comedy

James Franco At His Best in The Disaster Artist by Ryan Hill

 
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Crazy James Franco is the best James Franco. The Interview, Spring Breakers, 127 Hours and This is the End all benefited from a less-than-normal Franco performance. Considering his prolific output, it makes sense that the actor would want to let loose on occasion. The Disaster Artist, Franco’s latest acting and directing effort, is one of his looniest outings yet.

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Based on The Disaster Artist, which chronicles the making of the 2003 cult favorite The Room, the film features Franco as Tommy Wiseau, the eccentric, European, vampire-looking director/star at the center of The Room. With his long, black hair, funny accent and broken English, Wiseau is a character unto himself.

The Disaster Artist opens with testimonials – that come across as scripted – from actors like Kristen Bell and Adam Scott that make The Room seem like this one-of-a-kind experience that is not to be missed. The book, written by Room star and friend of Wiseau Greg Sistero (along with Tom Bissell), is an entertaining tome about best intentions, rampant egos and the creative process, but watching The Disaster Artist doesn’t feel like we’re being let in on something truly special. With a cast that includes Franco’s brother Dave as Greg, BFF Seth Rogen and Dave’s wife Alison Brie, The Disaster Artist feels more like something a bunch of friends decided to make in honor of this one specific moment in time than a film that needed to be made.

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Not that that’s a bad thing.

Franco is fantastic as Wiseau, using prosthetic make-up, contacts, and a wild wig to disappear into the cult filmmaker’s persona. Franco is so good, there’s a post-credit stinger where his fictional Wiseau goes up against the real-life Wiseau, and the result is a resounding draw. Don’t be surprised if Franco racks up some awards consideration for his work.

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The Disaster Artist isn’t for everyone. Wiseau is weird. Franco playing Wiseau is weirder. Those unfamiliar with The Room probably don’t care that there’s movie and a book about that film.

The Room is one of those bad movies that should’ve died a quick and painless death, gone from the movie-going lexicon as fast as it came. Instead, it became a cult sensation. One of those “so bad it’s good” kind of films that live on in midnight showings, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Did it deserve its own “making of” film? Probably not, but The Disaster Artist still stands as an entertaining look at the million-and-one things that can go wrong on a movie set.

Ask a Demon - Halloween Edition by Ryan Hill

 

Can you hear it?

Angels blowing their horns?

No?

That's because it's HALLOWEEN!

The greatest day of the year, or any year. A day when demons can shed their human facade, revealing the true form hiding underneath, and walk around in our birthday suits. Nobody would bat an eye, freak out, or wet their pants. They'd say, "cool costume bruh," or give us first prize in costume contests.

Me? I look way too sexy to drop my human appearance. I don't feel the need to show the world my demon form and not be judged. I'm secure in my exquisite looks like that.

But I digress.

Halloween has shifted a bit over the years, going from the Irish holiday of Samhain, where humans greeted us with food and alcohol in exchange for letting some of their dead relatives hang out for a few hours. Eventually, the bribes stopped, and the holiday became the one day of the year where it was okay to get mad over receiving a pack of raisins over some candy. Scratch that. It's always acceptable to get mad over getting a pack of raisins. They're disgusting. Worst use of grapes ever.

On to the Halloween questions!

Cinnamon from West Virginia asks:

Why are some costumes called slutty? Most of them seem okay to me.

The companies that make Halloween costumes are morons. Aside from selling outfits named "Slutty Nurse," their business model makes zero sense. They only sell their product one month out of the year! Is that an organization that should be passing judgment on what's considered slutty? Methinks not.

Besides, dressing up as a nurse - especially when you aren't one - is pretty much the equivalent of wearing a nurse costume. The only difference between an official outfit and the "slutty" costume version is a couple of inches.

Have a question for me? Send it to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com.

Jake from Austin asks:

Is it okay to put razorblades in candy?

No. No, man. Don't mess with kids. Ever. The worst parts of Hell are reserved for people who mess with kids: right next to everyone who thought elevator music was a good idea.

