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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

KELLY: Tutelage from Tucker Max

Jack KellyDuring my freshman year, the book “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell” was passed around the 7th floor of McCormick like a manifesto.

It was like some secret underground document we weren’t supposed to have.

From the get-go, it was like nothing we had ever read. “My name is Tucker Max, and I am an a—hole,” the book began.

“I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim…” You get the idea.

For those who haven’t heard, Tucker Max is a frat boy cult hero of sorts.

Max’s 2006 memoir is a collection of funny stories about his drunken escapades: sex, getting in trouble, all that.

The Washington Post called it the one book every college student has read. A movie based on the book came out Friday.

On the surface, that’s what the stories are about: alcohol, sex, jokes and women. There’s no doubt Max’s behavior is reprehensible.

But there’s something else at work in his stories that’s at least worth examining (aside from criticisms of Tucker Max, which are all over the Internet).

Max is a smart guy. He graduated from the University of Chicago and earned a scholarship to Duke’s School of Law.

So it’s not a stretch to assume he’s aware of what he writes and that there might be more to his writing than what meets the eye.

You need to look past the surface, beneath all the drinking and promiscuity and belittling of women. What’s at work here is something much deeper and much loftier in ambition.

The lesson I took from the book is that this life we have is ours. And we can and should do what we want with it.

Max said as much in a recent speech at Ohio State: “The specific things I do are just my individual way of expressing myself…but the book is ultimately about having fun, defining your own life, and, ultimarely, being the person you want to be.”

As in any piece of literature, the characters, events and conflict serve to illustrate some larger truth.

I admit Max’s stories make this difficult.

It’s tough to see what lies underneath when the first layer involves him throwing a girl’s clothes out the window because she’s too fat and he doesn’t want his friends to see her.

I’m not trying to paint a picture of Max as some woefully misunderstood artist. His stories are what they are. And they’re disgusting to most of society.

But I feel there’s something of value buried beneath his booze-fueled misadventures.

No one can deny Max has the life he wants. And he’s achieved it by doing exactly what he wants. He left the legal business, started writing and became a bestselling author.

He passed up $2 million from a studio and produced the movie independently, retaining all creative rights. People would kill for that freedom in their lives.

Max’s behavior remains twisted. He’s egomaniacal, narcissistic and mean.

But you can’t deny his success: the New York Times bestseller, the huge Internet media company he runs and the movie release. He was even a candidate for Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list for 2009.

This summer, a group of my friends and I decided we should play golf more often.

It was tough to coordinate tee times that worked with everyone’s work schedules. One guy came up with the idea that we leave work early on Mondays.

So we did. All summer, we teed off every Monday at 2 p.m.

There’s something to be said about bucking the trend and simply doing what makes you happy.

While you may not agree with Max’s behavior, you have to be at least hopeful that in a world where it seems like people get sucked into soul-crushing jobs they hate, it’s possible to live happily and be successful doing something you love.

In a weird, twisted way, Tucker Max has proven this.

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  • C

    CraigSep 29, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Jack, you seem like a nice kid. I started reading your article, but then stopped as it became obvious you didn’t do your homework:

    1. There was no $2 million advance. The only person espousing that sum is Tucker Max; a script contract in 7 figures by a first timer is unheard of in Hollywood. Even as a Non-Fiction author, Max has sold less than 500,000 copies to date. Do math: Would you award $4/copy sold for a script? No, I didn’t think you would either… which is why you should question your sources for reasonableness next time.

    2. The script he alleges he was worth $2 million is abysmal. Here’s a copy of his horrid, unfunny comedy:

    Further, the script was reviewed online by a professional Hollywood scriptreader. The scriptreader hated it, and called it the worst comedy script she had ever encountered:

    Now once again, do you think that script is worth $2 million? In Max’s delusional mind, the script deserves an Oscar (he’s mentioned that repeatedly) and the film will surpass The Hangover. The reality is that “Beer in Hell” is bombing in the theaters financially, with some theaters only selling 6 to 8 seats. The critics almost universally HATE the movie, yielding a 24% score on

  • S

    sadfSep 29, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Look, it’s the Tucker Max Jihad!!! Jesus, leave your parent’s basement why don’t you? This article has nothing to do with the success of Max’s movie, doesn’t even mention Nils Parker, etc. But, no, you with Google News cunning and cut and paste savvy make sure to clog up every comments section of every story with this drivel. Get a life.

  • M

    McCoySep 29, 2009 at 9:41 am

    “He passed up $2 million from a studio and produced the movie independently, retaining all creative rights. ”

    That what he says. And that’s what Nils says. But have any outside sources confirmed this? Hollywood laughs at Tucker Max, who is sickly deluded. When he failed to secure domestic distribution for his movie, he started talking about his ‘revolutionary’ distribution deal with Freestyle. Go to his messageboard, look at the thread about this Monday’s wrap-up, note how he’s blaming Freestyle for his epic failure? EVERBODY knew that the movie would bomb.

    Take a look at the latest comments on this blog: (the post with thousands of comments)

    Read through a couple of the latest comments. First you’ll think that they are just hating on the guy… and then you’ll realize that most of them are just making fun of him, because he’s a sick, delusional lying douchebag.

    Why doesn’t Max talk about what happened with Bob Gosse, the director of the movie? If everything about the movie went awesome, they should be best friends. But they aren’t, because Max is a douchebag who got kicked out from the movie set. He didn’t write about that on his blog, did he?

    “In a weird, twisted way, Tucker Max has proven this.”

    Tucker Max is bankrupt. He’s in a world of shit: they’ve spent $12,000,000 on his piece of shit project and there’s no way – literally no way – they’ll be able to recoup those costs. The trailer sucked, almost all the reviews sucked and nobody showed up to see the movie.

    Look, a few days ago, I could have written something similar about how “there’s a deeper message hidden within Max’s stories”. Then reality hit me: nothing this guy says is true.