Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lost In The Oscar Shuffle.

The Oscars were really good. Billy Crystal’s bits were completely insufferable, but I managed to get some reading done.

And maybe it was Billy injecting his patented variety of Novocain into the telecast, but for all the well-deserved hysteria given to The Artist and The Descendants, there was a very unfair exclusion given to what I thought was the second-best movie of the year: Beginners.

Yes, Christopher Plummer won for best supporter actor, but no one’s been talking about what is a truly beautiful film.

Beginners is loosely based on writer/director Mike Mill’s own life, in which his father (played by Plummer) came out of the closet after years of a passionless marriage, only to succumb to a very aggressive form of cancer. Ewan McGregor plays his heavy-hearted son Oliver, who tries to push through his mourning and eventually embrace the legacy of his dad’s boldness.

A year ago, when the trailer was released, I blogged about how good I thought Beginners looked. But rather than fracture a clavicle patting myself on the back for being right on the money, I’m just glad a film more than lived up to its potential. You really have to see it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Belated Thoughts On The Oscars.

When is this society finally going to give some awards to actors?

It’s an outrage. Until then, here are a few chronological observations I had about Sunday night’s telecast:
  • Billy Crystal now looks like he’s permanently wearing his old-guy makeup from Mr. Saturday Night.
  • Even Christopher Plummer was too young to enjoy Billy’s musical medley.
  • There oughta be a law against calling dudes over the age of 60 “Billy.”
  • Crazy fact: they removed the name Kodak from the theater because of the company’s bankruptcy, yet seven of the nine best picture nominees were lensed on Kodak film.
  • Octavia Spencer needed “help” getting up on that stage.
  • I had gone over to my brother’s house at this point in the show, and made some snide comment to my sister in law about why they even give an Oscar for animated short. Then I realized John Hunter, my good friend and the guy who scored my film had also scored this year’s Oscar-winning animated short. Holy shitbombs!! John!!
  • Robert Downey, Jr. should host next year.
  • Chris Rock’s riff about how easy it is to voice animation was a perfect example of what a great host could have done, as opposed to Billy Crystal’s bar mitzvah humor.
  • The over/under on bad guys Jean Dujardin will play in action films next year is four.
  • The “In Memoriam” montage included market research consultant Joseph Farrell. Huge fan.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Recap.

My SUV was smart enough to warn me that one of my tires had low air pressure, and I was dumb enough to think I could ride an extra day with a nail stuck in that tire, to the tune of 250 bucks… While I was rooting for The Descendants to win last night, The Artist is a terrific movie, and if it starts a trend of silent films, look at the upside: you can actually talk in a theater during them and no one can shush you… Watching the Oscars that makes me so happy to be an actor, and excited to work as much as possible. But as much as I love them, I had a ballgame last night and wound up watching the last hour on my DVR. Someone actually asked me if I was going to skip the game to watch the show, and I told her that would be gayer than eight guys blowing nine guys… On Saturday, some precocious three-year-old at Trader Joe’s asked a chick who worked there how old she was, and I straightened him out. Then I told his mom to check aisle four for some TJ’s herbal Ritalin.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oh Hell Yes.

Two weeks ago, I blogged about NBC needing to put the show “Community” back on the air, and not two weeks later that’s exactly what they did.

Now, I’m not trying to say I single-handedly fixed TV – I am saying it. And now that I’ve brought back something great to the world, it’s time to eliminate something evil, like Us Weekly. Or men’s skinny jeans.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hide The Children.

If I had to work with the shitbirds that populate the Esurance office, I’d key every car in the lot every damned day.

But that commercial doesn’t take the cake as my recent favorite. You know it, you love it, too: the McDonald’s radio spot that portrays Pit Bulls in a ferocious light.

I sent a link to my blog entry about it to the advertising agency that crapped out this winner, asking them to pass it along to the copywriter who wrote it. And after checking the analytics to my blog, I saw he had a chance to read what I had to say. Hope he enjoyed it.

By the way, the other day his premise suddenly hit me: a Chicken McBite is better than a Pit Bull bite. I see! And it only took me two weeks to get it. Congrats, asshole.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 37: What Can’t Brown Do For You.

