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JJ Abrams Enables One CMU Professor To Check Off An Item On His Own Personal Bucket List!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. When this was first sent to me, I didn’t know who Randy Pausch was, so I went to do a little reading up on him. [edited to correct the name of the school where he teaches because I am, evidently, an idiot - "M"] I ended up spending a good chunk of the afternoon getting to know more about this remarkable teacher, a Carnegie-Mellon professor currently struggling with pancreatic cancer. In addition to writing about it with clarity and strength, he also delivered a “Last Lecture” to his students that has become a bit of a media sensation. Then I watched his Last Lecture, and I understood immediately why so many people have felt motivated to pass this on after viewing it themselves:
Looks like he caught the attention of JJ Abrams among others, and what happened then... well, read for yourself, right after you enjoy this also awesome video taken from an address JJ made to TED:

This is from Randy Pausch (the professor who gave his dying speech) talking about his working with JJ Abrams on Star Trek. Check out the blog for the photo of the check. -BulldogFan ”This is, by far, the coolest thing (okay, #2 behind the palliative chemo working). JJ Abrams (Hollywood producer/director who did the TV series "Lost," the movie "Mission Impossible III" and a bunch of other stuff) emailed me, out of the blue: Hi there -- I'm JJ Abrams, director of the new Star Trek movie. I read about you and your condition, and ALSO your affinity for things Trek. So, I just wanted to put the invitation out there -- that if you had any desire to be in the film (can't promise you role as CAPTAIN, but... we could do SOMETHING!), it would be my honor and pleasure. The last thing I want to do is intrude, so feel free not to reply -- but I wanted to make sure you knew that, if you are willing and able, the door is wide open. I hope that your treatments are going well and that we get to meet one day. Best, JJ Naturally, I presumed this was one of my friends, playing a prank. But after a little sleuthing, it was clear it was for real. Jai & I hopped a plane to LA, where I got a custom-made Star Trek uniform and my own station on the bridge, where I had lots of buttons and controls. I even got a LINE!!!! In addition to publicly thanking JJ Abrams, I just wanted to say what an incredibly egoless and cool guy he was. We chatted a little bit between takes, and he is so tech-savvy (and I'm not saying that *just* because he knew all about Alice!). Anyway, it was a truly magical experience. Speaking of Magic, I got to fulfill a long-standing wish of taking Jai to the Magic Castle on that trip, courtesy of Peter Farquar. MK Haley, who is herself quite magical, joined Peter and his wife and Jai & me for an incredible evening. The "Star Trek" movie will be in theaters December 2008. Don't blink or you'll miss me, but at some point a guy walked across the bridge and says "Captain, we have visual!" I'd *love* to show you my costume (which they let me keep), but I promised JJ Abrams "no photos". They're trying to keep things a secret; in fact, even on the Paramount lot, you have to walk around in a trenchcoat if you're in a Star Trek costume. It's kind of like being at a flasher's convention! Oh, and if you think I'm making this up, here's a copy of my check from Paramount (they had to pay me due to some union rules or some such... I'll obviously be donating this to charity).”
Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:11 p.m. CST

    Cool Story!

    by theBigE

    Hope the guy's chemo works too.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:13 p.m. CST

    Is that Bill Gates?

    by skywalkerfamily


  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:17 p.m. CST


    by sammylou

    Reading this makes me like JJ Abrams like, 10 fold. He really sounds like a cool guy.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:17 p.m. CST

    No cynicism from the talkbackers, please

    by theBigE

    I hope you cretins out there that have to post something negative about everything on this site will at least check out this dude's blog first. As a dad myself, it's heart-wrenching to have to see a guy like this go through cancer with 3 little kids at home.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:17 p.m. CST

    GOOD FOR HIM!!!!

    by ludmir88


  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Cool, he got to be an extra.

    by skywalkerfamily

    I hope he had a good time.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:21 p.m. CST

    Good on both of them

    by ScienceMan

    JJ didn't have to do that, but he did. I never really felt anything pro or con about Mr. Abrams but this makes him a pretty solid character in my book. Just a nice thing to do. Makes me happy. Good for both of them!

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:21 p.m. CST


    by runfoodrun

    My respect for JJ just skyrocketed, super creative and a nice guy!

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:30 p.m. CST

    Happy Turn In A Sad Story

    by roberthorry

    I actually heard about the CMU Prof's speech a week too late or I would've attended (being a student in Pittsburgh). The man defines inspiration. I've never seen anything like it. It's great to hear JJ go out of his way like this. It speaks wonders of his character. Like runfoodrun said, my respect for JJ has skyrocketed as well.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:30 p.m. CST

    Nothing wrong with some good will

    by AllPowerfulWizardOfOz

    Now lets hope the movie is good.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:30 p.m. CST


    by Mezzanine

    I hope that JJ and this guy are able to form a long lasting friendship. <p> Best of luck in overcoming the cancer.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:33 p.m. CST

    CMU Prof?

    by jauntyguy

    I thought he was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, not MIT?

