Saturday, October 23, 1999

Attack of the Grim, Not-too-distant Future

A grim, depressing scene right out of Blade Runner.

A word crawl appears in the ruined sky.

The crawl reads ...

It is the middle of the 21st century. Life basically sucks.

Hiro and Miko, a visiting Japanese couple, approach a Robot Sentinel.

HIRO: Excuse, please. Is LA utopia or dystopia?


HIRO: LA very dirty.

ROBOT SENTINEL: We have many exciting robots.
They nod and bow.

MIKO: How come no fat people LA?


HIRO: Ah. What "Fat Camp"...?

ROBOT SENTINEL: First rule of Fat Camp. You do not talk about Fat Camp.

They laugh, nervously.


Lots of fat people are strolling around.

Fat Chick: Is something supposed to happen?

FAT GUY: Hey, I feel lighter already!

He starts lifting up.

FAT GUY: Hey, wait a minute ...

All the fat people start levitating.

LOGAN (played by a very fat Michael York) clutches the wall and makes his way outside.


ROBOT SENTINEL #2: (looking at monitor) Logan is making a run.

ROBOT SENTINEL #3: He won't get far.

ROBOT SENTINEL #2: Hey. Ron-N. Get Logan.

ROBOT SENTINEL #3: You are human. You are paid for this shit.

Ron-N (pronounced "Ronin") nods. Not a robot. His face is masked, Boba Fett-style. The helmet vaguely resembles a chef's hat. He's wearing body armor. A high-tech variation of samurai garb. He never speaks.

The fat people float up to the top of the dome and start exploding. Down below, Tyler Durden gathers their fat and makes soap.

Ron-N makes his way outside the dome.
Michael York runs away. Slowly.

ROBOT SENTINEL #2: What is going on?
ROBOT SENTINEL #3: The humans do not know.
ROBOT SENTINEL #2: We will create suspense with our ambiguous comments.


A giant geodesic dome with a forest inside. A crawl appears against the star field.

In the middle of the 21st century, overpopulation and pollution have destroyed the earth's ecosystem. The
Ev-L corporation has managed to preserve a few natural habitats in space.

Sol is tending to the trees, assisted by robotic Smokey-the-Bears. Sol is played by Edward G. Robinson. He watches the giant letters, parading across the blackness of space.
SOL: Nyah. Get a load of the size of those letters. That's a hazard, see?
A device beeps on his wrist. He pushes a button. A giant hologram of MR. BIGTIME appears-- a bald, fat man resembling Sydney Greenstreet.
MR. BIGTIME: Mr. Bigtime here, ruthless head of the Ev-L corporation, hmm-hmm. There’s something I want you to do for me.
SOL: What’s that, boss?
MR. BIGTIME: Destroy the forest.
SOL: Myah. Destroy the forest? That makes no sense, see? Why?
MR. BIGTIME: We're the Ev-L corporation. It’s the evil thing to do.
SOL: Sure. Well, I ain’t gonna do it, see?
MR. BIGTIME: The Smokeys will be most unhappy to hear that.
He pushes a button on his wrist. The Smokeys' eyes turn satanic red. They approach Sol with shovels.

SOL: Shovels, eh? Well, I got something for you, see? 

He whips out machine gun, mows down Smokeys. One bear manages to cut Sol open with a shovel.
SOL: Ow! Open channel to detective Thorn, see?
COMPUTER: Unavailable.
SOL: OK, OK. Ron-N. Let me talk to him.
COMPUTER: Accessing.

Ron-N striding through the urban chaos of LA. He gets Sol's message. stops, listens.
Sol is dying -- but he gets his dying words out.

SOL: ...had to get it off my chest, pal. Get the message to Detective Thorn, see? Detective Thorn in NYC. He'll know what to do.

Ron-N nods, hearing the message inside that freaky helmet of his.


SOL: (last words) At least, I saved the forest ...

An Alien Adam and Eve. She's handing him an alien apple. The geodesic dome lands on top of them and crushes them. Chimpanzees emerge and begin masturbating. One pick's up Eve's femur and tosses it into the sky.

Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) is enjoying his breakfast.

THORN: (talking to himself for no reason whatsoever) Sol's the lucky one. At least he got an assignment in space. Me, I'm stuck here with apes, mutants and food rioters. But at least I've got Soylent Brown. Mmm! This one's got corn in it!

