I take back everything I said about The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang. Especially about eating a pig if it fails. Here's what I knew about the movie when I critiqued it so harshly:
Nerds, misfits, and bullies collide when a set of strange footprints force them to overcome tested friendships, jealous rages, the loss of a beloved Pontiac Firebird, and the fear of kissing the opposite sex!
And my question to past Rhys is: yeah, and what's your problem with that? Besides that Jeremy Coon produced and is editing it, obviously. Simple: jealousy.
Seeing that premise made me think of when I took acting classes in middle school, and was cast in an ensemble piece called Camp Myscooty. I played a character named Airy, who was all into vibes and waves and stuff. There was another character who was afraid of birds, and at the end everyone learned to be themselves. Yeah, it was silly stuff, but we shot on a farm, and I made friendships that lasted... well at least for the duration of the shoot. It was probably the highlight of my year.
Obviously The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang is going to be better than this. For one thing, I have reason to believe that the writer and director is of the liberty mindset. Plus, they're not making a movie to pay acting students back for their tuition. They're making a movie for an audience. With real lights and cameras and hundreds of crew members in charge of just one power cord.
And yet, I bet that life on this professional Hollywood set is kind of like summer camp. I mean, it's about bigfoot and school kids and they're filming in Oregon. Sure, movies are stressful and hard work, and never worth it in the end, but making this one has to be a blast - even with Jeremy Coon smirking at everyone with that cocky grin of his and eating food off everyone's plates. Man, I wish I were making a movie right now! But that's why I need to be patient and work hard. In America, that's all it takes. Because most people here are too depressed to try at all.
You know what movie's actually going to suck, though? Untitled Jack Black Project (2006). Turns out Jeremy Coon and Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess have gone separate ways. And you know what? I think Jared is making a big mistake. Love him or hate him, Jeremy Coon still has the potential to make more movies like Napoleon Dynamite. He can find scripts by first-time writer/directors and put together low budget projects with them that don't necessarily follow Hollywood norms. Basically what he's doing with Sasquatch. With his insane success, however, Jared Hess has lost that ability. Or maybe even gave it up willingly.
The first thing I noticed about the film? Jerusha Hess, his wife and writing partner on Napoleon, is out. Guess the studio heads didn't want too many chefs simmering in the pot or whatever, but I always thought that Jerusha's involvement is what made Napoleon Dynamite work. It would have sucked jelly without her, no doubt in my mind. Ditching her to cowtow to the unsmiling out-of-touch men-in-fancy-designer-nooses was mistake number one.
This time Jared is co-writing with Mike White instead, the guy who wrote School of Rock. An awesome movie, to be sure, but it was Richard Linklater who kept White from writing School of Rock as a cliched piece of garbage. Where's Linklater this time? Probably introducing some Fassbinder festival at The Alamo Drafthouse in a hawiian T-shirt.
You think this Mike White/Jack Black/quirky young indie director set-up is a coincidence? Oh contraire, my friar! Nickelodeon knows exactly what it wants already. Hiring Hess was just a formality. In the end, they'll get what they're expecting: an edgy yet obvious children's movie that even adults can love. And Hess, who once had his own vision - thanks to his wife - is just going along with the suits. But here's the most tragic part. Take a look at the premise:
In this true life inspired story, Black will play a Mexican priest who moonlights as a masked Lucha Libre wrestler in order to save an orphanage destined for closure. All the while, the priest must keep his identity hidden from the wrestling community and the church.
HELLoooooo! The reason Napoleon Dynamite was great (aside from the Jerusha factor) was because it was written, directed and produced by Mormons, starred unknown Mormon actors, and was secretly about Mormons. It was fresh and new, with in-jokes for modern day saints (every Mormon would know that Kip is a return missionary who never got his life together after his mission), but with universal humor for everyone else. Like when Napoleon racks his balls trying to jump a ramp on that bike. Sweet!
The Untitled Jack Black Movie (of course it's untitled... who involved with this project is passionate enough about it to name it?), however, is about Catholics - an over-exposed religion already. Who hasn't heard of the Pope or child molestation? Umm, let's see, that's no one. But who the hell knows what the Telestial Kindgom is? All of the Western World if Jared Hess would stick to his guns!
The secular humanist studio suits - who can't differentiate between sects of Christianity the way non-biologists can't recognize a toad from a frog - were like, "Hey, isn't that Hess kid some sort of religious guy? Let's put him on that priest thing." Their ignorance, while pathetic, is at least understandable. They fucked up in the pre-existence and were born without souls!
But as Jared Hess should be well aware, having grown up in Utah as a member of the One True Church all his life, Mormon scripture considers the Catholic Church to be the most vile institution on the planet... a creation of Satan Himself! Doctrine and Covenants 88:94 describes the Catholic Church this way:
And another angel shall sound his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned.
But does Jared Hess, with his newfound prestige - his faith strenghtened by the success God gave him - take this opportunity to honor the Prophet Joseph Smith and give the Mother of All Whores a justly-earned singe so that future generations may finally burn this abominable false church to dust for all time? NO! Drunk on power and Hollywood mistresses, Jared Hess writes and directs this jolly film about an edgy but lovable instrument of Satan dragging orphaned kids down to hell with him.
If Jared gives a damn about his religion at all, he'll cast himself in the movie and have his character quote old-school Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt at Black's uncouth priest:
Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the "whore of Babylon" whom the Lord denounces... as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. And any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance of the gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them.
But I doubt the honchos at Nickelodeon would like that. So Jared's just going to keep his timid trap shut, greedily sowing the seeds for his imminent damnation. I'd take Jeremy Coon as an arch-rival over that Son of Perdition any day.