For Those of You who Aspire to be Educated by Hollywood
A few weeks ago, my roommate was watching the film John Q on cable and, in between staring at my reflection longingly, I watched most of it too. It was a decent movie; Denzel Washington was great as usual, and the plot was pretty interesting. However, there was one glaring flaw about the film: the script. It was so heavy-handed, the screenwriter must have been wearing gauntlets. I'm all for using major motion pictures to spread useful information, but several parts of John Q were like listening to people reciting from a textbook. I went to IMDB to find some quotes, since you can't honestly expect me to remember this stuff, but they didn't have many relevant to what I'm talking about. The closest one was this:
Mitch: This country man, can't go anywhere without getting' mugged, or murdered or stabbed. Kids killin' their classmates, drivebys, ya know, I won't even go into a post office any more.
Steve Maguire: Shut up, Mitch.
Dr. Turner: No, you shut up. I hate the little bastard but he's right. You know how easy it is to get a gun in the country? In five minutes, boom, gun show. [courtesy imdb.com]
This is actually pretty snappy dialogue compared to the rest of the movie, which often boils down to people arguing with doctors about the cost of health care and the number of the uninsured in America. Look, I understand what you're trying to say. I don't have insurance, so I just have to hope these weird rashes I'm getting aren't anything serious. But come on, you don't have to throw statistics at me for an hour and a half. Punch it up a little. Put a little creativity into it. I don't pay money to sit in a theatre and get lectured. Well, I went to college...so I guess I actually did, in that case. And I didn't really pay any money to see this, technically, nor did I go to the theatre. What was I saying?
Oh yes, that's right. While mulling this whole thing over, I realized that hey, maybe this is what Hollywood wants these days. Maybe they're really out for the common good, and they're still kind of clumsy about it. This gave me a fantastic idea. I decided to help Hollwood out by revising the script for an upcoming feature film to reflect their newfound preachy benevolence. With that in mind, here's an excerpt from my more civically-minded script for The Fast and the Furious 4:
[Open with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker sitting in a Murcielago, the engine still humming after a manic high-speed chase. They are visibly exhausted, but coming down from an adrenaline high. There is an aura around them of intense masculinity.]
Paul Walker: Whew. That was a close one.
Vin Diesel: You can say that again.
PW: Fortunately for us, we got out of it unscathed.
VD [Ed. note-Hahaha]: Yeah man.
PW: I mean, in America, there's one car accident-related death every 13 minutes. That could've been us.
VD: Really? That many?
PW: Oh yeah. In fact, there were nearly 6,420,000 auto accidents in the United States in 2005.
VD [Ed. note-Still funny]: Damn. I had no idea.
PW: It's not all doom and gloom though. Studies have shown that wearing your seat belt and practicing defensive driving can significantly reduce your chances of being involved in a fatal car accident.
[Tyrese Gibson appears outside the passenger side window and leans in]
Tyrese Gibson: Say word?
PW: Word, Tyrese.
VD: You wanna talk fast and furious? Well, I'd sure be furious if my kid got involved a a car accident because he was driving too fast.
[Everyone laughs. Michelle Rodriguez appears next to Tyrese]
Michelle Rodriguez: I could crush your skull with my thighs.