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Friday, April 6, 2012

Harry Knowles' New Web Series Is the Worst Thing Since Harry Knowles' Web-Site

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 4:00 PM

"Cool" isn't what it used to be.
  • "Cool" isn't what it used to be.

Studio-flattering man-child and Ain't It Cool News founder Harry Knowles' wretched new web series went online yesterday morning, but we're only getting around to writing about it now because it has taken that long to get our eyes to stop puking.

Unlike his website -- that baby-shit-brown eyesore where the exclamation points jut out like the rusty nails in an abandoned barn -- the web series is professionally produced by the usually tasteful folks at Still, much like the website, the five-minute premiere episode is wretched, a trip to the heart of geekdom that is intended to be whimsical but instead comes off as a braggy bleat from a needy fool.

Here are Harry's worst offenses.

Richie Rich-ism. After a laboriously impish intro, with fetishistic shots of a film projector and some ersatz Danny Elfman scoring, we meet Harry Knowles in what appears to be the manager's office of a Planet Hollywood. There, Harry deigns to show off one of his most prized possessions: a football-sized prop grenade from the original King Kong. "Harry, here, in my awesome basement with my awesome Kong bomb!" he announces, establishing the show's theme: Being Harry Knowles is awesome.

After a clip from Kong, Knowles pretends to turn serious and asks "Why is it important to have something like this?" Then, before you can sputter, "It isn't! Do you even know what 'important' means?" he's explaining that King Kong is his favorite movie and that "holding [the grenade] makes me feel connected to the film, owning part of the film," which we guess solves the problem movie-lovers have always had with one of the most perennially popular films ever produced: It just doesn't connect to people.

In case you haven't already concluded that he unhealthily conflates self-worth with personal access to film props, Knowles says, "It should be in a museum, but instead it's right here in my basement."

And then he tries to twinkle.

Have you seen Harry Knowles twinkle? His face says, "Aren't I a stinker for making sure that nobody but me can ever touch this piece of film history?"


If he had a sharper sense of how he comes across, this all might be charming.

"Look at this crazy-cool thing I'm lucky enough to have!" he could say. "Here's a prop from my favorite movie, and touching it inspires in me a bit of awe. This is quite literally what my dreams were made of! You can see it yourself at [INSERT MUSEUM HERE] some day, and I encourage you to do so. Also, I'm sorry I wrote that review comparing Blade II to performing cunnilingus."

(Actual quote: "Watching the audience begin to squirm, [Guillermo del Toro] takes the audiences' clit in his mouth and just licks it like crazy, the audience is ready, on that precipice, then calm.")

But, no, Harry Knowles can't be a gracious host. Instead, he welcomes us to his kingdom not to share it, but to revere him.

Shilling. After letting us know that we will never see his toys in real life, ever, Harry whips out a high-end Marvel Studios prop-auction catalog and coos over pricey tchotkes like Thor's hammer and Captain America's shield.

Actually, he doesn't whip out that catalog. No, it's coughed up to him from the studio through a tangle of pneumatic tubes in his basement. Seriously. Harry beams, takes what the publicists have sent him, and immediately starts telling us what we should buy -- which is exactly how he does movie journalism on his website, too. As he flips through the pages, and we cut to an Avengers poster signed "Happy Birthday, Harry," he muses "This is what really connects you to the films," which is another important lesson: Watching and enjoying a movie is not enough, ever.

He points to some kind of Captain America cheerleader costume and says it would be "totally worth it" to spend $300 dressing "your girlfriend" in it. "Imagine," he says, "you come back from The Avengers, and your girl's in this, waiting on you ..."

He trails off, allowing viewers to complete the Marvel-approved fantasy in our heads: She waits on us a while longer, feather-dusting our original maquettes from Kangaroo Jack, and then she's unpeeling her spandex, removing our masks, and slobbering all over us like Guillermo del Toro on that Blade audience's crotch.


Shilling, part two. Harry's basement's boiler yells "Fuck Michael Bay!" -- something that's always worth yelling. Harry patiently explains that whatever Micahel Bay is doing to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is no cause for alarm. This placates the boiler. We don't give a shit about Ninja Turtles, but we would be remiss if we didn't point out that in his 1999 review of The Phantom Menace Harry Knowles said of Jar Jar Binks "Mesa Luved Him!"

Hoarding. For the last two minutes, we see Harry reading the script for Prometheus. He jabbers on about the film's basic setup, pretends he can't remember the geek term "space jockey" until he eyeballs a Space Jockey action figure in his Planet Hollywood of wonders, and then assures us that what the filmmakers have said about the movie -- that it doesn't directly tie in to Alien -- is true. "They were telling the truth! That's so awesome!"

Then, with the full welling of emotion we usually only see in grown men at the end of a proposal or giving a best man's speech, Harry looks to the ground and says, "Man, I love this franchise [heavy, panted huff of breath]."

How can he feel such connection to it when he only owns an action figure?

Finally, Harry says, "But the coolest thing about Prometheus is ..." but then the show ends, and he can't tell us, so we're supposed to go to that website of his that looks like refried beans and those rusty nails, and you know what, Harry Knowles? We'll just wait and see the goddamn movie, you shameless lout.

IMPORTANT HILARIOUS UPDATE: Oh, it turns out that Harry Knowles seems to have mistaken a hoax Prometheus script for the real thing. On his site, he admits this, but he writes "My passion for the ideas that the script put forth, which may or may not echo things in the eventual film is rock solid." I guess you can't trust mystery packages shat out by your magic house! Also, if you're Harry Knowles, shouldn't authenticating cool shit be the one thing you're good at?


Follow Alan Scherstuhl on Twitter at @studiesincrap, SF Weekly's Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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