Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Trailer for Moby Dick 2

The conventional wisdom in the film industry is that a movie gets pitched on the trailer. You say "it's like this movie and this movie plus that movie but we'll get Megan Fox and it'll be in space" and then you describe the trailer to Mr. Hollywood Producerstein (HE'S JEWISH GET IT??) and then he cuts you the check to make the movie. Well, I'm experiencing a dearth of third-party check-cutting in my name, so here's a pitch for Moby Dick 2, the movie I'm trying to put together in collaboration with wealthy Hollywood types.

Before we begin, I would like to establish what I'm attempting to do here. Moby Dick 2 will, for canonical purposes, be a direct sequel to 1956's Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck. But it will also be a reboot, because I think we can all agree that the Moby Dick franchise has worn out its welcome among today's youth. So we will assume for the purposes of the story that the events in Moby Dick happened, but we're taking it in a new direction.

(We open on an underwater shot of the sinking Pequod in full CGI. There's some high, spooky female-vocalist singing. Maybe we get Enya.)

ISHMAEL (Shia LeBeouf) comes in on voice-over: "I've spent two years trying to forget that night."

(Shots of Ishmael walking down some dingy port street, in a loud port tavern sitting alone staring into his drink)

ISHMAEL V/O: "But some things you bury..."

(Tight shot of Captain Ahab (Jason Statham) sinking along with the wreckage. His eyes are closed.)

ISHMAEL V/O: "...just refuse to die."

(Tighter shot of Ahab's face underwater. His eyes open.)

(Queue epic music with lots of horns. Shot of Ishmael on the deck of a ship, turning around rapidly as the camera zooms in on his face and his eyes say "Oh no.")

(Shot of Ishmael sprinting across the deck of a ship as explosions and fire surround him. CGI splintered wood is flying everywhere.)

(Wide shot of the ship exploding, then cut to a shot of Ishmael floating in the water clinging to some wreckage)

(Shot of the camera, acting as the head/eyes for some kind of monster, approaching Floating Ishmael with terror in his eyes. Mechanical noises play.)

AHAB V/O (sound is processed and scary): Hast seen the white whale?
(This is his catchphrase and audiences really respond to it. The theater goes berserk)

NARRATOR: "Now, one man must cross the seas..."

(Shots of some awesome new ship that Ahab's gotten--maybe it has like 10 masts or something similarly awesome.)

NARRATOR: "To save those he loves..."

(Shots of Ishmael's love interest Sarah (Kate Hudson), a bustling and sunny port city, Queequeg (The Rock).)

NARRATOR: "And sail the world away from the edge of madness."

(Shots of cannon exchange between sailing ships, a bunch of whalers in a whaling skiff in stormy seas, Ishmael and Queequeg fighting 30 guys on a ship deck back-to-back. A ship explodes in slow motion, then fades to black. Music dies.)

(Shot of QUEEQUEG and ISHMAEL sitting together at a campfire on a deserted island.)

QUEEQUEG: "Did you hear something?"

(ISHMAEL looks at him with apprehension. There's a sudden explosion of noise and movement, and just for a second we see MECHA AHAB complete with four steam-powered metal legs.)

NARRATOR: "Next Summer..."

(Exciting, breezy and quick action montage accompanies the narrator. ISHMAEL and QUEEQUEG sprinting along decks, ISHAMEL kissing SARAH, QUEEQUEG swinging from a mast on a rope, MR. STUBB (Verne Troyer) dancing on a table with a tankard of beer and laughing.)

NARRATOR: "...the blockbuster of the decade is coming out of the water."

(Rapid sequence of high-tension action shots as the narrator speaks this next part.)
NARRATOR: "Thar...she...blows."
(On "blows," shot of Moby Dick himself jumping out of the water and breaching. Boats filled with men surround him in the water, showing the audience just how huge he is. He crashes down into the water in awesome CGI slow motion).

