Saturday, February 28, 2009

Convening With Nature.

Taking the blog on the road for a long weekend in Park City, UT.

Altitude sickness and a torn ACL: good for the soul.

Friday, February 27, 2009

In A Sluggish Economy, Even God's Taking A Hit.

Who cares if they disrupt the service? Bring your brats. And your checkbooks.
Hope United Methodist Church, Artesia Blvd., Torrance, CA.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Festivus, Part IX.

I’ve never been to Tallahassee, but I hear good things.

Actually I don’t. My friend Beth, a Florida State alum, not-so-fondly refers to this rustic locale as “Tallahickee.” But hopefully The Beneficiary can class the place up a little, as the Tallahassee Film Festival has graciously accepted my movie, and become stop number nine on the tour. Yeehah.

Once again, I’ll use this Festivus space to drop a little knowledge about the film, in the form of a story I told before it was screened at William Morris:

It took over two years to shoot the whole thing. Whenever we had equipment and money, we’d get the crew together and get to work. And if we didn’t have money, we’d go guerilla, including one day in which we needed coverage of my character walking into a pawn shop.

We’d shot inside the shop six months earlier, and paid the owner a fee for the day, but now we were out of cash. So I put on my wardrobe, and the crew hid across the street with the camera. I set my phone to vibrate for the director’s cue to action, then hit the buzzer to get past the wrought-iron, front gate and went inside. I browsed around the place, then faked a call on my cell and walked out. I did it a second time. But then the third time, the Iranian shop owner, seeing me in my wardrobe, smiled and exclaimed, “Mr. Actor Man!” I made a beeline out the door and mouthed to the crew “Abort! Abort!” We quickly packed and split.

Here’s the kicker: after all that, the shot didn’t even make it into the final cut. It happens. Welcome to showbiz.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Aceman Returneth.

Being able to long-form rant on this blog has truly become my raison d'etre (That’s my “reason for existence,” for all the idiots I graduated with back east who are now logging on using the free WiFi at Sal’s Pizzeria.)

My hero, Adam Carolla, has the same need to entertain daily, and it blew rhino that he got yanked off the air.

The void lasted all of two days, however, because Adam decided to record a daily podcast from his home beginning late Sunday night. It’s 45 minutes of him speaking his mind (new and improved, now with 100% more cursing!) for free. All he asks in return is that his fans spread the word, and if it takes off, he’ll increase his bandwidth, add guests and top-notch production.

He opened the first cast with this thought:

“I got into radio many years ago to speak my mind, to do what I wanted to do and to connect with people. And I’d rather have ten smart people than a billion retards listening to me.”

A quarter of a million people downloaded it the first day. It’s the #1 podcast in the country.

I’m thrilled he’s back, and I suggest you check it out on the link below. Or you can download it on iTunes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Arguably The Most Interesting Text I’ve Received Lately.

Want to come visit Henry Hill in detox with me? He could use some encouragement.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I try my hand at several forms of writing. A screenplay. A blog. An angry note to Whole Foods for changing the recipe of their vegan meatballs. Those hippies better get it together or else.

My latest foray was a spec commercial, and a young director loved it so much he asked me if he could shoot it. I offered my services as an actor for the spot, and the director, who was footing the bill and justifiably skeptical, made me audition for the lead role against a slew of other actors. I nailed it. And yesterday we shot it. That’s the back of my head on the monitor in the above pic.

When I get a copy of the finished product, I’ll post it on here. I won’t say much about the commercial, so as not to tip the premise, but I will share that I had to get up at 5:15 yesterday to spend 90 minutes in makeup.

So, what writing medium do I tackle next? I’m torn between a dissertation on emerging determinates of economic and social prosperity, and a Bazooka Joe Comic. I’ll flip a coin.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The First Annual Anniversary.

A year ago today, as I began this blog, the idea of sustaining a daily entry seemed so overwhelming that I assumed by now I’d be hanging on by my fingernails.

Then I came to realize that show business and life in Los Angeles are a veritable cornucopia of crazy. Monkeys shake my hand. Neighbors dive off balconies. Moms think my entries sound gay. The damn thing writes itself.

It’s been a pleasure. If you keep reading ‘em, I’ll keep writing ‘em.

Friday, February 20, 2009

People Who Could Use A Good Shoe Thrown At Them: An Ongoing Series.

Today is the last day the Adam Carolla Show will be on the air. The folks at CBS Radio have decided to change his station’s format to top 40, and Adam is out. I’d like to heave a Shaq-sized 23 at the whole lot of ‘em.

