Captain America: The First Avenger

PG-13 for implicit endorsement of performance-enhancing drugs


“You know what World War II was missing?” people often ask me. “I mean, as a narrative?”

“Comic relief?” I suggest.

“Yes, but more than that,” they say, “a good villain. The Nazis were okay, but that war needed someone really evil and powerful. Someone with an impossibly futuristic technology that glowed blue, and a weird red face.”

“Yeah,” I agree, “Hitler’s face was way too pasty.”

“Also, steroids,” they say. “Where were the steroids?”

“You’re right,” I say. “World War II really skimped on the steroids.”

“And would it have killed them to have a love story?” they say, pulling from their packet a pre-written list of narrative flaws with WWII. “It’s just war, war, war. How drab.”

“Yeah, who wants to hear about a drab war?”

Then they show me dialogue they’ve been working on for their WWII movie, or sketches of ill-conceived set pieces, such as the belly of an airplane in which all the nuclear missiles are labeled with the names of cities.

“Why would the villain write ‘Chicago’ on the missile they’re sending to Chicago?” I ask.

“Because it’s going to Chicago,” is the irritated reply.

“But why would they write that on the bomb?” I say. “Wouldn’t it be cooler if they wrote ‘Boston’ on the one going to Chicago, and ‘Chicago’ on the one going to Boston? That’d be crafty.”

A long pause. “But it’s going to Chicago.”

“And why are you setting this movie during World War II,” I press, “if you just want to have futuristic weapons and a non-Nazi villain?”

But by the end of these conversations, the other person has usually ignored all my advice and still managed to bank $300 million, while I’m stuck in my paltry little world where the pasty-faced Nazis have to pass for WWII villains. Let my lack of imagination be a lesson to us all.

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