Crawl Across the Ocean

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sword of Damocles

Alan, from Gen X at 40, talks a bit about blogging today, but the part that alarmed me was his conclusion:
"And isn't it significant that there has not been a really bad movie - not a movie at all in fact - about blogging like email's 1998 You've Got Mail or that 1983 video game based classic WarGames?"


Now that Alan has brought it up, I suspect that it is almost inevitable that, at some point, a movie will be made about blogging. Now if it was just a film adaptation of Ender's Game, I could live with (even welcome) that, but I'm guessing it's going to be far more painful.

Some potential ideas:

Romantic Comedy

'You've Got Comments' - A winsome urban girl with a funky blog about problems with the local telecommunications company falls in love with a guy who leaves lots of witty comments on her site. It turns out that he is a telecom exec who is in charge of the lobby group which eventually gets all ISP's to block access to her site. She shuts down her blog, goes off to live with the telecom guy and they all live happily ever after.

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Political Thriller

'The Blog Identity' - The President of the United States, a handsome, likeable man, swept to power on a progressive anti-corruption platform. But since taking office he has led the country into a military quagmire based on a pack of lies and deception, severely damaged the reputation of the once great U.S. of A. around the world, created a huge financial mess domestically, run rampant over the poor and the environment, appointed partisan corporate hacks to key positions of responsibility and generally been a huge disappointment. But, thanks to his political party's control of a submissive media, the public remains apathetic or even endorses his dangerous regime.

Then a new blog suddenly appears which seems to have access to insider information at the highest levels. The new blog begins fingering people around the President (the sell-out Vice President, the arrogant Secretary of Defense, the smear-tactic specialist political advisor). The media tries to ignore the new information but, despite their efforts, a feisty, ambitious, young (and beautiful) prosecutor is appointed to head a grand jury and start investigating the corruption. As the people surrounding the president start to get subpoenaed and one even goes to jail, they desperately hunt to find out who is running this new blog and where it is getting all its inside information.

The prosecutor gets closer and closer to her ultimate goal of bringing down the president himself, even as she finds herself falling in love with him (the president's wife died 2 years earlier) and wondering how he can go along with such terrible policies. Finally, we find out the truth, the blog is being run by the President's (incorrigible) 12 year old son. It turns out that, after his wife died, the president was so depressed that he allowed himself to be used as a figurehead to front for a corrupt cabal who only wanted power to serve their own selfish needs.

Once he saw the damage the policies were doing, the president wanted to change course, but he was in too deep and his cronies threatened damage to him and his family if he stopped following orders or said anything to anyone. With no other options, the President began confiding damaging secrets to his son, the only person he could communicate with without being eavesdropped on, and his son ran the anonymous blog.

In the end, the cronies are all thrown in jail, the president resigns in a tearful press conference to make way for the one honest member of his administration and he goes off to the ranch to live happily ever after with the prosecutor.

Because there can never be too many movies about the American president.

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Canadian / Foreign - rural:

'Margeret's Musings' - A bright teenage girl is frustrated by the dead-end resource-based little town she lives in, the stupid mistakes the people make in their lives there and the fact she is not likely to ever escape to the big city and pursue her dream of becoming a writer.

In frustration she starts an anonymous blog which begins revealing some of the town's silly secrets and offering thinly veiled advice to town members. The people are upset about this nosy blog upsetting people's lives but, at the same time, once the secrets come out and people start taking the blog's advice, the town's old quarrels start to get resolved, people being to solve some of their personal problems and the people who are 'meant' to be together start to move towards ending up together.

Buoyed by success, the blog writer tries to use her blog to lure a handsome, sophisticated new stranger in town (from the big city) to fall in love with her, but foolishly resorts to the same silly deception and secret-keeping that she derided in others. All her efforts backfire and she ends up turning the handsome stranger against her, seemingly for good, as he decides to leave town. At the same time, her secret is exposed and she feels the wrath of her fellow townspeople.

The blogger confronts the handsome boy before he can leave town and tells him the truth and he confesses that he was secretly in love with her too. Not only that but his mother works as an editor for one of the big Toronto newspapers and he had told her to read the blog. Based on the quality of the writing in the blog, the editor wants the blogger to come to Toronto for an internship. Nothing big, but possibly the start of a promising career, and of course the handsome boy lives in Toronto too (and the townspeople realize how much she has helped them and forgive her).

