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January 1, 2008 9:40 PM   Subscribe

I've internally debated the merits of addressing my appearance in, (and thus tacit condoning of) "Alvin and The Chipmunks". I am not stupid nor unobservant. I knew going into this movie that I would be eating a lot of delicious sh*t for it.
-David Cross, on appearing in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.
posted by beaucoupkevin (104 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I tried again to explain the concept of the value of "credibility" and "artistic integrity" but he refused to take it in exchange for the house.

Oh, David Cross. You put it so well.
posted by Brainy at 9:52 PM on January 1, 2008


Selling out is the new "keepin' it real."
posted by dhammond at 10:00 PM on January 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do you honestly care about this? Jebus.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:03 PM on January 1, 2008


I love David. I really do. But this reads like a drunken, semi-regretful rant. Still, good on him for sticking to his guns and defending his choices.
posted by piratebowling at 10:05 PM on January 1, 2008


"Angles In The Outfield"?
posted by sourwookie at 10:09 PM on January 1, 2008


Good for him.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:09 PM on January 1, 2008


i enjoyed reading that.
posted by empath at 10:10 PM on January 1, 2008


I didn't break your kettle! It was in one piece when I returned it last week! And besides, I never borrowed your stupid kettle in the first place

Buddy, are you embracing selling out because you love working and being with friends and buying property or denying that it occured because it was just a kids movie that didn't trample any cultural icons?
posted by allen.spaulding at 10:10 PM on January 1, 2008


Also, I'm looking forward to Jason Lee's blog entry about how hurt he is that David Cross called him a 'gaping void.'
posted by empath at 10:11 PM on January 1, 2008


This is all well and good, but where is his explanation for being in Scary Movie 2?!
posted by papakwanz at 10:12 PM on January 1, 2008


This guy's legacy has been tainted forever. It's Insane.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:16 PM on January 1, 2008 [19 favorites]


It's like when Jon Stewart gave Jennifer Love Hewitt so much shit for doing Garfield. I mean I love Jon Stewart, but I thought it was pretty out of line. I mean god forbid someone actually take a job for the money, just like the other 99% of the population does.
posted by whoaali at 10:20 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed the candor of that post. Good for him for writing it. And, yeah, it was interesting. So much of the info we receive about movie acting is shrouded in idealism. It's interesting to here someone reasonably successful talk about how it sucks to be out of work, how they don't make as much money as you think. And it's nice to hear a Hollywood actor talk about how some of the recent films he appeared in were crappy. Not something you hear a lot...
posted by ManInSuit at 10:21 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I want to be in a Chipmunks movie now.
posted by dhammond at 10:24 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It actually seems like a savvy but risky choice of the film studios to pick him for the role. Bucks in his pocket. Interesting how he disses crass commercialization .

I knew Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. when I was a little kid. His stage name was David Seville. His cousin's wife, was my godmother. He was a fun guy.

How the chipmunks came about: As David Seville, Bagdasarian had another number-one record with his song, "Witch Doctor", which was also his first experiment with speeding an audio track to get the distinctive, comical, squeaky, high-pitched voices. That success led to him to record "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" with The Chipmunks, for which he won two Grammy Awards in 1959.
posted by nickyskye at 10:27 PM on January 1, 2008


More background: this was in response to Patton Oswalt's blog entry.
posted by mathowie at 10:35 PM on January 1, 2008


It's like when Jon Stewart gave Jennifer Love Hewitt so much shit for doing Garfield. I mean I love Jon Stewart, but I thought it was pretty out of line. I mean god forbid someone actually take a job for the money, just like the other 99% of the population does.

Yeah, definitely true what you say about Jennifer Love Hewitt not getting a fair shake from Stewart. On the other hand, 99% of Cross's schtick is ridiculing this EXACT type of thing. I can think of dozens of bits from his comedy albums and interviews and stories that I have read about him where he tears into the sorts of people who make, act in, and watch things like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Yeah, people need to pay the bills. That's why a lot of them do that shit you built your career tearing them down for. I generally like him (especially on Mr. Show and Arrested Development, but don't have a lot of sympathy for his "explanation" here.
posted by Arch_Stanton at 10:37 PM on January 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


This guy's legacy has been tainted forever.

David Cross is a funny guy. I love his work. But I think what he understands is that he is never going to have a "legacy." Even if he had the possibility of having a legacy, I think it safe to say that he would immediately turn it in in order to get food on the table, or the place near the Deleware River he wanted.

People gotta get paid. This is the real world. The fact that he was in this movie isn't going to make the things that he did before that made me laugh any less funny.

I think these reactions are more about "Holy shit! Someone I liked did something I think uncool, and that means that I am wrong for liking him in the first place. He destroyed some of my self-identification enjoyment I received from thinking of myself as someone that likes cool things."
posted by Ironmouth at 10:38 PM on January 1, 2008 [10 favorites]


He is lying. Shit is not delicious.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:46 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cross is my favorite comic. But I'm afraid his desire for a cottage upstate doesn't quite make up for his choice to... well...