I mentioned before that while I still listen to Howard Stern regularly, it’s obvious that Howard has drifted into semi-retirement, working abbreviated weeks, and mailing it in on the days he actually comes in to work. Blame the half-billion dollar contract and a happy marriage for dulling his once relentless edge. Great example: Howard had an ugly, gut-hating feud with Chevy Chase for years. Cut to the new, pussified Howard, in which Chevy gave a toast at Howard’s wedding. Weak.

Adam took Howard’s format and made it brilliant, with sharp, witty observations on any subject imaginable. Unlike Howard, Adam is an every man. Howard, and his whole staff for that matter, have become millionaires. Their blue-collar audience can’t relate.

My days won't be the same without the Carolla fix. This both sucks and blows.

Bombs away, CBS. Watch your back.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Festivus, Part VIII.

Today Phoenix, tomorrow the greater Glendale area just east of
Route 60.

As much as I feel iffy about paraphrasing Hitler, consider me downright giddy that The Beneficiary has steamrolled its way into its eighth festival.

Since this seems to be a weekly occurrence (and now that I’ve mentioned this it won’t be), this time I'll change things up – jeté, if you will – and thank a few people who helped make the movie possible. You’ll see their names in the final credits:

Sharon the Dog Walker. It was her idea to bill herself that way. Sharon is my neighbor, and a super-cool chick who walked Petey dozens of times over the year-and-a-half we shot the film. And walking a Pit is no small task; trust me when I say that he and my nephew could have a serious pooh-off.

Michelle. I met Michelle several years ago at a party, and mentioned I was thinking about moving to LA. A few days later I bumped into her and told her I was packing and moving in three days. She told me later that she knew right then that when Matt Shevin sets his mind to something, he does it. Michelle sometimes splits time with Jenn in the psychoanalysis department, and does a bang-up job. I tried to return the favor last summer, when she spent several very difficult months putting her life on hold to take care of her dying mother. I called often, brought out the A material and made her laugh. She thanked me at her mom’s funeral, but she more than earned it.

Jenn. When it comes to earning the nickname “Slash,” Kordel Stewart’s got nothing on Jenn, who does qradruple duty as my lawyer/sounding board/amateur psychiatrist/stylist. Jenn also loaned me the Lexus that appears in the film. Her role as stylist mainly consists of her going shopping with me, suggesting shirts, me telling her I’m not cool enough to wear any of them, Jenn putting her foot down and forcing me to buy them, and me getting endless compliments when I do. Clothes make the bitchy man.

Thanks, ladies. Finishing a film is no easy task, and yet you helped make that happen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Be On The Lookout For Some Damn Talented Homeless Folks.

Though it is my wish to die via assassination, if no one’s got the juevos to take me out, I’ll settle for plan B: riding it out in The Motion Picture Home.

Actually, now I need to conjure up a plan C, because last month it was announced that the home, on the verge of bankruptcy, is being fazed out.

The place was created in part by Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford, and for decades has been where the famous go to gum down some tapioca and complain about the government full time. Old age is so wasted on the old.

Some notable residents have included Bud Abbott, DeForest Kelley and Norman Fell. Mr. Roper's final stand.

People like those pictured above have been kind enough to raise a stink about the whole thing, but it’s too late. The doors are scheduled to shut later this year.

So sorry, kindly old Hollywood has-beens. I'd let you all crash here, but Pete's called shotgun on the couch.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Now Pitching: Me.

I realized the other day that I was way overdue to break off some good P.R. about The Greatest City on Earth. Then, Sunday night, playing ball in February, I knew I had my angle.

A warm day in Heaven is way better than a cold day in Hell. You heard me, New York.

*After I dropped my cell phone in my garage a couple weeks ago, it’s apparent that the quality of my pics has gone from horrible to horrific. The new BlackBerry I ordered oughta elevate that status.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Changing A Diaper: My Own Private Viet Nam.

Over the weekend, I offered to babysit my niece and nephew so that my brother and his wife could have a night out. And now I fully understand the expression “no good deed goes unpunished.”

I got a whiff of something vile while playing with my nephew, and then found myself on the short end of the timetable: his parents weren’t due back for several hours, and I couldn’t let the little guy sit in his own filth for that long.

After laying him on the changing table and yanking off his tiny jeans, two Velcro straps separated me from my fate. I pulled on them, and what I experienced was like a soccer-mob style punch in the face.

There was more pooh than baby.

We haven’t given up the search for a weapon of mass destruction yet, right? Because that load was a WMD if I've ever seen one. As I tore through almost a whole pack of baby wipes to clean it all up, I was convinced that at any second my face was going to melt like that Nazi dude in Temple of Doom.

