Today's exploration of the wretched and horrifying was going to feature a story I read about a man falling 60 feet off of a stadium escalator -- because escalators make me think of shopping malls, and for as long as I can remember I've had a reoccurring nightmare about being lost in a dimly lit mall full of M.C. Escher-style passageways and comic book/Cronenbergian pornography stores -- but then I saw this:
(WARNING: THE FOLLOWING TRAILER IS "NSFALB" [NOT SAFE FOR ANY LIVING BEING]. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.)
Meet the Oogieloves: Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie. What, you've never heard of the Oogieloves? That's OK. Nobody has. And as their film is poised to be the single biggest flop in cinema history, it's likely that no one ever will.
Two quick things, if I may: First, if you're going to do this sort of thing, i.e. a children's movie that encourages viewers and their adult handlers to dance, sing and drop their pants along with the film's characters, why not pick some well established characters that everybody already knows and trusts. As the father of a 1-year-old, I've seen enough contemporary children's programming to know that this kind of interaction between viewer and TV characters is the biggest thing going. Dora the Explorer, Super Why, Dora's excitable cousin Diego, the various monsters who call Sesame Street home: they all regularly converse with their viewers. I'm sure any one of them could handle a feature length film and kids would LOVE it. Hell, my wife and I fell into the habit of watching Go, Diego, Go on Friday nights when she was pregnant, and we loved talking back to Diego. I loved it at least. It's probably because I was mostly screaming curse words at the screen, but we had fun. Seems pretty obvious to me, you slap an 80-minute Diego movie on the screen, kids and parents will show up. Human-sized puppets with ill-fitting pants just aren't going to cut it.
Second: do we need a movie like this? Just last month there was a live Super Why show in Raleigh. If Quinn was a little older, we probably would've considered checking it out until we saw the ticket prices and decided to just go to the park. Live performances are the perfect places for kids to let loose, dance in the aisles, and scream it up. The movie theater, however, is not the place. Movie theaters are for shutting up and being polite to the people around you who also spent ten damn dollars to sit through another crappy super hero reboot. Theaters are for sitting quietly, watching explosions for a couple of hours, and eating Twizzlers. This Oogieloves movie and its invitation to sing along and run around like an idiot is 1) confusing children who just last week were told "shut your mouth and be quiet or we're leaving Ice Age 4" and 2) creating a future generation of moviegoers who believe it is perfectly within their rights to interact with the movie they are watching. I'm going to be even older than I act now then, and I'm going to be so pissed off at these kids.
Here are a couple other random thoughts I had while watching the Oogieloves (ew...that sounds so gross) trailer.
1. Human-sized puppets have never been not creepy. Why bring this trend back?
2. After Toni Braxton sings, why does the purple Oogielove shout, "Cool!" while thrusting his pelvis provocatively? Is the audience supposed to do this too?
3. The Oogieloves movie is "the coolest thing since milkshakes?" Really? I can't think of a more square dessert than a milkshake. Honestly. What is a dorkier dessert? Pudding, maybe?