Newmann: The scary movie
For years, the United States movie industry has come up with disaster films that have always seemed wildly unrealistic — in a realistic way.
Tidal waves, earthquakes, infernos, epidemics, zombies, alien invasions … these and a host of other grisly events have consistently shown up on our screens. Of course, though some of this stuff does occur, none of it could happen on the massive scale that Hollywood brings it to us, right? After all, it’s just entertainment. And certainly not reality.
So, in the spirit of entertainment (and non-reality), here’s an idea for a screenplay for a new disaster movie. It takes place in a country far, far away and begins in that country’s capital city (we’ll call it Qanonia).
The movie opens with the camera panning around the Qanonia’s Capitol building. All looks serene … blue sky, lots of cherry blossoms on the trees, pleasant music accompanied by happy, chirping birds.
But, gradually, rumblings can be heard in the background. The camera pans to the right and the vanguard of an angry mob (many of whom look like disheveled castoffs from the Seven Dwarfs) comes into view.
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Almost instantly, the mob fills the screen.
They storm the Capitol building with a vengeance. There’s much yelling, screaming and gnashing of teeth (many of which could use the services of a good dentist). It appears that these folks are upset over the results of an election, which they’ve been told by some imaginary source has been stolen. How someone could be clever enough to steal an election, to actually hide it in their coat and run off with it, is never explained. But, remember, this is Hollywood, the home of fantasy.
The mob runs wild. They hunt for elected officials, grapple with police officers and scour the building for souvenir pens. This goes on for the next 10 minutes (which is the limit of a movie viewer’s attention span). Then the violence suddenly abates and the mob disperses to the nearest KFC. The Capitol is saved!
The next scene shows many of the politicians, ashen-faced and shaking in the aftermath of the siege. Were it not for the police — and the distraction of the culprits as they scrambled to find the souvenir pens — these lawmakers might have been in big trouble. They roundly condemn the revolt as “revolting.” No punches pulled here by these noble elected folks.
Now comes the finale. Qanonia’s Capitol is secure, many of the looters are identified and made to work at hard labor in Santa’s toy shop (Hollywood, remember) and, most interestingly, of all those erstwhile politicians who were attacked by the vengeful rioters, almost half are now looking at the situation as, well, just mobs being legitimate mobs. And a few just view the events as another tourist day.
The film ends with a very pleasant epilogue which notes that almost all the mob members have promised to be good, at least until they’re summoned to the fray again, and that many of the politicians have decided to let bygones be … bygones. No need to dredge up any of the underpinnings of the disruption because, obviously, it will never ever happen again. Everyone’s obviously learned their lesson.
It’s a great ending to our disaster film. Kind of gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling.
It’s also Hollywood make-believe at its very best.
Tom Newmann splits his time between Edwards and Queenstown, New Zealand. He has been going winter-to-winter since 1986. He was also a journalist in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoulian for quite a few years. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.