Hi. I'm Doug Van Doren, the writer and producer of this movie and I just checked in with some of the user comments and votes for the first time in a while. Always good to see those who like and don't like your work. However, after reading the comments of Hunterdu below, I'd like to offer my own two cents -- not because I think he's wrong per se, but because I think he's unnecessarily nasty and unfair with his comments. Here goes:
"Parodies are only funny if they can stand on their own somewhat."
True, but I think this one does, and not merely "somewhat". I've received hundreds of e-mails from people who have worked both in Hollywood and in other jobs, all of them able to relate to the oppressive conditions and the abusive bosses who think they can get away with murder simply because they make a lot of money. One does not need to see the original to get that, although it certainly helps with this one, especially since Alfonso Freeman (Morgan's son) is so darned dead on with his impersonation of his father.
"It does not take a good writer to simply take dialog almost word for word from one of the best movies of all time and put it into an office situation."
That's EXACTLY why I think this concept is so good, because it is so simple: working in a bad office job is like being in prison. You want to break free, but you can't because you need the money/security. How many people in this work are working in jobs they can't stand? How many have never had the courage to follow their real dreams and thus "settle" for what they've got? I'll bet anyone a shiny new dime HunterDu is probably doing exactly that in his life. This movie is about finding the courage (or "hope") to break free despite being in a dark place, which is the EXACT same message in the original "Shawshank Redemption".
"And three year old can do this. But most don't because they know better."
I think he meant to say "any". Perhaps HunterDu should proof his own work before criticizing the work of others. Plus, I didn't take the movie word for word. "Shawshank" is nearly two and a half hours. Ours is 21 minutes. It takes a lot of effort and skill to boil down a movie as great as Shawshank and pull out all of it's thematically meaningful and emotional scenes and then transcribe them as a comedy that's 121 minutes shorter. I'm not saying I'm the best writer in the world, but comparing me to a three year old is juvenile in itself and obviously said just to be inflammatory.
"The funniest thing about this is that it was released as an Oscar engagement. As if this movie was going to get any Oscar recognition."
No, we didn't get an Oscar nom, but neither did the other couple of hundred very good films that were eligible. That said, we just landed another film because of it (the entire purpose of making it in the first place) and HBO, the biggest cable movie network on the planet, liked it enough to fork over a good chunk of money to buy it, not bad considering they only buy a handful of shorts every year.
"But I guess it would make any sense to release it for a Razzie engagement."
I don't know what a "Razzie" is, but this smacks of yet another childish insult. I think the best way to close is to quote a personal e-mail I received from Frank Darabont (the director of "The Shawshank Redemption") after he saw it:
"Message to Natalie and Doug: Just saw SHARKTANK and loved it. Very clever and loving send-up, but with a core identity of its own which prevents it from being mere spoof. Good stuff. Congratulations to all. Odd (though wonderful) sensation, I must admit, to be the one being riffed. Honestly, I love it. Makes me feel like I finally arrived. Again, what a treat. Thanks. -- Frank"
And thanks to IMDB for letting me have my rebuttal. I feel much better now! ;-)
Bottom line: like all movies, everyone should just see it and judge for themselves. I think I know where the large majority will fall.
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