I’m never sure if it’s my place to even do these “Get Your Butt” things, but I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from aspiring actors who are learning from them, and that makes me feel good. The last time I taught it was like Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society – by which I mean I got fired.

Moving on. Monday, I received this email from my agent saying I had an audition for a commercial for Toro lawnmowers:

“White male. A rugged and distinguished looking everyday man. Full dark hair, not balding. No facial hair, but a 5 o'clock shadow would be great.”

I auditioned for it on Tuesday. Wednesday, this was posted online by the casting director:

“White male. A rugged and distinguished looking everyday man. Blonde hair, not balding. No facial hair, but a 5 o'clock shadow would be great.”

A lot of actors might be upset they wasted time driving across town to audition, only to have the advertising people pull the rug out from under them. NOW they want a different hair color? Do they know how inconvenienced I was? I showered for this. Civilization was a mistake. They say they want a blonde, but it sure feels like a “Jewish thing” to me.

On the other hand… sound of me cracking my knuckles…

Who knows why they changed their mind? More importantly, who cares? It could be as random as the storyboard artist they hired happened to draw the Toro guy as a blonde, and the advertising agency folks simply became accustomed to that look.

Auditioning is arbitrary, but sometimes the arbitrariness works in your favor. Check out the storyboard frame from this commercial I booked. It’s possible that because I looked like that guy, I had a leg up before I even walked into the casting office. You hear me complaining? Just keep showing up.

All right – let’s stop right here. You see, everything you’ve read until now was the entry I was going to post today, but in the middle of writing it, I received a callback – for the Toro commercial.

So this week, I learned something. Go figure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Brother, The BioSciences Division Chief.

They can’t make a cell phone that takes a sharp photo, but they make one that tests for AIDS.

For real. And by “they,” I mean my frat brother, Peter, who was here in Los Angeles yesterday for a meeting at UCLA in which he signed a contract to create yes, a way to use cell phones to diagnose people in Africa with AIDS.

I’m forever in debt to Peter, who as a brother in the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity at the University of Maryland allowed me, a pledge, five extra seconds to shower off what was making my OCD go off the charts one night during Hell Week.

And I plan on staying on his good side, seeing as Peter spent years after graduation designing weapons for the U.S. military (the tagline on his business card reads “Technology driven. Warfighter focused.”), and then worked in the White House. On his cell phone are pics of him sitting behind Obama in a meeting and a super close-up of George W. as Peter attempts to shake his hand.

I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or bad thing that the funniest guy I knew in college went on to design weaponry, but I’m proud to say he really likes my blog and has it sent to his email daily. (You can subscribe too, by the way, by typing your email addy into the box on the right side of this page.) He thinks I’m leading a truly interesting life, but again, let’s review his résumé: weapons, AIDS-diagnosing phones and Lord knows what other classified shit he’s designed. And what have I created? A sims family that keeps getting murdered.

The UCLA contract will be bringing him out to LA more often, and I’m really glad about that. Good catching up, bro.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Three-Day Weekend Recap.

Around the corner from me is the world’s biggest Whole Foods. Yesterday it was packed, yet thanks to their 16 checkout counters, I was out in minutes. They’re so organized they make the Japanese look like the Greeks… Best tweet of the weekend was by comedian Anthony Jeselnik: “Watching Whitney Houston's funeral feels like watching every Tyler Perry movie at once”… Ricky was peeing and pooping on command before he was six weeks old, but he’s still a puppy, and every now and then he has an accident in the house. Lately he’s been courteous enough to pee in my shower… Thanks, Rick Santorum. Now I can’t think of anything EXCEPT sodomy. And I’ve got things to do.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Holiday Rationale, By Matt Shevin.

If you’ve got a hangup with the country taking the day off for George Washington, who owned over a hundred slaves and raped quite a few of them, do what I do: spend the day honoring Major League Baseball’s George Washington Payne. While he only hit .268 for the ’36 White Sox, his slave rape stats were virtually nonexistent. Way to be, George.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Great Hair Day.

I love Los Angeles. And nothing feels more LA to me than waiting to cross the street on a sunny Saturday morning in Beverly Hills, about to get my hair cut at a swanky salon by a chick who looks like a young Heather Locklear. It’s the best.

However, if I may have a sidebar with all my friends who keep making fun of me on Facebook whenever I check into this place: just keep getting butchered at Supercuts, right after you suck my ass.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Give Woody An Oscar.