Meanwhile, adding insult to injury was the boy's four-year-old sister, who found this to be the funniest moment of her young life. She stopped laughing long enough to ask me if I needed a shower, and I had to seriously ponder my answer.

Eventually, I got him re-diapered, and The Great Pooh Incident of ’09 was officially over. Let us never speak of it again.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Gettin’ Some On Valentine’s Day: A Primer.

In case you’re among the not-so-few men who waited to make a reservation for dinner tonight, and now can’t even get seated in the barely-up-to-code bathroom section at Hometown Buffet, I offer up plan B.

Go to Blockbuster prontisimo, and rent one of my favorite chick flicks. They’re entertaining enough for a man, but made for a woman:

In Her Shoes
Meet Joe Black
Knotting Hill

If you have trouble finding any of these titles, wing it. But remember: a good rule of thumb is to avoid any that contain the words “sisterhood”, “traveling” or “pants.”

Friday, February 13, 2009

Festivus, Part VII.

Cleveland rocks. Well, at least its taste in films does.

This is my lucky number seventh festival since The Beneficiary was completed in October. And to think, I was on the fence between investing my life savings in a movie, or a Ponzi scheme.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Any Given Monday.

The slow-speed chase. It’s so much a part of living in California they oughta remove the golden bear from the state flag and replace it with a late-model beater.

A bar around the corner from me used to run drink specials during slow-speed chases. Neighbors dropped in to watch the telly while sipping half-priced Coronas.

Speaking of my neighborhood, a chase passed by my house Monday night. And this time, the culprit was pimping in a very tony, white Bentley.

I was leaving an acting class in West Hollywood at the time, and my friend Jenn called me and helped navigate me home. It was some fancy traffic-controlling on Jenn’s part to keep me from getting caught on a shut-down freeway (cops have to follow procedure by clearing paths for slow-speeders and following them until they come to a stop. Though I’m sure LA’s finest would much prefer to just open fire on these idiots.)

I stayed off the freeway, since the Bentley and I were headed on a collision course. I cruised down side streets and as I approached the entrance to the 405 going south, Jenn gave me the green light, and she was right. I got on, looked over my shoulder and saw a cop holding up the north side. I was home free. Well played, Jenn.

The driver, by the way, finally came to a stop in North Hollywood, and wound up blowing his brains out. No word yet on the condition of the sumptuous Magnolia upholstery.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TiVo Alert.

I like my comedy like I like my women: subtle. And dark.

Tonight at 10:30, one of my favorite comedians, Demetri Martin, has a new show premiering on Comedy Central. It's called “Important Things with Demetri Martin.” Click above to hear some samples of his work. The guy is brilliant.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dr. Audition.

Dr. Matthew T. Shevin. It kinda computes like a tofu T-bone.

But I sure can play the hell out of a doctor.

I had an audition for an HMO commercial the other day. At the casting office, actors disappeared into the audition room for about ten minutes each. Then, as I was on deck, a woman went into the room for about a half hour. I figured the director must have loved her enough to work through the lengthy script with her.

My turn finally came up, and I went in, did one take, and the director pulled away from the camera eyepiece, smiled and said, “You nailed it. That’s all I need.”

It took all of 30 seconds. And I walked out and realized that the woman preceding me must have had the right look, but she struggled with her lines enough that the director patiently tried to help her make it work. Meanwhile, I was done in one take.

The doctor is in the hizzy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Namesake.

My friends Mark and Michelle, a super cool couple who lovingly refer to me as “Shev,” adopted a dog over the weekend. In a flattering, slight nod to me, they named him Chevy. That’s him on the right, adjusting to his new brother, Luke.
Before they could get Chevy home, he slipped out of Mark’s SUV and a lengthy chase ensued, culminating in the little guy going medieval on Mark’s face. Sorry about that, Mark. Now I'm more mortified than flattered.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Anatomy Of A Meltdown.

By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock – or you’re my mother – you’ve heard about Christian Bale fuh-lipping on the set of Terminator Salvation. A few thoughts:

1) Men get their periods, too. As much, if not more than women. Your best bet to put the kibosh on a conniption: feed us.

2) When in doubt, blame the penis. I suspect Christian may have been trying to show off in front of his cute co-star, Brice Howard. Probably not the best way into her pants. Plus she’s married.

3) This ain’t yelling, and I know yelling.
I've worked enough day-jobs under enough male C-words to pronounce Christian’s hysterics as rather pedestrian. By the way, luckily for my “superiors,” we parted ways long before I became the proud owner of a Glock 23.

Can we please move on to more presing world issues? Like Olympic swimmers who smoke reefer.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Make It A Baker’s Dozen.

