The Little Bastard

The Little Bastard

by Scott Bullock

So for a while the FP offices were haunted by an annoying Irish middle schooler in sunglasses, and might still be.

Allow me to explain:

So there was this YA book series called Artemis Fowl about a precocious child genius moonlighting as a criminal mastermind and stealing a bunch of gold from the Fairies, who decided to send a giant magical SWAT team to his house to get it back. To paraphrase the author, it was Die Hard with Fairies and Hanz Gruber is the protagonist and also a kid. Jump forward 20 years and they made a movie based on it.

This movie was awful. This movie was every book-to-movie adaptation sin in a blender. Bad casting, disregard of the source material, edited to death in post, and obviously cobbled together from a script that languished in development hell for two decades. Worst of all, it was fucking boring.

And perhaps most indicative of the problems with the movie was the eponymous Criminal Mastermind. I’m sure the actor they got to play him is a nice kid. I bet he helps old ladies across the street and always remembers to brush his teeth before bed. What I know he does not do is act, and his performance is in no way helped by a script that forgot to make him a) a criminal, b) a mastermind or c) entertaining in any way. Generally speaking, this child, through I am sure no fault of his own, became a lightning rod for my overzealous nerd-rage.

Yes, I was a fan of the books as a kid, how did you know?

So anyway, I made the mistake of telling our Producer Alex Chmaj about this. I ranted. I raved. I spent probably 30 minutes working myself into an indignant lather, and when I was done I felt purged of my hate, shiny and new and free of my troubles.

Then my self-imposed lockdown exile to the west coast ended, and I came back to the office.

And there he was.

His smug faux coolness poured unhaltingly from him. His stupid be-sunglassed gaze washed over me, and I was filled with the sudden urge to beat up an 11 year old, or at least mercilessly bully him. From across the room, Chmaj uttered in a bad Irish accent: “Arrrrrrr, I’m a criminal mastermind!”

And for the next several months, Artemis joined the Future Proof family. He would move around the office, appearing where you least expected him. Open a closet and BOOM!

You’d been Artemis’d.

Check for something behind a couch and WHAM!


And sometimes, late at night, you’d be working hard on whatever the hell weird shit we’re up to at that point, and you’d stand to get a drink, and there reflected in the darkened glass of the door:

At some point, he disappeared. Some say he was accidentally thrown away by an unwitting contractor. Others believe he was destroyed, done away with by someone who was finally sick of his bullshit. But I think something else happened: I think he has hidden himself, biding his time. Like a true Criminal Mastermind, he has decided to lay low and wait for the optimal moment to unleash his devilish plot.

God I hate that little puke.

(Also anyway if you want to read a more formal review of how bad this movie is Elvie also wrote one here.)