October 31, 2002

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Cutting Commentary

A group of barbers and beauticians is suing the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton over comments the activists made about the hit movie Barbershop.

The National Association of Cosmetologists accuse Jackson and Sharpton of driving away business, and saying the pair is guilty of intentionally inflicting emotional distress. The Reverends demanded scenes making fun of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks to be removed from the film. A spokesman for the barbers said that Sharpton’s threat to boycott the film created a negative public sentiment about the profession.

Sharpton said he hasn’t received a copy of the lawsuit but called the accusations ludicrous. “Every movie critic would get sued,” he said. “We haven’t addressed their business. I addressed the film.” Amen to that; way to miss the point of the film and the commentary, guys. Besides, I think Sharpton’s hairstyle is far more damaging than anything he could ever say about the barber industry.

Stealing the Scene

Actress Winona Ryder finally offered up a defense to accusations that she attempted to shoplift over $5,000 worth of merchandise from a Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue: “My director instructed me to shoplift for a role I was preparing for. I’m sorry for what I did.” Ryder didn’t mention what role she was preparing for or the name of the director.

In response to the prosecution’s plan to show security videos from the store, Ryder’s lawyer Mark Geragos stated that “the reason the video is boring is because there’s no smoking gun.” He claimed it doesn’t show Ryder cutting off security tags or stuffing merchandise in her bag. That’s fine, Mr. Geragos, except your client already admitted in her defense that she shoplifted.

Even more entertaining than Ryder’s statements is the fact that the jury just happens to include a former Sony executive, a legal secretary who works at Sony Studios, a television program developer, and a doctor the judge knows from the local Rotary Club. That’s certainly an impartial group of citizens.


Albert Lynn, the father of a teenage boy who was severely burned after he and a friend tried to recreate a stunt they allegedly on MTV’s Jackass is calling for a boycott of the big-screen version and it’s sponsors. Asking parents to “hit them where it hurts,” Lynn says he wants to bring attention to the dangerous antics of Johnny Knoxville and his crew of masochistic lunatics. Lynn believes kids are likely to sneak into the R-rated movie and copy stunts despite its do-not-try-at-home warnings. “The name says it all,” Lynn said, “You’ve got to be a jackass to do these things.”

So doesn’t that include his kid? I’m not a parent or anything, but I’m pretty sure teaching your children not to light themselves on fire is more nurturing and supportive than calling them a jackass in front of the national media. The movie, meanwhile, ranked number one at the box office this weekend pulling in an estimated $22.7 million.

Punk Funk

Avril Lavigne, touted as the latest punk-rock sensation, commented on her credibility in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly: “It’s a touchy subject … People are like, ‘well, she doesn’t know the Sex Pistols.’ Why would I know that stuff?”

Congratulations Lavigne, I’m wearing a ribbed sweater from the Gap and khaki cargo pants from Old Navy and I know more about punk than you. Keeds these days, no respect for their roots.

Archived article by Matt Chock