How has an actor as prolific as Woody Harrelson not won an Academy Award? Please explain.

Nothing? Okay then, who do I have to bribe to get him one? I’m a little light on cash but I have a PayPal account.

Woody Harrelson was hilarious in Kingpin. He was both hilarious and could handle the three in White Men Can’t Jump. He was so maniacal in Natural Born Killers I left the theater very much inclined to bite the head off a pigeon or something. Then he shifted into reverse and played Larry Flynt. In The Messenger, one of the best movies of 2009, he was a hardass army officer tasked at personally delivering bad news to next of kin. Come on – theoretically, he should already won a couple Oscars by now. So much for theory.

The other night I saw the new movie Rampart, in which Woody plays a lunatic cop. It’s a cross between The Bad Lieutenant and Leaving Las Vegas, and Woody is in every scene, playing a completely f’d up officer in the Rampart department of the LAPD, who in the late 90s lead the league in bribery/brutality.

He is so good in it that this has to be the role that finally puts him over the top, right? I refuse to be skeptical, even if he’s been overlooked before, and the movie is coming out so early in the year that the Academy might forget about it come January and too many people think Woody is just that hemp-wearing stoner guy. Okay, this is me, being skeptical.

Screw it. My official campaign is on. “Woody For Oscar.” Go put that on a grocery separator.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This Week In @mattshevin Tweets.

  • (ABOVE) Finally addressing the needs of rub 'n tug professionals.
  • Headline on CNN this morning: thrilling cliffhanger on "American Idol." #SomebodyAlertSealTeamSix
  • I would have loved to have been in on the conference call the KKK had concerning the name of rapper Grandmaster Flash.
  • So Pat Sajak hosted Wheel Of Fortune drunk? Was the entire studio spinning, or just the wheel?
  • Saw a woman driving a Range Rover while reading a paperback. #OldSchool #StillLegalIn50States
  • If Jon Bon Jovi wanted to pretend to play guitar in his latest video, why didn't they just give him a tennis racquet?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The other day, running the steps in Palos Verdes, I came across this big fella in my path.

A couple hours later, I came out of my friend’s house and this peacock had made itself at home on top of my car.

Are these two of the Ten Plagues?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Because I Don’t Tell You I Love You Nearly Enough, Ladies.

I really want to give all women something fancy today, like bring you breakfast in bed or beat the shit out of Chris Brown. But instead, I offer my annual list of ten things I think you should know about men. A hos before bros, if you will:
  1. You just gotta wait your turn. He’s out there. He’s just learning what to contrast you against.
  2. On the other hand, many of you wonder “Why can’t I find a nice guy?!” Then when you tell me you found a boyfriend, let me guess: already married cat-strangler.
  3. Those of you who plucked your eyebrows to the point in which they now have to be drawn on – who hurt you?
  4. Sometimes the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.
  5. If you’re in a massive dating slump because you believe guys only want you for intercourse, well maybe you’re in that slump because you keep using the word “intercourse.”
  6. He’s just agreeing with you because he wants to have sex with you. By the way, I agree with you too – especially in those pants.
  7. The boob job is today’s bad toupee.
  8. Men really want what they can’t have. If you need a guideline, take a serious look at the McRib marketing plan.
  9. Men smell, they’re hairy, they drink, they lie, they’re lazy and they’re rude. On the other hand, is there anything better than a woman? Actually, yes: two women. And that, ladies, is the reason why we like lesbians so much.
  10. What makes a guy get bored in a relationship? That’s an excellent question, and the answer is: questions like that.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend Recap.

Friday night, I saw Adam Arkin at Yuzu in Toluca Lake, and totally wanted to go up to him and tell him how much I love his acting work, but he was with his wife and I didn’t want to bother him. I realized later that complimenting him in front of her probably would have gotten him laid… On Saturday, after a friend checked in on Facebook at a hospital in New York, I commented, “It’ll be nice to no longer refer to you as a ‘pre-op’ transsexual"… I worried after I made that comment that he might have been there under adverse conditions, like visiting his dying dad. Turns out he just works there… One more of the endless reasons why LA is the greatest city on earth (besides the fact that you can be prescribed pot by a doctor via Skype): we had our season-opening ballgame last night, in February… Before drugs ruined her voice (and presumably ended her life), Whitney Houston could really sing her ass off. Check out this isolated vocal track of her recording “How Will I Know.”

