Todd Hartley: I’m with stupid |

Todd Hartley: I’m with stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

This week, for the second time in less than a month, I’d like to break from my normal routine to focus on an issue of concern to we folks here in the Roaring Fork Valley, particularly the good people of Aspen. My apologies to those readers who will find this column even more uninteresting than my usual drivel, but I feel like something has to be said.

It seems as if people have a lot of misconceptions about the movie “Cougar Hunting,” which is currently being filmed at various locations around town. I have the good fortune of being part of the crew, and I’ve seen some of the animosity directed at the film, so, if I may, I’d like to address people’s questions and concerns about the project.

First, however, I’d like you all to do something for me. Raise your hand if you’re an Aspen local and you’ve seen “Dumb and Dumber.” Most of you should have your hands in the air right now. Keep them up there if you’re an Aspen local who’s seen “Dumb and Dumber,” and it ticked you off that they set it in Aspen but filmed it in Breckenridge.

Is your hand still up? I know mine is. I thought it was lame that the Farelly brothers and Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels didn’t come here to shoot. Whatever you thought of it, at least “Aspen Extreme” featured real locations and more than a few locals in cameo appearances. I always gave it credit for that.

Well, guess what? Now we have a movie being filmed here, and when it comes out, we’ll be able to recognize buildings and ski runs, and we’ll be able to point at locals, maybe even ourselves, and say that we know them. That in itself should be good for a chuckle or two.

Because that’s all this movie is; it’s just a simple comedy. The producers and director and actors are just making something that they hope will get a laugh out of people. It’s not “soft porn” or smut of any kind. It’s not making any sort of sweeping social statements about Aspen. It’s just a film that, hopefully, people will find funny.

Is it low-brow humor? Definitely, but it’s no lower-brow or more scatological than “Dumb and Dumber” or “American Pie” or any of countless other movies to hit the market in the last couple of decades. In fact, I’ve read the script, and when all is said and done it’s probably considerably tamer than a lot of those films.

And it’s providing an economic shot in the arm to Aspen at a time when town can certainly use it. The cast and crew of the movie, who I’ve come to know and who have invariably been quality people, are all being housed at places like the Limelight Lodge, the Inn at Aspen and the Stonebridge Hotel, filling beds in what is traditionally a slow time for local hotels. Will it pull us out of the recession? No, but every little bit helps.

Finally, I would like to say a couple of things to the woman who wrote the letter to the newspapers about the filming we did at the base of the gondola last week, calling our actions “inappropriate.” I respect your right to be offended, ma’am, but if you thought what we were doing was inappropriate, I’m guessing you must have never been here for Gay Ski Week and the “drag race” held each year on the Little Nell run. Nothing we could have done as part of “Cougar Hunting” can hold a candle to that.

The truth of the matter is that Aspen can be inappropriate, although I think “irreverent” is a better term. That’s part of the reason we all love living here. It’s one of the things that makes Aspen what it is. If we wanted to live in a soulless, cookie-cutter ski resort, we’d all move to Vail or Keystone.

So here’s what I’m asking for from you, the people of Aspen: Let us be irreverent and at times inappropriate. Let us make this movie. Do you have to come out and actively support it? We’d love it if you did, but that’s not necessary. Just grant us the right to do this, and reserve judgment for when we’re finished. Then, if you don’t like it, let the producers and director know. They’re the ones who are staking money and reputations on this, but they should at least be afforded the opportunity to try.

If there were an Oscar for best production assistant, Todd Hartley probably wouldn’t win it, but he’s doing the best he can. E-mail comments to

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