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:35 p.m. CST

    the cool thing about movies is that you will be kind of ...

    by ludmir88

    ...immortal if you are in one, until the end of the world.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:38 p.m. CST

    JJ is a class act

    by Ferf Muckmeyer

    You don't see this with many Hollywood studio types - producers, directors, etc. But this is an incredible act of kindness. I hope and pray for this professor's recovery. JJ Abrams is truly a rare human being.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:40 p.m. CST

    "Hey JJ! Thanks for the role, but THE ENTERPRISE WAS BUILT IN SP

    by uss cygnus

    "I pay your salary, bucko!"

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:41 p.m. CST


    by roberthorry

    I don't know how Harry confused MIT with CMU if he looked up information on Pausch.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:45 p.m. CST

    "Hey JJ, Enough With The Time Travel!"

    by uss cygnus

    "You and Berman have KILLED this franchise, bucko!"

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 10:46 p.m. CST

    Professor: "Scanners indicate another PLOT HOLE, Captain!"

    by uss cygnus

    This stuff writes itself...

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Carnegie Mellon

    by uurf

    ... Or How he missed the big "Carnegie Mellon" logo on the podium in the Video he attached... "Randy Pausch is a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon, where he was the co-founder of Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). He was a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellow. He has done Sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts (EA), and consulted with Google on user interface design. Dr. Pausch received his bachelors in Computer Science from Brown University and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author or co-author of five books and over 70 articles, is the director of the Alice ( software project, and has been in zero-gravity." or, look here: Randy taught at UVA and CMU, but never MIT.

  • Jan. 19, 2008, 11:58 p.m. CST

    Even w/ the M.I.T. Vs. CMU thing mentioned above

    by FatherMcGruderKicksAssForTheLord

    I still say thanks to Moriarty for posting this. I practically live in CMU's backyard, and still hadn't heard anything of this. Definately a awesome presentation, and very awesome of JJA to help someone recognize a goal.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:02 a.m. CST

    JJ=Kid (clap!) Dyno-mite!!!

    by JeffManSixtyFo

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:12 a.m. CST


    by Munro Kelly

    Well said, my friend.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:14 a.m. CST


    by Munro Kelly


  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:08 a.m. CST

    Great speech JJ....

    by Kirbymanly

    But what the hell is TED?

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:17 a.m. CST

    Randy's Story Is Not Over Yet

    by spidermanfreak20

    He can and will beat the cancer. But he just needs oxygen. A lot of oxygen. Check out natural cures they don't want you to know about. Cancer can not live in an oxygen rich environment. He needs to rebound his body with a trampoline and purchase a shit load of oxygen tanks and overload his system with oxygen. That will kill the cancer.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:19 a.m. CST

    Randy Pausch is amazing

    by BadMrWonka

    and it's great he got to fulfill a dream of his.<p>as for JJ, I cannot believe someone who reveres that subtle and beautiful scene from Jaws, could have anything to do with the stilted dialogue and characterization in Cloverfield. Jesus fucking christ was that terrible. and Hud's incessant joking after all of his friends were dying? blech. almost ruined the movie...<p>"Rob! you came back for me!" <p>"Yes, I did."<p>well thanks for spelling that out for me! I had no idea what was going on! fucking horrendous writing, just the worst. the rest of the movie was great.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 2:14 a.m. CST


    by Dr Uwe Boll

    bitchin move. Very nice Mr Abrams.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 3:55 a.m. CST

    wow that is fantastic

    by missbliss

    I saw the lecture on google video after Randy Pausch was on Oprah, and I was moved to tears. What a great guy, not many people would be able to do what he did after his diagnosis. And JJ, well he cannot do anything wrong by me. What an amazing guy!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:20 a.m. CST

    High as a kite

    by NeoDevilbaneX

    Cocaine/crank... where is thy sting?

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Kudos for JJ - I hate most of his work but

    by SpencerTrilby

    I don't recall any A-list director pulling such a generous move. This is worth my admiration - at least for today.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:40 a.m. CST

    Always hav liked abrams

    by supersize

    And the stuff he's been involved with now I think he's the shizznittshizznattlebam

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 5:44 a.m. CST


    by 2LeggedFreak

    Absolutely agree with you on this one. Behind every body of work, whether you like it or not, is a real person. The person that is JJ Abrams seems like a really cool guy.

  • Thanks for posting that Moriarty and my respect for JJ has tripled.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 6:19 a.m. CST

    George Lucas would of never done this

    by ganymede3010

    That's why JJ rocks! And the prequels suck.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 6:55 a.m. CST

    JJ is good people

    by drave117

    I saw him speak at WonderCon the year MI3 came out, and I was really impressed with his passion for his work, his humble nature (considering how big Lost was getting at the time), and his polite, honest, geeky nature. One of the realest guys to come out of Hollywood in a long time, and this story is totally in line with what I remember of him. Not everybody here likes his work, but I think we can all agree that he is one exceedingly sweet guy.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Hollywood is a game


    You gotta know how to play it my friend.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:01 a.m. CST

    piss off, Yobo

    by drave117

    Simply being a celebrity does not automatically assign an agenda to every act of simple kindness.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:25 a.m. CST

    yobo, jesus christ...come on brother

    by BadMrWonka

    this may not be the most selfless act ever...but it doesn't deserve the anger you have.<p>whatever rage you have toward JJ or any famous person in general, you can't believe that assigning it randomly anytime something happens that the majority of people view as good, is valid. you're just spewing anger for anger's sake. <p>jackass...

