I’m not sure. I think it was just the proximate cause, the trigger for the steep tailspin that has been building up inside me for months – maybe years. All I know is that when I came upon the notice on Craigslists lately, it made me want to go drown myself in a bucket of artificial butter.
“Face painters wanted for traveling dinosaur show (USA).”
That’s right. Face painters for a traveling dinosaur show. Think I’m making it up? No sir. Here’s the link in case you’ve given up looking for a job as a reporter at a big city daily (hint, there aren’t any such jobs) and have decided just to go with the flow. Or the day-glo. Here’s the link for all of you dreamers who have ever referred to, or thought of referring to, a young unmarried pregnant teen as “Little Skillet.” Here’s the link for all of you out there, your eyes twinkling with visions of playing the lead character in the next Sundance Festival Viewer’s Choice Award.
It’s when I came upon this posting that I realized we’d stepped through the looking glass. Realized that we are now living in a feature film version of America produced by DreamWorks, directed by Wes Anderson, co-written by Anderson and Diablo Cody, and based upon an adaptation of an entry Diablo Cody (can’t stop saying her made-up name, must stop saying her made-up name, can’t stop…etc.) once posted on her old Pussy Ranch blog.
Let me repeat:
“Face painters wanted for traveling dinosaur show (USA)”
And for those of you too deep in daydreams to click on the link or paste it into your browser, here’s the last part of the ad:
“Please send or email resume & portfolio of work for consideration.
Blue Star Productions
4660 Churchill Street
Shoreview, MN 55126”
Yup. That’s right, Little Skillet. A portfolio of work. Hope mom still has it in the attic!
In response to my film-bred funk, I wish to propose a few non-negotiable demands to the makers and exhibitors of American movies. So, in no particular order except that ordained by the use of cardinal numbers, here goes.
I’d like to propose a new term for movies like Juno or Little Miss Sunshine or Moonrise Kingdom or for any winner of the Sundance Award for feature films and the like: “intweependent,” aka “intwee” movies.
So, “Did you see that great new ‘Intwee’ from Wes Anderson and co-written by Diablo Cody? You’ll love it. It’s quirky and heartwarming!”
What are intweependent films? Simple. They are films governed by a twee sensibility. “Twee” was coined by Beatrix Potter to describe the sensibility that governed her writing. Something like “fey,” crossed with “precious” – the kind of thing that Dick Cavett (who was known to be a bit twee at times himself) would describe as “coy, winsome – and thoroughly nauseating.”
In an intweependent film, absolutely nothing is at stake. At least nothing real. The feeling tone has the gravitas of a Feist ballad tickling the ear drums over a commercial for the rumored upcoming release of the next generation IPhone. The kind of thing you can’t get out of your head until you open up your head with an ice pick.
Intweependent. The Royal Juno Moonrise Express. You get it.
I’d like the company that operates Cinnabon to expand the organization’s assault on America’s waistlines and cardio-vascular systems by introducing a new product: “Cinemabomb.” It would combine Malted Milk Balls, Mountain Dew, and Cinnabon cinnamon rolls into a single mouth-watering, tummy pleasing, glucose crashing, islets of langerhans-decimating taste treat served at your local cineplex’s suspiciously ill-lit and probably grimy “snack counter” (But hey? Who’s checking?) for a mere $7.50 (small) or $11.95 (large).
I want the creation of a new rating introduced by the MPAA: the “ASJA-21.” This rating would be applied to any movie starring Adam Sandler or Jennifer Aniston, either alone or in combination. An ASJA-21 would indicate that a film is unsuited for viewing by anyone, no matter what his or her age, so long as that person still possesses a level of sentience greater than a chimp totally wiped out from a bottle of Jagermeister washed down by a case of Miller 64, all in one sitting. Or in one seating.
I want the American Academy of Motion Pictures Arts to present Steven Spielberg with an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, provided that Spielberg agrees never to write, direct, produce, or be the source of the idea from which any new film is made during the remainder of his lifetime or mine, whichever comes first.
All of you fortunate enough to have endured Spielberg’s most recent masterpiece War Horse will understand. The culmination of Spielberg’s entire oeuvre, War Horse provides a thoroughbred dose of violence and romantic saccharin that’s a cross between National Velvet and the bloodier stretches of Saving Pvt. Ryan, plus numerous “homage a moi” to Spielberg’s action/adventure flick about the Holocaust, Schindler’s List (originally titled Jews until some studio hack pointed out a potential conflict with the release of next Jaws sequel)
So, please Hollywood. Listen up. These four things are not too much to ask, are they? And in return for granting my requests, I’ll do something really nice. I’ll go spend $11.50 for a matinee ticket to see Spiderman 33, or Grumpiest Old Man, or whatever. Really I will. Maybe I’ll even paint your face for you.
After all, Hollywood, in the world of movie-making, you are a kind of dinosaur, aren’t you?