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Save “Community”.

“Pawn Stars”? “Cupcake Wars”? I want to cane reality shows like I’m an angry Singapore cop.

Meanwhile, one of the best shows on TV is not even on TV. “Community” was pulled off the air in the middle of this season, and Thursday night sucks balls without it.

NBC at least let the show finish shooting the rest of the season (it wrapped yesterday), but still hasn’t decided if or when it air the episodes, and if it does if it will let the show continue.

My career goal is to star in a one-camera sitcom just like it. It’s brilliantly written, jam-packed with jokes and I haven’t missed a single moment. Meanwhile, I’ve never seen one second of “American Idol” or “The Apprentice” or any other similar horseshit. And if you love those shows, don’t even try to sway me. Can’t we all just not get along?

Come on, NBC. You know what to do.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Once Again, Out-Of-Context Thank-You Notes I’ve Recently Written To Casting Directors.

  • Speaking of childhood obesity, my mother never overate – she adhered to a strict diet of whiskey and cigarettes.
  • Thanks so much for holding my puppy while I auditioned. He may have slept through it, but I’m proud of my work nonetheless.
  • I can think of million places to be on a gorgeous Saturday in LA, and a dingy theater ain’t crackin’ the top five.
  • Go ahead and name any band; I have the ability to not care about their latest album.
  • It was so romantic. Almost like that movie I only saw the first ten minutes of: Fatal Attraction.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Here We Go Again.

Climb inside my head for a moment: a radio commercial for McDonald’s ran in Kansas City last week and made this claim: eating the new Chicken McBites is less risky than petting a stray Pit Bull.

Odd. What’s wrong with that statement?

Could it be an intensive study performed by the University of Pennsylvania a couple years ago that found the top five dog breeds most likely to bite were: Dachsund, Chihuahua, Jack Russell, Australian Cattle Dog and Cocker Spaniel? Pits barely cracked the top 30.

Or maybe it’s just this: if Pit Bulls are so ferocious, after my 11 year old Pit died last year, why did I adopt another one? A dozen years into my apparent suicide attempt, and still no luck.

Better question: what about the hack copywriter that wrote this shitty spot? One wonders why he chose to lazily fall back on such a media-driven myth – one that's been proven wrong time and again. For example, many of the dogs tortured by Michael Vick are now in good homes not mauling people, and at least one became a therapy animal. And surely it couldn't have escaped this f’n jerkoff writer’s mind that many of McDonald’s consumers just might be dog owners.

It seems to me a pretty defensive move to even make the risk argument in the first place. Is there something I need to know about the dangers of eating mechanically-separated meat product?

McDonald’s was at least wise enough to pull the commercial when Pit Bull owners raised hell. But they were careless and wrong to run it in the first place. Yesterday I signed an online petition that demands they go one step further and run a commercial portraying Pits in their true, good light. Maybe then the clouds will finally begin to part.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We Take Back The Neighborhood.

Back in the summer, I blogged about the cats who suddenly grew big ones after Petey died and made my front walk their hangout. That shit ends now.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Party Food.

Thank God A) the Patriots shit the bed, and B) my friends know how to celebrate that bed shitting with a serious spread. And speaking of Super Bowl food/drink, it occurred to me: shouldn't the Gatorade get dumped on the losing coach?

The Tasty Taco Truck catered the affair, and set up a grill featuring a veritable herd-full of beef.

And in case you really wanted to get your money’s worth out of that defibrillator: 72 hot dogs at halftime.

A special treat for the host, a bummed 49ers fan whose team just missed making the game. She deserved it for seriously stuffing our bellies. The over/under on the number of Zantac I pop today is 10.5. Take the over.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Real Casting Notices I’ve Seen This Week.