Compare: "I was thinking of getting the new Hybrid LS. To my surprise, the local dealer didn't take 'ethical repute' as a down payment. So I got into international arms dealing.'"

I was gonna say Patton "Blade: Trinity" Oswalt (second favorite) had no right to complain, but I went and read his blog post and it only seems like a little dig.
posted by abcde at 10:51 PM on January 1, 2008


Chris Walken did Kangaroo Jack and Gigli all in one year and he's still the shit. But then he's freakin' Chris Walken. The guy just likes to work.
posted by bread-eater at 10:58 PM on January 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


But I think what he understands is that he is never going to have a "legacy."

I dunno, Ironmouth. You're right, his work, taken as a whole, is clearly all over the map. But for zit-faced twerps like myself, who were given their first heavy dose of deeply cynical anti-authoritarian satire in the mid-90s with late night airings of Mr. Show on HBO, he kind of has a free pass for at least another decade or two.

If he records a few more excellent comedy albums and is involved with another project half as good as Arrested Development, he's likely set for life (providing that he doesn't start shilling for products and causes that are outright evil, as opposed to simply soulless and lame).

The same is true with Bob Odenkirk. The man's done nothing but tarnish his legacy since Mr. Show finished nearly a decade ago (christ...), but for a comedy geek in his early 20s, like myself, he's probably always going to be something of a hero.

Not to defend ANY of his paycheck roles, of course... I'm just saying that David Cross's legacy is secure among his key demographic.
posted by incomple at 11:00 PM on January 1, 2008


I really enjoyed the candor of that post.

Cross comes off sounding like the consummate actor on the rebound, hitting three main points that reinforce the idea that he is employable:

1. Re-establish your reputation
2. Maintain your market value
3. Don't attack anyone you work with

Starring in a shitty movie is okay in Hollywood as long as you put on a good face and get paid handsomely to do it. You maintain the professional respect of your film industry peers. But do comedians have a different code of honor? How responsible can you hold Jay Mohr for his role in Are We There Yet? I know that has nothing to do with anything but I just saw that movie the other day and couldn't believe it. I don't know what the hell Patton said in the first place, but I figure deep down, there's a difference between being called a two-bit whore, versus admitting to it on your own terms, with a colorful backstory detailing how you ended up that way. The latter seems much more compatible with Cross's contrarian personae.
posted by phaedon at 11:02 PM on January 1, 2008


I never thought of Alvin and the Chipmunks as being a turning point in his selling out. He's always done shit movies, and this is just another. What is more concearning is, outside of Arrested Development (and I understand that is a huge thing to cast aside), he hasn't done anything of note that resonates to me. His album's and stand up just come across as overly angry. He even seems to recognize that he's disappointed in himself (about 4:30 in).

I hope that the pilot that he and Bob are working on for HBO will change that...
posted by Chris Brummel at 11:16 PM on January 1, 2008


This guy's legacy has been tainted forever. It's Insane.
Eat rotten fruit from a shitty tree, IRFH.
posted by ormondsacker at 11:19 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, he should be totally ashamed. It would be different if people like Michael Caine did crap movies that were just for the money or something.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:29 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I have never seen it [the film], but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific!"
posted by Snyder at 11:41 PM on January 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


This guy's legacy has been tainted forever. It's Insane.
Eat rotten fruit from a shitty tree, IRFH.


If you're going to write a comedy scene, you're going to have some rat feces in there, ormondsacker.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:43 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


He is lying. Shit is not delicious.

What if it's a hot female's shit?
posted by homunculus at 11:56 PM on January 1, 2008


Meanwhile, lesser-known Mr. Show / Arrested Development / Sarah Silverman Program alumnus Jay Johnston is also paying the bills.
posted by ormondsacker at 11:58 PM on January 1, 2008


...paying the bills.

Wow. Carrot Top's real name is Scott Thompson? Presumably former Kid in the Hall Scott Thompson won the right to use the name in some sort of comedy-off.
posted by aaronetc at 12:19 AM on January 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'd LOVE to hear what the producer and director have to say about making the movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:05 AM on January 2, 2008


I'd LOVE to hear what the producer and director have to say about making the movie.

I'm sure they also have houses to buy. Jon Vitti, the writer, also wrote some of the best Simpsons episodes (Cape Feare, Mr. Plow, the episode with the Germans). I'm not going to hold this cash-in against him.
posted by Gary at 3:26 AM on January 2, 2008


The only people that ever prattle on about "artistic integrity" are campus coffee house slackers who've never put themselves out there, or people that have never had to try to make a living in their art. When you idealize people for whatever reason, you're invariably going to be disappointed.

