Welcome to The Morning Read.

As I watch the DVD that arrived in the single best piece of mail of 2009 (more on that later today), let's see if I can put together a quick Morning Read.  There's a lot of other work I'd like to get to today, so this won't be a long one.  And I'm feeling great this morning after managing to buy amazing seats for "The Pee Wee Herman Show" live in LA on November 22nd.  Seeing Paul Reubens perform the character again for the first time in years would be great even if it were a movie or a brief TV appearance.  But seeing him bring the Playhouse to life onstage at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theater?  And being able to take Toshi and my wife with me?  Holy cow, it's going to be an amazing holiday treat for us.  Can't wait.

There are a number of DVDs and BluRays hitting the shelves today, including "I Love You, Man," the Paul Rudd/Jason Segal movie from earlier this year.  "17 Again" is also out today, and the film's more charming than it should be, thanks in large part to the cast.  Leslie Mann impresses away from Apatow just as much as with him, and Zac Ephron's not going away any time soon, fanboys.  2008's Cannes winner "The Class" arrives today, an uncompromising and intense look at a year in the life of a teacher in France's public school system.  Another in the 742 twee little indie romances that Zooey Deschanel has starred in over the last year comes out today, "Gigantic," also featuring Paul Dano.  "Alien Trespass" is one of the three films I hosted a panel for on the Sunday of Comic Con, and it's a charming little nod to the SF alien invasion films of the '50s, written and directed by R.W. Goodwin, one of the guys who played a major creative role in "The X-Files" for most of its run, and starring Eric "Will & Grace" McCormack, who hits every right note with his performance.  It's a decent day for BluRay catalog titles today, with things like "Blue Thunder," "The Ninth Gate," "Starman," "Bad Boy Bubby," "St. Elmo's Fire," "About Last Night," "Cutthroat Island," and a four-disc box of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movies all coming out at once.

[more after the jump]

RT @jimgaffigan My wife and I have an open door policy. If one of our kids has a nightmare, they are free to come in our room and pee in our bed.

Speaking of Comic-Con panels I moderated, DERRICK Comedy was there on Sunday to help promote their first feature film, "Mystery Team," which I've been a fan of since Sundance of this year.  They filmed an original "Mystery Team" short film for the Con audience, and now you can enjoy it as well:

 

 

If you'd like to see their feature during their upcoming promotional tour, check out their official site for dates and ticket information.  It's absolutely worth the effort.

And finally, to complete the Comic-Con panel hat trick, when I was hosting the "Paper Heart" panel, "Human Giant" star Paul Scheer interrupted us with a question, and I was amused to see how completely the Comic-Con staff bought the bit.  We had worked the question and the answer out with Paul before we all went onstage, but the Comic-Con staff had no idea and they tried to give him the bum's rush as quickly as possible.

Well, he was also at the "Lost" panel in Hall H, as I mentioned in my liveblog from that panel, and he gave Damon and Carlton a velvet painting of them and a polar bear, using that opportunity to announce his aptly-named new website, DamonCarltonAndAPolarBear.com, which now appears to be ground zero for a viral campaign.  There's a new video that just went live that is loaded with clues for season six if you know what to look for:

 

 

Hmmmmmm.

If you haven't read the single best John Hughes story in the last week, you really should.  It's an amazing look at his pen-pal relationship with a teenage girl that makes me miss a John Hughes I never got a chance to know.  And if that doesn't give you enough Hughes material, you can read Roger Ebert's set visit to "The Breakfast Club," or Reid Rosenfelt's memory of interviewing for a job with Hughes, or you can download a great two-part podcast of a 1985 AFI seminar that Hughes gave.  The Internet has coughed up a plethora of Hughes-related greatness in the last week, and I'm sure it's helped his fans deal with his death.

You could also check out this long interview with the guys making "Don't You Forget About Me," a documentary that was hoping to find John Hughes and talk to him about why he left Hollywood.  Even though they obviously can't do that now, they've been shooting for a while, and it sounds like they might have some really good stuff in the can.