NARRATOR: "Shia Lebeouf."

(Shot of ISHMAEL, shirtless and musclebound, pulling on a rope.)

NARRATOR: "Kate Hudson."

(Shot of SARAH standing behind ISHMAEL and QUEEQUEG, who are facing a dozen enemies with their swords out.)

SARAH: "Men and their swords."

NARRATOR: "Jason Statham."

(Shot of MECHA AHAB pressing his face up close to the face of a terrified and cornered SARAH.)

NARRATOR: "And Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson."

(Shot of QUEEQUEG standing on the prow of a whaling skiff, brandishing a harpoon shirtless and tattooed).

NARRATOR: "Moby Dick: Ahab's Revenge."

(Shot of the movie's title and logo. Cut to a shot of a screaming, angry ISHMAEL hurling a harpoon. Final shot of the film's projected release date.)


Thursday, September 3, 2009


The best part is how he tricks you. He gets to the end and he says there's a letter missing, and of course you're thinking "of course, it's C." BUT NO! It's Y. He fools you into thinking he knows what he's doing, and at the LAST SECOND he yanks your chain and kicks you like a glistening Gerard Butler down a bottomless pit of madness.

Glenn Beck is fantastic. I actually think it's fascinating how cable TV news lunacy has become an industry unto itself, complete with the kind of variety Baskin-Robbins can only dream of. You have your O'Reillys and Olbermanns, basic self-righteous anger of both the Left and Right flavors (let's say Chocolate and Vanilla, and if you have to ask which is which you're not thinking very hard). There are a huge number of commentators on the fringes that cover most of the niche insanity--your Birthers, your PETA folks. There's Jon Stewart LIEBOWITZ THE JEW, who is essentially the top-tier predator of the whole ecosystem. He just feeds on the wacky shit everyone else says and is functionally immune to retaliation. It's a good place to be.

But Glenn Beck has really stepped into the madness void left in our lives during the Obama presidency. Maybe you don't remember this, but bizarre and crazy things happened all the time during the Bush years. The OFFICIAL TERROR COLOR ALERT THING was up and down all the time depending on whether people needed distracting. You could barely keep track of all the illegal shit that people in the White House were doing, because it was the kind of illegal that you can just get away with unless you're Scooter Libby. Who really just took the fall for Cheney figuring he'd get a pardon, so it's not like anyone really got caught doing anything. Oh yeah, and a great American city was almost completely destroyed because the President was incompetent and hired incompetents to run his administration. The President of the United States of America allowed New Orleans to be destroyed. These are facts, and these are the things that we actually got used to over the course of 8 years. Olbermann's a blowhard, but his "8 Years in 8 Minutes" segment is really something special. Look it up; I guarantee there will be at least 5 things that are completely outrageous and appalling that you completely forgot about. Because that's just how things were.

Anyway, Glenn Beck. With the truly insane people out of power, new crazy people are emerging to fill the vacuum and many of these people are part of the right-wing media. Glenn Beck has really made a name for himself in the last year and honestly, good for him. I have a hard time believing that Beck or Limbaugh take themselves that seriously--I think at the end of the day they realize that there's a shitload of money to be made doing what they do. They're just the best maniacs American enterprise can produce, and that's pretty sweet because Americans have proven that if there's a shitload of money to be made for doing something, we will get really good at it.

But there are some things that make you wonder. Like, Glenn hops up on a table to do his whole O-L-I-G-A-R-H-Y thing. Not only is this kind of a wacky thing to do, but it also makes the audience acutely aware of how small Glenn Beck actually is and it shows the world that he has questionable taste in shoes. I have a limited knowledge and appreciation for shoes even on the spectrum of heterosexual men, but I can tell you that if you are on TV wearing a suit you SHOULD NOT be wearing whatever the hell those are. Converses? Keds? And finally, the camera pans back across the whole room as Glenn gets off the table and you can see that half the surfaces in the studio are covered with paper on which Glenn has scrawled his Lovecraftian ramblings. Is this supposed to convey gravitas? I think the last time I saw something like this was in "A Beautiful Mind," and I didn't come away from that scene thinking Russell Crowe really had his shit together and I should listen to what he had to say.