Tim from Atlanta asks:

Bartholomew, is there any costume you wish more people wore on Halloween?

That's an easy one. Birthday suit.

Need advice from Bartholomew? Want to know what movie to see this weekend? Send your question to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com.

Blaze Pub's Haunted Halloween Tour with... Me! by Ryan Hill

 

October is the month of fears, and we're going on tour with some of our favorite authors to talk about what their main characters are afraid of. What keeps them up at night? What nightmare has them waking in a cold sweat? Each day, we'll feature a new main character and delve deep into their subconscious to see what they fear. And each day, you'll have a chance to enter to win some awesome prizes!

Bailey is the sixteen-year-old protagonist of the Paranormal Comedy THE CONCH SHELL OF DOOM by Ryan Hill. When Bailey isn’t fighting off sea monsters, he’s fighting off his friends’ snark, a healthy fear of rejection, and anxiety. But rejection isn't the only thing he's afraid of...

What am I most afraid of? by Bailey Southwick

What am I not afraid of is probably the better question. I’m afraid my friends will find out who I have a secret crush on- actually, let’s leave her name out of it. If they ever found out, I’d never hear the end of it. I know a lot of people say, “Oh, I’d never hear the end of it,” but I’m serious. Marshall and Tim would hound me until I moved to Allakaket, Alaska, population 107. Even then, I’d still get texts, emails, and even real mail from them with more jokes. To top it off, one of them – most likely Marshall – would make sure the crush knew I liked them in the most public and humiliating way possible.

Maybe Allakaket isn’t the worst idea.

I’m also afraid of goblin sharks, sand soldiers, and having some bad guy’s head put on my body. Definitely the last one. No, my body isn’t the most athletic, but I’m still growing into it? Also, it’s mine. I don’t want some gross head taking control, rendering me basically dead. No way. That’d stink.

Also, I’m afraid of my anxiety. It pops up at random moments and causes all kinds of problems. I do my best to manage it, but that can only get me so far sometimes. I wish it weren’t the case, but it’s the lens through which I view life. It makes me who I am, and it can make me my own worst enemy.

about the book

Bailey didn’t mean to catch his parents plotting to unleash the sinister Trenton Maroney and his powerful oceanic army on the world. It was an honest mistake. Now, he’s got the horribly disfigured Mr. Lovell on his trail, which is doing wonders for Bailey’s anxiety.

His only ally is Franklin, a burn-out several decades past wishing his brother Trenton was destroyed for good. Franklin has battled his brother for two thousand years, and has nothing to show for it except his beloved Mustang.

To stop Mr. Lovell from awakening Trenton, Franklin and Bailey will have to get past his parents, a one-eyed stoner, crooked cops, giant Scotsmen, and Trenton’s army, which can only be summoned by one thing: the mysterious Conch Shell of Doom.

Amazon

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GOING ROGUE Author Drew Hayes Returns to THE AUTHORDOME by Ryan Hill

 

Two authors enter.

Two authors leave.

Few know this premise better than Drew Hayes, who's gone toe-to-toe, author-to-author, beta male-to-beta male more than anyone else in the known universe. Why does Drew keep coming back? Is it to shamelessly promote himself and his latest release, Going Rogue out today? An innate desire to see how far he can push himself before breaking? Maybe Drew craves competition. Maybe he knows there's no other place that will test his wits like the Authordome. 

Nah. He just enjoys the Authordome, and the Authordome enjoys having him!

Thanks for stepping into the Authordome. You were a part of these interviews before they became the Authordome? Does it feel any different, knowing you've stepped into a post-apocalyptic world of questions and answers?

I mean, I live in Texas, so we’ve pretty much got the amped-up cars and gun part of the post-apocalypse down pat. The only parts we’re missing is worse weather and less traffic. 

Going Rogue is the third in the Spells, Swords, & Stealth series. Do you have a set number of entries in this series, or will it go on and on until it loses steam, like Seinfeld? In other words, the series is about non-playable characters. How long can you play with non-playable characters?

