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"Lord of the Rings fans aren't all psychotic, after all!"
Edition of the
Letters to the Juicemaster!
(December 22nd, 2003)

I've learned a lot over the past few years.  1.  George W. Bush really isn't that "compassionate" a conservative.  2.  Rock shows, even punk rock shows, are now brought to you by "Budweiser, Michelob, Red Bull, McDonald's and the Clear Channel."  Somehow, I can't really imagine McDonald's Raging Against the Machine.  3.  Metallica can't stop digging their graves deeper.  4.  The best Democratic Candidates are never shown on mainstream television, causing "equal time" to be nothing but another myth.  5.  There are just as many cool Lord of the Rings fans as there are LOTR whackos. 

Okay, let's forget about corporations taking over the counter-culture, conservatives melting the environment, Metallica changing professions, television channels sucking:  all that matters now is that I've found some cool LOTR fans!  Woo-hoo!  So many of you are out there, I couldn't include all your emails in the letter section below.  I received just over 100 emails during the past 5 days, from ROTK fans, all of them regarding my review of The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King

I printed out every email, crumpled them up, and put them all into a big bowl that I usually eat popcorn out of, and the first 35 emails yanked from the bowl were the chosen ones (they were also lightly salted, with a fine butter aroma).  Sound fair (and a little tasty)?  I hope so.  And don't forget to check out (and buy lots of cool stuff, before it goes out of print and becomes worth 3.343 million dollars):

The Greatest Lord of the Rings Store Ever! 

I'm also in such a good mood; I'm going to give away a few Lord of the Rings chessboards.  Brand new, just for you, and absolutely FREE.  All you need to do is email me for the trivia questions, details and rules.  Once you're done, you could be one of February's 3 big winners!  Enter now!  Now, onto the letters:

Dear Juicemaster,
You most likely won't remember, but I emailed you back when I read your review of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Since you said you recieved so much hate mail, I'm sure mine wouldn't stand out (especially since I don't really consider it to be hate mail). I wanted to apologise. You were absolutely right. After I read your email [admitting that you were a geek, your comments were tongue-in-cheek, and I should have looked through more of your page before responding], I checked out your page and found myself feeling rather foolish...perhaps that is why I didn't reply to you the first time. Anyway, what reminded me of the email was ironically stumbling accross your Return of the King review while browsing the net. I was surprised that you enjoyed the film, seeing as you didn't care much for Fellowship or Two Towers.

Regardless of what you thought of it, I wanted to apologise. Nobody deserves to be threatened over a stupid movie review and I am sorry that I took your defense of yourself personally. Consider this a much deserved and belated apology.

Apology accepted.  Now, you didn't happen to come across my e-Holster, CD of Elvish Holiday Favorites, plaid shorts, and pocket protector?  I seem to have lost them at last week's Star Trek convention.  They're gathered together in a Tech TV duffle bag that was given to me as a parting gift on Beat the Geeks.

Dear Juicemaster,
Excellent review there. What a shame it is that people start heaping abuse on those who rationally explain why they don't, or do, like a particular work of art. Being a bit of a Ringer myself, I get irritated at those who call the films/books 'childish nonsense.' But those who point out the weaknesses that are obviously there are a necessary safeguard against us all becoming Taliban or something.  If anyone savages you for awarding a film 9/10 (or 8, or 7... or 1) then they really do need to be sectioned.

The Tolkien Taliban.  I've dealt with my fair share of Tolkien fanatics, and "Tolkien Taliban" isn't as outrageous a label as it initially sounds.  You would think the success of the novel and the success of the films would be enough to calm them down.  If they don't relax, the next thing you know, they'll be flying jets into movie theaters playing Attack of the Clones rather than Return of the King. Well, if they have their bifocal lenses on.

Dear Juicemaster,
I thoroughly enjoyed your review. I didn't get a chance to read your reviews of the first two.. How can I fix that?

Bifocal lenses?

