I Love the Smell of Popcorn in the Morning¹
This preview has been rated PG: parental guidance suggested.
Movie Trailer Voice-Over: A hideous slimy beast has just escaped the murky clutches of a birth sac belonging to an innocent bystander known as “Mom-Lady.”
Frightened Townsperson: It’s alive! It’s alive!²
Movie Trailer Voice-Over: Upon its arrival, the world is aghast to learn a cold, hard reality: They’re not in Kansas anymore.³
By night, this diabolical creature is a shifty conniving fiend that lurks in the shadowy corners of a debaucherous underworld. By day, this treacherous ogre wreaks havoc with business ledgers all across town as a seemingly mild mannered number cruncher.
Critics with thumbs⁴¹ all agree: this film is either a “comedy so bad that it’s tragic” or it’s a “tragedy so bad that it’s funny.”
Don’t miss the totally dark (yet wacky) misadventure of a wretched being known as “Bob-From-Accounting.” A fantasy biopic for the ages; coming this summer to a theater near you: “The Fiducinator.”⁴
I had to go through the whole “excuse-me-pardon-me/pardon-me-excuse-me” deal to claim an empty seat in the middle of a row. That diminished my mood somewhat. My mood soured a bit more as I sat down to hear (for the umpteenth time) that recording devices are illegal and if I light up a cigarette the fire marshal will personally come to execute me.
Also, I already know where the emergency exits are…thank you very much. (translation: I DON’T thank you. AT ALL.)
However, my breaking point⁵ is reached as I trudge through eleven different trailers to get to the feature presentation. I have become mad as hell and decide I’m not going to take it anymore.⁶ (In reality…I sit there and take it.)
The whole cinematic experience used to be the stuff that dreams were made of,⁷ but over the years it’s become less fun. All of the good parts have been cut out. The silent movie era is gone. They edited out intermission. They got rid of the cigar girls. There’s no more newsreel. No more film short. No more cartoon. The latest franchise to be released by the film industry is that of the ENTIRE movie rental business. It’s gone! Forever! Never to return again! (probably)
Ahhhhh…the movie rental business. That was a much simpler time…well…it was SUPPOSED to be simpler.
Suburban Mom would say to her family, “Hey, let’s all go to the MOVIE RENTAL PLACE!” (It was an offer they couldn’t refuse)⁸. So, suburban family would pile into the minivan and head to “Video Village” (or, you know, wherever). Mom was anticipating an evening of “Weepy Chick Flick.” Dad had grandiose visions of renting “Old Classic Film.” The kids were excited about watching the most recent “direct-to-video” incarnation of “Stupid Movie.”
An uneventful trip to “Reel Life Movie Rentals” (or, you know, wherever) would prove to be the inevitable “calm-before-the-storm.”
Once suburban family arrived at “The Channel 3 Connection,” (or, you know, wherever) they would need to fasten their seatbelts because, indeed, it was going to be a bumpy ride.⁹
Upon walking through the doors of “Captain Video,” (or, you know, wherever) Dad’s attention was immediately diverted to an array of the latest action movie releases. (Actually, it was just fifty copies of one film.) Mom’s eye was caught by “Foreign Biopics” and their kids were side tracked by the candy aisle. After two and a half hours of wandering aimlessly through the shelves of “Lights, Camera, Rewind,” (or, you know, wherever) suburban family would eventually reunite at a cardboard kiosk loaded with Twizzlers. Upon seeing everyone’s selection, suburban family would scold itself in unison:
YOU WANNA WATCH THAT?!?
Then frustration ensued. Everyone quickly retreated to their “safe zone.” The kids found shelter back at “screwball comedies.” Dad slipped off to browse through the Jane Fonda workout tapes. Mom headed towards the Milk Dud display. That’s where a creepy looking trench coat clad fellow emerged from a room that was cloaked by a beaded curtain. He offered to buy Suburban Mama a box of chocolates…I guess you never know what you’re gonna get.¹⁰ [eye roll]
Noticing that suburban family was having a failure to communicate;¹¹ a film consultant (shelf stocker) from “Flicker-Hut” (or, you know, wherever) gathered the offended parties together to make an “expert” viewing recommendation.
As a result of “shelf stocker’s” counsel, suburban family capped off their “night-on-the-town” by returning home to watch “Howard the Duck.”¹² [shudder]
Maybe it’s just as well that the “movie-rental-business” runtime was cut short. In the end, a business that had “Blockbuster”⁴² written all over it…turned out to be a flop.
Fast forward to the second act.
Suburban family has finished dinner when Dad attempts to round up the usual suspects¹³ by suggesting, “Hey! Let’s all go to the THEATER.”
Uninspired, suburban family answers in unison, “Why?” To which Dad explains:
“Because! If we go to the theater we can watch “Faulty Movie, Part 5.” We’ll be there with 500 of our closest friends; they will be chewing too loudly. Our feet will stick to the floor. The kid sitting behind you will be kicking your seat. You can listen to the person in front of you as they phone home¹⁴ to Stella¹⁵, or Adrian¹⁶ or Rosebud¹⁷…or, you know, whoever! But the best part is, “Faulty Movie Part 5” will be on a BIG SCREEN!
