this holiday. Short version: not a fan.

But sellers of chocolate and some dead Christian dude demand that on February 14th I make certain overtures to The Wife. So a few days ago I went to get a card.

There were aisles of these things. Rows upon rows of pink, red, reddish-pink, and pinkish-red. And they all, without exception, sucked.

I don’t mean they were bad. No, no. Bad would be an improvement. I mean they flat-out reeked. There must have been about 200 cards there. But really, there were only three:

“Funny” Cards
Front of card: [Sexual Innuendo]
Inside of card: [HAHA, I bet you thought I was talking about sex, but really I meant something completely non-sexual. It's funny because you were wrong!]

Example
Front of card: “This valentine’s day, I thought we could try a new position”
Inside of card: Couple watching TV while sitting upside down on the couch. (This is real. It exists. This one hurt so bad when I saw it that it seared itself into my brain and I’ve been having ‘Nam-like flashbacks ever since.)

“Heartfelt” Cards
Front of card: [Some mush so diabetes-inducingly sweet it would embarrass the writer of a Harlequin Romance novel.]
Inside of card: [Blank. Fucking blank. Because clearly after the profession of love and emotion you just read, no further words are necessary. You get to pay full price for half a card.]

Example
Front of card: My soulmate, this Valentine’s Day we will share chocolate strawberries and bubbling champagne, but what really sustains me is your endless love.
Inside of card: (What you need more? Read the front again, that shit was amazing!)

Rhyming Cards
Front of card: [A rhyme. Not a good one.]
Inside of card: [Happy Valentine's Day!]

Example
Front of card: “Nothing says ‘love’ like a card that rhymes/ Dear Hallmark, please fucking get with the times.”
Inside of card: “Wasn’t that rhyme awesome?! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

And there you have it. That was it. That was the entire 200 card “selection”.

Listen. Hallmark. I know I’m a writer. I know that makes me extra critical. And I know that makes it a little unfair of me to say I could do better in my sleep. (And by “sleep” I mean “while experiencing a medically-induced coma”.) But presumably you employ writers of your own. Ones who specialize in this “craft”. I mean, for the love of shit, you practically MADE UP this holiday. Can’t you do any better than “SEXUAL INNUENDO- JUST KIDDING! LOL!”?

You know, I actually looked through those the most. And here’s why- I was secretly hoping to find the one card that said “Hey Baby, this Valentine’s Day, let’s get busy”. Then on the inside: “No, seriously- it’s Valentine’s Day, you pretty much have to have sex with me. Start stripping.”

That card would have been fucking awesome. I know it’s not for everyone. But you have an audience of millions. Stretch a little. You can’t tell me your writers go home satisfied and hand these things to their wives and girlfriends. Who the hell wants to hand their loved-one a poem that sounds like it was written by a 2nd grader? “Oh my sweet/ you’re so neat/have some candy hearts to eat.” The only benefit is it makes whatever you do next seem fucking amazing: “Oh honey, a ball of dryer lint? You shouldn’t have! This is so much better than the card you just gave me!”

Fuck you, Hallmark. Fuck you and the vomit-inducing cliches you rode in on. I tried to end the pain by slitting my wrists with your crappy cards, but after 20 minutes I had nothing to show for it besides an arm covered in red and pink glitter. So next year, do me a favor:

Either stop writing shit lines, or invest in heavier card stock.

Comments Off
Humanity is trying to kill me. Ben Levy 17, January

A week ago today, CNN.com ran an article stating that thousands of people were depressed after seeing Avatar. Because real life couldn’t compare to it.

Let me say two things to start with.

First, Avatar is a beautiful movie. Visually, it raises the bar for film. It is our generations’ Star Wars, replacing Cinnabun hairdos and walking shag carpets with elongated Smurfs and braids that have planetary ethernet cables.

avatar-movie-image-3

Second, this article might very well be a hoax. A piece of marketing specifically calculated to get everyone talking about the movie for an extra week. If so, bravo sirs. You managed to get me to blog about it. But not before looking into gene splicing as a way to forever separate myself from the vomit-inducing shame-spiral of deplorableness that is humanity.