Dear Juicemaster,
Are you super rich? Bill Gates should bow to you. I only discovered your page with your Return review but you are one of the funniest most accesible writers I've ever came across! You the best writer on the net. I sent some felling ring fans to your site and told them to expect Mark Twain meets Charles Bukowskee(sp?) meets Charles Shulz(sp?) meets Charles Dickens meets Tom Tomorrow (he draws satire cartoons). Add a sprinkle of Poe and Hitchcock for good measure to balance out your sexy mysterious creepy side. I never liked a review as much as your Return of the king review! The iceberg was only a tip I was standing on. The more I read the better you get! I hope this doesn't sound like a gushy fan letter from a girl too young to be writing to you (I turn 18 December 22) and I hope you take it as the compliment I sent it. Long live the RING and JUICY!

I was going to write something witty and smart enough to cement my status as the next Twain-Bukowski-Schultz-Dickens-Tomorrow-Poe-Hitchcock, but accidentally swallowed a huge gulp of months old MUG Root Beer, and instead feel as though I must vomit.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll take a picture of it, and you can find the poetry contained within the pukey swirls.  Would it be fair if I added food coloring?  Of course I'd only being doing it for art's sake, and not to try and cover the fact I ate half a jar of peanuts for lunch.  December 22nd, eh?  That would be today.  DAMN STUPID ROOT BEER WRECKING MY CHANCES WITH MEG!

Dear Juicemaster,
Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your opinion. Unlike most reviewers you offered a piece of yourself in your review...and i think that is what Tolkien is all special everyone is....large or small.

Thanks for hangin it out there

Thanks for the kind words, and everything, but I can't get past your using the word "small" right before typing, "thanks for hangin' it all out there."  Oh well, it's not like I'm going to enter a contest, or anything ― and I've never even owned a raincoat.

Dear Juicemaster,
I've been a tolkien fan for most of my life, but if you don' t like a movie as in the case of the others, then they should've never have emailed you hate mail. That was very "orcish"
-Mark S.

I still say they're "Gollum-ish."  I notice almost none of them (with exception made for one, and I'm not posting his email until this update is almost completed maybe I'll never post it!) have cowered away from emailing me this time (most of them sent me 4 or 5 emails, EVERY SINGLE DAY, when I gave mixed reviews to the theatrical versions of the first two films).  If Sam overheard Gollum talking to himself, as he snuck off, I'm sure he'd hear something along the lines of, "We don'ts likes mixed emotions. We hates you, critics! We despises everythings yous do! No! No! No! We likes your new reviews-y! We likes its! We must hides. We must runs. Bad critics mights be onto us! Bad critics mights be corrects! We hates bad critics. We hates him!"

Dear Juicemaster,
I'm a Rings fan who has never read another of your reviews, and as a fellow critic (music, not film), thumbs up. It was one of the best reviews I've read on the movie (and I've read a bunch - I don't know why, I guess because I just need MORE). But I enjoyed your piece, and what's more agree with your take on the film pretty much completely. So there, that's a nice email.

A nice email it is.  It's much nicer than when you walk around a store and have a "secret shopper" spying on you, and then you bust him for his "secret shopping" and he pretends to buy something and leaves in his SUV, and then you follow him in your hybrid car (because, unlike him, you care about the environment), and he doesn't know what to do, since he's "on the clock" and needs to harass other people with leather jackets or Mohawks or earrings or anything else Target is afraid of, so he fakes a phone call on the payphone, and you sit behind him, but your girlfriend, who isn't into the whole concept of justice as much as you are, says she'll dump you if you don't drop it, so you drop it, cuz you're pussy-whipped and getting laid suddenly seems more important than the Ozone Layer.  Yes, it's much nicer than all of that. 

Dear Juicemaster,
I agree with your review. I sure wish they had the scenes with Wormtongue chucking the palantir out the window with Saurman etc. And the Scourge of the Shire would have been interesting to see but that would have made the movie like another 6 hours long or something like that. By far my favourite movie of all time. I hope they make a Hobbit movie....but not for like another couple years. Anything sooner would screw up the Trilogy feeling of the 'Rings'. Anyway.....I say!!! But if I go again I'll probably go a lot earlier and get a good seat.

