Or at least that's what he told Vanity Fair. The magazine ends each issue with a "Proust Questionnaire," in which a celebrity is asked a series of frivolous-but-deep-sounding questions, usually to coincide with the promotion of the celebrity's new movie. This month it's Mamet (whose Redbelt opens
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is a healthy family, peace between nations, and all the critics die.
All the critics, Dave? All of us? Aw, gee. In my high school drama class, we loved doing scenes from Mamet's plays. Granted, this was primarily because it permitted us to swear in abundance, but over time we came to appreciate his work on a deeper level, too. The way he writes dialogue -- the unusual cadences, the stylized realism -- is like music, and the intellectual themes of his plays are eternally thought-provoking.
So my initial reaction to Mamet's desire for my death is sadness. Then I move on to anger. I like what my friend Sean Means at The Salt Lake Tribune said in his blog today: "The most appropriate response is, alas, unprintable in a family publication -- but it's a two-word phrase very familiar to fans of Mamet's work."
But then I think about it some more and I'm a little baffled. Uwe Boll's well-publicized aggression toward critics is understandable, given that critics have universally loathed his films, and given that Uwe Boll is an attention whore. But Mamet's films -- the ones he wrote and directed himself -- have generally gotten good reviews. Look at Rotten Tomatoes: 64% for Spartan, 66% for Heist, 87% for State and Main, 97% for The Winslow Boy, 89% for The Spanish Prisoner. Most filmmakers would be glad to have stats like those.
So I have come to this conclusion: He was talking about theater critics, not movie critics. Yeah, that's it. Theater critics. Those guys are total bastards. I'm with ya, Dave!