4 Reasons This New Movie Is Everything Wrong With Hollywood
Earlier this week, Sony, a multimedia corporate giant run by full-grown adults, paid $1 million for a screenplay called Winter's Knight, a gritty interpretation of the Santa Claus legend, because everyone in Hollywood has lost their fucking minds.
This Is a $1 Million Pitch
According to the article, Winter's Knight is a reimagining of the origin of Santa Claus, putting St. Nicholas in the mix with Viking elements. So, St. Nicholas, a fourth-century Greek bishop famous for putting gold into people's shoes, is going to somehow travel halfway across the known world and do battle with Vikings.
The magical white flurry that inspired this probably wasn't made of snow.
It's the Sad, Inevitable Conclusion of Hollywood's Love of Deathly Serious Fantasy Reboots
Is he going to fly through the Scandinavian night in his flame-decaled sled, lopping off the heads of Viking chieftains and dropping bombs down their chimneys in slow motion while a Smashing Pumpkins remix plays in the background? Is he going to liberate some tiny Danish village from tyrannical subjugation (despite the fact that he himself is from fucking Turkey)? Or is he going to rescue orphaned children forced to work in some cruel slate mine by evil druid priests? There is no possible way to anticipate what this movie is going to be. The brain literally will not allow it.
"You either stop thinking about this shit or I start giving you flashbacks to puberty."
And why the hell is it called Winter's Knight? There were no knights in either Greek or Viking culture; that's a military title from medieval Europe. (And St. Nicholas was a bishop, which is a totally different chess piece. I really can't stress this enough.) Was the pun just that irresistible? They might as well have made him a fucking cowboy.
Goddamnit, that was meant sarcastically.
The Suits Are Really Excited About It
This isn't going to be a small film, either. It isn't going to premiere on DVD or On Demand. The minute this hodgepodge of insanity was pitched, it sparked a massive bidding war between Warner Bros., Disney, and Universal before Sony ultimately won the right to spend a fortune on an idea that was apparently written by a remedial reading class. Every major studio in the business was so desperate to make Santa Begins into a movie that the screenplay was pitched and sold in three goddamned days. Landing a million-dollar deal in less time than it takes to receive your Amazon.com order of The Best of Bootsy Collins is unheard of unless you're holding James Cameron's family hostage. This is going to be a $200 million blockbuster film with Happy Meal tie-ins and collector cups at 7-Eleven.
Even if they decide to gloss over the pesky "historical background" of St. Nicholas, how are they going to handle the traditional Santa iconography? There's no way they're going to make the star of a sword-and-sandals action extravaganza a nearsighted type-2 diabetic. No, Winter's Knight Santa is going to be a ripped necromancer with an inexplicable English accent:
The Unavoidable Love Subplot (aka Santa Boners)
And there is definitely going to be at least one sequence wherein Santa has sex with a Viking priestess and makes the entire theater really uncomfortable. Yep, we're going to have to see Santa Claus' chest muscles glistening moodily in the flickering light of a narwhal blubber candle while he smashes his pelvis against some starlet in Braveheart makeup. And I guarantee the tagline is "This Christmas -- BELIEVE IN SANTA," because the people who paid a million dollars just for the privilege of turning this idea into a movie are the types of sun-bleached assholes who would think that tagline is cool.
We could be totally wrong. Winter's Knight may turn out to be the refreshing dose of originality that Hollywood has been searching for, and if that's the case, Cracked will run an official retraction. But we're willing to roll those dice. The film industry is so desperate for any idea that isn't a sequel, a reboot, or an adaptation that they'll apparently throw money grenades at any pitch that doesn't contain those words. This gives us hope for Fuck of the Irish, our gritty St. Patrick reboot.