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:27 a.m. CST

    ganymede3010, he did it for SLJ

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Sam the man mentioned once in some interview or something he'd like to work with Lucas. He figure he'd be a bad mo fo stormtrooper extra or something. He ended up being Mace Windu. Is it exactly the same thing, no, but George heard about it and did something about it.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:28 a.m. CST

    JJ, that was very nice of you

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    just don't screw up the canon. I don't think it was marketing Yobo. Regardless of your thoughts on Cloverfield good, bad, or otherwise, he did a good job of marketing it.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:38 a.m. CST

    If you bad mouth this.....

    by Gabba-UK

    You really should reconsider any claim you might have to calling yourself human.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Speaking of Professors I Want to See

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    a good talkback on Breaking Bad. Hal with a brain goes nuts? I'm there.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:55 a.m. CST

    some people just resent other people for being famous

    by drave117

    What happened? Did a famous person kill your dog? Jesus, man. Chill the hell out. How are we being manipulated by the media when the media is basically ignoring this? It happened almost two months ago, and this is the first I have heard about it. Go to Google News and search for JJ Abrams, and you will not find a single mention of this. Google the two names together (regular Google, not News) and the number one result is Pausch's own site. The number two result is this article. There were no press releases, and his PR people did not contact the guy on his behalf. He emailed the guy himself. Personally, I don't really care why people do nice things as long as they do them, but I am going to stick up for JJ Abrams in particular because I have heard him speak in person, and I firmly believe that he is a good guy. You don't sit in a room and listen to somebody respond to the uncensored questions of random strangers for an hour without getting a pretty good sense of what kind of guy he is. I'm truly sorry that your life is so devoid of warmth that you can't even appreciate a nice gesture just because it came from a public figure.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Yobo, you're missing the point!

    by ganymede3010

    If JJ wanted to carry out a publcity stunt. He would of held an public contest for "naming one the ships", androids, or run a contest on who can make the best costutme. This isn't marketing man. This was a good deed that J.J should be respected for not admonished.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8 a.m. CST

    Yobo nerve

    by fxmulder35

    Wow! Did someone wake up on the wrong side of the universe today or WHAT? Chill man. One human doing a nice thing for another human. That's what life is all about. If there was more of this, maybe some of the darkness would creep out of the world. As for AICN...thanks for alerting us all on this kind act. Kudos. And kudos to JJ and the wonderful professor....class acts all the way around!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST


    by AllieJamison

    Thanks for embedding the videos. This made my day. What an inspiration.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:15 a.m. CST

    That rocks.

    by DamnMichaelBay

    Seriously, that rocks.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:16 a.m. CST


    by DamnMichaelBay

    Oh and Lucas should have done this for Star Wars Kid....

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Great piece, Mori

    by Vamp-AICNchat

    Well done.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:38 a.m. CST

    JJ`s a cool dude!

    by travis-dane

    Thats all.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:41 a.m. CST

    Personally, I think STAR TREK will be great

    by Vamp-AICNchat

    But, I know how you feel. Eli Roth plans to turn one of my fave books - CELL, into a movie (MEH!!). He is really gonna f**k it in my opinion. I would love Cronenberg or Cuaron to make it.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9 a.m. CST

    Never takes long for the assholes to come out

    by m_prevette

    But should not be fucking surprised, given the sheer amount of idiots here. Yobo, you are a class-A jack off. Some people...geez.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:12 a.m. CST

    by JediWuddayaknow

    Holy shit, Lenny, it's gonna bomb?! You must have traveled through time to know that! Lemme borrow that thing, fucker! Somehow, I highly doubt this movie will come close to bombing. I'm not a Trek fan myself aside from a couple of the movies (Wrath of Khan, First Contact) but Trek appeals to more than just the Trekkies. And this one is directed by a pretty publicly respected director. The guy's kinda known for turning out things that are at least a little better than the most of the crap out there. Now, I know, Lenny, you have a Dune like prescient knowledge of all things, but I have to disagree on this one. As for you idiots going on about how "manipulated by the media" we are...well, just go fuck yourselves. Because, you're kind of a piece of shit. People aren't saying "Wow that was nice of him! Terminally Ill Professor's in the movie? IT'S GONNA BE THE BEST MOVIE EVER!" Seriously, how fucking cynical and jaded do you have to be to look at people giving a good deed (whatever the motivation) some props and say "What a bunch of dumbasses!" No one is manipulated. It was a cool move by JJ. That's all. Does it make him a saint and mean this movie will redeem Star Trek for the past 2 movies? Fuck no. The last one broke the "every other trek is good" rule. Just shut the fuck up and quit trying to act so fucking enlightened.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Great job JJ

    by Hellboy4Prez

    I am not a big Star Trek fan but I do respect JJ's work and this was a class act by a genuine guy. Give the man his due for that at least.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST


    by Bot-Bot

    Thanks for that story. I was touched by it. Shows how easy it is to grant someone a kind gift. J.J. has the right stuff.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Randy Pausch did a "Jack Palence"!

    by travis-dane

    Cancer sucks guys!My dad died of it too.Fucking cancer!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 10:19 a.m. CST

