Meet Tom Perkins. He’s a disturbingly enthusiastic young Brit who, until a few days ago, had a web show called FilmXTRATOM (“Film Extra Tom”), which was often promoted on the Heyuguys blog (settle down, I hadn’t heard of them before now either). That was when someone discovered that the movie reviews Tom had been excitedly reading into the camera had actually been stolen from other film sites. A site called the TheFollowingPreview has a thorough breakdown of which reviews he stole from where; mostly JoBlo.com and a handful of British sites. When JoBlo called him out for stealing their Iron Man 2 review a few days ago, he first tried to deny it, Tweefing:
Im a weird mood at the moment because people think i stolen someones review. Anyone that knows me knows that i dont read anyones review
It’s hard to know what he was thinking, considering anyone with Google and a pair of eyeballs could see he was blatantly lying. He finally copped to it a day later, and has since pulled all the videos from his YouTube Channel (if you can get the video to work, JoBlo has a rip of his Iron Man 2 review stolen mostly verbatim from their site). Today they posted his apology letter, which reads in part:
Yes I have plagiarised many of your reviews (and other website reviewers) and even though there is no excuse for what I have done, I am deeply sorry for my actions. I was stupid to think that I could get away with it. Now I know you don’t want to hear any excuses but my main reason for starting to plagiarise a while ago was mainly because YouTube has become so easily corruptible these days I kind of wanted to see how corruptible it can be. Which of course got way out of hand and I forgot that I was taking advantage of your hard work.
I also need to mention that the website HeyUGuys.co.uk (which was the website i was apart of) had no idea of my actions and were just in the dark as everyone else.
“Young girls have gotten so corruptible these days, I wanted to see how corruptible they could be. I didn’t mean any harm. Anyway, yadda yadda yadda, your daughter’s in my crawlspace.”
The strange part of all this to me is, who steals a review? It’s not a math test, dude. How hard is it to have an opinion? I write reviews. Sexman does reviews. Brendan’s mom writes reviews. Hell, Ben freakin Lyons and Pete motherfrotting Hammond wrote reviews FOR A LIVING, and those guys can barely tie their own shoes. And I haven’t even gotten to the review he was actually caught stealing. Did this guy seriously not think himself capable of such cutting analysis as:
“Although director Jon Favreau never brings the look and pace of the film into grim territory, he actually keeps it funny and fresh.”
“The script by Justin Theroux may feel a bit too simple, but it is certainly rich in wit.”
“The two actors bounce off each other, beautifying the dialogue with style and humor.”
“Tony claims that the world doesn’t want to mess with it, so the suit should stay with him. The others, well, they think the wealth should be shared… especially when the ‘others’ happens to be the government.”
The 1300-word review has probably 1100 words of plot exposition. Different strokes for different folks and all of that, I guess, but I just don’t get it. You could argue I’m just bitter that he didn’t steal one of my reviews, and I wouldn’t have a good comeback for that. But to me this is representative of a larger problem, or at least, something that makes no sense to me.
It seems there’s this entire industry which is like a self-appointed marketing arm for movie studios. They want to analyze and discuss movies, but they can’t, really, for fear of saying anything too negative and losing their access and exclusives, or offending the stars who give them their scoops. And nowhere is this more clearly personified than in the person of Tom Perkins, a guy who wanted to be a cheerleader so badly that he couldn’t even take the time to write his own cheers.
To me that’s pretty f*cked up. And only slightly because “plagiarism is wrong.” Are people that afraid to express an honest opinion? Mickey Rourke should take a break from movies to start a boot camp for those in need of ball growing.
Anyway, sorry for the diatribe, folks. The techs and I are working out a “skip to the dick jokes” function, but it’s still in beta.