Tucker Max tries to shock me, fails
Tucker Max's debut movie, "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell," adapted from his popular book of the same name, also adapted from his blog, the oh-so-cleverly named, Tuckermax.com, is getting lots of buzz. Of course. He's the bad-boy of frat boys...or something like that.
People love and hate Tucker Max. Here's the opening to his site: "My name is Tucker Max, and I am an a**hole. I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging di**head."
(Eyes rolling) At first I thought this was a joke about a douchebag. And then I realized it was serious. Oh, I get it...I'm supposed to be offended and turn into the raging femi-nazi these guys expect. Well, I'm not offended, I'm not going to protest (and ladies, stop protesting him...you bug me too), I'm just bored. When people are trying this hard to shock me, I'm like, that's it? You like to bed chicks? Wow. You get drunk -- a lot? Really? You like to go to bars with terrible jukeboxes (because let's face it, if it weren't for the good taste of some "hipsters," jukeboxes would only play Smash Mouth, Nickelback and Tool, not that "weird" stuff like The Velvet Underground, Marc Bolan or The Kinks...not to mention Lee Hazelwood, Serge Gainsbourg or The Sonics...)? Besides, I get all my booze delivered from Pink Elephant.
So again, not offended. Endless story about different kinds of sex that people have every day? Told in truth telling, stupidly gross detail? I'd rather read a blog by Richard Ramirez. I'm guessing he's a better writer. He sure is funnier (remember his final statement in court?). He also liked AC/DC and was better looking. And from what I understand, he has thousands of groupies. So even in prison, Richie wins.
Anyway, serial killers aside, these stories Tucker spins -- come now son. I bet Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and every member of Zeppelin has some variation, albeit in cooler places and with hotter girls. The need to blog about such things eludes them because, you know, most of them have since passed and, well, they're truly cool. They wouldn't have blogs. And a young Merle Haggard would kick your ass hard for talking about his sister that way. Jesus, old Merle Haggard could probably take you down.
I like my a-holes real. And real talented. OK? Like Rip Torn's out-of-control country singer in the brilliant "Payday." I would risk getting thrown on the side of the road, have money flung in my face, only to have it snatched back from me by a raging Rip, over any tired stripper scenario Tucker finds himself in. And speaking of taking people down. Tucker, did you see that fight beteen Torn and Norman Mailer? That is crazy. Secretly filming girls during sex, not really. That's just creepy.
Since when did "lothario" translate into raging creep? A lothario can be charming, a gentleman. Robert Mitchum could bed any lady he wanted, but likely found no need to tape it, just to prove to his friends he nailed an extra. He didn't need to. He's Bob Mitchum. Not Bob Crane.
So that's my Tucker Max take. Here's the LA Times story on Max and his movie:
"In 2006, he crafted those stories -- which originated as e-mails of the 'Dude, you are not going to believe what happened to me last night!' variety -- into the memoir 'I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.' And now the 'fratire,' in which Max rates women on a scale from 'common-stock pig" to 'super hottie' and declares himself a "professional at humiliating and 'debasing' people," has sold a million copies. It famously remained on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 100 weeks and made the writer a finalist for Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People list for 2009.
"'I stumbled into it,' Max recently said of his acclaim. 'Creative writing was not only not an option for me, I looked disdainfully at writers. Like, 'Get a real job!'
"'Beer in Hell's' inevitable movie adaptation arrives in theaters Friday, not coincidentally just as negative outcry against Max has taken on new proportions. Although controversy dogged him even before the book's release, sprawling debates about the writer's merits -- or complete lack thereof -- are being played out in the discussion forums of such websites as the Internet Movie Database and rottentomatoes.com, where his detractors and defenders lay siege to one another's arguments with startling passion.
"Since August 2008, the snarky media watchdog website Gawker has staked a brazenly negative position on 'Beer in Hell' and has labeled Max a 'sad piece of nothing' and 'a thug, an unimaginative punk, and, at heart, a tiny little vapor.' Taking umbrage at the trailer for 'Beer in Hell,' a reviewer for the satirical newspaper the Onion cast a personal barb at Max, telling him: "Your movie is just like 'The Hangover' but doused in buckets of beige frat boy vomit." Meanwhile, the main thrust of the blog Tucker Max Is a Douchebag has been to discredit the factual basis of Max's stories (he maintains all are true). And as the writer has crossed the country promoting his movie at college campuses, angry protesters have disrupted appearances, accusing him of promoting a 'culture of rape.'
"One such rally occurred at a screening on the campus of North Carolina State University last month. 'Films and books like his disguise disrespect, objectification and abusive behavior toward women as comedy and try to make it culturally acceptable,' said Shannon Johnson, director of the North Carolina State Women's Center. 'The real problem is that it becomes mainstream to dehumanize women. That acceptance condones sexual violence to occur.'
"Although drunken sex abounds in both the movie and the book, depictions of rape do not. Max said he hasn't allowed the naysaying to sink in. 'It impacts things on a superficial level. If protesters are at an event, we have to deal with it,' said Max, reached by phone from Bloomington, Ind., where he had screened the film a night earlier. 'At a core level? Not in the least. Kooks and trolls and haters are not it, man. It would be criminally stupid to spend any time sweating them.'"
And yet, with all of these thoughts regarding Mr. Max, I will attend the movie to make up my mind completely. And maybe something will win me over. Maybe I'll believe Tucker Max the second coming of Jim Thompson. Maybe I'll start using terms like "I'm just living the dream" and "Keep on keeping on, bro." Maybe I'll do something really CA-razy, like walk to Jumbo's down the street and check out the merchandise. Right on! Freaky girls! Wait, that might make me a lesbian. Oh yeah, that's hot, right?
Still...here's a nice true story about a tough, scary drunk I adore in old movies. I know a guy who was friends with Lawrence Tierney. He and Tierney went to a video store and the outing became quite a scene. Tierney observed and overheard two fratboy types looking at Erroll Flynn's "Robin Hood," saying, "what a fag." Angry at the remark, old Tierney picked one of these idiots off the ground and threw him into a display case. I'd like to think that douchebag was Tucker Max.