This bit was good enough for me:
I asked the owner if he'd take some of my credibility as payment. He looked at me as if I was an alien with A.I.D.S. speaking some intergalactic gobbledy-goo. I had to patiently explain to this country bumpkin about my indie hipster cred, and I would now like to cash it in. This rural rube was so backwards and ignorant that he couldn't even conceive of how financial markets work and simple free market capitalism. I tried again to explain the concept of the value of "credibility" and "artistic integrity" but he refused to take it in exchange for the house. This guy was a fucking idiot! But what could I do? He wouldn't take no for an answer. If I wanted that cottage I would have to pay him money. Sigh. So I used my "Alvin and the Chipmunks" money to pay for the down payment. Seriously, I totally did.
posted by psmealey at 3:47 AM on January 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Btw, to put it in perspective, take one of my favorite bands: Fugazi. This is a band that is famous (and in some circles, infamous) for their unyielding integrity and unwillingness to compromise their principles. This may be admirable, but it's also an incredibly savvy business decision. This is every bit as much a marketing angle for them as a way of staying above the fray. I think they're brilliant musicians, but their approach has worked incredibly well for them in terms of helping them maintain creative control over their music as well as giving them longer term economic freedom.
posted by psmealey at 3:55 AM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sure they also have houses to buy.

Nothing wrong with that, I'd just love to hear what others who helped created such movies have say.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:59 AM on January 2, 2008


When you idealize people for whatever reason, you're invariably going to be disappointed.

True enough. And when we get disappointed, it's always tempting to get angry at the person who seems to have caused the bad feeling, rather than acknowledging that it's actually ourselves that have constructed an unrealistic fantasy about them.

There are times when personal integrity and professional integrity come into conflict, and then there are times when people are just weak, and we could argue about which of those applies here - but really, does it matter?
posted by teleskiving at 4:40 AM on January 2, 2008


Carrot Top's real name is Scott Thompson? Presumably former Kid in the Hall Scott Thompson won the right to use the name in some sort of comedy-off.

Which proves just how terrible Carrot Top must be.
posted by DU at 5:04 AM on January 2, 2008


I don't hold making shitty movies against actors, but to cite one being a children's movie as an excuse? As a child of the seventies, who reaped the very nadir of disdain and apathy for quality in kid's programming, Mr. Cross, I invite you to get teabagged by the seventies version of Tom and Jerry.
posted by ursus_comiter at 5:44 AM on January 2, 2008


"I haven't ever seen ... "She's the Man""

Which is a shame because it's much funnier than anything he's ever done and might give him a point or two about what makes a funny movie, children's or otherwise.

Also, claiming to not watch children's movies when you are starring in one is a bit stupid. Makes you look like an idiot.
posted by milarepa at 5:46 AM on January 2, 2008


By ever done, I mean the rest of the movie without David Cross of course. He nearly ruined that otherwise funny movie.
posted by milarepa at 5:47 AM on January 2, 2008


Shit is not delicious.

Unless you've tasted it, how would you know? Durian stinks but they're delicious. Shit may be the same way?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:28 AM on January 2, 2008


The hard part of basing so much of your image on your indie cred is that you get called out on the carpet by the hipsters whenever you do something they deem not indie or cool enough. Even though a good portion of them will abandon their indie-cool-lifestyle within a few years, while they've still got it they'll turn on anyone that doesn't walk the indie line. I think David Cross is just making a preemptive strike and maybe relieving a little of his own alterna-guilt. He's done at least a few crappy movies that pay the bills, but his gig is still cooler than mine.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:57 AM on January 2, 2008


He's a comedian. Who. Cares.

What amazes me is that people have some kind of reverence for him. He had a recurring guest role on the NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me". This guy had zero credibility to start with and it fell from there.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:00 AM on January 2, 2008


Shit is not delicious.

Unless you've tasted it, how would you know? Durian stinks but they're delicious. Shit may be the same way?


Seconding this point. Fish sauce smells incredibly bad but used in small amounts makes dishes taste very good. So there. Also, the taste of shit is probably reflective of whatever it used to be.
posted by fuq at 7:05 AM on January 2, 2008


Alvin and the Chipmunks is necessarily not as heinous as Garfield the movie because, by definition, nothing is as heinous as Garfield the movie because nothing else has ever made me want to put catfood on my eyes and crotch and go for a walk at Safari Tim's Drive Thru Tiger Adventure Park. Not even Myer's Cat in the Hat (only the crotch for that one, to prevent myself ever having kids that might accidentally see it). Garfield made me regret the very gift of sight, therefore Jon Stewart was perfectly correct to chastise Ms Hewitt.
posted by Sparx at 7:22 AM on January 2, 2008


I think the big question is whether or not this will totally ruin his career.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:34 AM on January 2, 2008


Also, the taste of shit is probably reflective of whatever it used to be.
posted by fuq at 10:05 AM on January 2


Not to be overly scientific, but much of shit is constant regardless of what you eat. It contains bile and other decay products from dead red bloods cells, and other by-products of the digestive tract bacteria such as skatole and indole, which is responsible for the color and odor. Only the undigested stuff consumed would vary from one, er, unit of output to another.

