Coming Soon: Julia Roberts in "The Man from Atlantis and His Hog Inventory"

(Originally ran on March 1st, 2004 as "Envision the kindergarten cop as president")

Sometimes it's just too easy.

Last week I saw that Jason Alexander is going over to the Middle East to negotiate for peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. That's right, "Seinfeld" fans, George Costanza is en route to the Holy Land.

Last semester I had a heyday writing about Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston doing the same thing. I felt my best observation was that Pitt could best negotiate the peace through a demonstration of innovative fly fishing techniques.

I could do the same for Alexander, I guess. I do wonder if they'll let him talk before he demonstrates the "feats of strength." But that's too easy. Plus, if I continue to jab these people, I'll start to feel guilty. After all, they are trying to do something good. It's just that I'm not sure they're the best emissaries to do the job.

This column will run the day after the Oscars. Does it give you a cold chill to think of how many of our future political leaders might have been in attendance? Schwartzenegger's another easy target. Have you heard that Orrin Hatch is supports the revision of current presidential candidate eligibility standards, namely the one that says you have to have been born here to run? How does the vision of the Kindergarten Cop in the Oval Office strike you, eh?

Nah, I'd rather do something original than shoot the easy targets. There's plenty of funny stuff in the world that most people never hear about.

This semester I'm taking a course in Folk Narrative. Less than halfway through the semester I've realized something: Hollywood has robbed us. Most of the stories that get turned into movies fit a few basic formulas, and it's rare that we don't know what's coming after the first ten minutes.

I'd love to see the movie version of some of these folk tales I've been studying. (Hereafter, the folk tales will be referred to as Marchën, their proper German term, simply because anytime you refer to something using a term from another language, you look smarter.)

In one Marchën, this gal has to dive underwater and go visit some "polite cats" to win the heart of her handsome prince. Right on, man. I think that in the next Julia Roberts movie, she should have to go scuba diving after some sub-aquatic felines with good table manners. Nuts to this "Runaway Bride" and "My Best Friend's Wedding" crap. Maybe she could meet up with that guy from "Man from Atlantis."*

In this other Marchën, two gals chase their farts around the underworld. Yeah. The farts are real dudes who are just trying to mind their own business. Far be it from me to belabor a vulgar point, but I think that if you've come to the point that you're personifying gaseous emissions, it's time to step up the medication. That being said, I'd pay good money to see Meryl Streep and Martha Stewart** chase their farts around the underworld.

To tell the truth, there are a lot of deserving subjects that need to be given proper media representation. Like grocery stores. I've never seen a TV show or a movie set in a grocery store. Why is it people don't think asparagus and cheese balls are interesting? Where's the respect for the long-entrenched grocery establishment? Where else can you hear a Muzak version of "Stairway to Heaven?"

And what about the national hog inventory? I found out from Cornell University that last year the hog inventory went up one percent, to 60 million head. Now, it's easy to come up with an exciting story about aliens that invade Earth, but it's been done to death. I'd like to see someone make a movie about a desperate hog farmer in Illinois who's facing the crushing task of increasing his hog inventory so that the good people of the United States don't come up short on pork rinds next year. Now that's an issue that matters.

You think Costanza might campaign for that?

*Obscure Pop Culture Reference #1: "Man from Atlantis" was this cool TV show about a guy that grew up underwater and had webbed toes. I have a friend with webbed toes; he's one of the coolest guys I know.

**OPCR #2: I realize that Martha Stewart isn't technically an actress, since she strictly keeps it real on her cooking shows. The point is that it's much funnier to picture her chasing a fart than say, Nicole Kidman. That would be downright discouraging.