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Dream Trailer for an Imaginary Movie

Posted on 2011.12.10 at 10:51
So, this morning, I dreamed the trailer for an imaginary movie.

The tone of the trailer made it look like a sweet, goofy comedy, the beats very similar to the trailer for the Sarah Jessica Parker/Matthew McConaughey vehicle "Failure to Launch."

The cast, in the dream!trailer, was William Shatner and a very, very young Matthew McConaughey, but he's too old for the part, so let's give that role to Shia LaBeouf.

The premise: Shatner plays a Grey Eminence of journalism, print and television: we're talking a Walter Cronkite-level giant, someone so mighty, so powerful and famous that.... There was a wonderful line in obituaries for Jacques Cousteau: "The sea had a voice, and it spoke with a soft French accent." Well, in this movie, not just news, but Truth has a voice, and it's the voice of William Shatner. Brilliant, groundbreaking though he always has been, he hasn't really kept up with technology, and really doesn't understand the Internet.

This is a problem because his son (McConaughey/LaBeouf) is an up-and-coming, widely respected news blogger, and though the two live in the same house -- a mansion -- they really don't communicate, and have no real visible bond. This is Shatner's youngest child, from his fifth or sixth marriage, and they've just never really connected. There's no ill-will, but there's no real love, either: when they chat over breakfast -- rarely -- they're like colleagues in their office lunchroom, talking about generalities; they don't really share themselves, and don't interact in any really meaningful way.

Perhaps because his son has said something about the Internet being the new News Media, the place where real stories break and are covered with great thoroughness, Shatner starts reading Internet news sites, but, being unfamiliar with the 'net, he doesn't know good from bad, real from fake, reliable from crazy.... And he stumbles across a conspiracy theorist site and grabs what he sees there and runs with it.

Without talking about it to pretty much anybody else, he puts together, and broadcasts a story that Muammar Khaddafi (at this point in my dream, I thought, Oh, crap! The poor bastards got overtaken by events, too bad they didn't have time to fix it so it's not somebody who's been removed from power and killed! so obviously, we'll need a new Nutbag Crazy National Leader, perhaps Kim Jong-il or his apparently-equally-crazy son) has launched an orbital laser weapon capable of destroying large targets on the ground. There's even footage of a test-firing of the weapon, which turns out to be footage from the James Bond movie Die Another Day.

Of course, the first reporter to see that this legend of journalism has fallen so completely for a nutty web conspiracy theory is the son, who must break the story that his father has made a journalistic error of colossal, even epic, proportions.

The Shatner character is, of course, ruined, his journalistic career now the butt of Jay Leno's monologues, his legacy, rather than being blowing the whistle on organized crime and corporate and government corruption, and explaining international crises and scientific discoveries to the world, is now a punch-line.

And the drama and warmth of the movie comes from the conflict and resolution between father and son, both discovering and rediscovering their pride in one another, and somehow building a new career for Shatner, that stands on the lessons he's learned in the destruction of the old.

I post this so that some enterprising screenwriter will steal it. Go ahead, I won't tell. I just think I'd enjoy seeing this movie, and now you know as much about it as I do!


heron_pose at 2011-12-10 18:02 (UTC) (Link)
Dude, this is a sweet idea ... except that even in the foreign land of social media I bet Cronkite/Shatner would fact-check his story ...

Now, this type of structural problem has not prevented a bunch of other films from getting made; I nevertheless have to stand up for Reason.

I guess.

Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2011-12-10 19:49 (UTC) (Link)
Do you remember what happened to Pierre Salinger in 1996? He found a conspiracy website, and started reporting that the US Navy had shot down TWA Flight 800 over Long Island Sound with a missile. It destroyed it his career. A very sad ending to a very great career in journalism.
heron_pose at 2011-12-10 21:01 (UTC) (Link)
Ah, yes, that's what they *want* you to think ...

Seriously, though, wasn't Salinger a critic of U.S. covert ops for some time before that happened? In the context of other stuff he'd reported on (and not reported on, but had info about), it was not a completely absurd claim, although false.

I am definitely NOT claiming that Salinger was the victim of some kind of conspiracy to destroy his credibility, just that our 'mass' culture tends to simplify narratives for the sake of good stories. I dunno. Don't mind me, I'm grading crappy papers.

p.s. the TV in your icon is, I believe, the one I grew up with. Give it back!
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2011-12-10 21:43 (UTC) (Link)
In ever so slightly more seriousness, you can play a little more fast-and-loose in a comedy, even a quite moving one. Remeber "Fifty First Dates," in which Adam Sandler takes romantic advice from a Walrus?
sarahenany at 2011-12-10 21:23 (UTC) (Link)
"Stand up for Reason"? I wish you wouldn't do that.
And yeah, on your second post...
alloy_ at 2011-12-11 06:38 (UTC) (Link)
I can totally see Shatner in this role....(you should send it to him)
xedra at 2011-12-11 14:30 (UTC) (Link)
I totally want to see this movie! XD
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