A friend saw Lee Daniels’ The Butler earlier today. I asked him how it was. All right, what I really said was “how bad is it?” And then I said, “Be warned — I don’t want to hear how surprisingly good it is. Please don’t tell me this if you had that reaction.” He replied as follows: “Sorry, but I found it movingly corny in the same mold (except with a historical sweep and some stunt casting) as The Help, which it reminded me of. It’s a much more disciplined film than Daniels’ Precious or The Paperboy. Not a good film but an effective one.” I wrote a one-word reply: “Goddammit!” Then he wrote back and said that Showbiz 411‘s Roger Friedman “was applauding at the end, as was the bulk of the (SAG) audience.”