And skatole, while having a not unpleasant odor when isolated, is toxic. Fun fact: the cigarette companies added skatole to cigarettes to enhance the flavor. More here.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:35 AM on January 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


This guy's legacy has been tainted forever. It's Insane.
Eat rotten fruit from a shitty tree, IRFH.


So much vitriol for a little insane taint joke.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:36 AM on January 2, 2008


I dunno. I enjoyed his explanation, but then again, I adore Arrested Development and Cross's stand-up (I feel like I never quite "got" Mr. Show, but then again, I can't really stand Bob Oedenkirk).

Yes, David Cross has ranted against crass commercialism many times before, but not this kind. His targets have generally been hypocrites (Lee Greenwood), people who take themselves too seriously (James Lipton, Post-9/11 Comedy Troupes) and preening assholes (Scott Stapp). Playing a small paycheck role in Alvin and the Chipmunks doesn't quite fit the bill there.

What kind of surprises me is how offended he seemed to be by what Patton wrote. Oswalt's blog seemed to be saying, "I didn't want it. Brian didn't want it. David did, and took it. It's a piece of shit, but stop bitching." David and Brian have been working together their whole careers, and presumably David and Patton go back a ways as well, so I didn't see any real vitriol going on there, which is probably why David, who doesn't genuflect out of courtesy to anyone, was so kind to Patton in his response (even if he did give some good-natured ribbing in return). Patton seemed to be saying the same thing as David, really.

As for the movie, I'll never see it either, not because it's a kids' movie, but because it's supposedly really bad. I'll happily watch good kids' movies, such as anything that Pixar puts out aside from Cars. However, over Christmas, when I was hanging out with my sister and her three little sons, she was upset about the fact that the local multiplex wasn't showing Alvin. I told her that by all accounts it was awful, and she retorted that everyone she knew with kids liked it. There are only one or maybe two kids' movies a year on the level of Ratatoullie or Happy Feet, and the rest of the time parents are happy with anything vaguely entertaining that they can take their children to. It's crassly commercial, to be sure, but not evil.

Also, it's surprisingly commonplace for actors, producers, and even writers to never see the films they've been part of, so I can give Cross a break there.

To put it in Arrested Development terms, just think of this as the Homeless Dad that Cross had to do in order to move on to the gritty character piece that he wanted. David Cross, man. He just wants his kids back.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:40 AM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


He had a recurring guest role on the NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me".

JSM wasn't Shakespeare or anything, but it could be pretty funny at times, at least for mainstream teevee. At least it was significantly better than "Friends" a show that coasted for 9 years after an only half-clever first season. For those of us who didn't have cable for all of the 90s, that was actually the first time I had ever seen him.

Cross can declare himself a Six Flags amusement park for all I care, I will always be grateful for "Shut Up You F*cking Baby" and "It's Not Funny" for cheering me up during a very dark point in my life.
posted by psmealey at 7:42 AM on January 2, 2008


The same is true with Bob Odenkirk. The man's done nothing but tarnish his legacy since Mr. Show finished nearly a decade ago

Not true. Sure, Let's Go To Prison was just painful, but Odenkirk's bits on Adult Swim's Tim & Eric's Awesome Show have been worthwhile. Do a search for "Trick My Trick" on youtube, for example.
posted by Hubajube at 8:29 AM on January 2, 2008


...or "Danny Mothers".
posted by Hubajube at 8:38 AM on January 2, 2008


You lose far more cred in my eyes for caring what the hipsters think, as Cross obviously seems to, than for picking up a check for starring in Alvin. I mean, Bill Murray voiced the frigging main character in Garfield and you don't see him apologizing for it. Just don't pull a Nic Cage and find yourself unable to put down the (metaphorical) crackpipe long enough to do quality work.

What's ironic is that all this foofaw is about an alterna-comic who wants to hole up in the Catskills. Dr. Freud, call your office.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:40 AM on January 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


For a truly brilliant actor who could never turn down a crap role, look no further than Klaus.
posted by muckster at 8:46 AM on January 2, 2008


Yeah, to be honest, I could totally give a crap about Cross's integrity or lack thereof. I don't like him for his integrity, I like him because he's funny. If I'm at all angry at him for making this movie, it's because he's jeopardize his ability to get roles in the future, which means that I will see him on the screen less often.

People who care about artists "selling out" seriously need to get over themselves. How many great artists have been terrible people? Roman Polansky fucked a 13-year-old girl. Syd Barrett locked his girlfriend in a closet for a number of days. Jackson Pollack was a raging alcoholic who made everyone around him miserable. Does any of this degrade the quality of the artists' work? I think not.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:48 AM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sure, Let's Go To Prison was just painful, but Odenkirk's bits on Adult Swim's Tim & Eric's Awesome Show have been worthwhile. Do a search for "Trick My Trick" on youtube, for example.

