You know, I keep forgetting that I’m considered press. I’m a senior writer at HollywoodJesus.com as well as the editor for comics section. Occasionally, I get asked to go on a press junket although it has been a year since my last one. This one was for the movie, Evan Almighty, and no expense was spared to make sure word gets out about this movie. Yes, gentle readers, I stared into the decadent heart of Babylon itself … and found it quite comfortable.

The theme for this trip revolves around one simple lesson about life: the key to cool is acting like you’ve been there before. Even if you haven’t … like me flying first class. Now I suppose me shouting “sit your @$$ down, this is first class folks only” every time I had the chance didn’t help ingratiate me to folks. I was talked out of displaying my trifling behind. I was going to take pictures of: my first class seat, my first class stewardess, my first class peanuts (Fancy Nut Mix! Served from a basket), and my first class meal (General Tso’s chicken, fruit, salad, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and wine). However, I believe the word of the day from my wife, Chesya, and my messageboard moderator, Lauren, was “idiot”.

On the other hand, it didn’t quite meet the fantasy I had created of it:
-no warm towel
-no champagne fountain
-a little kid talked the whole trip while kicking my chair
-I got just as air queasy (I’m a poor flyer)

[Plus, this might be one of those pointless guilt exercises (from eating in front of people or listening to parents explain to their kids why some people got to eat while they had to make do with their peanuts). I sat in the last row of first class, the “back of the first class bus” I called it. The key to enjoying first class is to not look behind you. It dawned on me that this was the perfect picture of America: much of it dining in style while its neighbors go hungry. (Then I wondered how a prosperity gospel might sound: “you too could be eating chocolate fudge brownie ice cream if you believed enough.”) ]

The powers that be put me up at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills. Once again, I remind you of the simple lesson. So, when Samuel L. Jackson comes out the hotel, turns to me and says “what’s up” I say:

– “What’s up, m&^#$@-f&*&#$?!?”
-“I love you so much, I paid money to see Snakes on a Plane.”
-“What’s up,” take two more steps as my brains registers what just happen, then suddenly forget English as my first language.

(Pretty much the same thing happens when John Cusack and I (literally) ran into each other.)

As I had never been to L.A. before, and all that I know about life I have learned from television, I decided to track my visit in terms of the show 24 to see just how believable the show is (because, you know, that’s why I watch the show. Its believability):

-from the airport to the hotel: ½ an episode of 24
-from the hotel to the theater (during rush hour): ¾ an episode of 24
-from the hotel to Universal Studios: ½ an episode of 24

The interviews went about as well as I expected. Lauren Graham is as pretty in person as she is on Gilmore Girls; Wanda Sykes is funny even when she’s not “on”, and Steve Carell, well, you just keep expecting him to be his character from The Office. My new rule of thumb, however, is that if I want anything of substance about a project, I’ll pretty much restrict myself to the writer or director. Apparently it’s poor form to dig into the ideas and faiths of folks at least judging from the disapproving looks I got. It’s better to ask their opinions on Paris Hilton than on their personal beliefs.

I was rescued from yet another evening languishing in my king-sized bed and ordering room service by my friend Jenny Orosel. She lured me out of my room (which was apparently bigger than her entire place) with the promise of tranny hookers and instead takes me to a tiki party her co-workers was throwing. A great time was had by all (of course I was a huge hit) and, for the record, there’s nothing like hearing Folsom Prison Blues played on the accordion.

All in all, a great press junket. I will post my review of the movie and probably an interview later this month. In the mean time, when you hear reports about how much movie companies spend on marketing, realize that this is how it gets spent. And picture me on a king sized bed, lounging around in my underwear, ordering room service.

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