And speaking of Hughes and "Ferris Bueller" in particular, it gives me a great deal of personal pleasure to read that Ben Stein just got kicked in the balls over ethics charges by The New York Times.  Years ago, Stein had Harry Knowles come on his talk show so he could ambush him with the same empty, baseless accusations that had been used in a hatchet piece about Ain't It Cool online.  Everything Stein threw at Harry was trumped-up horseshit, but Stein was determined that he was going to trash Harry on the air, and the site as well, and the appearance just turned out to be a joke.  I lost all respect for Stein that day, and more than that, I saw how craven he was.  He didn't care about what was true.  He was just looking to spill a little blood for entertainment.  Obviously, those smears he threw at Harry did oh-so-much to derail the site and Harry in general, but even so, it makes me almost indecently happy to see that it is a conflict-of-interest scandal that led to him getting the boot.  And, no, Ben, I don't care if it's true or not.  You didn't.  Enjoy the loss of income and esteem, sir.  Karma is a marvel.

I wonder if this guy is insured.

A new Coen Brothers short film that they made for last year's Cannes festival?  Sure.  I've got three minutes to spare.

 

 

Have I mentioned lately that I think Josh Brolin is a madman?  The more I'm around that guy and the more I speak with him, the more I like his particular flavor of crazy.  He's out there, and I think that's why he's started to book so many great jobs in a row.

If I tell my wife that "My So-Called Life" is now on Hulu, I may never get my computer back.

Oh, yeah... by the way... if you work for an airline, or if you work specifically for Continental, go fuck yourself.  Air travel has become punishment at this point, and you miserable assholes seem to forget that you're carrying actual human beings.  Something's gotta give, and at this point, I think things are going to get worse before they get better.

How about a list of the top 50 WWII movies, with help from Quentin Tarantino?  Sounds like fun, right?

This won't make a lick of sense to you if you haven't played "Fallout 3," but if you have (coughkevinthisoneisforyoucough), then enjoy this maddening list of 50 things you can do in the Capital Wasteland.

RT @sarahksilverman  Goddamnit! I am so sick of paying top dollar for mustache rides.

Todd Brown over at Twitchfilm put up the teaser trailer for "Lucky Luke," in which the hilarious Jean Dujardin is playing the iconic Western comic strip character.  This is one of those cases like "Tintin" or "Asterix and Obelix" where European audiences know the source material and America just doesn't, but I love Dujardin, so this one's on my radar in a big way now:

 

 

I just want to know when I'm going to get to see the sequel to "OSS 117" here in the US.  Now, please?

I really like what Richard Metzger's been doing recently with his interview show, "Dangerous Minds."  His interview with Paul Krassner recently is well worth paying attention to as they wrestle with the current definition of what is obscene.

 

Paul Krassner: Who's To Say What's Obscene? from DANGEROUS MINDS on Vimeo.

 

I love long-form interviews anyway, but when you're digging into a subject that big, you need that time.

Finally today, I'd like to issue a challenge.  When I saw "G.I. Joe," along with a few other critics, there were a number of writers, both online and in print, who went berserk over the idea that they weren't being shown the movie at the same time.  Much ink and tears were spilled over the tremendous crime that was being committed, and those of us who did see it were suddenly "suspect" or "paid off" or "in the bag."  First of all, blow me if you think when I see something has anything to do with my reaction.  Second of all, anyone who complained or who took a personal shot owes me an apology unless you have written that exact same article each and every time a Fox film has been released in the last six years.  I'm not shown a single film from that studio early.  If I want to review Fox product (and I've done so many times this year), I buy a ticket on opening day.  Period.  And that's fine.  That's the price I pay for saying what I think.  When they were handing out interviews with James Cameron at Comic-Con this year, you think I was even considered?  No.  But of course, that outrage doesn't cover disparity to ALL writers... no, it was just because they suddenly felt left out of something.  The simple truth is that no movie is screened for every member of the press at the same time, and many movies aren't screened for them at all.  And unless the media is prepared to make a case for EVERY SINGLE FILM being screened for EVERY SINGLE CRITIC and EVERY SINGLE TIME, then shut up about it.  Here's a good test case:  "The Marc Pease Experience" is a movie that got orphaned when Paramount Vantage went belly-up, and this Friday, it's being released quietly in a few cities around the country.  No dates in New York or Los Angeles, so critics in those cities won't even have the option of buying tickets to see the film for review.  So if you want to prove that your whining and crying over a movie about a bunch of action figures wasn't just a temporary fit of crybaby pique, then I want to see the same amount of sound and fury whipped up about "The Marc Pease Experience."  Go ahead.  I dare you to prove me wrong.

I'm going to wrap it up here, even though I have more stuff for you.  I guess that's what tomorrow is for, right?  Lots more interviews and reviews to come today, and I still hope to make a screening tonight.  Let's see how this goes...

The Morning Read appears here every day, Monday through Friday.  Except when it doesn't.

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