    On behalf of the brainwashed...

    by JediWuddayaknow

    cretins, fuck off if you have such a problem with it. You're like those kids who stir shit up just for the sake of stirring shit up and then bitch when you reap the consequences. Go bitch to someone else about how "different" and "progressive" you are and how noone appreciates it.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 10:42 a.m. CST

    "Dont hurt Tom`s nose!"hehe!

    by travis-dane

    JJ`s funny too.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Mysterious Yobo, the Great Oracle...

    by Digby_Higgins

    ...who preaches down to the masses of "you people" with his dignified, intelligent rage. You're so removed from all of the cretins and trogs on this board, aren't you? With your embarrassing wealth of genius it's a wonder you've not made a name for yourself as something other than a sexually-frustrated, cowardly flaming-troll dumb-dumb.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Randy Pausch

    by semisaj

    The final line in his speech, that it was all for his kids, made me cry and smile at the same time....The guys a true inspiration! Seriously some of the people who come on AICN have no understanding of what is right and wrong...I think you will find that JJ didn't need to do this thing but did and whatever you think about his shows or films I think he has just proved that he's a pretty decent bloke!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 11:20 a.m. CST


    by Setesh

    Can you show a medical degree before pushing ridiculous pseudoscience onto trusting idiots? If all he had to do to cure himself of cancer was load up on oxygen tanks, I really think he would have done it already. There is amazing work being done in the field of cancer research which is having an impact, but it is definitely not helped when people like you start spewing about medical cover ups.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 11:33 a.m. CST

    I don't believe in the no-win scenario

    by Anakin Whoopass

    On Pausch's blog where the check photo is, there's also a very classy note from William Shatner.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Non-Random Acts of Kindness

    by Geekgasm

    Absolutely a classy thing for Abrams to do. I hope he does the same thing for people who aren't well-known college professors with inspirational speeches posted on the internets. Still, good for him and best of luck to the professor and his family. Having said that, I still think this Star Trek reboot smells like the Superman Returns of 2008.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Not a fan of Abrams

    by password.swordfish

    But this was a cool move. Despite the fact that I don't think he's the genius a lot of people on this site seem to (I have yet to see evidence of this genius), I respect what he did. I'm not naive enough to think that he didn't know this would hit the media, but that really doesn't matter to me. He did it in a tasteful way, and it made all the difference in the world to this prof. Also, let's not overlook the real hero, you know, the guy with the cancer. Great story for both of them.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Yobo - I pity you.

    by cutest_of_borg

    I would hate to live in the horrible, self-loathing world you exist in. Good for you, professor.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Inspirational video

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Man, that was a classy speech. All the best to Randy and his family.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Very cool.

    by TattooedBillionaire

    JJ did a good thing here. The only reason it's in the press now is because the professor didn't want a good deed to go unnoticed.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Mysterious Yobo:What was the last thing you...

    by travis-dane

    <p>did for an dude who will die in 3-6 months?<p>If you had the power to fulfill someones wish(like JJ did)would you not do it because you are famous?<p>As my dad died I wished I could do him some good!You really should THINK before you post!<p>Insulting people for giving some dude KUDOS because he did something nice(the reason why he did it is not important)to a dying man is just low class.<p>

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:36 p.m. CST


    by ikkyu

    you're wrong. cynicism is no replacement for wit or intelligence; as the good Prof. here demonstrates, true intelligence has a heart. why try to see demons everywhere? they're in your mind, man, and if you want to see them, you will. why choose to live in such a world? you're the deluded one right now, bro. you really need to let it go, or your life's just going to get worse.<p>dude - you're so wrong you even inspired the cutest of borg to speak, and we ain't heard that voice around here in time!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:48 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    and gave Mr. Pauch the time of his short life. There's so much selfishness in the world that acts of kindess should be rewarded and not treated with cynicism.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 12:49 p.m. CST

    This is AICN at its best

    by Pipple

    "I don't believe in a no-win situation" - Captain James T. Kirk. Can't wait to see this guy on screen. He deserves it.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Shauna Robertson would edit out the cancer part of the story

    by Alice Cooper Stalker

    If Shauna Robertson were to make this into a movie, the part about the prof having cancer would be removed. This is a great story despite the cancer. JJ is awesome.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:20 p.m. CST

    wonderful story !!!!!

    by picardsucks

    What a wonderful, yet amazingly sad story. Nice to see a man who nurtured so many minds is getting a chance to fulfill one of his own personal dreams. And go suck a tailpipe in a closed garage yobo

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:23 p.m. CST


    by LittleDudes

    Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see it!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:24 p.m. CST


    by LittleDudes

    Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see it!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:31 p.m. CST


    by ikkyu

    fair enough to you for admitting that perhaps Abrams had a good intention as well as the more cynical motibvation you previously ascribed to him. that takes balls to admit you're not necessarily 100% right. but your point - that the TBers who are applauding this thing are somehow being duped because it's nothing to do with them - isn't correct.<p>it doesn't matter that Abrams or the Prof are strangers to most people here: the majority of the TBers are just expressing admiration for an apparent act of kindness, albeit by one stranger to another. the fact that they don't personally know them doesn't matter.<p>also, you're not being attacked here anything like as much as the vitriol in your previous posts might reasonably warrant, to be frank. in fact, quite a few people's responses to you seem to show genuine concern that you're so unhappy.<p>but kudos to you for being man enough to recognize you don't know Abrams true motivation.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:35 p.m. CST


    by Blood Simple

    Yobo is like the Grinch, except his heart remains small, he doesn’t give Christmas back to the Who’s, and he remains in his mountain hideaway slowly rotting with only his angry ideology to keep him company. Even Max leaves him – man’s best friend – because he can’t take the cynicism and self-loathing anymore. Seriously guy, cheer up. This was a great story.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:36 p.m. CST

    and really...