What you want to do is become a professional movie critic.  Critics get reserved seats.  The only problem with that is that's it's almost impossible to become a professional critic.  It's all about politics.  If you're a prominent sports anchor who has never even written a movie review, you're allowed into all screenings.  If you own a theater, and your brother-in-law wants to check out a flick, and missed the trade screening, you'll have no trouble getting him in.  If you're an actual film critic, you have to fight for all the screenings you're allowed into.  This is studio politics, and, unless it changes for the better, real soon, I'm going to play the tiny little David to their big, sweaty Goliath. 

Dear Juicemaster,
Alex, I just wanted to commend your ability to give a movie a second chance. It is a rare and refreshing thing to see someone (especially a movie critic) change his mind about a movie. I was even more amazed after reading all the hate mail you received in reference of you first two
reviews. It says volumes about you to be able put all that aside and give both films a second viewing. This makes me respect you even more as a critic. Thanks!! (Please don't every become a studio pawn like Henry Knowles)

I think you meant Harry Knowles (rather than Henry).  But, whether my name was "Henry" or "Harry" would make no difference.  Most of the studios friggin' hate my guts (even though Sony did send me a nice Holiday card).  Well, either they hate the guts within me, or the agencies representing the studios cower at the thought of letting me attend a screening (if only I had more yuppie clothing, and would shave off this goatee).  Both the studios and the PR people know that, just because I visit the set of [insert film name here], I won't necessarily give the film a positive review.  This is VERY telling, actually.  The studios only seem to like critics they can purchase.  Either that, or weathermen and sports anchors, who will never review their films.  These studios seem to consider honest film critics a nuisance.  Instead of messing with me, why not mess with shitty directors, producers and/or screenwriters, and make some quality movies, for a change?  Doesn't seem so hard, does it?  Not to mention the fact that I've given more positive reviews over the past 7 years than I have negative.  What are they so damn afraid of?

Dear Juicemaster,
I can't believe there a people in this world sick enough to say they were glad your dog died. And over a movie review? I don't know how much this helps, but I am profoundly sorry that some of my fellow Tolkien geeks are that hard-hearted. Whatever happy place your dog might be now, I doubt if people that callous will end up there.

Your Return of the King review is just about right on, by the way (I saw it at Harry Knowles' Butt-Numb-A-Thon here in Austin.). The three sections [in your review] are just about how I would have done it, too. I would have put the bit about the orcs in the tower all killing each other in the "Good" section, though. It may be convenient, but that's how it happens in the book.

All that said, this is the best review of the film that I have read. Or at least the one that agrees with my thoughts the most. :)

Anyway, I just wanted to sorta apologize for the Tolkien nuts, but I rambled.

The "Tolkien nuts," as you affectionately refer to them, also threatened the life of my mother, my father, my girlfriend and made about fifty 2:00 AM calls to my grandmother.  They didn't seem able, or willing, to stop.  Roeper, or whatever his damn name is, from Ebert & Roeper, also gave the theatrical version of Fellowship a negative review.  He went on Leno and talked about the threats he got.  So this wasn't an isolated incident.  And ANYONE willing to take a book and/or movie personally enough that they feel that somebody disagreeing with their opinion isn't even worth being a human, has something very wrong with them mentally, and desperately needs to get laid.  Preferably by an individual whom isn't an elf, a dwarf or a Hobbit (midgets with bare feet, count).  Either that, or someone with some sense should throw their asses into Willa Wonka's in-patient facility, and never let them out.

Dear Juicemaster,
Just saw ROTK last night and I have to say, I really enjoyed it - with a couple of reservations, that I think you encapsulated nicely in your excellent review. I admit I'm new to the site so I haven't followed your progression through the trilogy but I want to say this in response to your ending...I agree completely that the theatrical release of The Two Towers was just not up to par. I waited on line for ages to get in last Christmas, all excited, and when the movie was (finally!) over I just felt this horrible sense of disappointment. So many opportunities missed! It felt like one long prologue to the Battle for Helm's Deep, which was awesome, but not really the stuff that a three-hour movie can be founded on. It was certainly not the key moment in the book and I felt like Peter Jackson had succumbed to the siren song of Hollywood by making a big, expensive action movie with no "heart" and no character development.  I then spent a year explaining myself to a huge circle of nerdy friends, who worship at the altar of Peter Jackson and couldn't believe that I would question his judgment. My opinions were finally validated by the extended version, which was a vastly superior film.  Your review and your comments really "hit the nail on the head" as far as I'm concerned, and I wanted to tell you (in light of the nasty emails you've been getting) that I think your criticisms are well-taken - and shared by some Tolkien fans. The online community is awfully emphatic about these films, which are wonderful and entertaining but, in the end, just movies.  Thanks for a great review.

