Friday, 22 January 2016


As we enter 2016's award season, we are again faced with the disappointment that the power brokers behind the film industry's most prestigious awards have utterly failed to acknowledge the contributions of non-white artists. It's frustrating to think that, in this supposedly enlightened age, the diversity that makes our country, our culture, and our industry so great is being stubbornly ignored. There is one award, in particular, that has recently raised the ire of the liberal media, and is certainly going to see some high profile celebrity boycotts of the awards ceremony itself.

The awards in question are, of course, are the Razzies.

The Golden Raspberry Awards, or the Razzies, are the awards dedicated to recognizing the year's very worst contributions to the filmmaking arts. Begun in 1981, the Razzies are now entering their 36th year. Each year 650 journalists, film fans, and industry professionals cast votes to elect which films are most deserving of our mockery and scorn. The Razzies are the highest honour that a shit movie can receive. And all of the nominees in the acting categories are white.

This year's list includes:

Worst Actor
Johnny Depp(Mortdecai), Jamie Dornan(Fifty Shades of Grey), Kevin James,(Paul Blart Mall Cop 2) Adam Sandler(The Cobbler & Pixels), and Channing Tatum(Jupiter Ascending)

Worst Actress
Katherine Heigl(Home Sweet Hell), Dakota Johnson(Fifty Shades of Grey), Mila Kunis(Jupiter Ascending), Jennifer Lopez(The Boy Next Door), Gwyneth Paltrow(Mortdecai)

Worst Supporting Actor
Chevy Chase(Hot Tub Time Machine & The Vacation), Josh Gad(Pixels & The Wedding Ringer), Kevin James(Pixels), Jason Lee(Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip), Eddie Redmayne(Jupiter Ascending)

Worst Supporting Actress
Kayley Cuoco-Sweeting(Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip & The Wedding Ringer), Rooney Mara(Pan), Michelle Monaghan(Pixels), Julianne Moore(Seventh Son), Amanda Seyfried(Love the Coopers & Pan)

All of them white...Well, I guess Jennifer Lopez is Latino. I'm pretty sure that one actually counts as diverse… To be honest, I'm not 100% sure how this diversity thing works. Are some people more diverse than others? I used to think I was diverse, because I didn't self-identify as white. My skin is really kind of translucent. For the sake of argument, let's just ignore Jennifer Lopez, okay? I'm trying to make a point here and I'm not about to let something as inconsequential as contrary evidence get in my way. Let's all just assume that the Latino community excommunicated her at some point after the Gigli.

Back to my point: I wouldn't suggest for a second that any of these people do not deserve to be on this list. All of these artists chose to appear in these terrible films, whether out of greed, or poor taste, or just because this is the kind of shit Adam Sandler's been doing since the mid 90's. And all of them, whether they were phoning it in for a paycheck or honestly trying to make the best of a bad situation, still gave performances that moved us to disbelief, outrage, and tears of joy when the credits finally rolled.

They all deserve to be on this list – I wouldn't dream of taking that away from them. But the list is incomplete without a more honest reflection of the complete garbage that some of our artists of diverse backgrounds have dumped into the popular media this year. And that isn't right.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that awards the Oscars, has released detailed demographic information about its aged, mostly male, and almost entirely white membership. The Golden Raspberry Awards organization, on the other hand, has not. We are left to make assumptions about why they would select such a lily white slate of nominees. It is unlikely that the Razzies' snub to artists of non-white backgrounds is a product of deliberate and overt racism. The issue is much more likely to be rooted in a self-hating, subconscious bias that causes them to see members of their own ethnic group in a more brutal and unfair light. Maybe they all just have really really bad night vision and literally couldn't see any of the actors with darker skin colours. It's plausible.

But what is certain is that some exceptionally misguided artists of diverse backgrounds produced some truly horrible cinema this year, and that deserves to be recognized.

Chevy Chase was nominated for Hot Tub Time Machine 2, but surely Craig Robinson was equally embarrassing. How was literally everyone else in The Wedding Ringer nominated except for Kevin Hart? Does the amount of pigment in his skin somehow magically protect him? Because that isn't a thing.

Unless your talking about the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Because then the amount of pigment in his skin does, in fact, magically protect him.

And what about the Worst Picture category? This year's nominees are Fantastic Four, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jupiter Ascending, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and Pixels. Granted, these were all terrible movies. Even typing their names made me have to choke back bile. But the only one of these films to feature a person of colour in a principle role is Fantastic Four, which was so bad Michael B. Jordan then have to make a movie as good as Creed to even begin to wash the bad taste out of his mouth.

Last years winner was Kirk Cameron's pandering religious propaganda Saving Christmas. But why was this year's equally bad pandering religious propaganda War Room not even nominated? Because it featured a cast of predominantly black actors.

And why in the name of God has Tyler Perry not received a lifetime achievement award?

And this cuts to the heart of why diverse representation is so important. What do you think it tells young actors of black or Asian or Latino(again, assuming J-Lo no longer counts as “Jenny From the Block”) heritage who look at the list of what is being acknowledged as the worst Hollywood can foist upon an unwitting public? It tells them that they'll never attain the consistent shittiness of a Kevin James. But as Kevin Hart has proven with last year's The Wedding Ringer and Get Hard, as well as this year's Ride Along 2, black actors are just as capable of being the cinematic trainwrecks that white actors are. Black Kevins can be just as craptacular as white Kevins.

Actually in this instance, I think white Kevin genuinely wins.

Everyone deserves to have a sense of their own limitations. Everyone needs a basic understanding of the hidden cost of greed, the price of hubris, and why you should always read the screenplay before agreeing to shoot a movie. And if the pool of diverse artists in Hollywood aren't adequately mocked when they fail, then how will they ever know they are just as fallible as the rest of us.

