Heather’s review of Best Night Ever, Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg’s first foray into non-parody films as directors, reminded me that I never got around to telling you about Matt Patches’ profile on Seltzer-Friedberg in Grantland last week. Basically, Seltzer-Friedberg were two guys who met at UCSB (which Patches incorrectly refers to as a “state school,” not that any non-UC grads care) who’ve been cranking out scripts together at a ridiculous rate since they were in college. They eventually got their script for Spy Hard to Leslie Nielson, which ended up being made, with Nielson starring and Friedberg’s father, Rick, who directed Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” video and an Olsen twins movie, in the director’s chair.
The whole thing is definitely worth a read, but I thought this was the money quote:
“Goodfellas was amazing to us,” Friedberg said. “I remember one day we said it could be funny if there was a spoof movie where, ‘Funny how? Like I’m a clown? I’m here to amuse you?’ — and then you cut to the guy and he’s wearing full clown makeup.” Instead of pining for the film school experience, Friedberg and Seltzer took a proactive approach and began work on their first screenplay. As Friedberg put it, “That dumb-ass joke started it all.”
Somewhere, a Geico commercial writer is pissed he didn’t think of that joke first.
You know how the Sochi Olympics are kind of like this perfect storm of catharsis, where every crappy thing and mean stereotype we ever had about Russia are confirmed in a spectacularly public fashion? I feel like this profile, and especially that block quote, are just like that, but with Seltzer and Friedberg. Some people want to go back in time to kill Hitler. I want someone to go back in time to tell Seltzer-Friedberg that that joke is terrible.