The Two Towers was definitely chopped apart and fucked over more than Fellowship or King.  The theatrical version is hardly worth watching.  The Extended Edition of Towers is currently the best of the series.  Jackson really did "jump the shark" with his hack editing job on Towers.  But, trying to convince an LOTR cultist of that fact, is like trying to tell a devout Catholic that Mary wasn't a virgin, or Mel Gibson's stupid Jesus movie isn't a prejudice pile of steaming Orc poop.  You can scream at a wall all you want, but you're most likely going to fall long before it does.  Stupid stubborn walls. 

Dear Juicemaster,
Great review! Thanks for your diligence!

Do you ever miss those days when you didn't know what "big" words like "diligence" meant?  I wanted so badly to write, "you're welcome, whatever diligence means."  But I know what diligence means.  At least my grandma and grandpa were both diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease, so I will probably forget the meaning of "diligence" soon.  Thank gawd for hered... um, what's that one word that means you inherit stuff?

Dear Juicemaster,
I must admit I have always enjoyed your site (introduced to me ironically after the Fellowship review) and in particular the interesting political essays you feature. But I have always been bothered by the raw reviews of the previous two films. I cannot condone the hate mail and in particular the cruel comments about your poor dog however. I didn't really appreciate how much you must have felt under siege and inevitably this would have informed your comments. LOTR has a pretty varied fanbase I think and i am sorry you ran afoul of the hardcore, although an outspoken bloke like yourself is always going to attract the polemics. Anyway glad you enjoyed the film and are coming around to the series. Now we can both pray for a smart Episode three.

Or, at the very least, pray for a quick and painful death to Jar Jar Binks.

Dear Juicemaster,
Read your review and liked it, agreed with just about everything you said. One thing that annoyed me that no one is mentioning in their reviews is the fact that Théoden and to a lesser extent Aragorn speechify too much about their martial bravery. Theoden must have comments about the glory of dying three or more times. It wears thin. We get the idea - he's brave and resolved - but it starts to pile on the cheese after a point. You're absolutely right about his death scene. That's where I shed a tear.

Possibly a tear of joy, over never having to hear him comment on the glory of dying, yet again?

Dear Juicemaster,
I've just read your RotK review and I have to say : you've done a really nice job :-)  I like the way you categorized the excellent, good and lesser parts. I think your point of view is pretty objective & honest. That's something that separates you from a lot of other review writers (btw : don't mind my English , I'm from Belgium , I speak Dutch)

I think there's a certain disbalance between the battle at Helms deep & The battle for Minas Tirith. I blame it on the fact that there was less story to tell in TTT, so they had plenty of time building up to the confrontation at Helms Deep. The grandeur, the epic proportions of the battle at Minas Tirith go somewhat lost because there's not such an explicit build-up before it starts. Of course, it's still fantastic stuff , but I felt like this battle got less attention in comparison with Helms Deep. (like you said : sometimes it felt a bit rushed)

yours is the finest review I've read so far. The review often made me smile. You can write things down in a funny, honest and objective manner. And that's nice :-)

I've read about your dog, I'm really sorry for that.
-Luk V.

Now you've got me all blushing.  Well, you would have me all blushing, but I'm a robot, and am incapable of having blood rush to my face.  Every so often, oil squirts out of my eyes, though.  And, I have to admit, your English is far better than my Dutch.

Dear Juicemaster,
Nothing you said could of warned me of how overlong the last 40 minutes of ROTK feels. I'm nearly 50 and was a fan of the books in the 1960s. I love every thing middle earth. I read The Silmarillion and wasn't bored. I read the Atlas of Middle Earth with nonstop interest. I read each of Christopher Tolkien's Shaping of Middle Earth books and only yawned twice. Anything LOTR I can take and love and embrace.  What I can't do at my age with my back is sit in a theater seat for 40 minutes after all the action ends. I already know all of this. The audience that doesn't know doesn't need to until dvd comes out. ROTK was my favorite LOTR film until that last 40 minutes. It's now my worse. I'm disappointed in Jackson.

