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by dr andrew cousins

In Conversation with Jerry Sharkey

Jerry Sharkey has been called the "Scourge of Hollywood". He runs the infamous ‘This Movie Sux!!!!!’ website which features scandal, gossip and reviews of film months before they are released. ‘Variety’ recently featured a list of the 100 most influential people in Hollywood - Jerry made number 7. Yet the entire site is run by Jerry from his bedroom in Toronto. Netribution went to talk to him.

AC. You’ve been running the site for the past two years during which time you’ve gone from being completely unknown to become a minor celebrity. How does that make you feel?

JS. It’s just, like, intense! The way the buzz around the site has grown is astonishing. I knew that something big was happening when I published a review of an early draft of ‘Batman and Robin’ and I received an anonymous death-threat the next day. It wasn’t even spelt correctly so I suspect it may have been from Akiva Goldsmith. As for being a celebrity? If other people who, like me, suffer from excessive flaking of the scalp look to me as a role model then that’s something I’m proud of.

AC. Tell us how you got started.

JS. I got my first computer back in ’97. That was back at the beginning of the internet boom. It looked pretty exciting and so I began to learn HTML. My first website was going to be a Star Trek tribute site but by the time I was good enough to launch it there were already over 100,000 similar sites already out there. At the same time I was frustrated at how bad some recent movies were and that nobody seemed to be saying anything about it. That’s when I decided to start "This Movie Sux!!!!!"

AC. You run the entire operation from your bedroom. How does that work?

JS. Basically my entire life revolves around the website. I get scoops in from all over the world, 24 hours a day, so I’m constantly updating the site. Luckily I’ve never had a particularly active social life so it’s not like I feel as though I’m missing out on anything. It also means that I get through a vast quantity of Pop Tarts. In fact, I’ve just signed a major advertising deal with Kelloggs. I’m going to be the new face of the Pop Tart in 2001.

AC. You’ve been credited as the man who destroyed ‘The Avengers’ feature film. How did that come about?

JS. Very early on I had a guy who was working at the studio who kept sending me reviews of the script. Basically he was saying that it got more and more terrible with every draft. It was so dreadful that you could see the tear stains of the producers on some copies. Once they started filming another contact used to send me reports from the set. We were the first site to break the news that Sean Connery appeared to have had his costumes designed by somebody who was partially-sighted. I personally managed to sneak into one of the preview screenings. I managed to see what some people had written on their comment slips. Under the section, "how could this film be improved?", one woman had written, "burn the negative". I think our review was harsh but fair.

AC. It’s rumoured that Steven Spielberg has you on his ‘50 People I Hate Most’ list. How do you feel about that?

JS. Studios hate me because they never want to admit that they’ve made a bad film. Unfortunately people like me keep reminding them. I’ve been told that George Lucas keeps a voodoo doll of me in his desk drawer after my review of ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’.

AC. Is that the one where you said "It makes Howard the Duck look like a classic"?

JS. That’s right. I also coined the nickname ‘Jar Jar Stinks’. I wish I could have copyrighted that because I’d have made a fortune. I’ve tried to get some spies onto Episode 2 but the place is locked up tighter then Fort Knox. I hear people have to undergo an intimate body search before they’re allowed on set to make sure they aren’t carrying any recording equipment or cameras.

AC. Do you have spies on any other films at the moment?

JS. I have a guy who’s working as an extra on the remake of ‘Planet of the Apes’. The big news on that one is that Tim Burton has insisted on doing it as a musical. The plot is now a love story that revolves around a romance between human astronaut (Mark Wahlberg) and a female ape (Helena Bonham-Carter) At one point she sings "I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair". I’m currently trying to get hold of a script.

AC. Has being based in Canada been a disadvantage to you?

JS. Not really. The beauty of the internet is that you can be based anywhere. It does mean that you can fall prey to hoaxes from time to time. I’ve been pretty lucky up to now.

AC. There was the ‘Matrix 2’ hoax though.

JS. Oh yeah. I got a tip off that these two famous British actors had been cast in Matrix 2 and 3. I have to be honest, never heard of The Chuckle Brothers before but my information came from a usually reliable source. On the whole though I’m quite careful about what I print on the site.

AC. So where do you see yourself going next?

JS. At the moment I’m happy where I am. I have been approached to do some cameos in a few films. I’m in ‘The Big Lebowski’ for three seconds. You can see me if you use the freeze-frame button on the video copy. Unfortunately, I’m panned and scanned out of the full-frame version.

AC. Jerry Sharkey, thank you.

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