Turns out I loved 13 movies released in 2008, not ten. Not a bad year, making for one hell of an Oscar showdown. Cue the Ennio Morricone music.

Three more for the list:

1) The Wrestler. I thought Brad Pitt had clinched best actor. But Mickey Rourke goes to places physically and emotionally that are even more special. And this flick will make you appreciate how well-off you are.

2) Hamlet 2. Seemed to me to be a funky premise, but I really loved it. The entire movie is smart and funny and a definite must-see.

3) Bottle Shock. Terrific true story about Napa emerging in the 70s as serious competition for French vineyards. And my friend Deborah has a role in it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Just When I Think I Am Out…

Yesterday, I was at the dry cleaner picking up my Kabbalah bracelet when my agent called about an audition for a Home Depot commercial. I had two questions: what time, and is there any nudity.

While I’m quite convinced I actually heard her rolling her eyes, the woman is thrilled with me because I’ve been on a roll getting callbacks for auditions lately.

Daniel Hoff is a top agency, and if their clients aren’t getting a callback at least once for every ten auditions, they’ll dropkick them to the curb. I’ve had four in my last five. Dig it.

Just call me the Callback King. It’s not as good as being “The Decider,” but it’s close.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Painful Mistakes.

I have no power in Hollywood yet. I’m not even the most popular name in my apartment (Pete’s Q-rating dwarfs mine.) Someday I will however, and when I do, I hope to steer my career correctly and not turn down great roles like the following bunch, including the dozen or so who declined the lead role in Misery:

Warren Beatty: the lead in Misery, one of the leads in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Burt Reynolds’ role in Boogie Nights, Nick Nolte’s role in Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Sean Connery’s role in The Rock, Robert Redford’s role in The Sting, and Gordon Gecko in Wall Street.

Dustin Hoffman: the lead in Misery.

Robert De Niro: the lead in Misery, and wanted too much money for the lead in Big.

Al Pacino: the leads in Misery, Kramer vs. Kramer, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Pretty Woman and Taxi Driver. Turned down Han Solo, and Gene Hackman’s role in Crimson Tide. He lost out on the lead role in Slapshot because he thought director George Roy Hill was being "facetious" when he asked if he could ice skate.

Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, and Christopher Walken all also turned down Han Solo in Star Wars.

Harrison Ford: the leads in Misery, Big, JFK and Jurrassic Park; George Clooney’s role in The Perfect Storm, and Nicholson’s role in Terms of Endearment.

I think you get the Misery riff, but for the heck of it, the role was also turned down by Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline. And Anjelica Huston turned down the Kathy Bates role.

Mickey Rourke: Nick Nolte's role in 48 Hours, Tom Cruise's part in Rain Man, Eliot Ness in The Untouchables and Bruce Willis' part in Pulp Fiction.

Molly Ringwald: Vivian in Pretty Woman and Molly in Ghost.

Mel Gibson: Maximus in Gladiator, and the lead in The Terminator. Shockingly, he wanted the lead in Schindler’s List, but Spielberg thought a major star would be too distracting.

Melanie Griffith: Thelma in Thelma and Louise.

Will Smith: turned down Neo in The Matrix to star in Wild Wild West.

Cary Grant: declined the chance to be the original James Bond.

Dave Chappelle: turned down the role of Bubba in Forest Gump.

Burt Reynolds: the lead in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

Blazing Saddles was originally supposed to star John Wayne and Richard Pryor instead of Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little.

Steve McQueen: turned down a role in Butch Cassidy because costar Paul Newman refused to give him top billing. Declined the lead in The French Connection (Gene Hackman won an Oscar for it) and had a non-negotiable asking price of $3 million for the lead in Apocalypse Now.

Sean Connery: Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, Morpheus in The Matrix.

John Voight: the lead in The Shining.

Robert Redford: the lead in The Graduate.

Michelle Pfeiffer: the leads in Pretty Woman, Silence of the Lambs and Bugsy.

Val Kilmer: turned down Denzel’s role in Crimson Tide, the lead in Dirty Dancing, and Neo and Morpheus in The Matrix.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I’m a fat man trapped in a thin man’s body. I’m also a lesbian trapped in a straight dude, and a free-range cow trapped in a studio apartment.

And I got my fat cow on with fervor yesterday during my friend Al’s Super Bowl party. I’m still on carb-denial for my new film (the camera is being repaired) but that didn’t deter me from lapsing into a Terri Schiavo-esque food coma by eating my weight in shredded pork, beef and chicken.

I’m 90% responsible for the above empty tins. And the six months I shaved off my life. Worth it.