Grub Street Defends ‘The Cable Guy,’ and Other Awesome Responses to Our Actors-Turned-Directors List

Photo: Courtesy of Columbia

We've gotten plenty of avid response to yesterday's list of the Ten Worst Movies Directed by Actors (Not Counting Kevin Costner). We've had e-mailers, bloggers, and message-board commenters chiding us for films left off the list, like Can’t Stop the Music, the Village People movie directed by Nancy Walker; Jack Nicholson's The Two Jakes; Anthony Hopkins's Slipstream; and Warren Beatty's Town & Country (which we would have put on the list had our brains not completely erased our memory of that movie, simply to help us make it through the day).

We've also heard from people defending movies we put on the list, from the guy who blogged that clearly Braveheart was awesome because it inspired Gladiator, to Grub Street's Josh Ozersky, whose passionate and angry defense of The Cable Guy is after the jump.

Josh writes:

I was pained and disappointed that the otherwise discerning Vulture editors inexplicably lumped The Cable Guy, a work of surpassing genius, on to their "Worst Movies Directed by Actors" list. The Cable Guy should be in time capsules, AFI lists, film-school curricula; its props should be donated to the Smithsonian. A dark comedy made without a hint of irony; an anti-hero without the slightest veneer of audience-friendly likability; what might possibly be the greatest karaoke performance ever captured on film; and, not least, a bolt of Zeitgeist lightning revealing in a cold flash the profound pathology of America’s media-numbed fugue state. How can a movie like that be compared to Braveheart?


The Cable Guy is the exact nineties analog of The King of Comedy, which Variety, in similarly shortsighted fashion, dismissed for having “a character that it's hard to spend time with.” Absurd! Scorsese’s Rupert Pupkin was a cipher, a Nowhere Man that had internalized the howling nothingness of our celebrity-obsessed culture. If George Trow’s In the Context of No Context were made into a Jim Carrey comedy, The Cable Guy would be it. Capturing the culture of narcissism, not typical movie-house yuks, was the true aim of both bleak and brilliant movies, and the nameless hero of The Cable Guy is Pupkin’s cable-era twin. Both men are monsters, products of a monstrous age, but Carrey’s performance is such a towering comedic tour de force that even if the movie had been Meatballs III, it still would deserve a place in the comedy hall of fame. Ben Stiller has committed a lot of crimes in his time, but this one deathless film redeems them all. Putting it on your list was an act of reckless madness. Remove it immediately!

Earlier: The Ten Worst Movies Directed by Actors