Jonathan Poritsky

The Shyamalan Groan

Last night, at a mid­night screen­ing of Inception in NYC, the new trailer for Devil came up. The audi­ence, obvi­ously the tar­get demo­graphic, was wrapped up in it, very excited at the prospect of an enclosed hor­ror film (strangers stuck in an ele­va­tor with some sort of super­nat­ural ele­ment). That is, until the fol­low­ing title card came up: From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan. The house erupted into a load moan, very close to a boo. Then they all laughed off their unan­i­mous dis­dain. Then they applauded once the trailer wrapped.

Had they paid bet­ter atten­tion, they would see that M. Night penned the story, not even the script, while direct­ing cred­its go to Quarantine broth­ers John Erick and Drew Dowdle. It is clear that peo­ple are fed up with Shyamalan, espe­cially after the unfor­giv­able The Last Airbender, how­ever I think we can learn a lot about this reaction.

First off, the whole celebrity attach­ment thing is get­ting to be a bit much, espe­cially when even the press isn’t always tak­ing the time to look at who directed a film. I saw a great deal of mis­re­portage — no, not on blogs — about Robert Rodriguez direct­ing Predators, which is entirely untrue. Nimród Antal worked closely with Rodriguez to be sure, but the buck ulti­mately stops with the director.

Of course, Rodriguez is a name you want attached to a film like that. Viewers are clearly over M. Night’s trick­ery, but peo­ple should remem­ber his begin­nings. Shyamalan is a man of many tal­ents who, most would argue, has been cor­rupted by his fame. He started as a writer and is an extremely gifted sto­ry­teller, so I think the move to bring­ing his story to another direc­tor is per­fect. Perhaps we will even see him move away from the cam­era on more projects so he can slowly win back the hearts and minds of the hor­ror and thriller fans he has (not really) betrayed.

That being said, an entire film that takes place in an ele­va­tor is very easy to screw up. So we’ll just have to wait and see. The trailer itself looks pretty wonderful.

How Not to Ask an iPad User About the iPad

Perhaps I’m a cur­mud­geon — okay I def­i­nitely am — on the sub­ject of tech­no­log­i­cal social eti­quette, but hon­estly, the nag­ging iPad ques­tions have to stop. The thing has been out for three months now, and there are Apple Stores aplenty to go and did­dle with the thing for the overly curi­ous. Still, I get odd looks and uncom­fort­able ques­tions from strangers all the time. In week one, it was cool; now, not so much.

Let’s be clear here: I’m not talk­ing about a mutual friend, a coworker, a fam­ily mem­ber or a mem­ber of your social graph com­ing over to stroke your alu­minum and glass baby. Those folks can play all they like. I’m talk­ing about com­plete strangers who want you to sell them on the iPad just because they noticed you had one. On the sub­way, in a cafe, stand­ing on the street; strangers have shown no mercy in their quest to learn more about this “mag­i­cal” non-computer computer.

Enough. I’ve had it. Here is a guide to avoid mak­ing iPad users uncom­fort­able, surly and want to go home and write a blog post about how much you suck.

1. Don’t Ask if I Love My iPad

I do love my iPad, for a num­ber of rea­sons, but they are prob­a­bly dif­fer­ent from yours. I don’t love your wife, but I’m sure you think she’s the tops.

2. Don’t Ask Me What I Use it For

That’s none of your beeswax.

3. Don’t Mention “I’ll Get the Next One”

If you’re jazzed about the iPad 2, which doesn’t exist, then don’t ask me about my iPad. You’re mak­ing two social blun­ders when you bring this up: 1) You’re wast­ing my time because you don’t actu­ally give a crap about the iPad and 2) you’re pass­ing a judge­ment on my early adoption.

4. Don’t Tell Me About Your Kindle

I had a Kindle and I returned it, but that’s not the point. I don’t care about your Kindle, and you don’t care about my iPad. Haven’t we cov­ered this?

5. Don’t Say “Sorry to Interrupt You”

Just don’t inter­rupt me.