24 February 2003

Blast from the um...er...hmmm

Old School: 2.5 Stars. Not a good film. Full of plot holes. Seems like quite a bit of the story was left on the cutting room floor. Jeremy Piven, slacker star of PCU horribly miscast as the hard-nosed dean. Despite that, I laughed. A lot. Someone watch Animal House and remember how something like this is done, please.
How do you kill a man without fear?

Daredevil: 2.5 Stars. Just "Eh."

21 February 2003

Stu vs. The Fiendish Florists

Part 1

Okay, so all I wanted to do for Valentine's Day was get my girlfriend Barbara a couple dozen roses....To give you an idea how things turned out, read my 2/15/2003 letter to the folks at ProFlowers.com, who ship "the freshest flowers direct from the grower.":

Dear Sir or Madam,

I cannot express to you how disappointed I was with my entire experience with ProFlowers.com. I have issues with both the flowers which arrived and with your customer service.

Firstly, after hearing the glowing ads on Los Angeles KFI-640, I ordered 2 dozen assorted color roses for $59.98 before some apparantly phantom Jan 31 deadline. I even recommended the service to my father and brother, who thankfully ignored my advice. Going back to your site after 1/31 to show a co-worker, I saw, to my shock, that the same 2-dozen bouquet was being sold for only $49.98. I called up your customer service line to ask for a price adjustment, and was promised a return call. The next day, after no call was recieved, I went back to your website and saw that you'd repriced the bouquet to $59.98. You're welcome.

Secondly, and more importantly, the flowers which arrived at my girlfriend's apartment on Valentine's Day were shockingly disappointing. Hours after putting them in water and food to "refresh" them, nearly all of the flowers still looked shabby and half-dead, especially the whites and the pinks. Most had brown or black edges to their petals. Two of the 24 flowers were entirely broken just short of the bulb! They simply fell off of their stems when I put the flowers in water. Frankly only the yellow roses, 18 hours later, lived up to any of my expectations, which weren't particularly high.

To add insult to injury, the assorted-color bouquets being sold for $19.99 at my local supermarket were better looking and would've made a much lovelier gift. If anyone at your company has any pride in the product you sell, you'd refund my money and telephone my girlfriend to apologize.

Stewart Bushman

A bit harsh and melodramatic, perhaps, but i figured it'd get the point across. For good measure, I copied the email address of The John and Ken Show, which was hawking ProFlowers's goods on-air.

Part 2

The next day (Sunday), I got a very apologetic email. They gave me a full refund. "Very nice," I thought. I didn't really expect a phoned apology.

Two days later, I got a phone call from the customer service folks at ProFlowers.com. They were very apologetic and insisted that they send another bouquet to Barbara. Feeling savvy, I elected to forgo the roses and send a bouquet of tulips. They also made a request. They asked me repeatedly to send a letter to John (of the John and Ken Show), letting him know that the issue was resolved. Pretty neat, n'est-ce pas? Here's my letter:


Thanks so much for sending Proflowers.com an email on my behalf. I think you scared the bejezzus out of them. They refunded my money, sent an entirely new bouquet (I selected tulips this time), and repeatedly asked me to email you to make sure that you knew about their reparations.

Much appreciated,

I felt pretty vindicated now.


The flowers arrived on Wednesday. They sent 2 dozed tulips. With a glass vase. The vase was completely shattered, and the box was oriented in such a way that the glass shards were all over the flowers. Also 3 of the tulips were completely severed on the stem, just like the roses. I didn't bother with any letters this time, but the moral of the story is to go with a local florist, or at least one of those online sites like 1800Flowers.com or FTD.com that uses local florists to do their dirty work.

19 February 2003

It's Been Awhile...

Shanghai Knights: 2 Stars. I didn't much care for the first Wilson/Chan pairing, and this sequel is no exception. The Rush Hour films show that it's possible to make this sort of buddy chopsocky comedy work, but somehow the Shanghai series doesn't get the job done. The fault doesn't lie with the actors, who are likable and entertaining, but with the material, which is derivative, full of holes, and pretty damned lame. And don't get me started with the anachronisms, which exceed even normal suspension-of-belief. Owen Wilson has proven to be an exceptional writer, sharing credit with Wes Anderson in Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, but I'm starting to wonder who shoulders the load in that pairing. Maybe Wilson is so dazzled with his own stardom that he can't differentiate good from bad when the paycheck is above $10 million.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: 2.75 Stars. This film is another example of material that's below the actors. What starts out as a fairly interesting idea gets lost in sketch comedy. Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson have shown that they've got considerable chops in 13 Conversations about One Thing and Almost Famous, respectively (among other films), but they both seem wasted in a romantic comedy that not even Meg Ryan would bother with. Go do some more serious stuff, folks, and leave the fluff to Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sandra Bullock.