An ape reaches for his breakfast.

THORN: Get your hands off my breakfast, you damn dirty ape!

Thorn blows ape away with a shotgun.

Ron-N walks through urban wreckage of LA. Finds Michael York, collapsed on the pavement, and gives him a donut.

Keeps walking.

The urban sprawl, eventually, thins out.

Most of the buildings become abandoned buildings.

Somewhere along the line, the urban sprawl becomes a desert. An abandoned desert.

Ron-N starts to walk into desert. He's cut off by a giant text crawl, which blasts in front of him like a freight train. He almost runs into it, but backs off. He waits impatiently.

The text reads ...

A devastating nuclear war has divided the United States into the decadent west coast and overpopulated east coast. The Badlands separate them, a place of mutants and death.

Ron-N almost walks forward, but is nearly killed by another text block.

It is a very bad place.

Ron-N shakes head, keeps walking. A hovercraft stops, throws a load of garbage at his feet, moves on.

He looks down at it, then up at the camera like the crying Indian in the ancient commercial. Shrugs. Keeps walking.

The giant floating head of Zardoz appears and ponderously floats up to him and stops.

Bugs Bunny emerges.

BUGS: Eh, pardon me, sir, but could you direct me to the shortest route to the Coachella Valley and the big carrot festival therein? 

Ron-N points.
BUGS: Thanks a million, mister.

The giant floating head zips away. Ron-N keeps walking.

Gigantic garbage trucks are scooping up angry, rioting crowds. Thorn and another detective watch.

THORN: What's today's bad news?
THORN: Mutants. Christ. If it's not one thing it's -- (sees something) Well that makes me sick.
THORN: That's what! Look!

Points to rows of dumpsters. The dumpsters are labeled Apes, Mutants, Food Rioters, Paper, Plastic.

THORN: There's apes in the mutant dumpster and vice versa! We're the NYC police department! We're supposed to set the standard for environmental responsibility!
DETECTIVE: Yeah, yeah. (spitting out food) This Soylent Brown tastes like shit.

Ron-N reaches a farm in a geodesic dome. A hippyish farmer dude and his wife greet him.

HIPPY FARMER DUDE: My farm is fertile. But I am not.
HIPPY FARMER WIFE: It is the law of the traveler.
Cheesy, John Boorman-esque sex scene ensues. Ron-N keeps his helmet on. After ...


Ron-N shakes head no.

HIPPY FARMER WIFE: You can't ...

HIPPY FARMER DUDE: Of course he can't! He's on like a Joseph W. Campbell hero's journey like Clint Eastwood in those movies. "The Man with No Name," whatever his name was. Am I right?

Ron-N shakes head yes.

She sighs, gives the peace sign.

He leaves.

Sting from "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly"

Ron-N, still walking. He looks up and sees a sign.


Ron-N keeps walking. Looks up. Three Mutants are approaching, singing and popping their fingers like the gang in West Side Story. Singing...

MUTANTS: When you’re a mutant; Life really sucks; Your face just falls off; And there's no way to ...

They spot Ron-N -- laugh.
Ron-N reaches behind his back. Removes -- not a samurai sword but ...

MUTANT #1: What the hell is that? A freaking rolling pin?

It is, in fact, a rolling pin. Ron-N knocks off the Mutant's head with it.

MUTANT: Get him!

The mutants converge. Ron-N whips out Ginsu knives and carves them into little pieces.
Ron-N stands in a circle of carnage.
CAJ-N: (OS) I see you haven’t lost your touch.

Ron-N whirls around.

CAJ-N: Nice prep, work, mon ami. But what do I know? I am only a humble sous chef.

He fires an electrified net gun which wraps around Ron-N and zaps him into submission.

CAJ-N: Haw-haw! Your fighting skills are wasted, here, my old friend. We must find an audience worthy of your talent! You deserve much greater market share!

Ron-N struggles but loses consciousness. He awakes -- to the mindless, hypnotic sound of a clapping, stomping crowd.

CAJ-N: Welcome, Ron-N. Welcome to Chainsaw Ball Murder!

The crowd roars.

