Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I Scared Stephen King

True story, swear to God:

Back in 1993 or '94, I had a glamorous, fast-paced career as a gas station assistant manager in Little America, Wyoming. One day, I read in USA Today that author Stephen King was going on a motorcycle book tour across the country. "Hm," I mumbled, the word fraught with foreshadowing.

One week later I'm behind the marble counter-top of the checkout (it was actually a really nice gas station. It was part of a whole complex including a diesel gas station for trucks, a restaurant and hotel. It was all run by Mormons who were amazingly polite and who put me in charge of the place from day one because I also was polite, as well as white and male). I look out of the large bay window, see a guy filling up his cycle and know right away it's him.

I start panicking. Should I ask for his autograph? Should I tell him how much I enjoyed The Stand? Now he's walking up to the door. Finally, without any idea what I'm going to do, I spread my hands on the counter-top and look down.

Stephen King steps up to the counter. I'm still keeping my eyes down, but facing him, not making eye contact. The moment stretches out... finally I lift my head very slowly, look deadly-serious and say in my deepest, most Lurch-like voice:

"We've been expecting you."

He shit. His eyes flew wide and he took a step back from the counter. "Whaaat??" I will remember that face as long as I live. I was actually worried about him for a second, wondering if I'd have to call the paramedics.

Then my entire demeanor changed, and I put the most nonchalant, bored, gas station-drone look on my face and gestured lazily back over my shoulder at his bike. "Yeah, you owe $5.95 for gas."

He took a hesitant step toward the counter and began pawing money out, laying it on the counter. I gave him his change and finished with a kind tone, "I really enjoy your work, by the way." King nodded absently, giving me a concerned sidelong glance as he walked away toward the restaurant. I later heard from the restaurant waitresses that he was nice enough, but a bit distracted for some reason. He didn't eat much and left quickly.

I want to apologize to Mr. King for scaring him. He didn't need some guy to just randomly freak him out like that, and I hope it didn't sour him on gas stations, motorcycle book tours or Mormons.

That being said... Stephen King has made a mammoth pile of cash frightening the hell out of us for thirty years. He's been the inspiration for more nightmares around the world than Joan Rivers' face. He's the king of horror, and I put The Fear into him, if only for a few seconds. Whatever else I do, I know I have not lived in vain. After I die, my tombstone shall read:





Monday, March 5, 2007

Word For Word, The Fairy Tale I Told My 5-Month Old Daughter This Morning

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Princess.

The Princess lived in a huge castle, and she rode a gorgeous white pony. With wings! So it was actually a Pegasus, which is better than a horse, er, pony.

One day, the Princess met a handsome young Prince. Or maybe she didn't. Daddy's not entirely sure how he feels about that. Alright, she did. He was androgynous and non-threatening and very, very rich. The Prince married the beautiful Princess. Then the Prince gave the King (the Princess' father) a brand-new, even bigger castle. And a carriage that went Turbo, and better crown jewels.

The Princess lived happily ever after. Not that it was that rough for her before that, what with the castle and the awesome dad the King. Not to mention she had a freakin' Pegasus.

The End

Those were the actual words that came out of my mouth this morning while getting my daughter dressed. I only ask that this post not be admissible in the inevitable child services hearings.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Replacing Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon is out as writer and director of the new Wonder Woman movie. What did he know about writing strong women, anyway? Do not question Hollywood! Hollywood is busy audience-testing and focus-grouping Dukes of Hazzard 2: Maybe Jessica Simpson Gets Naked, plus there's the marketing tie-in's to consider, so leave Hollywood alone. Instead, let's do our part to assist in finding the next director of Wonder Woman, the Movie:

Quentin Tarantino

Pros: Arterial spray.

Cons: Movie poster warning label: Caution! This film may contain acting by Quentin Tarantino.

Cast as Wonder Woman: Pam Grier, sucka!

The Movie: Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman II, Wonder Woman III and Wonder Woman IV, The Quest for Peace actually all just one movie chopped up. Wonder Woman III is nothing but Wonder Woman and Cheetah talking in a Chinese Restaurant for four hours.

James Cameron

Pros: Killer Robots from the future could actually work in a Wonder Woman story. Aw, who am I kidding, they work in any story!

Cons: Spends seven years and a quarter of a billion dollars painstakingly reconstructing the Invisible Jet.

Cast as Wonder Woman: How much do I still owe Linda Hamilton in alimony? Grrr... call her.

The Movie: I'm Queen of the world!!!

Uwe Boll

Pros: Final cost to produce? Forty-seven dollars, twenty-five cents.

Cons: Credits include House of the Dead, Bloodrayne and Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Cast as Wonder Woman: The very next person he sees. It could be you!

The Movie: What's happening? Is that a microphone hanging down from the top of the screen? Who are- why are they- this makes no... what the fuc- The End. Roll typo-ridden credits.