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Canadian / Foreign - urban (not rated):

'Sallow' - A number of strange characters who all happen to live in the same neighbourhood each run their own blogs. A seemingly happily married middle aged family man runs a blog about the local gay sex scene. A disaffected teenage boy writes a blog about sailing. A mysterious teenage girl runs a photoblog of pictures taken in and around the neighbourhood. A young couple blogs about their home renovations. A woman runs a blog which covertly passes on key times and dates for people running a human smuggling ring which tries to bring in refugees from failed states abroad.

The various characters have some random encounters which don't lead anywhere. There is gay sex. Many melancholy looks are exchanged. The blogs are only tangentially related to the story. In the end, nothing much really happens, but the disaffected teenager leaves town to head for the sea.

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Your turn - what would the plot be if you were making a movie about blogging? Or, if Hollywood was making a movie about blogging what would you expect / hope for?

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11 Comments:

  • that last one sounds plausible. shudder.

    id suggest 'the blogring' ... two hot teenage girls are in their rooms telling scary stories about a blogger profile page for user 'sada' that kills each of its viewers. after they look at the page, people receive comments on their blogs that they will be dead in a week.

    one of their friends who accessed the page during a nice, post-coital internet browsing with her boyfriend, dies. the girl who is with her at the time, a compulsive livejournaler, takes an unprecedented posting vacation seeing as she has been admitted to the mental hospital. a journo-blogger decides to investigate.

    she and the other bloggers who viewed the page are tormented with creepy jpeg files which invade their desktops - no firewall can keep them out. their links are blurred on other pages, yet theres no evidence of dhtml or special font use.

    journo-blogger posts the url on her site in an attempt to get the blogging community to solve the mystery. through google searches and blog archives, they find out sada is the secret cyborg daughter of a six apart programmer who was fired after a blogosphere shitstorm regarding the consequences of her brainwave-activated search function in the era of the patriot act.

    see, mommy was a clairvoyant, nerdy weirdo who scared the crap out of computer users everywhere with her perilous merging of man and machine.

    naturally, sada programs herself into a blogger-destroying machine to get revenge.

    the blogosphere assumes the way to get rid of her is to get blogger to delete her account or screen her comments as spam, but her account doesnt exist. the page is hosted on a server buried with her body in a well in the middle o' nowhere, japan. they think getting the server out of the well and taking it apart has broken the curse since journo-blogger survived, but the next day, her favourite blogger dies at the prescribed time.

    she wonders what she did that nobody else did, and she realizes that posting it and getting someone to click on it is the way out of the curse.

    thus, the blogring.

    By Blogger angela, at 5:57 PM  

  • The blogring, I like it. But you need to work in a scene with an innocent child drawing pictures filled with blood and violence while their classmates draw ponies and rainbows.

    By Blogger Declan, at 9:30 PM  

  • thats only in the american version, isnt it? im all up in the japanese version, its way creepier.

    By Blogger angela, at 9:50 PM  

  • A scene like that appears in a couple of American versions of Japanese movies I've seen. I have to confess I haven't seen the Japanese version, but that's OK, because here at CAtO we're all about dumbing things down for the North American audience.

    We're already in talks with Sarah Michelle Gellar to star in The Blogring, just working on reworking the script to accomodate her request to have a role for Freddie Prinze Jr. Mint as well.

    By Blogger Declan, at 9:58 PM  

  • I was chuckling when I read the description of Margaret's Musings (Sarah Polley as Margaret? Or maybe it's just that MM is coming across as a modern-day Road To Avonlea of sorts), and just about fell over when I got to Sallow. Add CAtW to my list of blogs not to read in the library...

    Here's my contribution to Canadian cinema. No title, but this one's set in small-town PEI (on preview - as opposed to big-city PEI? whatever). Nerdy teenage girl moves to tight-knit rural community, and has trouble fitting in. Kids shun her, until one of the popular girls, pretending to be her, secretly starts a blog about all of the exciting things this nerdy girl has done. All of a sudden, the popular kids want to hang around the nerdy girl, but they don't tell her why. Figuring they are just paying attention to her out of pity, and afraid she will lose their friendship if she doesn't give them a good reason to stick around, she starts inventing an elaborate life that, coincidentally, is exactly like the one described on the blog. Will her lies be exposed? Yes, but it ends up not mattering, because by this point in the film everyone likes her for who she is.