CAJ-N: Ah. I'm just kidding. It’s not Chainsaw Ball Murder. It’s EXTREME Chainsaw Ball Murder!

The crowd roars again.

MR. BIGTIME: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the main event!

The crowd cheers at an even higher level of insanity.
Hawkers working the crowd. 

HAWKERS: Soylent Brown! Getcher Soylent Brown right here! Soylent Brown on a stick!
MR. BIGTIME: As in Roman Times, I, Mr. Bigtime, give you bread, give you circuses, give you gladiatorial entertainment. Are you enjoying the show, ladies and gentlemen?

The mindless mob loves it. They're like that.
Ron-N stands defiantly.

MR. BIGTIME: Ah, such defiance, such individuality. But where are my manners? This is Ron-N, ladies and gentlemen, the legendary Iron Chef --


MR. BIGTIME: Please, my good plebeians, you insult me! He is the work of my own hands! My first genetic creation--my own personal chef! Infected with the virus of free will! How could I have known? I am heartbroken, ladies and gentlemen! I know how God feels at the pointless rebellion of Man!

Mr. Bigtime looks up, a tear in his eye.

MR. BIGTIME: But tonight. Tonight's game will prove the superiority of mindless conformity over individuality once and for all!

He points a finger dramatically.

MR. BIGTIME: Behold, ladies and gentlemen ... the champion of the state! The champion of the herd -- the Steel Chef!

The Steel Chef appears, played by Sting.

STEEL CHEF: I will kill him!

The Ref shows up.

REF: OK. You know there rules, there's no rules. I want a dirty fight. Here’s yer weapons. (hands out rollerskates and chainsaws) Fire em up!

The Ref runs like hell but is crushed by a Zamboni.

MR. BIGTIME: Let Extreme Chainsaw Murderball begin!

Extreme Chainsaw Murderball resembles a combination of roller ball, roller derby, ice hockey, pinball and a Toby Hooper movie. Much well-choreographed carnage. At the end, another Ref holds up a hand.

REPLACEMENT REF: Our new champion...

It's a severed hand.
Whip pan to --
The crowd starts stomping and cheering.
CROWD: Ron-N, Ron-N!
Mr. Bigtime runs. Ron-N advances. But, instead of chasing him, Ron-N walks to the end of the stadium and confronts --
Detective Thorn.
Ron-N leans down and whispers his message in Thorn's ear.
THORN: Oh my God. (leaps to his feet, then shouts) Soylent Brown is made out of poo-poo! It’s poo-poo!
The crowd starts vomiting and spitting out its food.
Mr. Bigtime runs. Ron-N is just behind him.
Mr. BIGTME: Please! Don't kill me!
Ron-N walks past him. Gets in a rocket and flies away.
MR. BIGTIME: What? I guess "please" really is the magic word.
A crawl appears. Flies right at him.
MR. BIGTIME: Ahhhh! It's crushing me!
The crawl reads ...

After "2001" came out in 1968, filmed science fiction outgrew the crappy space operas of its early years. There was a brief run of brainy, if downbeat movies. In the mid-1970s, George Lucas felt nostalgic for the crappy space operas. He made a crappy, upbeat movie called "Star Wars" full of the old shitty conventions. Audiences ate it up like popcorn. You couldn't make a movie like "Soylent Green," "Silent Running" or "Rollerball" anymore. If you did, it bombed.

He's typing away madly at an Atari.

GEORGE LUCAS: Duh-huh-huh. Evil empire. Duh-huh-huh.

Ron-N appears from a time vortex.

Crushes his skull with a rolling pin.

Friday, October 1, 1999

The Littlest Dictator

Tommy was only five. He lived in a log cabin on the survival compound with his Mommy and his Grandpa. Grandpa was sad because he sat in a chair with wheels and couldn't walk. Tommy wanted to be dictator of the world but he wasn't. Tommy was sad, too. That made Grandpa angry.

"Why are you sad?" asked his Grandpa

"Because I'm not the dictator," said Tommy.

"You can be dictator if you put your mind to it," said Grandpa. "It ain't hard on account of folks are stupid."

"How do I get to be dictator, Grandpa?"

"Well," said his Grandpa. "First you put your picture on the wall. Make sure it's higher than any other picture. Then folks will think you're the dictator."