Wow!  Yikes!  If poor Peter reads your letter, he'll probably eat an extra rack of ribs.  Jackson got far too indulgent during Return of the King's epilogue.  The movie should have ended when the king was crowned and the Hobbits were bowed to.  There was absolutely no other reason to go on.  A friend of mine had a bad fever during the film, and said she didn't even notice it, until the film's finale.  She said she started burning up during those last 30-40 minutes.  She just wanted it to end.  So did/does nearly everyone I've talked to.  I sincerely hope Jackson edits it down for its second week at the cinema, and then adds the stuff back for the DVD (I know this will never happen).  Then you can press pause and stretch that elderly back of yours, and put on a new pair of Depends.  And the rest of us can keep some of our hair.  I wonder how many audience members pulled it out, during the film's elongated "climax?"  I'd clamor for this stuff on DVD.  I'd boycott it, theatrically.  Well, not really, being that I've already paid to see the film twice.  D'oh!

Dear Juicemaster,
Thought your review of the movie was spot on!! I loved all the things you loved and definitely agree on the over long ending. I haven't seen the extended editions, but This was probably my favourite of the films. Thanks for writing the review.

No problem!  One day, if I'm feeling spunky, I may just write another.  I guess that's what critics do.

Dear Juicemaster,
I liked your review a lot and it also confirmed to me some things that now I know are true and I don´t understand why...why did Jackson leave Saruman out of the film??? Maybe the reason is what you said, maybe he wants to make some extra cash with the dvd, but man, thats not a very noble thing to do, and i´m not just talking about Chrtisopher Lee, but also about J.R.R. Tolkien itself!! How can you leave Saruman, a key character in Tolkien´s novel out of the story?  I feel like the audience is going to be cheated with this film. Everything else what you said about in your review sounds great... well... I have to see that 40 minute multiple ending scene. Nice review!!

I think Jackson went mentally insane.  Like I said in my review, there were plenty of scenes he could have cut to include Saruman.  This is sort of like not including the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back.  Or Britney Spears in a Pepsi ad.  Something doesn't feel right, and something is most definitely amiss (and it's not an extra order of fries).

Dear Juicemaster,
Great review and I agree, The Two Towers extended is 10 times better than the theatrical version.  Agree 100% that Denethor's madness in ROTK is a gaping hole - if you read the book, it totally makes sense - don't know why Jackson chose to edit it out. The whole Palantir thing should have been played out, including Aragorn wresting the control of it from Sauron! Way too choppy, but the extended version will take care of that
-Michael T.

Attend the film with ANYONE yet to read the book, and ask them why Denethor's so damn goofy.  Nobody can figure it out.  The best answer I got from a friend was, "he was just crazy, like crazy people just are, sometimes.  They're just crazy."

Dear Juicemaster,
LOTR fan here. Great to hear you came around to digging the film. Sorry you had to deal with snerty fans earlier. Treebeard is definitely unique. The EE brings his character around. I liked how he recited poetry. PJ should have kept that scene in. Treebeard would have worked as the poetry character. Looks like Ebert's coming around too. I think it takes a while for the unitiated to appreciate it without interference from the hype and rabid fandom of SW vs Matrix vs, LOTR battling on the internet by teens.

After Reloaded and Revolutions, it would seem to me that Matrix is out of the running.  Star Wars still has a fighting chance.  The original trilogy was groundbreaking, and the new trilogy, well, um, there's still Episode III, and a miracle could happen, right (or at least, a quick and painful death to Jar Jar Binks)?  Ebert and Roeper, both "came around" to the LOTR trilogy.  A lot of critics, and a lot of fans, did the same thing.  Lifelong Lord of the Rings readers should have been more patient with us "newbies."

Dear Juicemaster,
While I generally agree with you this bugged me: "A bunch of Orcs holding Frodo captive getting into a fight, killing each other, and allowing Sam access to his captured friend? How convenient.  And lazy." That is how it happens in the book.