Bob and David have been doing incredible work on Tim and Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job! Check out David's pizza delivery sketch
posted by porn in the woods at 8:53 AM on January 2, 2008


My favorite part of this piece is the penultimate line:

Also, the NY Times called me "delightfully scene stealing" so suck it!
posted by ericbop at 9:00 AM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does any of this degrade the quality of the artists' work? I think not.

Not at all. What degrades the quality of Pollock's work is his actual work . This has been on my mind all morning, for some reason. I was remembering heated conversations of my college days; that U2 and or REM sucked because they sold out. In fact, what happened was selling out had nothing to do with it. I mean, Bowie sold out, but he actually improved as an artist over that period. U2 and REM sucked because they sucked. Because their later, major record material suffered badly by comparison to their early, simply stuff.
posted by psmealey at 9:00 AM on January 2, 2008


Not true. Sure, Let's Go To Prison was just painful...

I watched this movie because there was no way I could ignore a movie that brought together forces from The State, Arrested Development, and Mr. Show. It wasn't NEARLY as bad as reviewers made it out to be. Unbalanced, for sure, but very funny in its own way.

The sad thing is, these three forces (Thom Lennon/Ben Garrant et al, Odenkirk, and Will Arnett) have been having all kinds of bad luck replicating the brilliance of their earlier works. Reno 911! has always been kind of meh for me, Bob's just not a very good director (Brothers Solomon was better, but was flat. And that editor needs to be fired, unless it was a running joke to keep having the boom mic visible), and Will Arnett hasn't had a role that comes even close to Gob.

Meanwhile, The other half of The State crew (Wain, Showalter, Ian Black, etc.) hit comedy gold again with Wet Hot American Summer, David Cross has, well, see above, and Cera/Bateman are in one of the year's best movies.

My point? Nothing, except that you should have seen this coming for Bob, because his grandfather is old. That makes him part old.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:01 AM on January 2, 2008


Hey, Will Arnett was awesome in Blades of Glory. Amy Poehler, too.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:05 AM on January 2, 2008


Afroblanco: None of your examples compromised their artistic integrity, they were just being jerks. Pretty different IMO.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:12 AM on January 2, 2008


Syd Barrett locked his girlfriend in a closet for a number of days.

What? When?
posted by newmoistness at 9:19 AM on January 2, 2008


Ok, stinkycheese here's a few :

Dr. Suess drew advertising illustrations.
Stephen King has made some ridiculously awful made-for-tv movies.
Rod Serling did and Orson Welles both made tv commercials.

I could find some more examples, but it doesn't really matter. The fact is that if an artist creates some good work and some crappy work, the crappy work doesn't make the good work any less good, and it doesn't make the artist any less of an artist. Likewise, if someone is a good artist and a shitty person, that doesn't make his work any less good.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:20 AM on January 2, 2008


I couldn't place David Cross until somebody mentioned Arrested Development, so his refusal to sell out is clearly working for me.

On the one hand, I think it's absolutely his right as an actor to do commercial work and not feel that it invalidates his less commercial work - The Seventh Seal isn't a bad film because of Judge Fargo. Cross seems commendably professional, and at least does not say that it's a bad film; if it isn't in his contract to speak well of it, why should he be forced to? Having said which, is he going to do this every time he gets a part that isn't Hamlet? Only he appears to be lined up to play a crane teaching a sleepy panda kung fu, to support Sean Astin in his role as a cat raised accidentally in a world of dogs, and appearing in a Harold Ramis-directed romp through Biblical times starring Jack Black in, I imagine, a loincloth. I'm just saying.
posted by tannhauser at 9:25 AM on January 2, 2008


When artists have to make a living in a free-market, capitalist society (as opposed to, say, a European patronage-type system), they have to do things to keep working. If one is very lucky, you can make a good living only doing work you're proud of, work that is consistently your best. Unfortunately, what's good and truly funny and smart and substantive or whatever other qualities are esteemed often doesn't pay the bills. Anyone who gets worked up about this reality has never even been close to being out there, dealing with the reality of making a living as an artist of any kind.

Cross' mea culpa here seems to me just a little bit of post-hipster latent guilt, coupled with smarting from a (very light) dig from a colleague he obviously respects a great deal. I don't see any need for Oswalt to have commented on it, however glancingly, and certainly no need for Cross to respond--to him or anyone else. (Reason #89,714 why Blogs Are Bad: Cocktail party gripes and swipes should be kept verbal only.)

I like Samuel L. Jackson's response, when asked about doing so much schlock work (obviously paraphrased): 'what about this being my job is hard to understand? I have a family to support, and I work as much as possible to do that as best I can.'
posted by LooseFilter at 10:25 AM on January 2, 2008


So much vitriol for a little insane taint joke.

Thanks, Turtles, but ormondsacker was just riffing in kind. "Eat rotten fruit from a shitty tree" was also a Mr. Show episode.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:33 AM on January 2, 2008



I could find some more examples, but it doesn't really matter. The fact is that if an artist creates some good work and some crappy work, the crappy work doesn't make the good work any less good, and it doesn't make the artist any less of an artist. Likewise, if someone is a good artist and a shitty person, that doesn't make his work any less good.

