As a child, I thought of myself as a prodigy. In the sixth grade I picked out a paperback from the school library for no other reason than it appeared difficult to read and would, I imagined, suggest to teachers and classmates a secret literary acumen.
Dick Loudon, growing increasingly depressed about his middling career as a writer of do-it-yourself books, purchases a Connecticut guesthouse and moves there with his emotionally distant former mistress Joanna. But the chill New England air only serves to heighten the tension between them, and soon Dick begins an affair with Stephanie, the chambermaid.
When I was a kid, I spent summers with my father in the suburbs of Regina. I remember his basement with particular fondness. A small kitchenette, a pullout couch and wood panelling on the walls. The rabbit-eared television, when you flipped the dial fast, sounded like a dry-firing machine gun. I would hide down there in the dark, laying on my back, feet against the wall, reading comic books and sipping Slushies.
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MORE FROM JARED YOUNG
Of the myriad reasons I should have loved Russell Smith’s Girl Crazy was that it was sexually explicit and had the reputation, when it was published four years ago, of being vaguely misogynistic, which at the very least should have aroused in me (besides arousal, generally) a defensiveness in favor of that endangered apex predator, the sex-obsessed white male protagonist.
Shortly after 10 a.m. last Wednesday morning, I was heading back to my office from a meeting at a nearby coffee shop. The walk is only 100 feet from door to door. Because I’ve been conditioned by the conveniences of modern technology to fill even the briefest intervals with digital stimulus, I pulled out my smartphone and punched in my passcode.
FROM McSweeney's Internet Tendency
FILM REVIEWS BY JARED YOUNG
Read more of Jared Young's negligent, wholly subjective film writing at Dear Cast and Crew.
Other Writing by Jared Young
Based on the true story of a pride of lions who escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during the second American invasion of Iraq, Brian K. Vaughan's new graphic novel Pride of Baghdad wastes no time in distinguishing itself as a harsher, truer-to-life cousin of the allegorical anthropomorphic tradition.
We were eighteen, living together in Regina, in that apartment near the university. It must have been May, because the snow was gone and we were in the habit of taking the kittens outside and letting them play in the grass.
For centuries, impoverished farmers in Northern Thailand harvested insects for sustenance. Today, in urban centres, traditional dishes like spicy red-ant soup and flame-roasted giant dung-beetles are served from motorcycles with sidecar-trolleys.
Tell me, Jared: how am I supposed to compose a fair review of a movie that seems – from start to finish, in tone and content, in the quiet beats between loud explosions and the loud beatings between quiet expositions – plucked directly from your twelve year-old brain? And, more than that, treats your Slurpee-induced reveries with such respect, such veneration?
Which is a collection of excerpts and ephemera from the Jared Young archives, curated and annotated by the literary critic Gradey Alexander.
Page from an unnamed screenplay, written by Young in the spring of 1996. The influences of Tarantino and Scorsese are apparent, here, as well as the author’s irrepressible proclivity for lifeless dialogue and cringe-inducing racial stereotyping. (GA)
I am distraught to see, when we arrive at the Hollywood Awards Ballroom, that I am the only person wearing a white T-shirt.
The first line of the unpublished essay “Absolute Mayhem”, abandoned in late 2005. What is supposed to be a anthropologic study of the metal scene in Thailand is sabotaged from the very outset by the author’s vain, self-regarding attempts to make himself the clever protagonist. As per usual. (GA)
Quote from novelist David Mitchell, affixed to the author’s laptop. Surprising that the advice about meretriciousness doesn’t seem to have been absorbed, even subconsciously. Perhaps because the author doesn’t know what “meretricious” means. (GA)
I wake up (because all great tales begin with someone waking up, it is the penultimate starting point, the beginning of everything).
From the unpublished story “The Vicious Cycle”, composed in early 2002. Young, here, seems quite confident in his knowledge of what makes a tale great; funny, then, that he seems unable to apply this knowledge in this (or any subsequent) work. (GA)
From 1996, yet another English class essay built from stolen bits of Roger Ebert’s wisdom. (GA)
From 1997, another high school essay in which the author leads with a quote from the film critic Roger Ebert. What follows, unfortunately, possesses none of Ebert’s grace, intelligence, or populist lyricism. (GA)
From 1996, an eleventh-grade essay on Bram Stoker’s Dracula in which the author, amidst his senseless semantic grandiosity, chooses smartly to quote the great film critic Roger Ebert (never senseless or grandiose), who passed away at the age of 70. (GA)
Character notes from an unknown project, 1999. Note the careful attention paid to the sociopath’s physical appearance: “strong, ripped, works out.” Is this psycho killer (“a writer”) an aspirational cypher for Young himself? Or is this a glimpse into the author’s monoclinous desires? (GA)