Writer’s Room: Audiences More Entertaining Than the Movie

By: 11.15.12

PATRICK SCHUMACKER: Where Do You Look for Punisher?

The one moment that seems to stand the test of time for me happened during a near-empty matinee of Marvel’s THE PUNISHER, starring Thomas Jane, at the AMC Burbank.   My writing partner, Justin Halpern (This was before he legally changed his name to New York Times Bestselling Author Justin Halpern), and I were seated near the back of the theater, and the audience of, oh, about nine from what I could count, was mostly silent for the film, whose anemic–yeah, I f*cking said it–take on Frank Castle never seemed to earn the R-rating it received.  Let me say this: I love Thomas Jane, but when the highlight of your film is a villainous John Travolta being dragged over open flames while screaming like Freddie Mercury challenging the Wembley crowd to a falsetto scat competition, it is not without problems.

So, we’re sitting there, and it’s the end of the movie, and The Punisher is leaving, cause now he’s killed everyone and is on the run from the cops.  And the love interest, Rebecca Romijn, stops him in the hallway.  And he’s got his duffel bag over his shoulder and she says, “You’re leaving,”  (No sh*t. See: duffel bag.)  And he responds, “I have work to do.  Read your newspaper every day.  You’ll understand.”

And then, as any human being would, Rebecca Romijn asks, “What section?”

And that’s when an audience member slumped way down in his seat at the front of the theater took it upon himself to answer the question for The Punisher.  And he didn’t just answer it in a brooding deadpan like the Punisher would.  No, he knew that would not play to the audience.  It would be too expected.  Instead, as any great showman would, he answered it with the enthusiasm of John Madden during a replay of a crushing helmet-to-helmet collision on Monday Night Football. One word.  One plosive, monosyllabic word that still rings true in my head today:


Well played, backward Starter baseball hat-wearing, Russell Athletic-cloaked silhouette in row 2.  Well played.

For those of you who care to know, or aren’t well-verse in Punisher lore, the scripted answer was, “The Obituaries.”  Apparently because either a) The Punisher plans to continue exacting fatal vengeance upon scum in the area covered by that local newspaper for the foreseeable future, or b) he is under the assumption that the obituary section of the newspaper is nationally syndicated.  I don’t know.

I still own the film on DVD, and smile fondly after having skipped through the first 87 minutes to get to this moment.  Though I usually stop and watch Travolta’s death, too.  It’s worth the price of the DVD alone, so disregard this entire post and watch the movie.

MIKE TUNISON (KissingSuzyKolber): Looper Makes It Rain

Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen it.

Looper was awesome, so I don’t include this to take a dig at the movie. But it just happened recently, so it’s fresh in my mind. The dude in question who yelled this was relatively quiet the rest of the movie, which made this one outburst all the better.

During the scene in the farmhouse where the kid first uses his telekinesis, this dude connected the dots about the kid’s place in the future. It’s the same conclusion I’m sure a lot of other people watching the movie had already reached, but he phrased it a lot better than they could have.

So dude jumps up, points at the screen and goes, “YO, THAT’S THE MOTHERF*CKING RAIN NIGGA RIGHT THERE!”

RACHEL CARTER: On the Efficacy of Abstinence Parables

While watching one of the Twilight movies (yeah, you heard that right – I saw Twilight in the theater), there was a 13-year-old girl behind me, sitting with her parents. At the part where Taylor Lautner comes onto the screen shirtless and Robert Pattinson says: “Doesn’t he own a shirt?” the 13-year-old stands up and screams out: “I hope not!”

Then, while her parents are trying to make her sit down she goes: “Take your pants off too!!”

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