Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Who is Ripping Off Who?

About a month ago, I made two parody trailers of "Brokeback Mountain" with clips from the movies "Heat" and “Rush Hour”.

Over the weekend, an anonymous reader left a comment on my site stating one of them, “Brokeback Heat”, was mentioned in March 2nd 2006 edition of New York Times (24 KB pdf file) among several other spoof trailers by Virginia Hefferman:

brokeback heat screenshot

"My favorite of the parodies, however, didn't require much technology or even editing, just a good sense of double entendre scenes of emotional intensity between men.

It's the ‘Brokeback’ mashup with ‘Heat,’ the underrated Michael Mann movie with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. ‘Heat’ was a psychological tango movie, with the alpha actors playing a police detective, Vincent, and a bad guy, Neil, respectively.

They're supposed to be talking about the cops-and-robbers life, but in ‘Brokeback Heat,’ which just replays without legerdemain a whole scene between them, they seem for all the world to be talking about their love, and gay love generally, and their unwillingness to be straight.”

She then went on and narrated about the clip to her readers.

Before I was able to celebrate my achievement, a man by the name of “Matthew Warbet” writes on his blog accusing me of stealing his idea.

According to his “I have been ripped off”:

“I didn’t care about it at all until someone decided to take my ‘Heat’ recut idea and turn it into a Brokeback parody.

Just for the record, I released my ‘Heat’ parody (and it was a parody in the general sense, not a swipe at Brokeback Mountain) on Nov. 17th 2005 (even though I didn’t post about it until Dec 5) which was over 3 weeks before Brokeback was even released in theaters.”

Without mentioning my name but just a link to my site, he ends his rant with:

“I’m all for remixing and recutting and creating new things from old things, but isn’t this just a little too convenient?”

I would like to use this opportunity to give my own “Just for the record”:

1. “Heat” was first released in 1995.

I am sure there are many others, including myself, have thought about doing or have done parodies about it long before Warbet’s Nov. 17th 2005 version.

2. I first saw the trailer for “Brokeback Mountain” was during the preview for Constant Gardener in Aug. 31st, 2005.

That is two and half months before he ever released his parody.

I could have done my parody trailer during that period of time, and decide to release it on Feb. 3rd, 2006.

3. I am not here to say Warbet’s version was an unentertaining attempt, especially he has said that his recut was “a parody in the general sense, not a swipe at Brokeback Mountain”, but his parody had nothing to do with “Brokeback Mountain”. I have never heard of him until March 2nd, 2006.

4. I am really wondering who is actually stealing whose idea here.

For example, in his “comedy” entry on June 7th, 2005, about Lindsay Lohan’s forehead, he used a ratio scale to demonstrate and prove his point.

warbet vs tian

Here is my entry on March 3rd, 2005, three months earlier than Warbet’s, notice the similarity? Plus, why is Warbet picking on Lohan, when he himself looks like this?

Even the layout of his own website is a direct rip-off of Amazon.

warbet vs. amazon

Michael Warbet and I are two very different people.

He has photos of him posing at comedy clubs, I would prefer the anonymity.

He claims to be a comedian and trying very hard to be one. Yet, most of his written material and video clips posted on his site are just not funny (maybe except his looks).

At the same time, I am just an under-motivated slacker whom could careless if I am humorous or not and ironically get more recognition than him.

I would suggest Warbet to try the Taoism approach of “when you try nothing, everything will be presented to you.”

Booya! That means “balls out of your ass”, Matthew Warbet.

Update: March 24, 2006 - Matt Warbet has sent me an apology letter via email.

Gmail - Warbet's Apology To Me via Email


  1. Don't get angry, Tian.

    After all, anger leads to suffering, etc, etc...

    It's hard to say that you've been ripped off. With the internet bringing together billions of people, it's shortsighted to think that every 'original' idea that you've had is unique.

    I've had some ideas in the past, and found that someone else has independantly done it already.

    Hell, even Isaac Newton and Gottfried Liebnitz simulataneously and independantly forged calculus.

  2. That guys is an idiot. Who the heck cares who makes these stupid videos first... we are not in kindergarden anymore.

    His website is just plain ugly. Since he was really just trying to rip off Amazon's site at least he could have done it at the same, lame level as Amazon... but no... he achieved to make it even worse.

    Warbet, STFU and now go to your room!

  3. ::::Sigh:::: Some people.

    I hate to tell Mr. Warbet this, but the gay subtext of *any* of these movies (Heat, Top Gun, Point Break) has been a subject and source of parody in the gay community for a long time. To claim that a play on this by *anyone* is stealing "his idea" is absurd to the nth degree. But, some people need to be drama queens (yes, even hets can be drama queens) and piss and moan or hitch their wagon to someone else's star.

    Fuck him. (Wait, no, eewwww!)

  4. Cibby,

    Darkside, here I come...

  5. Oh dear Lord, Dude! I just watched your BrokebackHour parody! I am laughing my fucking ass off (well, so to speak). Hands down, that is *the* best of the best! This will be making the rounds at work tomorrow!

  6. Lay off him Tian, he has Lyme disease. I read his "comedy" post about it and it is no wonder he has issues. Why talk about being funny when you can just be funny?

    What the funk is a warbert anyway?

  7. Well, aside from that yea, he did "make" the page to something that is popular for the wrong reasons, I think it is funny to see his comments. Most of which are garbage, or non existant. It is the fanbase that declares the truth that counts, not who can point the bigger finger.

  8. dude, you fell into his trap... he posted that comment anonymously so he could drive traffic from your site (which rocks) to his site (which blows)...

  9. Why did you remove it though? And the one about Rush Hour???

    I have to say- viewing this guy's version of Brokeback Heat and the other version of Brokeback Hour- yours were much better.

    Please put them up, I was just about going to make a shrine of them.

  10. YouTube, the site I originally used to host my videos, decided to remove me and my videos.

    I am in the process of reposting all the videos.

    So please be patient.

  11. That Warbet guy is pathetic. I read a bit of his blog and it's just so ridiculously obvious that he's trying very hard to be funny - and failing miserably.

  12. he sent you an apology?

    i guess all there is left to say is...


  13. I agree with anonymous #2, especially because of the apology letter. He's just too calm about it all for him to have really been upset by the whole debacle.

    Of course, now his website is nothing but two crappy videos and a bunch of links to Cafepress.

    You win.