    by ikkyu

    why not let people express their admiration for this thing if they want to? i think it's arguable that there are quantifiable individual and societal benefits to be seen from celebrating kindness rather than being cynical.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:40 p.m. CST

    by JediWuddayaknow

    People go so "gaga" because we could imagine how it would feel to be in the professor's shoes. Might this be a publicity stunt? Yes. But is it still an incredibly nice thing to have done for you? Unequivocally, yes. The professor seems like a geek, like he could be one of us. It's like one of our own getting to live part of a dream. How are we wrong for celebrating that? Because JJ Abrams was the catalyst? Because HIS motives may have been a bit selfish, despite the fact that it was an incredible honor to the recipient? Your logic is highly flawed at best and if your world view is that bitter and cynical that you can't see the good in this, then life must really be lonely for you.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:43 p.m. CST


    by BurgerTime

    So it was nice to hear that story. Good for you Mr. Abrams and Mr. Pausch. Good for you both.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:49 p.m. CST


    by BurgerTime

    I posted this on Friday. But thanks, cuz my version was only an animated .gif. Yours is cool camera phone footage. Sweet. :)

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:56 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    but no one's claiming JJ is a saint. "Misty-eyed"? Why does it bother you so much that others can recognize and praise people for doing something good and inspiring?

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Not a JJ Abrams fan ...

    by TheCap

    ... can't stand Lost or pretty much anything else from Bad Robot. But this simple act of kindness ... and let's face the truth here, it *WAS* a very kind thing to do ... has earned JJ the $9.00 it's gonna take out of my pocket to go and see the new Trek movie next Christmas. As I see it, he's earned it, and maybe a little more. Oh, and Yobo ... you're a worthless , cynical, soulless cretin. Please crawl under a rock somewhere and never come out again.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Dr Pausch is an inspiration.

    by drJames

    and for those of you saying that JJ is just riding the media sensation:<br> I think it's more probable that JJ was inspired by Pausch as well, so he wanted to put him in his movie.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Yobo The Hobo

    by tme2nsb

    Sorry, I just wanted to join the Yobo bashing. Seriously dude, who shoved a sharp shovel up your ass this morning? This guy is going to be dying soon, and JJ out of the kindness of his geeky heart reached out to this guy. He did not call the media. He did not hold a press conference, or put an ad in a magazine about this you fucktard. I hope YOU get cancer. Yeah, that's right, I hope YOU GET FUCKING CANCER AND LIKE IT BITCH.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Also, Why People Hate LOST

    by tme2nsb

    Is because it is popular. Once it goes down in popularity in 10 years, it will be loved by all geekdom.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 2:16 p.m. CST


    by supersize

    Such an asshole

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 2:23 p.m. CST

    I never dreamt I'd get thru the entire lecture but...

    by Karl Hungus

    I did. And if you can watch the whole thing without tearing up by the end, you are simply not human As for JJ Abrams, I'm not a fan and don't think very highly of his work but his own lecture was a lot of fun and he deserves just a wee bit of credit for making an inspiration like Randy Pausch a permanent part of the Star Trek legacy.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 2:31 p.m. CST


    by spidermanfreak20

    "If all he had to do to cure himself of cancer was load up on oxygen tanks, I really think he would have done it already." But who would tell him to do such a thing? Cancer research would lose billions. Because if all you need is a natural cure "oxygen" you no longer need to take chemotherapy. Oxygen can not be patented. So no money can be made on it.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 3:13 p.m. CST

    what a nice story

    by omarthesnake

    I'm glad the talkbackers decided to be civil about this lovely story, and not turn into sour, hateful little self-righteous jackasses... oh, what's this post from this "Yobo" fellow? Seriously, dude, just because you say so doesn't make this a marketing strategy, doesn't make us all a bunch of mindless drones, and sure as hell doesn't make you right. Just show the human dignity to shut your fucking trap for once and not share your 'wisdom' with the unwashed masses. You know what? the world will be a little happier place without your glowing insights. This is a positive story, about someone doing a good thing for someone who deserves it.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 3:22 p.m. CST

    I just watched that lecture...

    by Bobo_Vision

    ...while cleaning my apartment. It was inspiring, and made me want to be less cynical. I think I can move more in the other direction, but not entirely because I loathe Disney and its sugar-coated reality, but nice story nonetheless.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 3:27 p.m. CST

    That Was Cool

    by skoobyx

    For those of you who haven't watched the lecture do yourself a favor.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 3:41 p.m. CST

    That one thing alone..

    by boyblue

    Makes up for MI:3!! Top bloke though, wish more people where that kind.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 3:50 p.m. CST

    AICN needs more off-topic stories like this

    by theredtoad

    It's all half-assed reviews and old news and trailers we already knew existed.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Sam the Butcher/Magilla Gorilla just died

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    This sucks. Suzanne Pleschette died too. At least she wasn't alone without Tom for too long. Who's gonna be number three?