But the real tragedy isn't that this garbage isn't being recognized. The problem is that more of this garbage isn't being made. Looking at a more extensive list of 2015's worst films, there were paltry few examples of terrible, ethnically diverse movies. Most of the really bad stuff is still dominated by white people. Just think: there wasn't a single non-white principal role in Pixels... Well I guess Peter Dinklage counts as diverse because he's a little person. That counts as diverse right? And the correct term is little person? As I said, it gets kind of hard to tell through all the massive amount of privilege I enjoy as a middle class, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied white male.

But just think how many diverse Kim Kardashians or Paris Hiltons or entire casts of Jackass are out there, undiscovered, never given the opportunity to become famous for being famous. Knowing neither the dizzying heights of an Oscar or the gut wrenching lows of a Razzie. Never given a voice with which to annoy intellectuals and embarrass their community. It's 2016. We need to do better.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

GETTING A HEAD Now Available for Pre-order!

Getting a Head: Touring the World as a Giant Dancing Bear, my column on McSweeney's, is going to PRINT!

It's going to be BIG. It'll probably be used as the foundational text of a new cult. Like Scientology, but instead of Thetans, there's animal mascot costumes. You're going to want to get in on the ground level of this one.

“Daniel Falk's memoir is fun, funny, charming and endearing. His inside-the-bear's-head viewpoint puts you right at the centre of the insanity. Not only is Daniel an entertaining guide, his wry comments, sardonic observations and flabbergasted reactions to the madness going on around him reveal a thoroughly nice human being behind it all. Getting A Head is a delightful read.”

-Don Ferguson, Royal Canadian Air Farce

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Anvils Don't Kill People

Do you find yourself at a loss to understand the current Anvil Control Debate? Do you know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from anvil related assaults and accidents

Find out more at The Big Jewel:

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Great Robot's Philosophical Overview

There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who split people into false dichotomies, and those who don't.

I live my life according to three basic principles. 1: oversimplify complex ideas into basic principles. 2: do things in threes. 3: combine principles 1 and 2.

There are some things science can't explain. Like how light waves are split into different coloured wavelengths as they pass through atmospheric moisture, creating rainbows.

Don't compare yourself to other people. It's pointless. Compare yourself to inanimate objects instead. After all, what has that stupid table ever accomplished?

There's no problem that can't be solved through an open and honest discussion... Except for who's better at sword fighting. That should be solved through a sword fight.

Every marriage is a team effort. And on every team there's a coach and an under-performing player who needs to be yelled at to be better.

The most important thing is to just be yourself. Unless you're naturally self-conscious. Then try to be someone better, you pathetic loser.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Out of the Head: Getting a Head 19

If you aren’t crazy before you travel across the continent in a van, performing in packed theaters wearing a mascot costume of a famous cartoon character, you sure as hell will be afterwards. Daniel Falk invites you to join his descent into madness, and to meet the friends he made on his way down.

New instalments of Getting a Head will be posted on a bi-weekly basis on McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

In the final instalment of Getting a Head we look back at how we got in the head to begin with, and reevaluate some of the adventures along the way.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Ironic Cattle Farm For Sale

For sale:

Well kept 155 acre beef farm located 10 miles south of Lampasas, Texas. As we are vegans, we originally purchased it as an ironic statement. As no one in town, nor any of our friends back in Austin, seem to be getting the joke, we have decided to sell.

Though we didn't know the first thing about cattle farming when we initially purchased the farm, we knew the pay off for this joke would be the best if we really committed to our roles. The cattle has been well maintained and cared for. You have no idea how much it took for us to brand cows, geld bulls, and birth calves all while trying to keep a straight face, but we pulled it off. Though, sometimes I wish we hadn't been so dry in our delivery. It would have been nice for someone to have noticed.

We have a good relationship with an industrial beef supplier we can pass on to you. Though it pained us to send the cows off to their gruesome, terrifying, and thoughtless deaths at the hands of an industrial beef processing facility, we hoped that it would be worth it when we saw the looks on the workers faces when they realized how the entire thing had all been a huge joke. However, the industrial beef suppliers appear to be immune to irony.

NOTE: We are entertaining offers from serious cattle farmers only. If you are looking to make a postmodern life-as-art statement about the futility of struggling against fate, human arrogance in its derogation of other life forms, or the fallacy of any kind of American “Golden Age”, please seek another venue for your expression. These and a variety of other themes were explored on this farm with little to no impact on the local population or the global zeitgeist as a whole.

IF you absolutely insist on operating this cattle farm ironically, please note that dressing in outdated fashions and driving around in dilapidated rust-bucket trucks will utterly fail in drawing any kind of attention. Though many neighbors seem to be in some sort of arms race for the biggest, best truck, many more are still driving the same old beater they have for decades. And all of them, regardless of the condition of their truck, wear hysterically outdated fashions without the slightest bit of self-awareness. They will think nothing of you doing the same, regardless of how hilarious you think it is.

We wish you the best with our ironic cattle farm. We have recently secured an egg production charter and are planning on taking over an egg farm north of Taylor. Though our ironic cattle farm was a bust, we are hopeful for the future with our ironic egg farm, which we intend to call Eggers eggs. After all, what's funnier than chickens?

Monday, 30 September 2013

The Missus: Getting a Head 18

If you aren’t crazy before you travel across the continent in a van, performing in packed theaters wearing a mascot costume of a famous cartoon character, you sure as hell will be afterwards. Daniel Falk invites you to join his descent into madness, and to meet the friends he made on his way down.

New instalments of Getting a Head will be posted on a bi-weekly basis on McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

This week we learn how to cope with long periods of spousal separation: