A Movie Reviewer’s ‘Hair’y Adventure
For almost two years I’ve had the awesome job of writing movie reviews for The Pio—Friday night: the theater with a tub of popcorn; Saturday morning: Zip off a short review. Easy! Never thinking that I would have to work and write a real article, I was shocked to see an email from my editor asking me to look into a movie called “HairBrained” that supposedly had something to do with Whitman. Sounded interesting. So armed with a Web page for the movie, I naively set out on my first attempt at investigative journalism.
The website link I was given only gave the plot synopsis and the cast (most notable of whom is Brendan Fraser). Supposedly, “HairBrained” follows a kid named Eli Pettifog (Alex Wolff of Nickelodeon fame) who gets rejected from Harvard and, in the words of the synopsis, “ends up at Ivy League wannabe Whitman College. It’s hate at first sight.” At Whitman, Eli becomes friends with a fellow first-year and 41-year-old gambler, Leo Searly (Brendan Fraser).
My first thought after reading the synopsis was, simply put … WOW! Apparently I’m going to an “Ivy League wannabe”? Yeah, right. My interest was piqued, and I started my quest to find out more about this supposed movie.
Having never done investigative work (except in the physics lab), I had no idea where to start, so I requested help from the professor of my Hollywood Stardom and Post-Katrina Media classes, Professor Anne Petersen. On a quick email chat conversation, I asked Professor Petersen if she had heard of “HairBrained,” and if she could point me in the right direction to find out more. Her response was simply that she had “never heard of that movie—sounds crazy.” When I asked if she had any advice about how to find more out the movie, she responded frankly and matter-of-factly: “Google.”
Armed with succinct words of advice, I set off down the Internet path and searched for more information and … found nothing. No clips of the movie, no trailer, not even a release date! I did find a Facebook page for the movie, but the only information given was the same as what was on the original IMDb site my editor gave me. I had nada.
So who next do I turn to? President George Bridges, of course! Having never met President Bridges before, I figured it might be a good idea to send him a very nice email with the information I had about “HairBrained” and then ask if he had heard of it and what his thoughts were on the movie’s premise. Once again, I received a short and to-the-point response: “We are aware of the movie but don’t know much about it. Let us know what you can find out.” When I tried to ask about his thoughts and opinions on just the premise, he declined to respond … twice. I feared my journey would end up fruitless.
Still with nothing to show for my work, I went back and scoured the only website of information I had. Finally I stumbled across something promising, the name of the production company, Love Lane Pictures. After a quick search, I finally made my first step towards progress and found a longer description of the movie on their website.
I found out that Eli tries to lead the Whitman College academic bowl team to the finals to beat/get back at Harvard. How cliché this movie was turning out to be! I also discovered that Billy Kent was the director, Sarah Bird was the producer and writer, Adam Wierzbianski was a writer and David Wieder was a producer. I tried contacting them via their emails and contact information on the company’s website, but they declined to respond to all my messages. It seemed as if no one wanted me to find out about this movie.
Finally, my research became more interesting when I became an Internet creeper. I started out with Bird and found her Facebook, Twitter, Publisher, Wikipedia page, job history, everything! I felt like a stalker, but I was near the end of my rope. I tried contacting her every possible way I could—still no luck. Regarding Kent, the director, I found a few minor things and tried contacting him through his LinkedIn account, but still ended up with no response.
At about this point I was grasping for straws, and was about ready to throw in the towel when I thought of one more thing I could do—tweet. I have never been a Twitter fan and have refused to use or even go on the website. But in the name of journalism, I swallowed my pride, left my integrity at the door and opened a Twitter account. I latched onto (read: began following) Kent and Wieder and sent them both a tweet. I felt my IQ dropping as I tried to fit my message into 140 characters or less! Yet days later, I still did not get a response!
Weeks after I began my search, I was nowhere closer to seeing any results, but I’m still trying. Even now as I write this article, I periodically keep checking my Twitter feed for any responses. However, the only activity I’ve gotten so far has been from two women who began following me about 10 minutes after I opened my account. Apparently they are very good at giving blow jobs… Needless to say, I blocked them.
Leaving Twitter behind, I had several more conversations with real people. I had a brief conversation with ASWC President Kayvon Behroozian and showed him the original IMDb website and asked him if he had ever heard of the film. His response was pretty similar to everyone else’s: “I’ve never heard of this film. It sounds interesting.” In one of my follow-up questions he said he “would definitely be interested to see it.” Unfortunately, I was once again nowhere closer in knowing anything more about the movie.
In one of my final conversations about “HairBrained,” I talked with Dean of Students Chuck Cleveland. More just for my own curiosity, I asked him about his thoughts on the movie with the information I had. He, too, gave a simple response: “I have never heard about the movie or seen it. So I really can’t give you an impression about it. I would be surprised if it was filmed at Whitman, but who knows.”
When I followed up on his opinion on the movie’s synopsis, he pretty much summed up my entire experience on this whole ordeal: “There is not much to react to. It could be interesting, especially if some of the exterior shots are really from Whitman.”
So true. So true.
In the end, after countless hours of research and staring blankly at my computer screen, I am no closer to finding out any more information about the infamous “HairBrained” movie that is scheduled to supposedly come out sometime this year. It seems that I will just have to wait for the movie to come out, and when it does, I look forward to being a sloth with a tub of popcorn at the movie theater.
Filed under: A&E