Francis Ford Coppola

Pros: Steve Trevor rides the rivers of Paradise Island straight to the heart of darkness. His mission: to terminate with extreme prejudice a mad Queen Hippolyta. The horror...

Cons: Keanu Reeves may attempt a British accent.

Cast as Wonder Woman: After an exhaustive world-wide search, Coppola finds the perfect actress to portray Wonder Woman: his own lovely daughter, Sophia! Isn't she precious? Sit down and look at these baby pictures.

The Movie: Leave the tiara. Take the cannoli.

Spike Lee

Pros: The Right Thing involves punching people in the face.

Cons: Wonder Woman's bracelets, tiara and golden lasso may be referred to at some point as "bling".

Cast as Wonder Woman: Angela Bassett. Denzel as Steve Trevor. Holy crap, that could actually work. I'm calling Hollywood with this right now. "Hello, Hollywood? I've got an idea for a big-budget, all-black..." Hm, must have got disconnected.

The Movie: A message about black people will be told. But will we listen? Will we, really?*

Woody Allen

Pros: We'll all feel a little smarter after having seen it, but we won't actually be any smarter.

Cons: Film will gross forty-seven dollars, twenty-five cents.

Cast as Wonder Woman: Mia Farrow has been in almost a dozen Woody Allen movies. Soon-Yi: zero. Don't think that's not coming up at the dinner table around casting time. Also, Woody envisions Air Force Colonel, war hero and ace pilot Steve Trevor as more of an elderly, nebbishy man.

The Movie: An existentialist exercise worth bringing the whole family for, if the whole family is well-educated, Jewish, raised in Brooklyn and collecting social security. Should be easy on the ears as the action film will be entirely devoid of explosions, or action.

Steven Spielberg

Pros: If you want to set it in World War II, the director search is officially over.

Cons: We don't see Ares, the God of War and Diana's arch-nemesis until the last ten minutes of the film. Until then, we just hear scary music whenever he's nearby.

Cast as Wonder Woman: In all of Spielberg's films, only once has he made a woman the main character. He'll probably go back and cast her in this as well. Whoopie will look fab in that bustier, I'm sure.

The Movie: Glorious happy ending. That character who died poignantly in the second half of the film? He's not really dead at all! He's actually alive for no reason! Yay! And adorable puppies!

David Lynch

Pros: Two or three images or scenes in the film will shake you to the core. You'll leave the cinema jittery, unsure of reality and in desperate need of a stiff drink. Wait, should this be a con?

Cons: Wonder Woman chain-smokes.

Cast as Wonder Woman: Laura Dern. The only Wonder Woman in the history of the imagination that cannot be effectively masturbated to.

The Movie: Is this a dream? No, wait, this part is actually happening. Or maybe it's a dream. Wait, does that character really even exist? So she's going insane? Or she's always been insane, but she's dead and dreaming of this from the afterlife? Are there two Wonder Women? My head hurts.

John Woo

Pros: John Woo was one of the very best directors in Hong Kong.

Cons: John Woo isn't in Hong Kong anymore. Plus, Cheetah... you're wearing my face!!!

Cast as Wonder Woman: Who's hot? I mean it, who is the hottest of the hot right now in Hollywood? Her? She was hot five minutes ago. I'm not exaggerating, five minutes ago she was the hottest, now, she's not. Hot, heat, hot! Find her! Go! And cast as Steve Trevor: (please say Chow Yun-Fat, please say Chow Yun-Fat, please say Chow Yun-Fat) John Travolta. (argh)

The Movie: Wonder Woman jumps through a flaming doorway in slow-motion, shooting two guns at the same time while doves flap through the air in front of her.

Nora Ephron

Pros: Tom Hanks might show up. Then again, he might still be wearing that mullet from The Da Vinci Code.

Cons: Actual title: Wonder Woman, Brought to You by Massengill. May induce cuddling.

Cast as Wonder Woman: Meg Ryan. The world's collagen, Botox and silicone supplies take a hit from which they may never recover.

The Movie: OMG, WW and Steve are never going to get over their differences and realize they're soulmates! That Rosie O'Donnell is so funny as Wonder Woman's best friend. No, no, no Ares is just not right for you, Diana, don't you see that? Aww, they're kissing on the top of Paradise Island. It's so sweet. Pass the Kleenex? i wuv u.

Well, that's the complete list**. Hollywood owes us a debt of gratitude it will never repay barring legal action. In the meantime, Joss Whedon can go back to doing what he does best: being a handmade idol on my mantle that I pray to hourly.


*I'm sorry, were you saying something? Kinda nodded off there.

**The Oliver Stone jokes were just too obvious, and I'd roughed up George Lucas enough in the last post.