Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Monday, May 31, 2004

When I went to see "Super Size Me" today -- see two posts below -- the movie was preceded by a whole bunch of previews. I like previews. But previews at theaters that show "independent movies" like this one bring that enjoyment to a whole new level. Among the movies previewed: "The Story of the Weeping Camel." Is that not the perfect independent film title? Could anyone, just from the title, imagine that this movie *wouldn't* be an independent film? Is there any chance the voiceover could ever say, "Mission Impossible's Tom Cruise... Pretty Woman's Julia Roberts... in a film directed by Steven Spielberg. The Story of the Weeping Camel." Not a chance. Another movie previewed was called "The Door in the Floor," which looked for a fleeting moment like a Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) biopic, but it appears not to be. And one of the other movies playing in the theater was called "My Mother Likes Women," which, I'm guessing, is not a big-budget action thriller. Moviefone had an amusing ad making fun of casting independent films. It got me thinking: we have big movies, and then we have independent film. But imagine if these independent filmmakers, instead of making movies, they made ads. I repeated this idea to myself three times (and to the person next to me once) so I would remember it, and turn it into something. So here goes.

Commercials, as created by independent filmmakers:

A boy sits in a crowded hut sewing two leather panels together. He speaks a foreign tongue. The subtitle reads: "My innocence is lost as I sew these two leather panels together." A donkey walks into the frame. "Hello, donkey. Can I ride you to salvation?" A woman in the background wails softly over the strains of sitar music. An elderly woman enters the frame. The boy shrieks. Subtitle: "Grandma, you're alive!" Pan to grandma's feet. She is wearing sneakers. The logo appears. Nike. Superimposed text: "Nike. For all the times in your life."

Jerky camerawork on a gritty Hoboken, New Jersey street. The door to a small bodega swings open, and we enter. A young woman is pushing pins into a rag doll and chanting. A precocious child falls from the sky and onto a pile of dirty magazines. His mother yanks him up by the arm. "Vladimir," she scolds. "No!" We hear thunder in the distance. A horse rides up. A police officer disembarks and enters the store. "I'm leaving my wife," he announces. "She's left me for another woman, played by Hope Davis or perhaps Laura Linney." The precocious child hands the police officer a box. Pan to the box. It is Hamburger Helper. "Makes a great meal," he whispers. A knife hits the boy in the chest and he dies.

A goat lies mangled in a ditch. We hear the soft sounds of a classical guitar. From offscreen: "Henry, don't do this to me." "But I have to Susan, it's the only road to justice." We pan to see it's a small TV, in a dark motel room, where Skeet Ulrich is pasting together a ransom note. "I have your daughter," it reads, "and I've mangled your goat." Holly Hunter enters from the motel room bathroom, cutting herself with a razor. "I've lost the will to live, Mr. O'Malley." She impales herself on a butter knife. Cut back to the highway ditch. Philip Seymour Hoffman pulls up in a pickup truck, removes the cap from a Miller Lite, and takes a sip. The goat stirs, and rises from the ditch. Close-up on the beer.