No set number, I’ve just got a general story in mind, and however long it takes to tell will be the series. I doubt it will go past 10 though, I have a hard time imagining it would be fun and fresh in the double digits. But since I’ve got an endpoint in mind, I’d say it’s more Gravity Falls than Seinfeld. Also, you know Seinfeld went out when it was still on top, right? If you want something that limped across the finish line, maybe start using Spin City or That 70’s Show.

Authordome note: Meh. That last season of Seinfeld was butt. Season Nine wasn't so hot either. The rest? GOLD, JERRY!

A lot of series tend to have "threequelitis," where the second sequel in a series pretty much jumps the shark. There's Veronica Roth's Allegiant, Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave series fell apart at the seams, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest couldn't recapture that Dragon Tattoo magic, and some would say Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay was a far cry from The Hunger Games. Even the Authordome is play on Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which suffered from threequelitis. How did you go about avoiding threequelitis, or did Going Rogue succumb to the evil?

I think the key to avoiding that issue is to specifically avoid trying to recapture past magic. Don’t try to grab what you once held, instead focus on making it the best story for the characters as they are now, having grown and changed over two previous books. That was my strategy, anyway. Like all authors, I’m too close to give an objective opinion on if it worked, but all the beta-reader feedback so far has been pretty darn positive, so it’s looking like I may have dodged the threequelitis bullet.

Full disclosure: I haven't read any of the Spells, Swords & Stealth series. Does that make you want to lop my head off with a broadsword?

Nah, everyone who knows you is aware that you have terrible taste. Not surprising that you’d have missed this gem of a series.

Is there anyone in the series that's a badass on the level of Brienne of Tarth? Any badass heroines at all? 

It’s hard to compare direct levels without an actual fight, but I have a heroine who is a barbarian wearing demon-hide armor and swinging around a cursed axe like it’s going out of style. I’d say she’s at least a contender for equal badass grounds.

In thirty seconds or less, tell us why your series is better than Game of Thrones. I won't be timing you, so this is on the honor system. Go!

When I promise dragons, damn it I deliver on them. No long waits required.

Now for every other book in the fantasy genre, because I can't think of another series off the top of my head. Go!

Well, I promise I don’t spend entire chapters describing intricate systems of trade and macroeconomics for the fictional kingdoms. That’s got to put me above 70% of the genre right there.

The Authordome can sometimes feel a bit one-sided. Is there anything you'd like to ask me?

How’d you get someone as big as Drew Hayes on your blog?

Authordome answer: Every dog has its day? The sun even shines on a dog's ass everyone once in a while? Something to do with dogs...

Per Amazon, this is a list of the top fantasy authors. In the known universe.

1. J.K. Rowling
2. Shannon Meyer
3. Bella Forrest
4. Diana Gabaldon
5. George R.R. Martin
98. Drew Hayes

Thoughts?

Holy shit, I’m in the top 100? I was not expecting that. Haven’t even had a release in months. Um, I guess to put my thoughts concisely: Woohoo!

Sticking with this, your name recently popped up on author Christopher Moore's Amazon page in the "Customers also bought items by" list. As of Oct. 7, your name seems to have been replaced with... Christopher Moore. Tell me. How does this make you feel? Happy? Sad? 

Honestly just the fact that it happened at all was pure encouragement. I was not expecting to be sharing an audience with Christopher Moore yet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a career goal and something I’m working toward, but one day I plan to take that spot for good. Still, it’s an uphill battle, and there’s no sense in claiming victory before I’ve earned it.

What about the fact that I'm not even on your author page under the same section? Personally, that one stings.

Aw, don’t worry man. Keep at it, and one day you’ll get there.

In haiku format, tell us why we should read/buy/steal Going Rogue:

Five Adventurers
Hijinks, battle, monsters, and gold
Also there’s a pig

 

Ask a Demon! by Ryan Hill

 

What makes someone an expert on advice? Experience? Education? Is a former heroin addict more qualified to help a drug addict seeking help than a doctor or psychiatrist? Does the addict's real-life experience make for a better perspective? How about a demon that's existed for thousands upon thousands of years? A demon that's seen and done most everything one could do within the realm of human existence. 

