Monday, October 19, 2009

The Best Email I've Ever Received

Over at, R. Kurt Osenlund (who writes terrific, mostly film-related essays and features for ICON) and I just completed a discussion on the decade's worst movie. Kurt's choice was the last Transformers movie; I opted for 2006's Date Movie, the only time I can remember walking out of a movie theater feeling like the filmmakers had nothing but contempt for me.

However, there is one terrible movie that I failed to mention in my raving--2002's The 13th Child: The Legend of the Jersey Devil--Volume 1. It didn't really have much of a release, but it was kind of a big deal in New Jersey, since that is the legend's origin. So, I did have easy access to the movie.

How, I wish I didn't.

You can read the review here, but in brief, the movie was god-awful. I wrote the review for, went on about my daily life, and tried to forget what I had seen. (Judging from conversations I've had with other Jerseyans who saw the film, the last thought is a shared sentiment.)

What makes the movie so special to me? About two years later, I received an out-of-the-blue email from Michelle Maryk, the star of The 13th Child. The entire email is reprinted below, and it remains a career highlight.

Dear Pete

You'll be surprised as hell that I'm writing to you but I got a HUGE kick out of your dead-on review of 13TH CHILD.

This , by the by, is Michelle Maryk from the aforementioned study in filmic torture. I couldn't agree with you more on all points- of course, your comments about me smarted a litlle but were pretty right on and nothing I myself haven't said a thousand times about this "movie".
For me, it was a great experience to be on a set for that many weeks and a very excellent lesson in what people should never do if they make a movie. I have to tell you, I was lucky if I ever got more than one take and I was battling with people that clearly had no clue as to what they were doing.

I'm happy to tell you, though, that I am pretty good at what I do (the blackhole of 13TH CHILD notwithstanding) and you'd likely enjoy that more. In a couple of weeks I'll have my own website up and you can see for yourself-

Keep up the great, brutally honest work.

Take care,
Michelle Maryk

P.S.--This is what I got when I did a Google image search for "happy mailman." Sure.

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