How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

Peter Jackson, coming off the high of his fantastic Lord of the Rings saga, was permitted to make a really, really long love letter to Kong, King of Monster Mammals. His big ape movie went on and on and on…for 3 hours and 7 minutes. Dan and I sat there, holding it in…and talked about how we wanted to tell the waiting queue to pee during the vile, unnecessary Valley of the Bugs scene (you know the one, with the Andy-Serkis-slurping slugs. Seriously: gross, man).
    It was so agonizing to sit through this film, that we thought it would be great if there was a website telling people exactly when to run and pee in long movies, so no one would miss the good parts. Thus, the idea for RunPee was born. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Peter Jackson and King Kong.
    But, is this a good movie?
    We’d have to say, cautiously, yes. It is assuredly an epic, often capturing the emotional spirit of the 1933 original. Aside from being wildly overindulgent and often tedious, it’s a credible ride. There are some moments of real heart, and the production values are top notch: Jackson clearly spared no expense. When things weren’t busy being disgusting, the island was super pretty. The dinosaurs were cool, and Kong himself looked amazing. Finally, a Kong that looked real, with expressions and nuance.
    The ape scenes with the girl are the best – sensitive and funny, well-acted and well-written.
    The Skull Island scenes, however, are uneven – while everything with Kong was great, the explorers lacked spark or likeability. In New York we get the same thing – the Central Park scenes with Kong and his girl are adorable, but the finale on the Empire State building is laborious. We wanted the giant gorilla to get it over with and die.
    In the end, it’s a bloated movie. The stuffing was overbaked, and the actors (besides Naomi Watts) didn’t bring anything to the buffet. Jack Black was a muddled mess, and Adrian Brody barely made a showing. No one else was memorable at all.
    It’s been my opinion that Jackson needed a firm editor with his material, to pare things down and keep the pacing tight. This was overkill – like no one wanted to be the one telling the successful Lord of the Rings director when to stop. There’s nothing wrong with a long movie – *Titanic* shows us how it’s done – but there wasn’t enough excitement or depth to fill out the running time. There is plenty of spectacle, and you can feel the loving hand behind this remake, but it’s basically a two hour film padded out to an excessive three. ‘Tis a pity, because this easily could have been an A film. But if it had been, there’d be no RunPee.
B-
Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Did you mean Rupee?

RunPee has gotten huge props in the media. But the geek in me is really impressed with this: do a Google search for “runpee”

I just love it. Google asks, “Did you mean RunPee?

google: did you mean runpee
It was not that long ago that Google used to ask, “Did you mean Rupee?” As in money, Rupies. I used to tell my wife, “someday, we’re going to enter in Rupee and it will ask us, ‘Did you mean RunPee?’ …that will be something!”

Yeah, honey.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

How did this media attention for RunPee get started?

Like with most things this got started with my mother. We were sitting around, chatting about RunPee, after we had gone to see Star Trek. ( I watched it twice on opening day so that I could get real good and accurate PeeTimes. ) She had the The TechGuy: Leo Laporte playing in the background and he was talking about Star Trek and how great a movie it was. My mother is a big fan of Leo Laporte and she suggested that I call in and tell him about RunPee.com. ( This was May 9th)

I didn’t think I’d be able to get through but I did. I told the producer about the site and she chuckled and said it was the craziest thing she had ever been asked to talk about on the show. A few minutes later I hear Leo chuckeling and he says, “I have to tell you about this new site…”

The traffic to RunPee.com was in the 10-30 visitors/day range up until then. On that day it shot up to 600+ and on the following days it stayed around the 300-400 range.

I was then contacted by Amber MacArthur to do a callin with her and Leo on the net@night show that aired on May 20th. We talked for about 10 minutes or so about RunPee. This was my first interview.

Now I’m excited about RunPee.com because it was finally attracting a some attention. You should know that I started this site as a research project. I wanted to learn how to use the Flex framework and tie into a database on the backend. I was unsure if it would ever get enough traffic to be useful but the effort was certainly worth it because I learned so much from creating it.

Google Analytics

The next morning I check Google Analytics. My first thought was, “Crap, where did all my traffic data go?” Because what had been an up/down graph of traffic over the past week was now a flat line. Except for this one dot at the end representing the previous day. That shot up to 32,000+.

Jaw, meet floor. Floor, meet jaw.

My wife and I were very excited. I had an email from one of the producers for NPR’s All Things Considered show asking me to come into LA for an interview. He told me that he found out about the site from Dave Barry’s blog.

What? Dave Barry? He wrote about RunPee?

I don’t know if I can sufficiently express the disbelief over what was happening. Unfortunately the excitement was short lived because we had troubles.

I could tell that the site was getting a lot of traffic because it was very slow. My wife and I were working on some blog posts and then everything went down. It seems that someone listening to the net@night show posted it on Reddit.com which promptly overloaded the server. My host sent me a message that I had violated the terms of service and my account was suspended. I spent a very hectic day moving the site to a completely different host on a dedicated service.

At this time my wife and I were in our RV, which we live in, up in the mountains above Palm Springs. It’s beautiful and has great weather. And almost no Internet access and zero cell phone coverage. So I packed up my desk, PC and other essentials and came to Manhattan Beach, CA – in the LA area – where my mother and step-father live. They have a spare room and broadband Internet access.

Once the interview on All Things Considered was aired I started getting one request after another to come on radio shows and talk about the site. Next week the TV coverage starts. I’m scheduled to be interviewed by Robert Kavacik with KNBC here in LA next Tuesday, June 2nd. He said that he wanted to get me before it breaks in LA. Hopefully other TV stations will follow.

Later today I’m meeting with potential investers. Which is good because my 1995 Pathfinder needs new tires and I don’t have enough money for them right now.

I think the lesson to be learned here about effective Internet marketing is quite clear, “Listen to your mother and do what she says.”

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.