With that, Suburban family yells (in unison) “HOORAY.” Well, all of them except for Mommy Dearest¹⁸. She’s still haunted by her encounter with “Trench Coat Man” during (what became known as) “The Duck-Movie Incident.” Reluctantly she agrees to go, but frankly…she doesn’t give a damn.¹⁹
Suburban family then piles into their SUV before arriving at “Multiplex 9000” only to find out all 1200 screens showing “Faulty Movie Part 5” are sold out.
The punk sitting in the box office asked Suburban Dad if he felt lucky.²⁰ Suburban Dad said, “Go ahead, make my day.”²¹ “Box-Office-Punk” had some advanced intel from an industry insider (the nacho vendor) about a sleeper hit called, “The Fiducinator.” It was going to grip the nation (or, you know, maybe not).
It seems that no matter how you decide to take in a movie…you’re going to run into some type of blooper.
Maybe some day in a far off land the whole “motion picture” experience will be replaced by some type of futuristic, sci-fi, interconnected-computer-system. It will bring first run films (and everything else) directly to our TV. That way we NEVER have to leave our couch to enjoy a flicker-show (or anything else) EVER AGAIN! But that would be INCONCEIVABLE!²² Right? I don’t know…maybe it would be nice, because after all, there’s no place like home.²³
As far as “things inconceivable” go…for reasons not yet fully understood, some desperate Hollywood producer (smut peddler) had indeed decided it was time to tell the whole shocking story²⁴ of a two-faced scoundrel named “Bob-From-Accounting.” This producer’s movie would be called, “The Fiducinator”…maybe you’ve seen the trailer? At any rate, Mr. Producer wanted his viewers to know the truth about “Bob-From-Accounting even though he was pretty sure his audience couldn’t handle the truth.²⁵ He didn’t care. Anything to make a buck.
During table readings, the real “Bob-From-Accounting” grew concerned that a two hour runtime would not be sufficient to properly convey all of the “important” aspects of his life; to include, Mr. Mittens (his cat) his love of Polka music and his lint collection.
Bob was also concerned about who was going to play him in “The Fiducinator.” During a casting call it quickly became apparent that Bob’s ego was going to need a bigger boat.²⁶ Bob confidently stated, “Surely my part will be played by Phil M. Hunkmoore”…to which the producer replied, “Snap out of it!²⁷ And don’t call me Shirley²⁸…your part is going to be played by Pauly Shore!” [Inhale sharply through teeth]
With that, bad news was on the horizon for Suburban Family as “The Fiducinator” had been slated to open on the same weekend as “Faulty Movie Part 5.”
Based on the fact that F.M.P.V. (as the kids were calling it) was sold out AND based on glowing recommendations from the pimply-faced staff at multiplex 9000…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where Suburban Family got beached.
The good news was that Suburban Family’s second mortgage had been approved earlier in the day…thus enabling them to hit the multiplex 9000 concession stand. The suburban kids shared a barrel of popcorn. Suburban Mom ordered a small diet coke. Suburban Dad said, “I’ll have what she’s having²⁹…but I’d also like to get four corndogs, a nachos-mucho-grande topped with the works, a case of Junior Mints and that last slice of heat lamp pizza…oh yeah…one more thing. Can you swap out the small diet coke for a 102 ounce bladder buster of Jolt? Thanks.”
About halfway through “The Fiducinator” Suburban Dad realized that “greed,” for lack of a better word is “painful.”³⁰ Suburban Dad began to have hallucinations of a toilet saying, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?”³¹
Because of intestinal distress brought on by poor personal choices and unchecked gluttony, Suburban Dad was going to miss a chunk of “The Fiducinator”…perhaps a SIGNIFICANT chunk.
After what a horrified bathroom attendant described as sounding like an “upside down volcano,” Suburban Dad tried to gracefully return to his seat. However, Suburban Dad’s eyes hadn’t adjusted to the light; this caused him to kick the shins of several people. He tripped over someone’s popcorn. He was “shushed” over a dozen times prompting him to yell out, “I’m walking here! I’m walking here…”³² before sitting down in the wrong seat.
Ultimately, Suburban Dad found the correct seat, but indeed, he had missed out on an important piece of “Bob-From-Accounting’s” story.
Now the movie made no sense.
Suburban Dad wanted to figure out what he had missed, so he started a whispered conversation with Suburban Mom.
Dad: Who’s the guy with the Bible in his hand?
Mom: That’s Bob….shhhhh.
Dad: No it’s not. Bob was the womanizing douche bag who was doctoring books and leaving Ex-Lax laced brownies in the break room.
Mom: Yes, I know…it’s the same guy. Please be quiet.
Dad: No. It can’t be the same guy!