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:04 p.m. CST

    By they way Yobo it's official. You're Gomer

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Pyle. The rest of us have the soap in the towels. By the way, while we are at it please learn to use things like capital letters at the beginning of a sentence. See those little things after a conjuction? They are called commas. They have a friend called an apostrophe. We like to use those also when we're typing words like I'm as in I am, not im as in instant message. My daughter is in second grade. She is just learning this, and doing a rather good job. You should try and follow suit.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:28 p.m. CST

    What An Amazing Life

    by Stacy Without An E

    This is the most thought provoking and moving motivational speech that was never intended as such. As someone who has been on Dialysis for nearly four years, it's amazing what clarity you can achieve when you're fighting for life each and every day. I wish there was a way Randy could survive. We need more individuals like him. And Godspeed to his wife and kids.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:48 p.m. CST

    That Rules!

    by Kentucky Colonel

    Pancreatic cancer scares the hell out of me. That's what did in Bill Hicks, y'know. "Uncle Ron" Clay, too. It's the kind of cancer that makes you go "I don't feel well, better go see the doctor: and by then you only have three months to live. I hope you beat your illness like Kirk smacking down the Gorn (but no mercy for the cancer, 'kay?). I'll be looking for the visuals! And've got class & style like I'd not imagined. Kudos!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Who Hurt you Yobo?

    by NubtheSquirrel

    Clearly, Abrams was just trying to give a dying man what could be a final chance at happiness. This will allow him to make his life all the more enjoyable as he nears the end. The wife and I lost someone close to us to cancer so our hearts go out to him and we are happy that he got to do something cool before he leaves this life. I don't wish you ill but maybe you should rethink your cruel words and show a little respect for this gesture of kindness.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 5:56 p.m. CST

    Listening to JJ's comments about the mystery box...

    by JackIsLost

    You instantly realize that there is no greater mystery to LOST and it will all be left unresolved, in all likelihood. And you know what, that's alright with me.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 6:01 p.m. CST


    by semisaj

    I will from now on never reply or have anything to do with that fucking piece of crap that is Yobo...and i agree with you just ignore the fucking wank stained little unpleasant scratch of a so called human being that he r parents should have been nutered...I hope someone loves you dude...because you sound like a bit of saddo!!

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 6:01 p.m. CST

    Way to go, AICN.....

    by HordePrime

    Could that headline be any more dick to the situation? Or was the comical value of using the term, "bucket list" too damn overwhelming because there's a terrible movie out with the same title. Good job guys.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 6:06 p.m. CST

    Classy and Cool

    by Evil Chicken

    All the best Mr. Pausch. I can not wait to see you aboard the Enterprise. As for Mr. Abrams? Well done, sir. Well done.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:22 p.m. CST

    I'm actually with you, Yobo

    by MC-909

    For as unfunny as I find most of your comments, I'll side with you just this once. The JJ dicksucking some of the talkbackers are engaging in is pretty bad. Who the hell is posting in here nowadays? It sounds like a bunch of fucking soccer moms. Same with the people that said Brad Renfro will be missed. He won't. <p> JJ did a guy a favor...but he's in a position where he has the ability to do favors. <p> And on a sidenote, does anyone else think that, a thousand years down the road, historians will confuse Cloverfield with 9/11 and it will be common knowledge that it was in fact a giant monster that attacked New York and not terrorists? As time goes on stories chage, information morphs...did JJ Abrams rewrite history without even knowing it?

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 7:33 p.m. CST

    Nice gesture

    by quantize

    and i honestly, genuinely, hope he doesnt fuck Star Trek as royally as that embarrassing shit Cloverfield, which will be completely forgotten this time next week.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:07 p.m. CST

    the ultimate kindness

    by happyboy

    is making a movie that does not suck. if the movie sucks all he'll have done is put the dude into a crappy movie. i hope for that dying father and all the fathers out there jj abrahms learns story structure. *sniff* cry. SO... HEART... WARMING... all the 300lb emo nerds are overcome with emotion and start mouth kissing each other in a orgy of cheap self-satisfied emotion.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:40 p.m. CST

    Hmmm MC909

    by password.swordfish

    You actually have an interesting point in there: why are we all acting (myself included) like this was such an incredible act of kindness? It was nice, sure, but it wasn't like it was difficult in anyway for Abrams. He did not have to sacrifice anything, or inconvenience himself in any significant way. He completely had the power to do this. I still think it's pretty cool in that I love that Mr. Pausch had the opportunity to do something like this. Still maybe we should spend less time congratulating Abrams for a simple act, and more wondering why such a small (yet significant) offer is so unusual that it results in this kind of a reaction. I know, it's an idealistic comment, but still.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 8:49 p.m. CST

    Yack you're defending Lucas?

    by ganymede3010

    Now I don't feel so bad about defending Michael Bay:)- Lucas is a stingy fuck, and he's no visionary when it comes to film-making. Less then one million per episode for the Starwars TV show, and the fat bastard won't release the original trilogy on Blu Ray! I'm sure he gives away some money. That's the least he can do since he made us buy the original trilogy about six times already. Besides that. Hope all is going well man, so how did you like Clover-Alien?

