As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to.
This week, Print to Projector presents the story of a political theory, a governmental style, and the greatest nation on the planet with the bald eagle as its official bird. This Daily Show guide to everything you could ever possibly want to know about the United States of America packs in the infographics and the Judge Judy references that the people demand.
It’s time someone made it into a movie.
“It is often said that America ‘invented’ democracy. This view is, of course, an understatement.”
“America, A Citizens Guide to Democracy Inaction” is not the usual tome that would be featured in this column, but with tiny pieces of painted plastic being prepped for film immortality, it seems only fair to think outside the book cover for adaptable material every once in a while.
If creativity and honest challenge weren’t enough incentive, this choice also comes as the latest example of the desecration of the world of parody sees a release in only a few days. If Friedberg and Seltzer are to be believed, parody is a simple matter of throwing as many pop culture references at an audience as possible. Ergo, a 14-year old girl with a cell phone and cable hook up could do what they do.
The book is an absurd masterpiece that winks its way through heady satire and wacky ridiculousness with the ease of a dissident lighting an effigy on fire. From shining a much-needed faux-academic light on the “Re-elect Herbert Hoover Bindle” to displaying naked pictures of the Supreme Court Justices, it perfectly captures the nature of modern America in order to mock it until it runs out of town in tears.
So how does it work as a film? By returning to the very genre that’s deteriorated to the point of un-recognizability: parody.
Most notably, historical parody.
Just as with the book’s namesake, there are none.
Writing/Directing: As the movie would be the spiritual cousin (or completion) of History of the World: Part 1, the only man on the planet to bring it to life would be Mel Brooks. Also, the prospect of seeing Brooks team with the Daily Show team is something that should excite fans of comedy who love biting commentary and subtle poop jokes. While most films fail when written by committee, seeing Jon Stewart and the other Daily Show writers translating what they do best on an ironically nightly basis to the film form would build something beautiful (and hilarious) enough to bring tears to the eyes.
Mel Brooks is a bit too aged to take on as many roles as he might normally, and the torch needs to be handed to a new class (after finding wherever it landed from being dropped back there). Fortunately, The Daily Show has enough alumnae and friends to populate the film with some standout acting talents. The best that modern comedy has to offer: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Rob Riggle, Steve Carell, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Kathryn Hahn, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Aziz Ansari, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Rainn Wilson, Dave Koechner, Matt Walsh, Tina Fey, Isla Fisher, Jenna Fischer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jason Segel, Bill Hader, John Krasinski, Rob Huebel, Patton Oswalt, Steve Coogan, Bill Murray, Channing Tatum.
Take your pick.
But Jack Black is definitely playing Benjamin Franklin.
Who Owns It:
The rights are most likely a fun mix between Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and the other Daily Show writers that created the book with perhaps a splash of publishing giant Hachette Book Group.
The time has come for parody to make sense and mean something again. For too long, it has wiped its feces on the big screen and fooled audiences into believing that a regional theater actress dressed up like Amy Winehouse is what creative mockery is all about. It’s time for the citizens to rise up and demand funny films that deliver. In the grand tradition of History of the World: Part 1 (and in the slightly lesser tradition of Kentucky Fried Movie), updated with the hip sensibilities of today’s comedy stars, something self-aware and self-effacing could emerge to delight American audiences by hitting just close enough to home to bruise.
Plus, our enemies will love it because it makes fun of us.
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