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A Plea From Me, to Jeffrey Wells.

Dear Jeffrey,

Despite whatever I've said about you (and I've said numerous things on this blog, on your site, and on Twitter), there's one constant about you that I've always respected when reading your articles on Hollywood Elsewhere: it comes from a deep love of the medium. I love that you get jazzed over smaller, obscure movies that, otherwise, wouldn't be (or should be) on my radar. I admire that you don't buckle to public opinion and base the film on it's merits alone. You write and speak without much (or any) fear of how someone will perceive of your work. I wish I had that kind of streak in me as a writer.

But the rub has always been that you take this quality about yourself too far, and the initial response has been to think that you're being a huge jerk, or in inconsiderate ass. Exhibit A: how you espoused that if a child with down syndrome can't keep quiet during a screening at the local theater, then management should have the right to throw that person/group out of the theater. I understand where you were coming from; that distractions like talking, texting, etc., ruin the experience of moviegoing. We all can't stand it when some obnoxious jackass keeps chatting away on his phone, or when an infant cries obsessively, or when a group of teens won't shut the hell up. Two of the three things can be controlled. A baby cannot. I'd prefer that parents do leave their young babies at home, but I do understand that sometimes, it's not possible, and you have to learn to block out that kind of noise.

Exhibit B: Your most recent post about Fort Hood screening Interstellar. Like last time, I understand the crux of what you were aiming at: You're looking for substance as to how the film was as a whole, rather than a review that sounds like the countless sea of fanboys. And again, you take it too far by questioning the person's manhood, who just happened to be someone serving in the military. These two examples I would chalk up to you just being a raging, unapologetic, first-class douchebag who doesn't understand restraint. And yet, there's another point that I just now considered to these kinds of posts. One that, with all honesty, has me hoping that you are, indeed, just a grade-A fuck face.

Each of these posts have gotten plenty of comments. Have had people like me throw endless comments at you, ranging from "You are such an asshole, Jeff!", to "What the fuck is your problem, you fucking dick?!" I'm certain you've heard it all. I'm also certain that you don't give a shit to what I, or anyone else, has to say about you. Your mindset chalks up to "Love me or hate me, at least spell my name right." I also notice that when you don't write inflammatory articles and just stick to writing about movies you've seen, classics that are getting the Blu-Ray treatment, or just rambling about your personal life and little things that capture your fancy, it's a different matter; few people comment and/or care. There are plenty of people, anonymous and well-known commentators who openly come to the site just to watch you blow a bigger gasket. 

The point I'm getting at is that I wonder if these outbursts are nothing more than a stunt to get people talking about your site, your writings. That you're just playing this caricature to simply get attention, and to get people talking about you.

I hope it isn't the latter. If it is, Jeff: I have one request of you: Stop doing it. 

Stop caving into the persona.

Stop writing harsh, mean-spirited rants just to get hits on HE.

Stop pretending to be this unlikable dickhead.

Just stop altogether.

Frankly speaking: I find it to be the cheapest, laziest and most cynical form of writing - putting stuff out you don't mean in any capacity, but writing it anyway to get attention. We have enough Rush Limbaugh's and Ann Coulter's running around, being given a platform to say the most disgusting, disingenuous and inflammatory things to sell books, get segments on cable news outlets and ink in speaking tours to crowd around and see what what he or she will say next. I also find it to be a slap in the face to people like myself, who either are trying to get up off the ground and make a name for themselves in the profession, or just love to write about something they are deeply passionate about.

I'm not a professional writer by any stretch of the imagination. I don't always update like I should for this blog alone, and procrastination plagues me constantly. I write-up recaps for Awards Daily TV for no pay, but because I'm interested in the medium, and I think I do a decent job of it. I love writing. It is an extension of my identity. I don't get that many hits or comments. And I don't really care if I'm essentially talking out loud to the empty void. I love writing about film (and now television). It's been a passion of mine ever since mom started taking me to the South Bay Drive-In when I was a young boy. I admire and respect the Roger Ebert's, the Lisa Schwarzbaum's the Sasha Stone's, the Scott Weinberg's, the Lindsay Ellis' and Doug Walker's of the world who review and talk movies in a professional or semi-professional manner, and I find it fucking insulting that maybe you see it as just a game.

Again, I hope I'm wrong and that you're really just an asshole who doesn't know restraint for that mouth of yours. But if it really is just to get a rise out of people and gather attention, then I beg you to stop doing it. You're too good for it.

Sincerely,

Jonathan.

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