It's still lazy.  Tolkien is considered in many circles to have been a "lazy" writer.  Many people, including myself, firmly believe that he would have never finished the LOTR trilogy without the constant encouragement of C.S. Lewis.

Dear Juicemaster,
I loved your review. It's nice when fans write up reviews that have me cheering.
-Jake M

Now I have this vision of people across the country reading my review and, once completed, standing up and cheering.  There's no need to do such a thing... I can't hear you.  Now, if you want to stand up on a webcam and cheer ― especially if you're a sexy lady, over 21 years old, with no top on ― get in touch.  Mmm... boobies bouncing as hands clap.  *Drool*

Dear Juicemaster,
watched the return of the king with my 4 kids and wife..8:15 til way past bed time...right off the bat i was pissed-i didnt feel better til way later...the things i wanted to see most were the breaking of saraman`s staff,the foul mouth of sauron being told a thing or 2 by gandalf at the black gate, the nazgul king meeting gandalf just inside the minis tirith gate and being told to piss off and sharky in the shire....i hated the deviations from the story such as frodo telling sam to go home from mordor and elrond visiting aragorn in rohan.....i also hated how aragorn came up the anduin and basicly jumped off the stolen ship like "guess you weren`t expecting to see me here now were ya?"...hated it....the book was very dramatic during that scene...i wanted more from faramir...the blood of westernesse supposedly ran true in him...his character was way too weak for such a title...fight scenes were fast and furious...pretty neat overall...liked the charge of rohan into the fray...i thought eowyn kicked some pretty good ass...wanted to see more drama (swirling, screeching spirit whisping away etc) and more celebration when the nazgul persished....liked the fellowship better, hated the two towers more, i think because i just can`t get that scene of aragorn going over the cliff out of my head...can`t give it a ten can`t give it a five, not sure what to rate it otherwise..

Okay, what you just wrote.  That's the kind of stuff that got me in BIG trouble with the more psychotic LOTR fans.  They hate that stuff.  It's sort of like a cult, only people wear funny clothing and talk about monsters and stuff.  I think they may also play role-playing games.  *Gulp*  It's... exactly... like... a... cult.  RUN FOR THE HILLS!

Dear Juicemaster,
Just wanted to email you and say I like your reviews...Your review of Matrix: revolutions helped me clarify some of the reasons i felt let down by this third installment. Also, anyone who criticizes a review of Lord of the Rings with death threats, gladness at calamity that happens to you as a reviewer, or such intense negativity as you described is a zealot who misses the whole point of Tolkien's work in their rush to judge your contrary (to their mind) opinion....Keep writing and best wishes.
-John S.

I was purified by reverse osmosis and it gave me a boner.

Dear Juicemaster,
Nice review I am a old English Tolkein nut. Sorry about any nasty repercussions from your previous reviews. I do know "real fans" of the books and thay would never stoop to the offensive behaviour you described. After all LOTR is only a book, and these are only movies however good. Please beleive me when I say that if, we take anything away from the book and these movies, it is that you fail to respect others at your peril, Better to be a Sam than a Gollum.

Or regular peanuts, when you could be butter toffee. 

Dear Juicemaster,
After your scathing review of Fellowship of the Ring, I was convinced you were just one of those who 'did not get it' nor would you ever. I thought in part your review was meant to garner as much hate mail as humanly possible, generating an increase in hits for your website and to stir up interest in your somewhat eclectic opinions.

I applaud your more insightful review of the extended edition of Fellowship and The Two Towers. Had you panned these as heartily as you
did the theatrical release of either movie I would have given up hope for you as an honest reviewer, or at least been convinced your opinions are so diametrically opposed to mine as to render then worthless when it comes time for me to choose a movie.
Thank you for your courageous reversal. Here's to hoping Return of the King will live up to the expectations generated by the first two films.
-Jim F.

This "generating an increase in hits" conspiracy theory for my website is ludicrous.  If you genuinely want to generate hits to your site, it's in hopes that the people you attract enjoy your writing.  Even the thought that I would go out of my way to piss a bunch of people off, to gain a few extra hits (which would obviously be temporary ― pissed off people holding grudges rarely become regular readers), is preposterous.  I'm glad I agreed with you enough in my most recent reviews to cause you to think that I was a critic with taste nearly as good as your own.  So, how did you like The Return of the King?