  • Looking for male virgins! We’re looking for men between the ages of 21 and 32. This is your chance to go on dates of this world and walk away with a potential cash prize!
  • Seeking single attractive males (all ethnicities) who are attracted to vivacious, fat black women. If selected, you may have the chance to find the woman of your dreams!
  • Cable network seeks people a lighthearted new show! DO YOU, or anyone YOU KNOW have the following issues they need help with? Tanorexia. Body Dysmorphia. Plastic Surgery. Shopping. Sex. Germs. Gambling. Porn. Hoarding. Bad parenting. Infertility. Terrible teens. Anxiety. Low self-esteem. OCD. ADHD. Fear of aging. Erectile dysfunction. Workaholism. Trust fund lament. Entitlement issues. Infidelity. Commitment phobias. Addicted to love. Fallen stars. Life after rehab. Aging trophy wife. Contemplating divorce. Seeking forgiveness. Rage. Obsession. Heartbreak. Divorce. Addiction. Anger. Compulsions. Collections.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Passing Out Cigars.

I have a goal in life to end all kill shelters. I don’t know how long it will take to accomplish this, but when I do, it will not be enough.

In the meantime, congratulations to my friend Chris, who rescued a puppy named Stella yesterday. Here, Ricky helps him with the pre-arrival shopping.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 36: A Cautionary Tale.

A friend of mine – we’ll call him Ben – booked an amazing role in a huge national commercial. It was the stuff that every actor dreams of, and you can’t help but celebrate like Rocky and Apollo Creed on the beach at the end of the training montage.

The commercial featured a basketball game, and Ben arrived at the set and started warming up and taking shots with his fellow actors. Suddenly, the very esteemed director of the shoot singled him out.

“You! What the hell are you doing here?”

Confused, Ben said, “I’m cast in this.”

“Oh yeah? Can you even dunk a basketball?” screamed the director.

Knowing he probably couldn’t, Ben replied, “Uh, I can try.”

At this point, all of his fellow actors were crowded around him, watching as the director angrily whipped a basketball at him. Ben took a deep breath, dribbled toward the basket and wasn’t able to dunk.

“Get the F off my set!!” screamed the director at the top of his lungs.

Ben collected his things and left. What began as one of the best days of his life – shooting a big commercial that could earn him up to 80 grand – turned into the most devastating day of his life, and a $600 day-rate. It took him six months to get over it.

Our circle of friends commiserated with Ben, and I wondered often what could be learned from what had happened. Then I shared the story with my friend David, an actor who’d worked with the same director, and David said, “Oh, he pulled that same shit with me. He screamed at me on the set, and told me I was the worst actor he’d ever seen. So I got right up in his face and told him, ‘Shut the F up! Now get back behind the camera and let’s shoot this f’in spot.’”

The director quieted and retreated behind the camera. Over the next few years he hired David to shoot six more commercials.

Poor Ben hadn’t fared nearly as well, but in his defense, having not heard David’s experience, I might have been a complete scaredypoo and fled myself.

Yes, directors (and producers and studio execs) can and will fire us. But we’ve got to stand up for ourselves, too. I’ll never allow someone to speak to me like that, especially a lunatic director who likes to send a message to the rest of his set by being the biggest asshole on the planet. And by the way, the man is unfortunately a super success. But that’s advertising for you. In any other business he’d be Hitler; in the ad business, he’s Hitler in Germany.

Ever actor will have his fare share of extremely disappointing days, but I’d argue they’re necessary to make the highs that much sweeter. Bottom line: if you were told the end at the beginning, you wouldn’t have to travel.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shout-Out From the Sick Bay.

Corporations have feelings just like you and I do. Or at least feeling departments.

And I have much gratitude for drugstore conglomerate CVS. You see, what I thought was a cold had progressed into far worse when I started waking up during the night feeling like someone had hit me in the face with a fungo bat.

My regular doctor’s first open appointment was Monday morning, so I went with an exceptional plan B: inside my (and many other) CVS is something called MinuteClinic. It’s open seven days a week for all your mid-major medical needs, you don’t need an appointment and they accept your insurance. Just get there before 6:15 p.m. and you’re in.

I actually arrived at 6:16, but they were gracious enough to see me. The “doctor” (her title should be read with air quotes the size of Vermont) diagnosed my bronchitis (but logged it in a sinus infection so my Z-Pak would be covered), tapped my prescription into her computer and sent it to the CVS pharmacy five feet from the examination room.

And there you have it. Diagnosis, drugs and insurance fraud in less than an hour. Thanks MinuteClinic!