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:06 p.m. CST

    There's no such thing as a selfless act

    by CaptainGilgore

    Because 100% of people gain something by doing a "selfless" act - even if it's only feeling good about helping another person out. So yes, it's not completely selfless. But knowing that, there are still very nice people doing very nice things. So what's worse, JJ gaining a miniscule amount of pub and this guy getting a chance to fulfill a childhood dream, or the guy not getting the chance at all? Believe it or not yobo - there are people who think JJ is a nice guy who aren't mindless cretins. I'd like to consider myself one of them. But keep the anger up, dude! Maybe you can give a dying speech one day about how everybody's an asshole, there are no genuine nice people, and fuck everyone! Don't know what set they'll let you on though.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:15 p.m. CST

    Abrams is the man.

    by HudLives

    this puts a smile on my face

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:21 p.m. CST

    I'm with Yobo

    by Richard Thornberg

    Everything a famous person does is business. Law of nature my homies. No exceptions. And don't suggest that Yobo is doing the equivalent of what he's accusing Abrams of. Not for a second. He's not putting a gesture into the public domain because of what it might do for his reputation. That's just stupid. You'd have to be some cold, shallow bastard to think that he would go out of his way to .... oh wait a minute....

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:23 p.m. CST

    MC-909 and password.swordfish...

    by Blood Simple

    So let me get this straight. Just because someone has the power and ability to do something nice for another person, that makes the gesture itself less impressive or welcomed? That is some faulty logic. Sure Abrams had the power to do this kind act, and maybe it wasn't more complicated than a few emails and an hour worth of face-time on set. But does that change the fact that Randy Pausch got to do something that brought him some joy before his illness ultimately claims him? No.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:24 p.m. CST


    by Richard Thornberg

    "...important subversive ideologies...". Give me a break. How much of that Doors Greatest Hits are you holding back for your 20th birthday? Or will you wait until the black paint on your bedroom wall dries?

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:28 p.m. CST

    For chrissakes...

    by Richard Thornberg

    Most of us could buy a homeless person a coffee & bagel on the way to work with as much effort / sacrifice as JJ showed with this guy. Hands up all the people who bother to do that in an average week... Didn't think so. Next 17 year old nihilistic argument please....

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:36 p.m. CST

    ooh Thornberg

    by CaptainGilgore

    ...that was good.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:55 p.m. CST

    The problem is that you've all been brought up in a culture...

    by JackIsLost

    that preaches selfishness is evil. I will not pretend to know JJ's intentions but just say hypothetically his goals were purely selfish to generate positive press for STAR TREK. This guy still benefits and has the time of his (quickly ending) life. No one is ripped off or hurt, it's still win-win. Now, that said I don't think that was the case, as the publicity seems to have come from the guy bragging about to his friends and colleagues (who wouldn't?) So, basically, my point is all the haters can go to hell.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 9:58 p.m. CST

    LOL Trik Star

    by JackIsLost

    I know, dying of cancer is bad enough but knowing you may not live to find out how LOST ends! That is just rubbing salt in the wound. I hope JJ gave him some hints (or spilled the beans entirely)... now THAT would be a selfless act.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Hey Thornberg

    by password.swordfish

    That was my point... some people are responding as though Abrams is a saint for doing this. I stated that it was definitely a cool move (and I'd like to add, quite classy an email) and it doesn't really matter why it was done because the end result is that Mr. Pausch gets to live his dream. However, in my last post, I was wondering why such a small act is treated with such reverence, when it should be more the norm. Not sure how your response invalidates my argument.

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 10:59 p.m. CST

    I wish JJ Abrams would kick the bucket

    by Cruel_Kingdom

  • Jan. 20, 2008, 11:23 p.m. CST

    $217 for saying one line? Is that the going rate?

    by JackIsLost

    Do they get paid by the word? I'm fascinated. Also, he shouldn't feel bad about keeping the money--buy yourself some Star Trek geek-ware, dude! You've earned it!

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 12:07 a.m. CST


    by JackIsLost

    Your diaper needs changing, conspiracy.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 12:20 a.m. CST

    where is this saintly praise the haters are talking about?

    by drave117

    It's not like we're going "OH MY GOD! Look what JJ did! He is a saint! He must be a cross between Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and a rainbow! We should all bow to his unparalleled generosity!" Most of the comments I am seeing here are more along the lines of "Hey, that was a cool thing to do. JJ seems like a nice guy." I've got news for you. Whether or not you want to assign selfish motivations to him because he committed the horrible crime of becoming famous and successful through his craft, the fact is, he DID do a really nice thing. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging it. To say "every action a celebrity takes is part of an agenda-laced package they are presenting to the world" is basically saying that famous people are no longer human beings. That's a sickening view of the world, in my opinion. I bet if Robin Williams happened to be walking down the street, saw an orphanage on fire, and ran in to save the children, some asshole would accuse him of taking advantage of a photo op and call him a selfish prick. *sigh*

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 12:34 a.m. CST

    I agree with you Conspiracy

    by ganymede3010

    People don't talk in complete and concise sentences when everyone around them is dying. Bill Paxton is Aliens showed you how a real person acts when they're confronted by a being of unknown origin. Every other word is FUCK,FUCK,FUCK, AND LETS GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE! Since this movie ripped of Aliens, maybe rob was playing the part of Bishop. When he decided to go back out into the monsters path to rescue his girl/connect uplink.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Well, drave, in Robin Williams' case...

    by JackIsLost

    He probably would only do it for the free publicity (j/k). Yeah, celebrities are people too. Who knew?

