You, Me, Dupree & Steely Dan’s Wrath
Something “kind of uncool” has come to Steely Dan’s attention.
Band members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen are requesting an in-person apology from Owen Wilson for playing the annoying titular character in You, Me and Dupree, which, the musicians point out, happens to share the name found in the Steely Dan song “Cousin Dupree.” The duo won a Grammy with that tune in 2001 for Best Pop Performance.
In a profanity-laced mock-angry letter posted on the band’s Website, Becker and Fagen suggest that the film character of Dupree rips off their song, which tells the tale of a slacker–named Dupree, of course–who is staying on his aunt’s couch and starts lusting after his cousin.
“When it came time to change the character’s name or whatever so people wouldn’t know what a rip the whole thing was, THEY DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO THINK UP A NEW F—ING NAME FOR THE GUY!” the rockers wrote.
The pair offered Wilson a chance to redeem himself–show up at their July 19 concert in Irvine, California, and “apologize to our fans for this travesty.” (Apparently no such thing went down Wednesday night.)
The letter, dated July 17, was typed on hotel stationery from the Residential Suites at Longworth in Corpus Christi, Texas–where they were obviously extremely bored on their day off between shows–and addressed to Wilson’s brother, Luke, whose new film My Super Ex-Girlfriend opened Friday.
Becker and Fagen at first gave kudos to Luke for his work with his older brother in Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket, but then proceeded to get down to business, which for the most part consisted of bashing You, Me and Dupree and warning Owen Wilson that he’s thisclose to losing his coolness factor for appearing in such tripe.
The film, starring Wilson as a slacker who shacks up with his best buddy, played by Matt Dillon, and his buddy’s new bride (Kate Hudson, looking pretty disgusted), made a respectable $21.5 million at the box office last weekend to come in at number three (behind the juggernaut that is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and the Wayans brothers comedy Little Man).
But we’ll see how the film that the Washington Post called a “formulaic, shockingly sloppy and virtually laugh-free star vehicle for Wilson” does in its second week out.
Anyway, the Steely ones went on to say that while they meant Wilson no harm, “there are some pretty heavy people who are upset about this whole thing and we can’t guarantee what kind of heat little Owen may be bringing down on himself.”
Despite their purported rage, the Two Against Nature rockers seemed to lose themselves here and there when it came to separating fact from fiction.
“We realize what a drag it is for you [Luke] to have people coming to you about [Owen’s] lameness all the time and we’re really sorry to be doing the same thing,” they lamented, but “you don’t owe him anything, after the way he and Gwynnie Paltrow double-timed you in The Royal Tenenbaums.”
Yes, we certainly hope Luke isn’t still nursing that grudge.
While we don’t see Wilson up in arms over Steely Dan’s comments, the Wedding Crashers star has been known to not take criticism sitting down.
In February 2005 Wilson took New Yorker critic David Denby to task for his unfavorable synopsis of pal Ben Stiller’s career.
“I’ve acted in two hundred and thirty-seven buddy movies and, with that experience, I’ve developed an almost preternatural feel for the beats that any good buddy movie must have,” Wilson wrote in a letter to the venerable publication. “And maybe the most crucial audience-rewarding beat is where one buddy comes to the aid of other guy to help defeat a villain. Or bully. Or jerk.”
But Steely Dan isn’t playing the part of the bully. No, the guys just want to help, and in doing so offered this advice:
“Let’s just help Owen do what’s right, let’s play past this particular screwup, and then he can get back to his life and his family and his beautiful moviestar-style pad or whatever, none the worse for wear and with some groovy new tee’s and hoodies and maybe a keyring or a coffee mug in the process. Alright? Well, alright!”
I’ll admit that I thought of the song when I first heard the movie’s title.
You, Me, Dupree & Steely Dan’s Wrath