*The opinions expressed by Dr. Royce Clemens in his Doom Dispatch column do not necessarily reflect the views of Geeks of Doom.
This is the first piece in my series of op-ed columns*, and I was supposed to cover Sunday night’s Oscars. But watching it, attempting to take notes and watching deserving nominee after deserving nominee actually win free of politics or social pressure, something occurred to me.
It’s no fun recapping a fair fight. So I figure I’ll write about what I was gonna write about next week.
I don’t think there’s anyone who goes to a site called “Geeks of Doom” who hasn’t already seen the much hyped and awaited trailer for Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (which is just one word and three syllables away from The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford). Already this two minutes of celluloid is about as analyzed in these innarweb circles as the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination. “Why are there sounds of guns cocking when there aren’t any on screen?”
It feels great, don’t it? That warm February kernel of summer hype? Just knowing that in a few months it’s going to be hot outside, there will be no snow, the sun will be out, the kids will be out of school, and it’ll be acceptable to blow shit up and waste hundreds of millions of dollars in a theater again, without shameless Oscar mugging.
And how does this usually end, boys and girls?
Yup. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull … is probably gonna suck.
Oh, stop. Don’t look at me like I just shot your dog. It will. This happens every year. We’re cool through the spring and how do we come out at the end of the summer? “THAT MOVIE RAPED MY CHILDHOOD!”
Well here is your self-defense guide. First off, yell “Fire!” Not “Rape!” ‘Cause no one comes when you yell “Rape!”
And second, take these things into account. A stitch on Hollywood will save nine on you.
Commies Don’t Make Good Villains: It’s been twenty years since The Last Crusade, and director Steven Spielberg has decided to allow for the passage of time. This means Indy is fighting the Soviets as opposed to the Nazis. Now if Indy were fighting Stalin? Maybe that would work. He did, after all, kill forty million of his own people. But what did Kruschev do, besides bang his shoe on a table? And which of these sentences sounds scarier?
“We’re going to steal the Ark of the Covenant to take to our Fuhrer, so he can set up the Aryan Nation as the true master race of Earth.”
“We’re going to steal the Ark of the Covenant… And share it with everyone. You got any toilet paper?”
The Cate Blanchett Equation: Now I’m not going to be a dick and say Cate Blanchett is a bad actress. She’s not. She’s amazing. But this is her first big-budget crowd pleaser. Is she gonna know how to handle this? Or is she gonna go down the Julianne Moore road and emote herself into the ground? Meryl Streep JUST figured out how to handle this with The Devil Wears Prada after a long and illustrious career. I don’t need to bring up the spectre of She-Devil, do I? DO I?
Shia Leboeuf: Did I spell that right? Do I really care? Ain’t no one ever shelled out a nickel to see that little shit on screen. They all paid to see the hot chicks and the big talking cars standing NEXT to him.
A Chance Of Relapse: Steven Spielberg has been on the biggest tear of his entire life. Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, and The Terminal were all great movies, and Munich, in my opinion, is his best work ever. He showed a maturity and a lack of sentimentality with that one I haven’t seen before. He worked without a net. He was a Spielberg possessed. So for the sake of all the great movies that the man has ahead of him, do we REALLY want to see him take a step backwards? Give this one to Joe Johnston. No one gives a shit about HIM! Like recovering alcoholics, it only takes one drink to fall off the wagon. I just can’t stand to think that this will lead to other movies that were as crummy as The Lost World or War Of The Worlds. Which, oddly enough, were written by…
David Koepp: David Koepp can work wonders when he’s writing for himself. Just watch Carlito’s Way and Stir Of Echoes if you don’t believe me. But when he’s in hired gun mode, you get movies like, well, The Lost World and War Of The Worlds … And Panic Room … and Death Becomes Her and The Shadow and that Godawful Snake Eyes… Need I say more?
High On Money, Short On Charm: When Raiders Of The Lost Ark came out in 1981, it was a playful riff on those old Saturday morning serials that came out in the thirties and forties. It was charming in addition to thrilling because all the special effects had rough edges around them. It wasn’t Star Wars, for Christ’s sake. It relied on charisma and actual honest-to-God storytelling.
So does a CGI-ridden Indiana Jones picture really sound like a good idea? It’s gonna be like that new ECW: It’s alright… But it’s just not the SAME.
The State Of Indiana Is Old And Gray: Did you see the Barbara Walters special before the Oscars when she interviewed Harrison Ford? She said “Oh he hasn’t aged a day!” That’s because Barbara Walters is a professional kiss-ass. Harrison Ford has aged a day. He’s aged a shit-load of days. I’m sure anyone who has seen Firewall (yes, all four of you) knows full-well the extent to which Harrison Ford has gone from “GET OFF MY PLANE!” to “GET OFF MY LAWN!” in the span of ten years. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not decomposing like Scott Glenn is, but it’s high time he sat on the “Ancient Character Actor” shelf right next to Peter Falk.
Obey The Beard!: George Lucas is the executive producer.
Did you perhaps go into a fit after reading that? Didn’t get the full blow of what this means? Well allow me to repeat…
GEORGE LUCAS IS THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER!
And… And we’re expecting this to be good? HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FUCKING MINDS?
Have two-and-a-half of the last three Star Wars movies taught us nothing? George Lucas hates you. He hates you, and he wants your money. And he’s gonna use that money to do one thing.
Purchase mainland China.
He and M. Night Shyamalan and Michael Bay are gonna use their ill-gotten cash to purchase mainland China. They are going to use that to form the headquarters for their Axis of Evil and make their bid for world domination. Are you happy with the fact that Casablanca is in black and white? That City Lights is silent? That No Country For Old Men doesn’t have a score? Well, NOT ANYMORE, FUCK-STICK! Everything will be in digital color, with dewback lizards wandering in the background for no apparent reason. THX will change the expressions on the actors’ faces JUST BECAUSE! And all films will be hooked up to the John Williams-Bot, and have scores that will tell us how to feel and react. History is written by the winners, and we have voted with our wallets to give George Lucas a huge bucket of White-Out.
And only one man will be able to stop him. And that man is Martin Scorsese. He and his trusty sidekick Spike Jonze will venture into China and stab at the heart of this corruption in its dangerous lair. And thus life shall imitate art in the bloodiest and, frankly, the most retarded way possible.
I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade. And I’d like to believe that I will be proven wrong come this May. But I’m keeping my expectations low and tempered, as should we all. Remember two things:
-Blind faith is what made Jonestown happen.
-And geeks used to bite the heads off of chickens.