Dear Juicemaster,
You pointed out everything that I disliked and loved about this amazing movie. At this point I went back and reread a lot of your other reviews and see now that you have made many valid points. I even reread the Pirates of the Caribbean review and realize that everything you wrote is true (I still like it mind you but you are right on all your points). I would like to say that at this point, for movie reviewers anyway, you have become my favorite critic. Keep up the good work.
-Dan F

No, Dan, you've got my Pirates review all wrong.  Writing a mixed review for Pirates, before it played at any theaters, and before I had any idea whether or not people would like it, was all part of my plan to bring temporary hits to my site from people who hate my taste in a movie.  Isn't it just the peachiest idea, this side of Elmo?

Dear Juicemaster,
Well-written, thoughtful review of "The Return of the King." I recently saw the film, and I agree with many of your points.

For what it's worth, I am a LOTR fan, and I did not have a problem with your original "Two Towers" review. I didn't care for your original "Fellowship" review simply because your attitude toward LOTR "geeks" and critics who had favorably reviewed the movie seemed inappropriately venomous and misplaced in a movie review. Your "Towers" review, on the other hand, was simply a straightforward critique of the film, in which you expressed the negative opinion of the film that you were perfectly entitled to have. Nothing wrong with that.

And don't beat yourself up about changing your opinion of the films; it doesn't make you a bad critic. Roger Ebert's original review of "Raising Arizona" gave it 1 1/2 stars (!) and harshly criticized its "arch and artificial" dialogue. Twelve years later, in his review of "The Big Lebowski," he referred to "Raising Arizona" as having "strangely wonderful dialogue." It happens. And it took guts for you to publicly acknowledge your change of heart after there was such a stink between you and LOTR fans.
-Laura H.

But at least by stealing my little idea of reviewing other critic's reviews, a certain webmaster went and made a poopload of money.  Like my dad used to say, before he was torn apart by my neigbor's pitbull:  "if you had a nickel for every dollar someone else has made off of your page, you'd be a millionaire."  And I haven't really changed my opinions on the theatrical versions of the first two films.  The Extended Editions were the movies that I was looking for.  I will admit that, had I not seen the EE of the first two films, my rating for the third may not have been as high.

Dear Juicemaster,
Brady-Lu was a beautiful dog, I'm sorry about your loss. At least she died knowing she was loved.  Also, your Lord of the Rings review was great.  I just saw "return of the king" Tuesday night and I am still in awe. If it does not win an Oscar, the Oscar will henceforth become a meaningless honor.
-Nando L.

I completely agree.  I predicted, years ago, that the Academy would give the Best Picture Award to Return of the King, for the entire body of work (Fellowship and Towers).  I still think that will be the case.  If it doesn't win, I'll throw Twinkies at my TV, until it looks like I just finished watching a porno.  Well, I guess I'd also be able to swallow Finding Nemo winning Best Picture.  I may also swallow a Twinkie... whole.

Dear Juicemaster,
Here, I give you props: thank you for being honest. Especially with your review of the first film, "Fellowship." Regardless of the fact that I have yet to see the extended editions and still completely disagree with your rating, you did what few others dare - it is often safer for critics to pull out the 'if only's' than actually engage in what is before them, judge it on its own merits rather than create a parallel world where it could have been better. And props for viewing the extended editions with an open mind - it is hard to think of anyone dealing in the currency of opinion who would be brave enough to bounce a cheque.

You now have a new reader. One of a million, sure, but hopefully one in a million as well.
-B. Mroz

Every reader is one in a million.  I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that over a million people reading my crap.  It's an odd feeling.  Sort of like that stuff they rub on your chest when you have a head cold.  I HATE that stuff.  It makes you tingle.  But I love all my readers, of course.  I'd love them even more if they actually ordered posters and junk (ESPECIALLY NOW THAT I DEVELOPED THE COOLEST LORD OF THE RINGS STORE ONLINE.  HINT, HINT!), so I'd be making money on this page, rather than losing it (I lose hundreds of dollars, each year).  There is a place, up above, called "store."  You can buy stuff there.  Wouldn't that be neat?  You'd have stuff, and I'd have a tiny commission, and could possibly afford to keep this page online for another 12 months.