And in a coup de grace that would have made Kafka's Hunger Artist proud (special thanks to Dennis Miller), he misspells the central word of his rant when the ENTIRE POINT of the rant was to spell that word. He misspells it, almost saves himself with the "missing letter," but then the missing letter is ALSO THE WRONG LETTER and we're left with the message to "keep asking questions" because the letter Y is a homonym for the word "why" and God damn that is profound.


This is really just a postscript, but I read Glenn's Wikipedia article to see if he is as short as he looks on TV. It doesn't list a height, so I'm assuming he is. This Wikipedia article has given me some fresh insight as to how odd, damaged and deranged this man really is and honestly I feel a little bad for piling on a guy who has all these problems. Again, Kafka would be proud.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I got my head stuck behind the TV.

I have a small room. This is a common thing, and my room isn't particularly small or terrible. I worry more and more every day that it's starting to smell like Man. Anyway, arranging furniture and appliances in one's room is a puzzle with most of the pieces up in the air at any given time. My set-up in particular jams a bookcase and dresser into a corner, places a TV on the dresser and my ancient steam-powered first-gen PS2 next to the TV.

Yesterday I altered the balance by hooking up a cable box to my TV. It's one of the little DTA boxes (no DVR, no guide functions) that give you a basic selection of channels, but it has about four cables coming in and out of it. Without getting into too many specifics, I needed to stretch and re-arrange some cables to get power to the DTA box. This forced me to shift the dresser forward, and left a space between the back of the TV/PS2 and the wall. Finally, the time came to plug in the DTA box and be welcomed, as a Caesar arriving back in Rome after a campaign, to CABLE TELEVISION. To see where the power cord hooked into the box, I leaned forward and wedged my upper body between the wall and the various appliances.

Once everything was plugged in and all the appropriate LEDs were flashing, it was time to extract myself from this situation. But nay! I'd gotten myself into the space by going over the top of the PS2 and lowering my head down behind it. I banged my head not once but TWICE trying to simply pull it out of the space rather than get it out the way it had gotten in. I realized my mistake almost immediately (ALMOST, because I'm fucking stupid and these are the things I do) but the damage was done. By damage, I mean stuck in my head was the image of my old dead dog sticking her head behind the sofa for a dessicated piece of old food, and getting it stuck because she just tried to pull it out and ohhhh isn't she a goofball! Who's a goofball??! Yeah, you!!



And while I'm writing stories about how shitty my life is, a week or two ago I was heckled by a bunch of small children while running. They were jumping around in one of those bouncy castles that Mexicans love to have at their parties (it's not racist as long as it's true!) and there were no adults in sight. I ran by, sweat pouring off my pale shirtless hairy body. I'm sure my hair looked ridiculous and matted, my mouth was hanging open and I smelled like hot dog water. And what do I see but some poor bastard's gap-toothed hellspawn pointing at me out of the side of the bouncy castle, pointing at me and yelling "Ewwwwwwwww."

And because these are children and children are horrible, all the other whelps in the cage joined in and were all chanting "Ewwwwwwww" as the poor sweaty man ran by. Yeah, mock the adult trying to better himself.
Maybe, I thought, just maybe some enterprising adult was within earshot of the jeering and would come to the rescue. Maybe she'd chew out those little punks and a lesson would be learned. Maybe there'd be a happy resolution to this whole terrible situation as an adult corrected their behavior and I went along my merry way, pleased with myself for NOT having punched all those kids in the head. It was not to be, and honestly at this point I don't know what the appropriate reaction should have been. As in most cases, it was probably one of the many things I didn't do. Ugh.