Mom: Yes! It is…NOW HUSH!
Dad: Sor-ry…I didn’t realize it was “that” time of the month.
It’s easy to become distracted by things our human nature sees as important. If we are busy “stuffing our faces” or preoccupied with “relieving ourselves,” we might miss out on something that we are meant to see.
Suburban Dad had missed out on, what “Hollywood types” like to call “the come to Jesus moment”…as a result…Suburban Dad was lost.
As “The Fiducinator” concluded, Suburban Dad was disappointed. He offered up the only lament he could think of to anyone who was willing to listen: “Of all the movie joints in all the towns in all the world…I had to walk into that one.”³³
Just then, the Suburban Kids came running in from the lobby. They had snuck out about ten minutes into “The Fiducinator” and found some empty seats in front of a screen showing “Faulty Movie Part 5.”
Kid #1: Dad! You just missed the BEST MOVIE EVER! Car crashes! Talking squirrels! An exploding piano!
Kid #2: Yeah…but the best part was when the homicidal ventriloquist said, “Say hello to my little friend”!³⁴
Then the kids erupted in laughter before tearing off to compare notes with other F.M.P.V. fans.
For a moment, Suburban Dad thought to himself that depending on the kindness of strangers³⁵ wasn’t always what it was cracked up to be. Getting a movie recommendation from “The Nacho Guy” via “Box Office Punk” had, in Dad’s estimation, turned out to be a bad idea.
Dad: “The Fiducinator” sucked…but hey, at least it was expensive!
With that, Suburban Family left the theater for a return to their own narrative of real life.
“The Fiducinator” (AKA Bob-From-Accounting) had discovered something that Suburban Dad missed because he was “sitting-on-the-pot,” (so to speak). God has given us all the great opportunity to be a part of HIS story.
Every little “scene” in our life is part of a bigger act. We have co-stars. There are quite a number of other characters making cameos in our “movie.” It’s worth noting that we, ourselves, are also making numerous appearances in OTHER peoples films.
Sometimes the director has us doing things we don’t want to do.
Upset actors may have their pride shaken, if not stirred,³⁶ when they find out their character is NOT destined to have class NOR be a contender.³⁷ However, when an actor learns to be content in the weakness of their character, then, and only then, will the director be free to do his best work.⁴³
Also of note, when we find ourselves in another fine mess that we’ve gotten us into³⁸ (and we will)…the director is faithful to give us a second take⁴⁴…because after all, when we turn back to Him we will indeed find that tomorrow IS another day.³⁹
Having said that, wouldn’t it be cool if the beloved movie rental industry of yesteryear enjoyed a second run during a re-release? Imagine heading off for your local mini-mall to once again see places like “Movie Barn” and “Tape Replay” (or, you know, wherever). Seriously? How good would it feel to yell out, “THEY’RRRRRE BAAAACK.”⁴⁰ (Okay, I know, that was a long way to go for a cheap pun.)
Of course, you would have to go in…AND of course you’d be deathly afraid of renting some horrible wretched bomb…OR WORSE…horrible wretched bomb “Part Two.” As a result, you would aimlessly wander the aisles for two and a half hours; at which point you would be noticed by someone like me: a trained motion picture commerce professional (Movie Barn cashier). I will have decided that you were in need of some guidance. I’d send you toward a dusty old copy of “The Fiducinator: a Life and Times Story of “Bob-From-Accounting””…and my review would go something like this:
It’s slightly more cerebral than “Faulty Movie.” It’s slightly less creepy than “Howard the Duck.” Make sure to NOT miss the “come-to-Jesus” moment and…oh yeah…one more thing…be kind, please rewind.
¹ Apocalypse Now 1979
² Frankenstein 1931
³ The Wizard of Oz 1939
⁴ The Terminator 1984
⁵The Breaking Point 1950
⁷The Maltese Falcon 1941
⁸The Godfather 1972
⁹All About Eve 1950
¹⁰Forrest Gump 1994
¹¹Cool Hand Luke 1967
¹²Howard the Duck 1986
¹⁵A Streetcar Named Desire 1951
¹⁷Citizen Kane 1941
¹⁸Mommie Dearest 1981
¹⁹Gone with the Wind 1939
²⁰Dirty Harry 1971
²¹Sudden Impact 1983
²²The Princess Bride 1987
²³The Wizard of Oz 1939
²⁴Alcatraz the Whole Shocking Story 1980
²⁵A Few Good Men 1992
²⁹When Harry Met Sally 1989
³⁰Wall Street 1987
³¹She Done Him Wrong 1933
³²Midnight Cowboy 1969
³⁵Streetcar Named Desire 1951
³⁶Dr. No (et al) 1958
³⁷On the Waterfront 1954
³⁸Sons of the Desert 1933
³⁹Gone with the Wind 1939
⁴⁰Poltergeist II 1986
⁴¹ Thank you Siskel & Ebert
⁴³2 COR 12:9–10
⁴⁴1 John 1:9