Coming Soon

September 16, 2005

What’s usually the best part of a movie? The trailer. What’s usually the worst part of a movie? The movie itself. I can’t tell you how many really good trailers have been ruined by the lousy films they were promoting. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a really, really, really good trailer and thought, "I wouldn’t watch that movie if you paid me to, but wow! what a trailer!"

This gave me an idea for the ultimate movie: it’ll be just a trailer. If people will pay ten bucks to sit through an hour and a half of a really bad film, why won’t they do the same to see 73 seconds of something really great? I’ve even got the perfect script. It opens with the camera moving downward through clouds, maybe some light snow. With subtle violin music, or possibly children singing eerily, the camera closes in on seven people of different ethnicities, fashion styles, hair colors, and genders standing in the middle of a dark street. Then comes the voice-over, done by a man whose voice is so deep snakes can hear it: "Coming soon: Seven strangers trapped in a cave have made a discovery that could change the world." Cut to a close up of a moderately attractive blonde woman who says, "Has anyone seen my platypus?" Cut to a montage of various people running, a brief clip of a car chase, and a clip of a platypus cutely putting its paws over its eyes. During the montage the voice-over continues: "Under the most desperate circumstances we often ask ourselves the most important questions." Cut to a completely new scene of the blonde woman in a sunny park standing next to a desperately unattractive man who looks like he combs his hair with a fork. The voice-over continues: "And sometimes we find love where we least expect it." The blonde woman says to the man, "Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it." Cut to a clip of a large building exploding. This is followed by a montage of people running down a street, climbing up ropes, running through dark tunnels, holding their hands over their ears while screaming, running through hallways, and line dancing, all of which is accompanied by a harsh, rapid drumbeat. The voice-over continues: "And in the end they’ll all discover the true meaning of Christmas. From the producer of a film most people liked, and from the director of a couple of films that did well at the box office comes a film that will redefine movies forever: Trailer."

All that will be followed up with a few snappy quotes from critics, like, "Hector Rosenblatt of the Des Moines Free Press calls it staggering," and "Gene Shalit raves, ‘It’s Trailer-ific! I can’t wait to see the whole thing! I just did?’" And if you think that sounds great, just wait until the DVD comes out. It’ll include a making-of documentary, commentary by the gaffer, and a sneak-preview of the trailer for Trailer 2: Caving In.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


Here’s a prime example of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" offered by an English professor from the University of Phoenix:

The professor told his class one day: "Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back-and-forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of his English students: Jennifer and Paul.


THE STORY

(first paragraph by Jennifer)

At first, Jennifer couldn’t decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Dave, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Dave. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(second paragraph by Paul)

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Dave Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Jennifer with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far…" But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship’s cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

(Jennifer)

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Jennifer read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her."Why must one lose one’s innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

(Paul)

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu’udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu’udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid Jennifer.

(Jennifer)

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

(Paul)

Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of FRIGGIN’ TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I’m such an air head who reads too many Danielle Steele novels!"

(Jennifer)

Jerk.

(Paul)

Bimbo.

(TEACHER)

A+ – I really liked this one

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