    Another idea: Where's The Beef?, a romantic comedy set during 2003-2004. Two anonymous cattle farmers meet through their blogs, and fall in love. But just before they decide to meet, they learn something that could get in the way of their budding relationship: she's from Alberta, and he's from Montana! Can their love survive the political fallout of the mad-cow crisis? (Answer: of course, to dubiously hilarious effect.)

    By Anonymous Moebius Stripper, at 3:55 PM  

  • Did I just abbreviate your blog's name to CAtW? Oh, I believe I did. And I can't even come up with a good excuse for that one, either.

    By Blogger Moebius Stripper, at 4:02 PM  

  • Yes, Sarah Polley would be perfect, in my head I was seeing kind of a cross between Anne of Green Gables (Road to Avonlea), New Waterford Girl, Seducing Dr. Lewis and Margaret's Museum.

    Since you didn't title your small-town PEI film, how about, "Where the Red Dirt Blows" (my parents visited PEI a while back and my Dad brought back a 'Red Dirt' PEI t-shirt, so now I always associate PEI with red dirt - anyway, moving on)

    On the topic of titles, if the fast-food company threatens a lawsuit claiming ownership of the phrase, 'Where's the Beef?', the CBC could repackage it as a sequal (of sorts) and call it 'Nothing Too Good for a (Mad) Cowboy'.

    I can only imagine the size of the audience that will tune in for (hilarious) CBC mad cow special effects...

    ---

    Re: CAtW, you're probably just anticipating the days when traffic here exceeds 10,000/day and a I go on a big ego-trip and rename the blog, 'Crawl Across the World' (new slogan: 'Today the Ocean, Tomorrow the World!). Or something like that - I mean it's not like the 'O' and the 'W' are near each other on the keyboard :)

    By Blogger Declan, at 5:09 PM  

  • Actually, I think I was thinking W for Water.

    And I just realized why I found Sallow so funny: it reminds me of EVERY SINGLE ATOM EGOYAN / DAVID CRONENBERG FILM I HAVE EVER SEEN. (All have left me with a feeling of "Something solemn and profound just happened, and I know that that was a Good Movie (TM), and I even think that I liked it - but what the **** just happened?") Speaking of which - I am remembering the post you made a month or so ago, about the lack of support for Canadian artists. There were a lot of good comments in that post and thread, but one of the main causes was overlooked: Canadian artists don't get much respect because they persist in taking on bizarre projects like Sallow.

    Also - yes, "Where The Red Dirt Blows" is perfect. And I know just the red dirt shirts you're talking about. When I visited the Maritimes last year, I remember being very surprised to see that same colour of dirt in New Brunswick as well as in PEI. It occurred to me eventually that geology doesn't respect political boundaries.

    By Blogger Moebius Stripper, at 8:22 PM  

  • "it reminds me of EVERY SINGLE ATOM EGOYAN / DAVID CRONENBERG FILM I HAVE EVER SEEN."

    Indeed, they were 2 of the 3 directors who inspired 'Sallow' (the third was Denys Arcand, specifically 'Love and Human Remains').

    Incidentally, the IMDB front page for that movie sums it up beautifully:

    "Plot Summary: Set in a dreary urban landscape of an anonymous Canadian city, LOVE AND HUMAN REMAINS is a dark comedy...

    User Comments: I didn't find this to be a comedy, more a tragedy"

    So true.
    ---

    "Canadian artists don't get much respect because they persist in taking on bizarre projects like Sallow."

    But on the other hand, when they try to be populist, we end up with Decoys, Most Valuable Primate and, on a 'good' day, Men With Brooms. To be honest, I'm a bit mystified why Canadian cinema isn't better - I think it may be just a matter of time.

    By Blogger Declan, at 11:28 PM  

  • Point well taken. (Though I really liked The Barbarian Invasions. After I saw it, I decided to rent The Decline of the American Empire, which I thought was terrible.)

    Also, regarding the fast food industry threatening ownership of the phrase "Where's the beef?" - who do you think is bankrolling that film? (Imagine the product placements!)

    By Blogger Moebius Stripper, at 3:40 PM  

  • Product placements are really starting to get on my nerves, but I guess as long as the Fast Food folks are involved the title should be OK :)

    I didn't mind Decline... Haven't seen the Barbarian Invasions yet, although I've been meaning to for a while - one of these days.

    By Blogger Declan, at 12:25 PM  

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