Monday, April 15, 2013

"I've Been Reading a Lot of Scripts Lately. You Know, It's a Lot Cheaper Than Going to the Movies."

Whereas a lot of people like to point out Wikipedia's shortcomings, I will praise it for a quality that many of you may have overlooked: its ridiculously detailed synopses of movies you should never bother watching. It takes all of two minutes to glean all the highlights, and best of all, these scenes will look better -- sexier, gorier, better choreographed, what have you -- in your imagination than they ever would if you actually watched them, given the films' limited special effects budgets and the technological limits of 1977, which was a great year for terrible movies you shouldn't watch. (Case in point: the Jaws rip-off Tintorera, which I can't imagine being better in movie form than it is in paragraph form.) More than that, however, the synopses have been shaped by the inscrutable impulses of the weirdos who edit Wikipedia, and sometimes the specificity of detail that these people chose to go into is just baffling.

There's almost an art to this, and if you pull single paragraphs out of these, they work as surreal flash fiction -- no point, no pay-off, just weirdness for weirdness's sake, in a way that makes me secretly glad that these words exist together, in this order, as a result of people collaborating across space and time and then deciding, "Yeah, that's good enough."

Here's a good example:
Back in her own apartment, Kim discovers her sink is full of cockroaches; she frantically sprays insecticide on them. She settles down on the kitchen table to eat dinner and flips open the book Fima loaned her. The page she randomly arrives at is titled "The Spiral: Symbol of Women's Power". Kim glances at her plate of noodles and notices that they are arranged in a vague spiral. She spies another roach crawling out of a loaf of bread. Using the book, she bats at it. In the process, her spaghetti dish crashes to the floor. Leaving it on the floor, she leaves to spend Christmas Eve with Hank's family.
Here's the film, if you really must know, but please, no questions about what possessed me to read the synopsis in the first place. And yes, this game works for works of literature, too, but I have a theory that there are more bad movies than bad books. Prove me wrong, world.

Ha. "Fima."

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