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Cloverfield gave me motion sickness and I had to leave

    by Cruel_Kingdom

    Damn you, JJ Abrams, gimme my money back.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 1:59 a.m. CST

    What is there to argue about?

    by BobPalpatine

    Any comment other than: "JJ did a great thing - even if he is a cocky looking fuck" should be removed post haste.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 6:48 a.m. CST


    by Richard Thornberg

    1 - It doesn't invalidate your point. 2 - Having said that, people haven't really been saying that the guy is a saint. Their reactions have been in line with what you'd expect if the story was "swordfish buys homeless guy nice breakfast" 3 - The reason this is news at all is that the favour was geek-related & something none of us could do ourselves. As small an act as it was relatively speaking, there were still only about four people alive who could have granted it with a click of their fingers. So I suppose that's what makes it newsworthy.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Aint' It Cool News indeed

    by ATARI

    Finally a news story owrthy of your name. It's been awhile. Thanks.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 10:11 a.m. CST

    If only Yobo had watched the video

    by ArcadianDS

    If Yobo had actually bothered to watch ANY of the video, he would have learned a valuable lesson about doing nice things and how karma always comes around. Funny to see his actions in this thread practically being talked about in the video.<p> My lesson from the video is not to be angry with Yobo. Even the evilest of people are nice deep down inside, and if you give them enough time, they'll show it to you.<p> I'll be here for the next 30 years, Yobo - take your time.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 10:45 a.m. CST

    The prof's lecture

    by jawsfan

    I watched every second of it and I loved every second of it. I ordered two DVDs. Hope they get here soon. As for the talk that Abrams gave Pausch the extras gig in a selfish move to co-opt Pausch's predicament to further publicize the "Trek" film: I disagree. I think Abrams saw a chance to do something monumentally cool for someone who deserves every great thing he can get. Giving Pausch a role in the film was a gift he could well afford to offer, both administratively and creatively. If Abrams benefitted in any way personally, it was no doubt with the satisfaction anyone can get from doing a good deed for someone and not expecting anything in return. Well, at least SOME of us know what that is like. Abrams was just practicing was Pausch was preaching.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 10:55 a.m. CST

    And before we go any further...

    by jawsfan

    Everyone take note of the following: 1. There is no letter A in the word "definitely". It is not, never was, and never will be spelled "definately". 2. The proper contraction of "they are" is "they're", not "their" and not "there". 3. There is no such word as "alot". 4. "Your" NEVER means "you are". You cannot use "Your an idiot" and expect the word "idiot" to not apply to you as well. "You're an idiot" is the correct usage. 6. All of the above should be second nature to anyone who would claim English as their mother tongue. Don't be pissy with me just because you don't know how to write above a fifth grade level.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Well put Thornberg

    by password.swordfish

    I can take your point. I still don't agree that most people would react in similar ways to buying a homeless person a meal, but that likely has as much to do with our view of the homeless as it does with the geeky love for Abrams. As for people overreacting, you're right in that most people are treating this as just a cool move, but some do go overboard: "this is an incredible act of kindness... Abrams is truly a rare human being." from Furf Muckmeyer. A little far in my opinion, but you're right in that this kind of praise is in the minority. I guess I got swept up in certain TBers hyperbole, and missed the more level comments.

  • Jan. 21, 2008, 7:56 p.m. CST

    its not THAT easy a thing for abrams to do

    by rocket_boy

    or other directors would do it too ? Both on practical film-making terms and not being totally self-absorbed. Well thats my tuppence worth anyway. Maybe some of you guys have other filmic feel good stories ?!

  • Jan. 22, 2008, 11:43 a.m. CST


    by Setesh

    "Oxygen can not be patented. So no money can be made on it." Surely it makes more economic sense to cure cancer? Every active adult with a job is *contributing* to society (i.e. providing goods and/or services); when one contracts cancer they are no longer making money for whatever industry that they are working in and the world economy will suffer as a result. The American mercantile health economy will be able to focus on other important areas, such as erectile dysfunction.

  • Jan. 22, 2008, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Doesnt JJ come across as a young but warped up Spielberg?

    by theycallmemrglass

    He has the kinetic energy of Spielberg in speech (actually double). Put a beard on him, he would ook like a Spielberg brother, and he even loves Spielberg films mentioning at least 3 of them Close Encounters, jaws, ET.

  • Jan. 23, 2008, 4:15 a.m. CST


    by drave117

    I'm gonna have to agree with you here. When I first saw MI3, the first thing I said to my friends was that I feel Abrams has the potential to be the next Spielberg.