In The Innevitable Shit Show series, I imagine just how terribly Hollywood will destroy our favorite cinematic institutions.
One day, it’s going to happen. You’re going to open you eyes in the morning, make the dreary shuffle from your bed to the shitter, plop your naked rump on the can, pull up Facebook on your newly cracked iPhone, and see the headlines shared all over your Newsfeed: They’re remaking Hocus Pocus, the 1993 Halloween masterpiece starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker…and the other one (FYI out it’s Kathy Najimy and she voices Peggy Hill!).
The movie is a classic, though not an instant one. Its modest financial returns during its theatrical run should have seen it fall into obscurity as a discount bin VHS staple – and it pretty much was until TV networks, happy to fill the airwaves with cheap, inoffensive, seasonally relevant content began playing it ad nauseam for three months every fall. From there, people began to legitimately enjoy the lighthearted and easygoing story and it has since cemented itself as essential Halloween viewing.
Your fondness for the original movie will make everyone’s excitement about a remake even more perplexing. As you see the positive reactions to the news of its reboot, you begin to lose the last few shreds of faith you held in humanity. You try to let out a moan, but nothing comes out. You feel nothing, save for a single stream of blood trickling from your nostril and over your lips.
The next thing you remember, you’ll be in a movie theater; surrounded by your loved ones, all facing the same flickering screen as this abomination spins off the reels.
Winifred and Mary Sanderson will be played, of course by Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. Sarah Jessica Parker’s busty, boy-crazed Sarah will be played by…Kate Mckinnon? You’d like that wouldn’t you?! But no! Sarah Jessica Parker’s role will be played by – Sarah Jessica Parker! Because God is dead! Her terrifying presence alone almost gave the movie an R rating – which it SHOULD have just gone ahead with. Instead, the producers (Seth Rogan and Judd Apatow) will try to expand their box-office potential by writing a movie that’s “Funny for kids AND adults, but on two different levels!” but what they’ll wind up with will be a litany of heavy handed entendres that make both children and adults feel uncomfortable for having heard them, e.g. the three witches engaging in a 20 minute musical number reciting an incantation for “Sucking out a young boy’s essence”.
The cruel but ultimately hapless bullies, Jay and Ernie – er, I mean, “Ice” – will be “Cameo’s” by James Franco and Seth Rogan. They’ll try to make a joke about how they’re both way too old to be middle school bullies, but it will just be one more unremarkable, fourth-wall-breaking nudge further towards the edge of the cliff. I put the word “cameos” in quotes because, despite neither of them having top billing in the flick, they’ll take up an inordinate amount of screen time, dragging the viewers through a drug-addled sub-plot, complete with a 55 minute mushroom hallucination.
Speaking of drug-addled sub-plots, the protagonist’s parents – played by Maya Rudolph and Danny McBride – get spellbound by the witches following their second 20 minute musical number, after which the town’s adults fall into increasing levels of debauchery. This bit starts off as short, humorous quick-takes of the adults’ escalating antics. The routine delivers by far the heartiest laughs of the film but even this high water mark recedes quickly as it devolves into lengthy and unnecessarily graphic exchanges, e.g. McBride Eating Whipped cream out of Rudolph’s butt hole.
Sarah Sanderson’s ex-boyfriend – now a re-animated corpse out to do the witches’ bidding is played by Channing Tatum. He’s the most likable character in the movie and Tatum does a wonderful job with the physical humor. The problem arises when various characters, including young children, begin suggesting that certain parts of his body have fallen off, to which Tatum, with his mouth sewn shut, must only react with disgruntled harrumphs and bulging eyes.
The bus driver, originally played by Don Yesso (Who you probably don’t recognize except he was, FLAT CIRCLE Commander Speece in Season 1 of True Detective!) Will be played by Leslie Jones, who will do an admirable job making the most of dull jokes, driving the alt right completely insane and thus justifying the movie’s existence
So we’ve cast the witches, the bullies, the zombie ex-boyfriend, the bus driver, and the kids’ parents, who are we forgetting? Oh. RIGHT. The KIDS. I forgot about the kids – which is exactly what the self-masturbatory producers of this God forsaken movie will do. Just like the Millennial Xers whose nostalgia this film attempts to finger-blast into oblivion, this movie won’t stop turning the camera on itself – winking and nodding to the audience with self-referencing schtick that will lose the younger audience. As a result, any characters remotely relatable to anyone born after 1995 are relegated to utilitarian plot-pushers while the adults have their fun.
And that will be the ultimate tragedy of this film. Not that it isn’t funny, not that it’s inappropriate or that it has a runtime of 311 minutes, but that it will fail to fill the same role as the original – a fun, pointless story that doesn’t try to appeal to anyone older than 12. Even Disney cartoons these days do there best, with varying degrees of success, to impress older audiences with art, and music, and clever writing. But Hocus Pocus was just what it was, a movie for kids. When you watch as a teenager or as an adult or as a parent, you don’t see a new movie with new references and new levels of humor, you watch the same damn story, and it’s that much more nostalgic because of it.
Luckily, when the credits begin rolling, you’ll remember that at this very instant a supermassive black hole is churning at the center of our galaxy, helping to return the universe back to its original empty state.