Even if it is a hoax, I am fully prepared to believe it’s true. That’s the sad part. It almost doesn’t matter whether it’s real or not. (I say “almost” because if these people do exist, they need to be rounded up, escorted into spaceships, and shot into the sun as soon as possible.) Regardless, the fact is that our species has sunk to a level where the statements in this article aren’t even a stretch.

avatar-movie

What the very existence of this forum thread named “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible” means, is that there are thousands of people on our planet right now who feel that sitting in the dark for two and a half hours is a more vivacious experience then taking a walk. It feels more real. Some advice for these people, and I mean this in all seriousness: please consider all the sensory impressions you get walking from a dark theater, through the parking lot, back to your car.

I really want you all to try this. Listen to the crunch of the gravel and broken glass beneath your dirty white tennis shoes. Inhale deeply, and smell the heady aroma of I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Called-Butter popcorn coming from the theater behind you. Feel the way your spine twists and shatters as I run over you with my car. Take it all in. That’s reality you’re feeling. In a second you’ll feel some more of it as I back up over you.

Humanity claims to rule this planet, yet damn near none of us could survive without a roof over our heads for more than two days. And I mean in the middle of New York. If you air-dropped us Bear Grylls style into the Amazon, we’d make it just long enough to discover our iPhones didn’t get wi-fi before tripping over an exposed root and impaling ourselves on poisonous tree frogs or something. So why should I expect those same masses to be able to distinguish between reality and some bright lights?

avatar-movie-picture-4

Always before I’ve blamed Hollywood. They have mocked my childhood by building multi-million dollar, 200 minute-long dildos to shove up the ass of every 80s show I ever loved. Repeatedly. And I screamed at them. I ranted. I refused to pay even one cent to see these reborn abortions. But perhaps I owe Hollywood an apology.

If there are really are thousands of so-called people who feel that a Ferngully remake is more real than my fist hitting them repeatedly in the face, maybe I should give Hollywood a break. After all, there are millions of idiots who pay for this crap. They make it profitable. Perhaps Hollywood isn’t really to blame. Maybe, just this once, I should apologize.

Of course, those fucktards got in a bidding war over the rights to the Atari game Asteroids. A bidding war.

I’ll agree with those azure-obsessed, movie-masturbating, mouth-breathers on one point. I fucking hate this planet.

Comments Off
No Jury Will Convict Me Ben Levy 16, August

All of us had at least one moment in our childhood where we made a mistake. No, not a mistake. A critical, life-threatening error in judgement. We didn’t know it at the time. As soon as our parents discovered that we had given the family pet a haircut, turned the house into a swimming pool, or lit our sibling on fire, we figured it out. Their eyes grew impossibly wide before vanishing into slits. We heard the intake of breath as they swelled up and towered above us. And from the depths of this thing- our lifelong protector turned embodiment of rage- came forth a roar that rivaled the thunder of Zeuss himself:

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”

Remember that moment. Close your eyes and return to it. Do you recall the timbre of those damning tones? Do you shiver in remembered terror? Good. Now read on.

“NORTON, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”

death of decency

You have spit upon not only my childhood memories but my adult profession as well. You created this bastardization of nostalgia and marketing. A twisted horror that mocks all that I have lived for in my 26 years on this planet. This is not an error in judgement. This is not an ill-advised experiment. This is a mutation, a blight, a physical scar upon the very concept of decency itself.

I hope the sniveling, idiotic, fool responsible for this has already changed their name, address, and gender. It won’t stop me from finding them. But it will draw out my revenge.

Because I am coming for you. And when I find you, I will perpetrate such horrors upon you as to cause a Guantanamo Inquisitor to shudder and reach for his “idea journal”. Your end will not be swift. It will not be silent. It will not be clean.

I don’t know how you sleep at night. I hope it is with the fevered nightmares of a man who knows he has murdered the memories of children, and the waning respectability of an entire profession. I suggest you pray for a crushing death beneath a falling pallet of the very horrors you helped create. It will be kinder than what I do to you.

Yo-Joe.