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"Ere" Conditioning

By Bob Woodiwiss · May 20th, 1999 · Pseudoquasiesque
Christopher Witflee

Without a doubt, the most anticipated movie of this or any other summer is Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace. Already, the trailer has grossed more than Forrest Gump and Forrest Gump II: I Still Know How Dim You Were Last Summer combined. And its Web site is attracting the kind of hits heretofore associated only with tits.com, titstits.com and titstitstits.com.

So what has director/visionary George Lucas done? He's made a "prequel" to his Star Wars movies of 25 years ago, with a story taking place before the action in the original films.

Apparently, however, knowing next to nothing is all the Hollywood blockbusticators need to know. Because, according to Variety, the surefire through-the-roof success of TPM has already sparked a tornado of activity among major studios. Not so much trying to match George's imagination as copying his basic idea. To death. Look for these prequels as the summer unfolds:

8:30 Cowboy -- Turns back the clock on Midnight Cowboy's disparate duo Joe Buck and Ratso Rizzo. Here it's revealed they were actually fraternal twins born in Lansing, Mich. By tragic coincidence, on the night of their first birthday, Joe is abducted by a third-rate calf-roper who's in town with a traveling rodeo, while Rico (Ratso) is spirited away by the brooding shoe-shiner who tends to the giant shoes worn by the clowns in the visiting Big Apple circus.

Story largely revolves around birth parents' lamentations over sending the children to the attractions all by themselves.

Quest for Fornication -- Centuries before questing for fire, our earliest ancestors doggedly pursued sex. This film realistically re-creates that pursuit as a quintet of male Australopithecus makes every effort to score with their female counterparts. Producers have endeavored to create a film that is steamy yet anthropologically authentic, giving it, in their words, "a Last Tango in Paris meets Jane Goodall documentary" feel. Oooohh, edu-rotic!

Wouldn't It Be Larva-ly? -- Baby Antz. Follow the comic, computer-animated adventures of cheek-chuck-ably cute pre-pupate insects.

Rashomon in the Time of Daylight Savings Time -- Intriguing but ultimately perplexing tale of several people who would have been witnesses to a rape-murder if they hadn't forgotten to "spring forward" and therefore passed the scene of the crime precisely one hour before it happened. All give very detailed, highly divergent, totally irrelevant accounts of their various activities somewhere other than where the crime would eventually be committed.

Sophocles In Love -- Long before Shakespeare put pen to paper -- in fact, long before pens -- Hellenic playwright Sophocles was packing them into amphitheaters. Follow the amusing, enchanting adventures of this groundbreaking-yet-gentle dramatist as, in the course of staging Antigone, he falls head-over-heels in love with the entire 15-member Greek chorus.

The Initial Temptation of Christ -- When Joseph informs the young Jesus he's not to use his carpentry tools without supervision, the boy, in anger, turns his Pop into a go-cart that he can race through the streets of Nazareth. Will God open a can of omnipotent whup-ass on his son? Or will it be the Romans who stop the boy's roamin'?

Man of One Face -- Bio-pic based on Lon Chaney's (Man of a Thousand Faces) predecessor and inspiration, Rudolf Janks, a 19th-century stage actor who was able to frighten millions of children with the only face God gave him.

Coal -- Epic story of the living organisms which became the fossil fuel deposits that would eventually employ so many Kentucky men in extracting it from mines and therefore provide the means to support children, specifically Loretta Lynn.

Kitty Hawk: Low, Slow and Out of Control -- Ever since making Apollo 13, Ron Howard has wanted to go back and tell the dramatic story of the space program's true founding fathers: the Wright Brothers. But until now, the atmosphere for getting it financed just wasn't right. You'll marvel as these Ohio brothers fly their aircraft at an altitude far lower than any professional would fly today ... thrill as they glide several 100 yards over a grassy field, risking severe bruising and scraping ... and discover whether man will ever fly again.

Deliverance -- This rerelease of the original 1972 film is the prequel to Burt Reynolds becoming a complete asshole who wasted miles of film for the next 27 years.

Lady and the High-jumping Giant Schnauzer -- The Tramp was Lady's second "love." Months before he would come along, during her very first heat, she was put out in the fenced-in yard and before you can say "Spray 'em with the hose," she's sharing a lot more than a strand of spaghetti with Herr Schnauzer. A delightful "coming of estrus" story. ©



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