This year’s lineup of Oscar bait is a cavalcade of very serious dramatic, if not really downbeat, fare. But secret documents obtained by Variety confirm that a few individuals were working behind the scenes to try to make the holidays merry after all…

From: Cesar Millan
To: The Coen brothers
Subject: Gloom
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dear Coen brothers:

Your dog enjoys a healthy atmosphere of vigorous physical activity, but his people skills leave much to be desired, and squeaking “WHAT a good dog” doesn’t seem to be working. To show him who’s boss, attach a long choke chain, and yank and heel him whenever there’s a loud noise, such as the burst of an air gun. Keep him swimming, and tell Mr. Brolin not to look at him directly. Soon he’ll be so docile he’ll lead you to where the money’s hidden, but if you’re not firm, your domestic performance could be impaired. Americans don’t like to see their heroes chewed up. This is no country for mauled men.

Popular on Variety

Be strong!
Cesar Millan a/k/a the Dog Whisperer



Dear Joe Wright:

Thanks for the advance look. This story is definitely Book Club worthy, but I have a problem with the girl’s lies and deceit. After the James Frey thing, you know, I have to be careful. Why not play fair with your audience by putting the confession at the beginning? If you lay out all the secrets and twists right away, acknowledge her abusive parents and send her into counseling, I’ll be glad to put my seal of approval on the project.

Love, Oprah

(P.S. – Have you considered changing the location to Chicago?)


(Paul Thomas Anderson — forward this to Daniel Plainview immediately.)

Hey Dan:

Look at me, right now. You have an anger problem, mister!! Wake up, fella, and wake up fast. Overwork, and the absence of a strong father figure are leading you to act out — even overact out. You can’t chew all that scenery and expect to maintain a healthy diet. Get over your baggage, and fast, or this good ol’ boy is gonna hand you your ass on a platter. Now repeat after me: “I don’t have to growl. I don’t have to sneer. I like people. They like me.” Just don’t throw more oil on the flames. Behave, dude, or There Will Be Consequences.

Dr. Phil


FROM THE DESK OF Martha Stewart

Dear Tim Burton:

Nifty script! What rhythmic, rhyming dialogue. Have you considered printing excerpts in a line of lacy greeting cards? Anyway, the frilly, fancy Victorian era should look beautiful onscreen; I see a dominant range of peach and beige, don’t you? And please, only the teensiest smidgens of red, a very lurid color back then.

The stars’ carving suggests all sorts of interesting craft projects; Target would kill to sell Mrs. Lovett’s scrimshaw. And while I’m glad so much meat is eaten (we all go overboard during the holidays!), remember in that era there was always a basin to catch the drippings for making gravy. It’s a good thing.

I do detect just the tiniest suggestion of excessive violence, which I know will be toned down. You are young. Life has been kind to you. You will learn.

Martha Stewart