Screen Junkies » I Am Sam Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:27:19 +0000 en hourly 1 Hey Sean Penn, Stop Being Like That! Mon, 21 May 2012 15:24:09 +0000 Penn Collins And let poor Jude Law fight his own battles.

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Let’s call a spade a spade. When people speak to the insufferability of Hollywood stars and the so-called “liberal agenda” of the celebrity machine, they’re first and foremost speaking to one Sean Penn, or at least the archetype that he embodies.

Sean Penn has long been a crusader for countless causes and undertakings, presumably (and probably) with the interests of the greater good at heart. That’s not a bad thing, in and of itself. In fact, it’s wonderful. And admirable.

However, many malign the star for using most every opportunity, no matter how far removed from the context of the cause at hand, to champion these things, and just generally guilt the public for not allocating the same time and energy that he has to crusade for these causes. Seeing as most of the world doesn’t enjoy a successful actor’s schedule, nor a successful actor’s salary to champion these causes, it’s no surprise that, upon the umpteenth guilt trip and plea, the public begins to roll its collective eyes and just wish he would give it a rest. Some times we just want to have a smoothie and screw around, ya know?

No, Sean Penn does not accept your challenge to a "tickle fight."

The impetus for this piece stems from the most recent plea/outburst/tantrum/call to arms that Penn unleashed upon the world from a seemingly lofty perch at the Cannes Film Festival on a French beach.

Speaking to the groundswell of support for Haiti follwing the catastrophic earthquake the country endured in 2010, Penn offered up this little nugget to someone with a microphone point in his general direction:

It’s not only celebrities that went (to Haiti) to help only for a day. It’s the whole fucking world. It’s the entire media. It’s all of you.

Okay, then.

Sean Penn’s upset with the whole fucking world. It must be a day that ends in “y.”

Let me say: He’s got a point. In the world of social media, Darfur t-shirts, and pop-up telethons, there’s a tendency to get swept up in a cause, then forget about it as the fervor surrounding it dies down. However, the same phenomena that lead people to drop the cause are often the same ones that lead people to engage in it in the first place.

"Every time you smile, an Arab woman gets stoned to death for trying to drive her infant to a hospital."

So rather, than saying, “Thanks for the outpouring of charity and effort following the this horrible event,” Penn takes us (I’m a part of the whole world too, you know) to task for not giving more.

And that’s pretty fucking obnoxious. We can’t travel to Tehran, we can’t find our way into Cuba to interview Fidel Castro’s brother, and we can’t get on planes to witness rebuilding efforts firsthand.

It’s absolutely terrific that he has the ability and inclination to do exactly those things, but being a dick about it seems to be counterproductive. There’s a reason that charities don’t guilt us into contributing our time and money. Sure, those Sarah McLachlan puppy ads do that, but those are more closely with tearing up and changing the channel than they are with successfully soliciting donations. All the evidence I have that speaks to that point is anecdotal, but it’s still staggering.

If he keeps up this “tough love” marketing approach to Haiti and his other causes, there’s a decent chance that he’s going to be doing them a disservice.

He’s right. I haven’t heard much about Haiti recently. But when the only thing I do hear about it is Sean Penn bitching at me and humanity from Cannes, that doesn’t exactly endear me to the cause, regardless of how much suffering and strife exists there today.

You’re probably doing great things for lots of different causes, Sean. But you’re not exactly a people person, so make your mark by continuing to do great things, and not berating us for not taking action, whatever our obstacles to it may be.

Oh, and I’m really looking forward to Gangster Squad. Shit looks tight.

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]]> 0 la-et-mg-sean-penn-cannes-haiti-001 No, Sean Penn does not accept your challenge to a "tickle fight." sean-penn "Every time you smile, an Arab woman gets stoned to death for trying to drive her infant to a hospital."
The Worst Of The Best: Sean Penn Mon, 22 Aug 2011 23:45:08 +0000 Joseph Gibson Even Sean Penn has his bad days.

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Today on Worst of the Best, we take a look at Sean Penn, who recently admitted publicly that he didn’t really “get” The Tree of Life. He’s one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation. He’s also respected and admired for his social and political activism – especially during natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to examine the worst of what Sean Penn‘s body of work has to offer, as a lesson that even great artists trip and fall on their faces sometimes.

Shanghai Surprise

This romantic comedy stars Sean Penn and his then-new-wife Madonna and was produced by none other than Beatle George Harrison’s production company. Harrison even appears in the film in a cameo role as a nightclub singer, in addition to performing songs on the movie’s soundtrack. But this couldn’t save Shangahi Surprise, which has a staggering IMDb rating of 2.7/10. The film is basically an old-fashioned romantic adventure/comedy, but a thorough (and deserved) critical drumming made it the Gigli of its day.

Pauly Shore Is Dead

OK, so Sean Penn’s appearance in this wishfully titled comedy is only a cameo. But it’s right there on his IMDb page, along with stuff like Casualties of War and Fair Game. Written, produced, directed and funded by, and starring Pauly Shore, the inside-showbiz satire has Shore faking his own death in order to save his career. Unfortunately, it didn’t save the movie, which got a less-than-stellar response from audiences and critics.


Director Louis Malle is one of the greatest directors of all time, but Crackers is not one of his best movies, despite having Sean Penn in the cast. Penn is joining Donald Sutherland, Wallace Shawn, and others in this Hollywood reworking of the Italian caper comedy Big Deal on Madonna Street. Might be a good idea to stick to the original in this case.

It’s All About Love

This movie, from director Thomas Vinterberg, is about the end of the world. More specifically, it’s about a guy and a girl who try to save their relationship right before the end of the world. If ever there was a time to make a relationship last, I guess that would be it. Even as bad Sean Penn movies go, It’s All About Love is a debacle – star Claire Danes is rumored to have burst into tears after she saw it, and they weren’t tears of joy.


Showbiz satire is almost never the way to make a blockbuster movie, but Hurlyburly is a flop even by those standards. Grossing a total of $1,798,862 (so far), the movie might be too underseen to even qualify as a flop. Sean Penn joined a cast of other heavyweights like Kevin Spacey and Meg Ryan to adapt the critically acclaimed play by David Rabe, but even they couldn’t save it from oblivion. The movie is about people in the movie industry whose personal lives are more interesting than the schlock they produce, so maybe this was a case of art imitating life.

I Am Sam

This is undoubtedly the most well-liked (and well-attended) Sean Penn movie on the list, but critics have not been kind to it. And although I Am Sam was the inspiration for a lot of jokes and parodies when it came out, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about it today, unlike other Sean Penn movies like Dead Man Walking or Carlito’s Way. It’s not a terrible movie, but most people agree that the sentimentality of the plot is enough to drive them away. Still, it did inspire Robert Downey Jr.‘s classic “full retard” speech in Tropic Thunder. For that, I thank you, Sean Penn.

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