Columns, Opinion

KAZI: Back to the future

Last night was Super Bowl Sunday, and I’ll tell you something that you didn’t know, didn’t care about and has no connection to Harry Potter: I don’t know who won. I don’t even know who played!

As I’m writing this on Sunday night, hammy fingers mashing on keys like they’re fists of justice, 100 million people and their friends are watching the Super Bowl, as many as a billion all over the world. I wouldn’t know what to say to any of them if we were ever stuck in an elevator. (But where will you find an elevator that fits a billion people?)

Don’t worry about me though. Put down your concern-o-meters. Because I did check out the interesting bits online ‘-‘- namely the ads and previews. I’m a big fan of advertisements, and I could tell you, for example, that the cheapest and one of the best ads ever made for Super Bowl was for FedEx in 1998. It’s a colorbar screen with scrolling text:

‘ . . . You should be watching the new ad for EarthCo Insurance . . . Unfortunately, a tape of the commercial didn’t get to NBC on time . . . they didn’t send the commercial with FedEx.’

Compared to that, this year’s ads are just OK. The only one that really rocked was for, because I love women. I feel that three million bucks for a 30-second ad where I can see maybe five seconds of Cleavageland Circle is good enough to rock my T!

The three movie trailers were the best though, better than Hyundai Coupes and the banality of domain registration. ‘G.I. Joe,’ ‘Transformers’ and ‘Star Trek.’ They are the reasons why I never played cricket as a kid, why the legendary Graham Gooch’s batting technique remains forever a mystery.

Talk about a wild nostalgia ride. Especially since I’m part of the mid-to-late 20s demographic. The goobers who buy Xboxes and wear Super Mario T-shirts and talk about what a good album ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’ was. Broken down idiots who have finally realized that life sucks. We’ll pay good money to have our hands held by giant space robots and jingoistic warriors fighting the evil snake forces of Cobra-La.

I should probably be concerned that Hollywood is trying to exploit my childhood fantasies and shoving these vile calumnies down my throat. But I’m not complaining. They had a bunch of MacGyver-featuring Pepsi commercials on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ and the only thing that bothered me was the reduced definition of Richard Dean Anderson’s once razor-sharp jawline.

What gets my billy goat’s gruff, though, is their lack of imagination. In the 80s, we had virtually no CGI, 8-bit Nintendo or toys made of lead and powered with leftover plutonium. We still had awesome shows like ‘G.I. Joe,’ ‘Transformers,’ ‘Masters of the Universe,’ ‘ThunderCats.’ And the greatest of them all: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.’ Guess what that one was about.

Nowadays we have five-dimensional time-traveling quad-core processors. We grew up on stuff that even George W. Bush would find unbelievable (and he’s a dude who attacked a country because he imagined a bunch of missiles). You’d think we’d be more creative. I mean, sure we’re shelling out good money to see Optimus Prime and his German friend Otto Boscht, but we’d also pay to see something original that’s just as insane in the membrane!

Is it so difficult to come up with a movie plot? All you have to do is take your favorite story from the Bible and add a bunch of special effects and warp drives. If you want to get really whacked out, you can use ‘Moby-Dick’ or something. I ain’t sayin’ that’s a particularly admirable strategy but it’s better than trying to re-do someone else’s intergalactic version of David vs. Goliath.

So if any of you want to write big time sci-fi blockbusters, here’s what to do: Go check Google Trends and figure out what humans as a race are worrying about at the moment: fatal epidemics, killer robots, intelligent insects, resurrected dinosaurs. (Actually, skip the last one.) Then make a universe, which is exactly the same as ours, except that the fear has come true. Then have one man take a blue pill and kill the bad guys.

The good thing about imagination is that it doesn’t need to make sense. It doesn’t even have to be original. All it has to be is consistent and entertaining. Is this too much to ask?

Probably not. But I’ll still go see these remakes, (or download them like Joel Tenenbaum) and so will you. This is all moot. So till next week, l8r homies and homiettes! As the Epicureans say, live long and prosper, for tomorrow is more than meets the eye.

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  1. take your favorite story from the Bible and add a bunch of special effects… & that’s what really happenin’… cool article man! Waitin’ for the next installment dude…

  2. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is a horrendous album. But good article though.