' ' Cinema Romantico: Pitch Meeting: More Objects as Movies

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Pitch Meeting: More Objects as Movies

In writing over the weekend for The New York Times about Ben Affleck’s “Air” (review to come, eventually, someday), an opus of how Nike partnered with His Airness, Michael Jordan, by designing a shoe in his name, Zachary Siegel flippantly if accurately described the sudden new trend of Hollywood historical dramas: “Hey, remember this old thing?” He cites not only “Air” but “Tetris” (obviously), “BlackBerry” (self-explanatory), and “Flamin’ Hot” (the upcoming Eva Longoria joint about the invention of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos), without even mentioning the recently released “Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game.” “These are not movies about people or events that changed our scientific or political reality,” Siegel reckons. “(T)hey are interested in men (and yes, I do mean just men) who changed our consumer reality.” More than that, though, Siegel continues, they are “centered on the objects.” Stop the tape. That is what interested me. That, as it absolutely had to, got me to thinking. 

There are so many objects! What other objects could become movies?! I’m so glad you asked!

More Objects as Movies

The Unique. Kinda like we here at Cinema Romantico fashioned our own answer to the “Winning Time” Los Angeles Lakers HBO miniseries with “Institutionalized Defeat” about the mid-90s Minnesota Timberwolves, allow us to fashion our own answer to “Air” with “Unique,” about The Human Highlight Reel Dominique Wilkins’s patented Brooks red and white high top. After all, Brooks is kinda to Nike as Blogspot is to Substack, making it feel right at home for our burgeoning ersatz production company. 

Surge. You remember Surge, my fellow Class of ‘96ers, the citrus-flavored soda haplessly enlisted by Coca-Cola to go toe-to-toe with Mountain Dew, marketing itself as the soft drink of the extreme sport crowd, or something, and a fitting metaphor for “Surge.” Directed by Middling Thriller titan Gary Fleder, this will be our object biopic to demonstrate that sometimes all Xtreme energy gets you is discontinued.

VHS vs. Betamax. “King Kong vs. Godzilla” as the famed Videotape format war. Possible sequel: “VHS vs. Toshiba DVD Player.”

Monopoly. If the studio is worried that all of these potential movies merely objectifying consumer objects will fail to bring Young Americans to the movie theater, worry not, we will simply greenlight “Monopoly” as an action-packed critique of capitalism, and failing that, just, like, you know, commission a remake of “King of Marvin Gardens.”

Rubik’s Cube. The UK Christmas Number 1 reimagined as the UK Christmas Number 1 Selling Toy of 1980 set against the backdrop of the emergent Thatcher regime. 

Bartles & Jaymes. Now we could make a movie about the Frank Bartles & Ed Jaymes ad campaign that ingeniously fused a 1980s yuppie product with 1950s folksiness, but we would rather turn Frank Bartles & Ed Jaymes into real characters, sort of “Grumpy Old Men” as Jay and Silent Bob meets “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Marr.” Bartles & Jaymes: Blue Hawaiian. 

Busch Beer. A Ponce de Leon-like quest in which a gullible viewer searches American mountain ranges for mystical Busch six-packs cooling in literal streams, just as the TV spots of yore promised. 

Fly the Friendly Skies. Granted, this is not an object, this is a slogan, but I enjoy watching old college football games on YouTube, especially college football games from the 80s, and one I watched at some point in the recent past included a vintage United Airlines spot. I had forgotten that Gene Hackman worked as the voice-only pitchman and, man, I gotta tell ya, on this ad I saw (heard), Hackman’s “Come fly the friendly skies” was nails, just ad-reading brilliance, not friendly, really, now that I think about it, because it’s Hackman, you know, but, like, majestic, regal, truly worthy of the accompanying “Rhapsody in Blue,” for a brief couple seconds embodying how air travel might have sounded during the Golden Age of Flight, long before the friendly skies transformed into poultry plants at 35,000 feet. Would I like to see a movie about Leo Burnett’s famous ad agency devising this slogan? Sure. But really, I’d like to see a whole movie about convincing the irascible Hackman to do this ad.

I should probably stop now.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I was assuming the Bartles & James movie would be a Coen Bros. film but the direction you are taking this is fantastic. Pitch approved!