Sure. BUT. Suess, Wells and Serling didn't base thier carreers on knocking down the "art" of the sweating masses.

Cross has made a career out of pitching shit to the plebes for being uncouth swine. Larry the Cable Guy? Hello?

So. Yes. I will judge him. And the sentence is: Cross is a hypocrite asshole.

A hilarious hypocrite asshole, true. Still. It's nice to see somebody too cool for school knocked down a peg. Maybe he will learn something.

Now. It would be nice to see a REAL whiny un-funny asshole like David Spade eat some shit for the crap he has done. How does that guy STILL get work?
posted by tkchrist at 10:39 AM on January 2, 2008


...David Spade... How does that guy STILL get work?

By being only half a click funnier than Kathy Griffin AMIRITE?
posted by psmealey at 10:44 AM on January 2, 2008


A hilarious hypocrite asshole, true.

Hm, maybe. I see this as a small hypocrisy, though. Yes, he's made a lot of his career knocking down stupid, vapid shit as well as lying, hypocritical authority, but it's not like he's at the Larry the Cable Guy level of sellout, either. He makes some movies for the money, but still--as far as I can tell--focuses on doing the kind of work he values. Larry the Cable Guy, on the other hand, that's his whole deal: stupid, vapid bullshit, all day, every week, all year. No redeeming other work to be found.

Cross taking a small role in a cynical crapfest like Alvin and the Chipmunks doesn't make Mr. Show or Tobias Funke, or any of his stand up, any less awesome for me. When he's cranking out 3 or 4 of these Chipmunk roles a year, then you might have a point.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:06 AM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


> "Angles In The Outfield"?

and Saxons are sacking the sky boxes.
posted by jfuller at 11:11 AM on January 2, 2008


Tobias Funke

Dr. Tobias Fünke

Fixed that for you.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:01 PM on January 2, 2008


but it's not like he's at the Larry the Cable Guy level of sellout, either

You have not yet seen the genius of Larry the Cable Guy. Perhaps you have not heard of Larry's tour de force playing Henry Kissinger in the new comedic Broadway musical The Trial of Henry Kissinger. The critics cry BOFFO!

No but seriously. I say Cross's sin is worse. He HAS talent. Larry doesn't. Larry HAS to sell out.

Cross makes fun of selling out. And then does it anyway. Poor form. Very poor form. He should be happy Larry can get a gig and leave it at that.
posted by tkchrist at 12:35 PM on January 2, 2008


When he's cranking out 3 or 4 of these Chipmunk roles a year, then you might have a point.

Okay. Exibit A.

A list of some of the TV shows and films Cross has been in (some are pure shit while others are merely forgettable):

Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight
A Bucket of Blood
Men in Black II
Can't Stop Dancing
The Thin Pink Line
Chain of Fools
One Day...
Dr. Dolittle 2
Pootie Tang
Scary Movie 2
Life Without Dick
Melvin Goes to Dinner
"Just Shoot Me!"
"Crank Yankers"
Curious George
She's the Man
School for Scoundrels
"Family Guy"
I'm in Hell
Crashing
Kung Fu Panda
Cat Tale


I LIKE Cross. I think he is funny. But he does suffer from too much smug.
posted by tkchrist at 12:48 PM on January 2, 2008


Cross makes fun of selling out.

I guess I'm not familiar with his whole body of work, but I think Cross mostly skewers things that really suck: the oppressive blandness of American culture and the emptiness of worshipping things and people that are worthless. I don't really see Cross as being on the front lines of the integrity fight like Bill Hicks. He's more or less just ranting at how lame and and stupid people are.

I suppose you can make a case to skewer him for doing Alvin, because it's lame and stupid, but I'm not really seeing the whole "selling out" thing here.
posted by psmealey at 12:49 PM on January 2, 2008


That he's working would seem to imply that he has some talent. What Cross, Oswalt, et.al. should be railing against—rather than whether or not they are selling out by appearing in craptastic offerings like Alvin—is that opportunities for employment seem to be, more often than not, limited to craptastic offerings like Alvin.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 12:58 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


but I'm not really seeing the whole "selling out" thing here.

I don' think Cross is selling out. I think Cross himself does, however. I think an artist has to do what he has to do to survive.

Yes. He mostly makes fun of The Suck. And then he participates IN it when it fills his wallet. He has more Suck than not in his IMDB CV.