"What kind of folks?"

"Folks like these skinhead, Nazi idiots playing army men around this place," said Grandpa.

"Wow!" said Tommy. "What happens if they make me dictator?"

"You can tell 'em what to do," said Grandpa. "That's what 'dictator' means."

"What happens if somebody won't do what I say?"

"Then you can shoot him."

"Do I have to shoot them Grandpa?"

"No, Tommy. You're the dictator. You can tell other people to do that."

"Oh," said Tommy.

Mommy dropped a bowl on the floor. The bowl was blue and had a chicken on it. Mommy was shaking.

"You got something to say?" said Grandpa. "Like maybe how stupid that sounds -- like maybe I shouldn't talk like that in front of the kid?"

Mommy started picking up the pieces of the bowl.

"I mean I know it sounds real stupid when I just say it like that -- but it's exactly what these shitheads are saying, week after week. It's exactly what that kid is hearing week after week! And you know how stupid it is. But you tell me to shut up you'd have to tell them, too!"

Grandpa wheeled his chair across the room. Then he punched the wall. Mommy was crying.

Grandpa turned up his hearing aid.

"I'm all ears!" he shouted. "You got something to say? Now would be the time!"

But Mommy didn't say anything. She almost never did. She just looked nervous all the time.

Tommy remembered what Grandpa said. And thought about it for days and days and nights and nights.

Then, one day, Tommy had an idea.

It was really very simple.

It was just what Grandpa said, but Tommy was just a little kid, so he didn't see it at first. Now he saw it.

And he did what Grandpa said.

When it was way past his bedtime, Tommy scootched a chair across a room and took the cute little picture Mommy took of him in the soldier uniform with the funny twisted cross. He taped the picture on the wall. Mommy and Grandpa were asleep, so they didn't notice. The next day, he moved the picture so it was higher on the wall, but just a little higher so they still didn't notice. Day after day, when no one was looking, he moved the picture just a teensy-weensy bit. Tommy kept doing that. He moved the picture higher and higher until it was almost touching the ceiling.

Just like Grandpa said.

Then Tommy couldn't move it any higher. His arms weren't long enough and the chairs he could stand on weren't tall enough. So he stopped.

The next day, Daddy's militia group was meeting in Tommy's house. The men were loud and wore the same clothes. Mommy was in the kitchen making them fudge and grain alcohol. Daddy wasn't there because Daddy was dead. The evil One World Government had shot him. Daddy used to lead the group. His blood was pure, and that's why they shot him. Tommy should be very proud of his Daddy. That's what the men said.

Daddy's picture was still on the wall. Tommy's picture was there, too. But today, it was even higher than anything else on the wall, even Daddy's picture. The men were here today. But they didn't notice. The men were drinking beer and singing funny songs. That made Grandpa angry.

"I hate you Nazi sonsabitches," said Grandpa. "We kicked your ass in Normandy. If I get outta this wheelchair I'd kick your ass again!"

Grandpa always said that. The men used to laugh, but now they just kept drinking. It was just like Grandpa was a ghost and nobody could hear him. Nobody paid attention to Grandpa anymore.

"Look," said the Group Captain. He was the man with the funny scar that Mommy liked.

The Group Captain pointed to the wall. He pointed at Tommy's picture. All the men looked and stopped singing.

"Tommy's picture!" said the Group Captain. "It's higher than anything else!"

"Wow," said the men. "It is! It really is!"

Tommy stood up and smiled.

"That's right," said Tommy. "I'm the dictator now. "

"What the hell are you talking about, kid?" said Grandpa.

"You said if I put my picture at the top of the wall I could be dictator."


Tommy looked at Grandpa. Now Tommy was angry. Grandpa was being very impolite. Tommy didn't like that. Rudeness is bad. But lying is worse.

You said I could be dictator!" Tommy shouted. "You promised!"

Grandpa laughed.

"Aw, I was just goshing," said Grandpa. "You're just a little kid, Tommy. You're not the dictator."

"I am the dictator!" said Tommy "I am the dictator--and you have to do what I say!"

Grandpa laughed.

"I don't have to do what you say, kid."

Tommy turned away. Then he looked at the men. Then he pointed at Grandpa.

"Shoot him," said Tommy.

And they did.