Dear Juicemaster,
I'm just a simple gal from Australia, and I was wondering if you could satisfy my curiosity. Having read your 'Lord of the Rings' film and DVD reviews, I  couldn't help but wonder about this fan who turned your opinions completely on their head. [Was the fan] a sexy young fox?  It's the only explanation I can think of for a critic to have his opinion swung by the response of a fan. I'm willing to bet that this friendly person with the nice breasts and husky voice waxing lyrical about elves and hobbits. I'm right aren't I? Its ok to admit it.

You're right.  It was Peter Jackson, all along.  That stupid husky voice of his.  Grr.

Dear Juicemaster,
Great review. I can remember sitting in the darkened theater and getting my first glimpse of the LOTR series. I wondered what the heck that was all about and knew that moment that I would never see those movies. Good thing I never claimed to be psychic! I love those movies and can't wait to see the third. I haven't read the books, my husband and I are waiting until after we've seen the movies. Kind of due to the fact that Harry Potter books are just so much better than the movies. Thank you so much for an honest review. I've been devouring review after review, trying to get an idea of what to expect. I've seen most who love it and a few who didn't, but they didn't even really talk about the movie so I'm not counting them. Most of the reviewers lept the fence either way and only said good or only said bad. Kind of annoying really. So thank you for your review, which gave a complete picture of the movie.

I am so sorry about what those nasty people said about your dog. Those people don't even deserve to be called Gollum. They are more like the excrement of Gollum. I cried when I read that. It is very hard to loose something you love like that. I hope everything is going better.

Those people are the parasites that would feed off of Gollum's excrement.  Actually, that's giving them too much credit.  They're more like the leeches hanging on the parasites that feed off Gollum's smelliest of poops.  That's still giving these absolute, pathetic losers too much credit, but typing any more about them would just give them a certain sense of notoriety that they never earned nor deserved.  In the end, no matter how you look at it, these wastes of humanity eat the creatures that eat Gollum's shit.  'Nuff said.

Dear Juicemaster,
Great review. Sauron as a lighthouse beacon was dead on the way I felt. I've been groaning about the "eye" since the first appearance. I also agree about Saruman and the seeing stone was just sitting in the water without an explanation of how it got there. One of my favorite scenes was when Aragorn looks back at Gandalf just before saying "For Frodo!" The look of anguish on his face was incredible. This film other than being choppy was choppy or should I say CHOPPY! I think that the extended cut will be your favorite of the three once you have a remote next to you. I refused to leave for a bathroom break telling myself, if Sam can hold out this long, so can I. Lastly, a curse on those fans who made sport of your pets death.
Steve C.

You think Sam held it this entire time?  He must have one hell of a bladder.  Maybe a gigantic bladder comes with being a gardener.  Although, that doesn't make much sense, being that you could always take a leak in the garden.  I bet Sam is a monster in bed.  I wouldn't doubt that he could go hours before orgasm.  What a man, that Sam!

Dear Juicemaster,
Great review on ROTK - I enjoyed it. However, I am emailing you due to the heart wrenching piece you did on the death of your dog. It brought back memories of the death of mine and really touched a nerve (Anyone who wrote a nasty email regarding it should be dismissed as heartless). While life is never truly the same afterward I believe that in the end, if there is a heaven, I know my dog will be there waiting for me as yours will be for you. I'm not particularly religious so not sure why I believe it - but any creature that can show unconditional love as much as a dog probably deserves to be in a heaven before people. If we make it there - I'm sure our dogs will be there as well waiting for us with tails wagging. That though brings me great comfort and I hope it may for you as well. Good luck and keep up the good work.

Thanks, Bill.  I saved my personal favorite email for last.  I really hope that there is a Heaven, and that all dogs truly go there.  If I'm damned to Hell, at least Brady can make some other lost spirit happy.  Your email was touching and open and heartfelt.  Thanks.

Hey! Reading other people's mail makes me feel all dirty inside, and I kinda like it. Send me to The Ultimate Letter Archive!

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