I don't see his comedy as any form of substantive social critique. I see it as funny. The problem is us and Cross taking it all too seriously. It contributes to these pretentious and dull "taste wars." And cynical material like that doesn't have legs, IMHO.
posted by tkchrist at 1:05 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought he was funnier in the bit part roles in things like MIB & Just Shoot Me than he is in his own (IMHO) rather forced and self-indulgent stand up. I thought he shone as someone clearly different and funnier than his costars in those products, elevating the whole. I've been consistently underwhelmed by his stand up. Never bought into the Arrested Development hype.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 1:05 PM on January 2, 2008


Lots of creative people have day jobs. I'm pretty sure David Cross doesn't consider acting his main creative outlet.
posted by empath at 1:10 PM on January 2, 2008


David's thoughts on Larry the Cable Guy. Some good reading.

Oh, and... SQUAGELS! SQUARE BAGELS, MAN!
posted by porn in the woods at 1:11 PM on January 2, 2008


I don't see his comedy as any form of substantive social critique. I see it as funny. The problem is us and Cross taking it all too seriously.

I completely agree. I think Cross's bits are hysterically funny, but not really important in any way (if it's even still possible for comics to be important post Carlin and Hicks). If I were him, I would be steering way clear of the "hipster indie cred" thing anyway. But because he brings it up at all, you know he's thinking about it. Why would you want to be associated with a bunch of humorless, self-important wannabes, anyway? Particularly at his age? Particularly at my age?
posted by psmealey at 1:12 PM on January 2, 2008


Never bought into the Arrested Development hype.

Is this Condescendish for "didn't like it"?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:33 PM on January 2, 2008 [8 favorites]


"Condescendish" returns 0 hits on a Google search. Well done.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:35 PM on January 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


It's sometimes known as Condescendese.
posted by psmealey at 1:52 PM on January 2, 2008


Whoa whoa whoa here. If Bob “I fuck puppies in the asshole” Saget can do Full House...

“I live in the same relatively small 1100 sq. foot apartment since I moved here. I don't own a car, don't go out "clubbing", and don't really own anything of much value. I am in no way hurting for money but I guarantee you that I have much, much less than you think..”

Note to self: do NOT go into showbusiness.

Seriously. I bust my ass. I like busting my ass. I’d be in 20 films a year. People would say “Oh jesus, it’s Smedleyman - again!” I’d do a kids’ flick then turn around and put out some pornos, a horror film, quick shot over to Sweden for an avant guarde piece, two action flicks one of which has me as the hero one as sidekick, something for sundance, something that’s destined for an academy award, a t.v. movie on hepatitis, a summer blockbuster, a winter tearjerker, three B movies, two commercial voice overs, then pop out to Champaign/Urbana for a student art film. I’d be everywhere. Not working scares the hell out of me. Oh no! I have time on my hands!? No one would call me a whore because whore’s don’t work that hard. I’d make Tim Thomerson blush.
(which’d be a shame because he’s my favorite b-movie actor)

But y’know, if it’s all ‘Alvin’ then I wouldn’t want any part of it. And there does seem to be a great deal of that.
How, or really, why, anyone would take material that is essentially gold (number of remakes I’m thinking of, book adaptations, etc.) and turn it into crap, I don’t know.
Counterpoint to that would be, say, ‘One Flew Over the Coocoo’s Nest.’ Great book. Kesey hated the film. It wasn’t anything like the book. But a great film in it’s own right.
Maybe you have to whore yourself to get something you really want made, made.
I’ve never cared much for fame and insofar as bringing anything of value to folks. Fuck ‘em. You say something noble, insightful, truly visionary and maybe two guys out of a hundred will get it, 10 will hate it and want to stone you or something, 20 will be interested (shallowly) only if it becomes fashionable, which it will usually years after your dead and the rest won’t give a damn.
Not that I’m Stendhal (and kudos to the one or two folks out there that get that reference) but people don’t seek out Thomas Mann or Sinclair Lewis en masse. And they’re more or less culturally encouraged not to, because it’s easier to not perform, or demand performance, at that level.

And if you do bring something new you’ll get railed by the few folks who did get it, but still want the old stuff (I’m thinking Dylan going electric in ‘65). Screw ‘em.
Artists shouldn’t have to starve, but the whole scene is flooded with mediocrity. (makes me think of Yeats, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity” the guys at the top making the decisions (greenlight I believe is the term) just want money and the fans sublimate their intellect for spectacle) what rough beast slouches toward hollywood to be born...Alvin, and the Chipmonks apparently.


“He is lying. Shit is not delicious.”
No but chestnuts are. Mmm....just like eating fat abdomened roaches.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:01 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Comedy died on the Cross for indie cred. On the 3rd day, it condascended.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:06 PM on January 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ah, it's not like he was helping wreck up something serious such as the Transformers. Now that movie was a piece of shit. Thank the gods of Cybertron the sequel's on hold.

