Scare-n-hype 411

Free mandatory screenings of this upbeat, people-positive documentary improve America's economic outlook!

Topics: U.S. Economy, Great Recession, Unemployment, Business,

From Pet Goat Studios, a subsidiary of Triumph of the Bull Productions, comes the best picture since “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” reports the Joint Secretaries of Pollyannattacks, Sleepy, Dopey and Michael Eisner.

Hailed by newly hired movie reviewers everywhere as “one of the coziest, happiest, and fuzziest films of the year,” “Scare ‘n Hype 411″ is a kindly examination of the good times ushered in by the Bush administration’s economic policies and other smart moves.

According to an exclusive in Us & Them magazine, the Carlyle Group will sponsor free mandatory screenings of the film everywhere from now through November, with a 24-hour gala marathon set for Nov. 2.

The movie uses a combination of comforting narrative and subliminal Terror Alerts to tell the heartwarming story of families who are doing just fine, thank you very much.

The movie also takes on many stereotypes about wealthy Americans, allowing them to set the record straight once and for all.

“I would say we’re comfortable,” a man corrects a panhandler who has maliciously wedged himself under the man’s speeding BMW. Shortly afterward, single mothers and developing nations are unmasked by detectives as the true culprits responsible for unleashing the deadly poverty virus on an unsuspecting public. Jesus Christ makes a brief cameo appearance to explain that his Sermon on the Mount was just a harmless prank and that his real agenda was to share the good word about the resurrection of tax cuts.

“After all,” says the BMW driver, “if the common good were available to just anybody, who would appreciate it?”

Speaking in curiously flat tones, tens of thousands of people who left theaters opening night told reporters, “All people in all places at all times must see this movie.”

Many viewers were moved by a scene in which Mr. Average (played by Bruce Willis) tells Mrs. Average (played by Britney Spears), “Honey, you can stop going to town to sell your brain as a common scientific researcher into global climate change. I got me a job manufacturing burgers. All we need now is faith, a health savings account, and a permanent tax cut for the nice folks who live on the hill.”

The camera pulls back to reveal the Average family gazing serenely up at the hill, as the father says proudly, “Some day, kids, all that trickle-down will be yours.”

Others joined long lines at nearby music stores to purchase the soundtrack.

“I don’t mind waiting in long lines,” said Jim Smith, a 53-year-old unemployed electrical engineer. “In the last two years, I’ve had a lot of practice at it.”

The movie soundtrack, which is expected to reach No. 1 shortly after Clear Channel buys up the last radio station, features such titles as “Let the Deficit Soar,” “Don’t Whistleblow While You Work,” “I’m Stickin’ it to the Union,” and “You’re Havin’ My Baby (Like it or Not).”

Among the highlights is a dream sequence in which John Snow, Don Evans and Elaine Chao offer up a toe-tappin’, knee-slappin’, awkwardly-rappin’ version of “Accentuate the Positive.” The three-part harmonizers bring the song ‘n dance on home by messing with, then eliminating Mr. In-Between.

“It was nice to see how politely and civilly they made all the In-Betweeners disappear,” said one woman. “It wasn’t graphic or violent. They didn’t make it personal at all.”

The woman, who identified herself only as “my child’s mother and my husband’s helpmate,” said, “This movie taught me that even if we lose everything — our jobs, our benefits, our civil liberties — we can still think of ourselves as middle-class. It’s all about voting for what matters. Because when you get right down to it, what good is a living wage and affordable healthcare going to do you if gay hooligans break into your house and start attacking your marriage?”

The biggest scene-stealer of the movie came when Alan Greenspan was rolled out of a secret compartment hidden in the walls of Congress to perform “Let’s Do the Rate Hike Again.” This segued into a big production number, which was set in a former Ohio manufacturing firm and filmed entirely on location in India, China, Mexico and Bulgaria. Not a single union buster was harmed in the making of this movie.

The movie also includes footage from television news segments, including a debate in which Tabitha Walker, a 3-year-old homeschooler from Santa Cruz, Calif., asks, “But won’t the impact of higher interest rates on consumption be exacerbated by their effect on housing and mortgage refinancing?”

News anchorwoman “Model 9 Blonde Talkomatic 2000″ parries the question with a nifty head swivel, and then retorts, “Up next, choosing the right bug spray this summer for your kids … DEET or no?”

But the most stirring sequence is the penultimate scene, in which a young man on the eve of his surrender to Wal-Mart, bids farewell to his mother:

“Tom Snode: Maybe it’s like Ashcroft says. A fellow ain’t got privacy of his own, — maybe just a little peace in the big privatization, the one big secret energy company that belongs to a few deserving souls, then —

Ma: Then what?

Tom Snode: We’ll be all around in the dark — we’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look — wherever there’s a fight in Iraq, so wealthy people can eat, we’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, we’ll be the guy. We’ll be there in the way Cheney yells when he’s mad. We’ll be there in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know budget cuts are ready, and when some people are cheatin’ the tax structure the rest of us support, and livin’ in the second houses they built on untaxed profits, we’ll be th– oh wait, we’re still waitin’ on the invite to that one.”

The movie closes with a charming montage of sun-dappled wheat fields, nuclear families watching a fireworks display, the farmer in the dell, the happiest girl in the whole USA, a butcher, a baker, a fundamentalist policymaker, a basket of kittens, and workers in hardhats enjoying a wholesome chuckle over a blueprint. A news crawl at the bottom of the screen reminds viewers to report any suspicious voter registration and to expect terrorist attacks as they exit through the central mall.

Following the movie, many people attended house parties, where they enjoyed such activities as giving samples of their DNA, playing games like “Who Wants to be a Hundred-aire?” role-playing how to say no to estate tax, entering their names in a raffle to visit Baghdad for a very long time, and learning calligraphy techniques, which they then practiced on anti-gay marriage petitions.

“It’s good to see this country doing what it’s told,” said Frank Johnson, 35. “That’s why we have freedom in this country, so people can conserve it and put it to wise use.”

Johnson, who suffers from Short Man Syndrome that can only be treated by gun therapy, says he is also heartened by the rise of lower-wage jobs, which are growing at a much faster pace than higher-wage jobs. “The way I see it, that just means more jobs for me. Besides, I’m this close to winning the lottery.”

Joyce McGreevy is a writer in Portland, Ore.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>