Bash a caveman over the head with a giant bone? Check.

Get crucified? More than once? Check and double check.

Destroy a fragile peace between two warring nations by deflowering a princess betrothed to a prince from another land? Check, check, and check.

In short, don't hate the player. Hate the game.

Have a question for me? Send it to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with the subject line ASK A DEMON. Otherwise, the nitwit who owns the email address will answer your question. Trust me, you don't want that happening. He's a boob.

Joshua from Charlotte asks:

My boss is a real jerk. He makes us work Saturdays, but he never shows up. He's making our lives miserable. Any ideas on how to get him back?

Hmmmm yeah. Is your boss Bill Lundberg, by any chance? Do you need to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too?

Question. If your boss never shows up to work on Saturday, how will your boss know if you don't? If by some chance your boss can find out if you played hookie, hire a prostitute to seduce your boss, then make a sex tape. Not only will working on Saturdays be a thing of the past, but so will your salary... because methinks a raise is in order.

Jake from Miami asks:

What's Hell like? Are there multiple levels? Is it hot, or is that just an old wives tale? Speaking of old wives, what's the easiest way to dispose of a body? Asking for a friend.

I love Hell. Spent the past million or so years calling that place my home. Hell is also a lot like the Matrix. It can't be described, only seen. Dante got some stuff right in his Inferno, but I can't say what. You'll have to see for yourself!

As for the body, you can do what Walter White did in that one episode of Breaking Bad. If your stomach is too weak to handle melting a human body, find a pig farm. Those porkers will take care of the rest.

Need advice from Bartholomew? Want to know what movie to see this weekend? Send your question to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com.

 

ASK A DEMON! by Ryan Hill

 

 

What is it they say? Ask and ye shall receive? "They" always forget the second part of that: Ask and ye shall receive... for a price.

The cost varies, depending on what's being asked. Sometimes, it's slapping your old, angry biology teacher in the face during class. One poor soul wanted a position of power within Henry VII's court, so I pulled some strings and made him Groom of the Stool. What does that entail? Glad you asked!

The Groom of the Stool was considered "one of the most trusted" members of a king's court, or to phrase it for modern times, his entourage. Why? Because the Groom of the Stool was closer to the king than anyone, perhaps even the queen. See, the Groom was charged with helping the king successfully navigate certain... bodily functions. 

Also, yes. That guy gave up his soul for the position. Kind of a crappy trade off, don't you think? Bit of a stinker? I could go on for days.

Audrey the Curious Author asks:

I really want my book to be a bestseller. Like, make me rich beyond my wildest dreams. Should I make a bargain with your boss, aka SATAN, so I can achieve my goals? I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this, the pros and cons of selling my immortal soul.

Thanks!

You're welcome! Though, I haven't given you any advice yet.

Don't make a bargain with Lucifer. He's a dirty old man who will take everything you have, including the pigtails you sported as a five-year-old that swayed to and fro while you skipped down the sidewalk, your mother beaming with love and happiness. You think Lou messes around? Look at the guy!

 
 

On a side note, making a deal with Lucifer robs some poor demon of making commission on your soul. Don't do that. It's selfish.

As for whether you should sell your soul for fame, fortune, success, maybe a bungalow in Maui... OF COURSE YOU SHOULD DO IT! WHO CARES ABOUT A SOUL? IT'S SOME METAPHYSICAL, MYSTICAL THING THAT SUPPOSEDLY LEAVES YOUR PHYSICAL BODY WHEN YOU DIE. WHAT GOOD DOES IT DO? NOBODY KNOWS! YOU WON'T MISS IT!

Souls are dumb. You don't need one.

To play devil's advocate, however...

Christopher Marlowe sold his soul to become a famous playwright. Familiar with him? Famous playwright, murdered before his time? He's remembered these days for writing a play about a guy who sells his soul to the devil

Think about that.

Want your question answered by me? Send them to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with ASK A DEMON in the subject line. Who knows? You might get lucky and I'll answer your question.

Until next time...

Bartholomew signing off