Weren't the last two incarnations of Alvin & The Chipmunks reflections of the pop culture of the time? So the hoodies and the coffee jokes and the Blink 182 in the trailer all seem pretty true to the spirit of the thing. (the trailer's all I've seen, of course)

It seems really weird to jump all over a guy for taking a job that you don't feel fits into hie ouvre. Yeah, the Alvin & The Chipmunks film looks horrifyingly bad. And if I were offered huge, huge sacks of currency to appear in it, you'd best believe I'd hop in front of one of that green screen with all the rest of the 'sell outs.'
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:13 PM on January 2, 2008


Condescendish" returns 0 hits on a Google search

I was sure it was a word. I should condescend them an imperious, belittling email about that.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:19 PM on January 2, 2008


I was congratulating you on a term well-coined. 0 hits on a Google search is instant indie cred. Only sell-outs use words that other people have heard of.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:38 PM on January 2, 2008


♫ Web site, Web site, express yourself on the internet.
Web site, Web site, defend your shitty ca-reeer moves! ♫

thankyou.
posted by hellbient at 2:44 PM on January 2, 2008


>Shit is not delicious.

>>Unless you've tasted it, how would you know? Durian stinks but they're delicious. Shit may be the same way?


Tell you what: you go first and give us a trip report.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:35 PM on January 2, 2008


Obvious shit is "spongy" and "dont got no taste"
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:46 PM on January 2, 2008


How can you people not know the taste of shit when you talk so much of it?

:D
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 6:52 PM on January 2, 2008


Because we also have no taste.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:09 PM on January 2, 2008


I just saw Alvin and the Chipmunks with my kid. It totally rocked.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:20 PM on January 2, 2008


I'm happy for you fourcheesemac. I have no ill will towards this movie because they made sure I saw the trailer (by placing it before The Simpsons) and it was entirely clear what it was. If I see cgi rodents singing funky town and eating their own poop, then I know it's not for me and I shouldn't see it.

I'd much prefer that to fantastic trailers followed by terrible movies. (We're still waiting for your drunken, semi-regretful rant, George Lucas).
posted by Gary at 8:07 PM on January 2, 2008


Patton Oswalt's response (posted on Cross's site).
posted by Navelgazer at 9:43 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


if it's even still possible for comics to be important post Carlin and Hicks

I think Al Franken is "important."

Bill Hicks was in fact a shill for Phillip Morris. Despicable progenitor of every hipster who sees smoking cigarettes as the ultimate expression of personal agency. That's his legacy.

George Carlin was never "important."
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:44 PM on January 2, 2008


Navelgazer beat me to it, but Patton's response is also up on the onion avclub without all the font problems.
posted by Gary at 10:38 PM on January 2, 2008


I must say, Patton actually cracked me up with: "Written from my Bill Hicks-shaped pool in the East Wing of Sierra Mist Manor; Burbank, CA"
posted by miss lynnster at 11:16 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fugazi. This is a band that is famous (and in some circles, infamous) for their unyielding integrity and unwillingness to compromise their principles. This may be admirable, but it's also an incredibly savvy business decision. This is every bit as much a marketing angle for them as a way of staying above the fray.


"I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart."

Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags!

"Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing."

Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags! Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

"Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that."

God, I'm just caught in a fucking web.

"Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..."

How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?"

-mista Hicks
posted by mr.marx at 4:29 AM on January 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Earth to Bob and David - paste to notepad and THEN paste to blog.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:14 AM on January 3, 2008


Perhaps if these folks spent less time formulating submission fame manifestos they’d get better jobs?
Wasn’t Benicio Del Toro in like every movie a few years ago? That guy works his ass off. I haven’t heard thing one from him.
Kevin Spacey has been in some crummy films. I don’t know the man’s opinion on anything. Indeed, I’ve heard he’s gay. But it’s a testament to how focused he is that not only do I not know, not only have I not heard him weigh in on it, but he cares so little about anything outside the work that I don’t really care...of course, I wouldn’t care anyway, but folks like Entertainment WTFever don’t hound him because it’s such a non-issue. Like asking Einstein what kind of car he drives.

I think that’s what heavyweight talents do. Just channel everything into their work. Take whatever life offers and just use it as grist. You see that in Swift and a lot of others. Don’t know how it translates into performance, but with writers it’s pretty easy to see. Dante f’rinstance. Just take whatever you get and turn it into raw energy.

But this isn’t some kind of Gauguin/van Gogh dramatic confrontation fueled by syphilitic apoplexy and absinthe. It’s two comedians one soothing a self-inflicted ego lashing from an offhand comment by the other.

Gosh I had to do a lousy movie. Gosh I sold out. Gosh I’m a hypocrite. Well, y’know, some folks work at wal-mart all day because they can’t do better for themselves.
Some people don’t have (or don’t want) whatever it takes to make it even to the margins of something that is, admittedly from what little I’ve seen, an unbelievably easy job.
Particularly compared to, say, welding for 12 hours a day in Arizona.
A movie career where you get paid for being in purile crap? A few minutes screen time and you have enough money to put a down payment on a house? Yeah, what a nightmare.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:51 AM on January 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


don't really see Cross as being on the front lines of the integrity fight

If there was such a thing as the "integrity fight," it was lost long ago. Thank God.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:42 PM on January 7, 2008


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