It’s the happiest of birthdays! It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, especially when they took away his MP3 player and he got solitary confinement. Don’t they know he needs music to live? Also when a prison guard was put on probation for talking to Mr. Carter. Wouldn’t you?
So Some Stuff has gone down the past few months with Justin Long and him being a celebrity. Behold, a man who may be on-again/off-again with Drew Barrymore, but because of that, seems to have a major sense of humor and I think, real perspective on his life.
Pre-Story: 6/2/1978 Justin Long Is Born.
He has a role on Ed, a great show that very few people probably watched but I began to in re-runs on TBS, which further validated my love for a) TBS (“Very Funny” is right) and b) Julie Bowen, who is basically ageless, and I don’t think has gotten much plastic surgery, no matter what my Mom says. He plays a dork whose name is Warren Cheswick, and whose band is called “The Warren Cheswick Experience.” Gods of Netflix Instant: You know what to do.
PART 1: 8/10 Justin Long Goes On Jimmy Kimmel and Displays Self-Awareness and Humor (Foreshadowing for the future!)
Ok, so he’s not actually amazingly funny in this interview. But I think that’s mostly because the story is super drawn out and would be better in real life, coupled with the fact that whoever he is texting is the real comic genius here. She had the wrong number for months.
PART 2: 9/10 In Which An Articulate Blogger Rags On His Face
Michelle Orange says of Justin Long’s part in Going The Distance (which Lauren and I found good, if sadder than we expected, in case you care):
“But I mean my loins gird whenever Long is on screen. How a milky, affectless mook with half-formed features and a first day of kindergarten haircut might punch several classes above his weight is a mystery, as my colleague pointed out in her review of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, we are increasingly asked to accept on screen. Long’s fine comic sensibilities and appealing nervous energy seem to have been neutralized by a steady course of protein shakes; an incongruously developed musculature has sprung up in their place. I found myself distracted by the image of him kicking sand in his own face.”
PART 3: 9/14/10 Justin Long Responds On Jimmy Fallon
“The nice [reviews], they’re good to hear but you never really internalize them — it’s the bad ones. I read one in particular, that — it was so bad that it set the bar I think for insults for me. I actually kind of appreciate this woman. Michelle Orange, wherever you are, at Movieline. I remember it. I remember the quote, and this is word for word. Michelle Orange called me — and you hear things about yourself and you think you develop a pretty thick skin — this woman called me, this is word for word, a ‘milky affectless mook’ — it keeps going — ‘with unformed features and a kindergartner’s haircut on the first day of school.'”
PART 4: Michelle Orange Responds
Orange said some good things in her review, and she says some better things in her response to Justin Long.
Example: “Romantic comedies often engender the worst of the phenomenon: Instead of telling a story, in the name of relatability they hit notes, make references, and present punchline-based characters in the effort to elicit one of our laziest, sub-trash responses, which in full goes something like this: I was exposed to something, and it reminded me of me.”
Her apology: “There is a paragraph about Long’s character that I wrote and re-wrote. I scaled back one sentence in particular, turning a smackdown into a more general statement—an ad hominem exit clause that was supposed to help me sleep at night. This is the sentence: ‘How a milky, affectless mook with half-formed features and a first day of kindergarten haircut might punch several classes above his weight is a mystery, as my colleague pointed out in her review of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, we are increasingly asked to accept on screen.”
PART 5: Justin Long Responds To Said Apology
There’s no need to excerpt this. It’s all gold.
“Michelle, since stumbling onto your article during a narcissistic and regrettable search, I’ve been following and really enjoying your articles (and not to worry, not only the film-oriented ones — I now know better than to categorize you that way). Of course it’s difficult to read hurtful things about yourself (though my skin is getting thicker by the movie), it makes it a lot easier when the article is so eloquently composed and genuinely insightful. And there’s also considerable truth in what Vivien and Larry wrote (again, as damaging to the ego as it may be) — I did choose to put myself in that position, therefore relinquishing any immunity to attack — whether it’s about my acting or my face. I brought it up on Jimmy’s show because I thought it was somewhat amusing just HOW harsh it was (again, in a very well-articulated way) — and I meant what I said, it really did set the bar. I’ve heard a lot of negative things about myself over the years but rarely are they said with such a thoughtful and insightful tongue. Now I’ll be able to withstand more slings and arrows thanks to the armor of humility you’ve forged for me. Please know too, I’m in no way being sarcastic — the fact that I read this piece should be testament to that. Michelle, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get to be in one movie, let alone several over the course of the last ten years — never had any delusions of grandeur. I always wanted to be a theatre actor like my mom, always assuming the movie roles were relegated to the good looking people. Which is not to say my Mom’s not good looking — she’s beautiful (though clearly it’s all subjective — you are not a fan of our gene pool so you might not agree) — she just had kids and never got that “lucky break”. Then I started idolizing guys like Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Sam Rockwell, Woody Allen, and Philip Seymour Hoffman — I found myself relating (I hope you’re not wincing at my use of that word now) to them and formulating some wild fantasy of one day pursuing a career in movie acting — if guys that looked like that could do it, I thought, maybe this milky mook could role the dice. So while there’s no defense for my performance in the movie (everyone is obviously entitled to their opinion), I have to say, I’m surprised by the amount of stock you seem to invest in my looks. I absolutely agree with you too, I’d be hard-pressed to hold a candle to even a fraction of Drew’s beauty – in my humble opinion, she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Is that a message you want to proliferate though? That people of higher aesthetic echelons should stick to their own? Maybe you’re frustrated because it so rarely works the other way — I don’t remember the last time I was asked to accept a female romantic lead who was “punching above her weight class” — though it does happen (I just don’t want to name names at the risk of offending — I leave that to the experts). I suppose if it were more commonplace though you, as a woman, wouldn’t be so offended and might have taken it a bit easier in pointing out the disparity of our looks in “going the distance”. Regardless, I really meant what I said about your writing — I love film too and I love reading about it — so keep up the good work and I’ll try to pick better projects (though I did love filming that one) but short of some reconstructive surgery, unfortunately there’s nothing I can do about my mug (blame god and/or my parents on that one). Take care and hopefully one day our paths will cross so I can compliment you in person. Until then, best wishes and be proud and confident in your role as a film critic — you’re a damn good one.
>ps I swear to god it’s me and I swear (as emphatically) that I’m not being sarcastic.”
Conclusion: Ultimately, it was when Orange said, “The thing is, I don’t think anybody—whether they write professionally or snark for sport; whether they agonize over their takedowns or proudly make their name on them—expects the target of their criticism to say their name on national television.” Too true. When I bring the snark, I do not expect anyone to throw it back at me, because, let’s face it, I can deal it out, but can’t really take it, which is really the calling card of a critic. But I think this is probably the end of critic v. celebrity, until next time, when it will likely be a battle far less articulate. Unless Long and Orange (great potentially hyphenated name) walk off into the sunset together. I’d watch that Rom Com and even buy it on DVD and carefully analyze all the special features.