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A tipster tells us that the odd Josh Hartnett short film on the Times' website—which shows the actor stumbling through the snow and chatting with a hotel desk clerk, as the first installment of a series that will somehow promote the NYT's fashion magazine—is the twisted byproduct of one thing only: asshole friends! Hartnett is "an extremely nice guy" and a "very loyal friend," but he's surrounded by "asshole user" fake friends who try to use him to further their careers in the industry. Or so we hear. If true, that would definitely solve the mystery of why Hartnett would make time for an aimless project like that. After the jump, more detailed ranting from our tipster, and a bonus clip of the obscure Josh Hartnett-Scarlett Johansson short that is supposedly a precursor to the Times dreck.

First, Josh Hartnett is an extremely nice guy. Extremely. He really wants to be known for his acting and not for being a hot dude. And he is a very loyal friend. And seriously, he would be the first one to jump in front of a bus to push someone out of the way.

That said, quite a few of his friends are assholes who are really nice to him (and to anyone who can get them things), but they are totally out to get their own share of his fame, etc. Not all of them are assholes, mind you. He has some good friends who do care about him, etc. Their names do not appear in the credits of that video.

Now, because Josh is such a nice guy and a loyal friend, he doesn't always see the asshole user aspect of his friends. He helps them make little films to start their directing and producing careers, because, again, nice guy...

I would just like people to know this is video is many things, but "art" isn't one of them. It's rich people getting richer through their connections, and their ability to trick nice people (who happen to be celebrities) into thinking that they are their friends. These people are not smart, just manipulative. But I have to admit, this whole gradually revealing the film on the NYT website is a brilliant way to show it...

The same people did make a short with Scarlett Johannsen and Josh Hartnett, but I guess that never saw the light of day. There is a terrible clip of it on youtube. Search for "Ham Lake".

And here it is!