The Bonfire of the Bosom Buddy, Part II
by ELLEN COPPERFIELD
I was watching The Polar Express and trying to recover the spirit of Christmas for some muffins I was planning when it occurred to me: doesn’t that train conductor remind me of something ineffable and someone specific?
My aunt told me it was Tom Hanks, and I was like, “they modeled the conductor after a producer on Big Love?” She explained that Hanks was the owner of a long and storied Hollywood career, while her daschund Leopold stared at me unforgivingly for my ignorance. I spent this past weekend watching all of this old-timey actor’s moving pictures, and I have summarized the plots of these films so you can easily find what interests you. UPDATE: I watched more movies of this old gentleman. He must be 80 by now. Was he also the male lead in Mad About You? If so, I will address it in a forthcoming feature-length essai.
A man has sex with a mermaid and feels somewhat bad about it. The mermaid’s father frowns upon the match because it conflicted with the IPO of his underwater company.
A repressed homosexual finds a riddle in his morning coffee. He pretends to have a relationship with a woman and convinces her that the message in the coffee was of such tremulous importance that they can never consummate the immense attraction between them. She dies.
The Money Pit
A home restoration project goes south when a man realizes his wife is Shelley Long.
A famous football player insists that protection is for Ravens while attempting sex. The woman mishears “Ravens” as “cravens”, freaks out, and ends up majoring in communications. Todd Phillips is passed out nearby and gets the idea for The Hangover.
Two white police officers pay tribute to a long-running television series by visiting Santa Claus at the North Pole. Santa tells them to come back when they’re animated.
A man shrinks to the size of a gumdrop to become a boy again and lives inside a huge piano with all his friends. Older women are constantly intuiting he’s more advanced sexually than he professes. To return to full size, he is forced to rape a gypsy woman.
A comedian is infected with AIDS by Denzel Washington.
Turner and Hooch
A man and an anti-Semitic dog fight crime.
You may be more familiar with a recent remake of The ‘Burbs, Saw IV.
Joe Versus the Volcano
A pet detective finally marries his true love (Courteney Cox) and decides that Meg Ryan is likelier to have a successful big screen career. He struggles to find a way to break off the engagement before deciding to burn his penis off in an active volcano.
The Bonfire of the Vanities
A journalist with no imagination finds it easier to make things up than interview any more astronauts than he has to. He uses a revolutionary technique to clone himself. He names the clone Malcolm Gladwell.
A League of Their Own
An alcoholic womanizer leads a baseball team of women to greatness and inadvertently creates a popular daytime television program. A text card at the end of the film specifies that they would have achieved nothing without a male manager.
Sleepless in Seattle
A woman facebooks a guy and he ends up taking it way farther than it ever has to go. She falls in love with his eight-year old by accident and they go live on a cute houseboat for the rest of their lives.
The two main people in a gay man’s life are Antonio Banderas and Denzel Washington, and he’s still unhappy as a clam for no discernible reason. Andrew Sullivan cameos as “another guy with HIV.”
The thinly disguised life story of Joe Biden. He has a sexual relationship with Robin Wright Penn and everyone has some misgivings that she took advantage of him. Biden emphasizes the fact that he rides Amtrak in his speeches because he is unable to pilot an automobile.
A pilot lands a plane. Everyone pretends to be impressed, including the seagulls.
Saving Mr. Banks
Walt Disney loved Jews, including Carl Bernstein, Jonah Hill and Barbra Streisand. You believe us, don’t you?
A bunch of guys head into space, reassuring their wives with platitudes like, “We won’t fuck up in space,” and “It’s space, what could go wrong?” and “Kevin Bacon’s coming with us to space, this will be hilars.” These predictions prove largely inaccurate.
A man is almost certain that he is going to die, so he decides to make up an improbable story that he figures won’t matter because he will be dead anyway. He lives, and crosses his fingers every night that no one finds out his lie.
Saving Private Ryan
Despite the fact that Jews are dying by the millions in camps across Europe, it ends up being a lot more important for everybody’s peace of mind that one goy be rescued by a squadron of morons.
You’ve Got Mail
A man flirts with a woman on the internet; she is somehow not disgusted by the fact it takes 20 minutes for him to type one instant message into AIM. He misunderstands “Shop Around the Corner” for a sexual euphemism, she apologizes for the miscommunication. Not only does he not accept her apology, he puts her out of business and cuts off her airway with the skin folds from his degraded neck. The funeral is a lovely affair, and each of the eulogies emphasize the dangers of misrepresenting yourself on AIM.
The Green Mile
A magical, physically imposing black man heals people with his touch, so the white prison guards murder him, but not before he cures all their urinary tract infections. It turns out that the black man had the spirit of a white guy (Rob Schneider) inside him all along.
High on cocaine, Robert Zemeckis has an idea that later becomes Lost; a plane crashes on an island and only the boring characters survive.
A few guys are really attracted to Emma Watson to the extent completely unjustified by her looks, personality or apparel. One day, they hear her say she likes guys with beards, so they quickly all grow beards and spy on her in the bathroom. When confronted, they apologize and are rewarded with multiple seasons of their pet projects by Netflix.
Road to Perdition
Two playwrights debate the existential nature of life over dinner one evening. Hot topic: ‘what does the word perdition mean?’
Catch Me If You Can
Christopher Walken has a son, and – shock, surprise! – it doesn’t turn out all that well. The son becomes a pilot and figures prominently in the September 11th terrorist attacks on America. He ends up dating Cardi B, probably.
Bridge of Spies
A bunch of people in Hollywood beg all their friends to pretend a movie is interesting. It isn’t.
Rich white people pretend that things they did were important. Ta-Nehisi Coates guest stars as a skeptical onlooker.
A man who jerks off into people’s luggage is apprehended and forced to copulate with Catherine Zeta-Jones while Michael Douglas looks on approvingly.
A brother-brother writer-director team misfires with their latest film and decides to nab an Oscar by utilizing the foolproof method of having Tommy Lee Jones do the movie’s voiceover.
The Polar Express
A shocking expose of how the Japanese kill 500 of Santa’s dwarves each year in front of a live studio audience in the Arctic.
The Da Vinci Code
Dr. Robert Langdon is infected with HIV by Denzel Washington.
Charlie Wilson’s War
Mike Nichols’ 100 minute logic proof that Elaine May had all the talent.
Angels and Demons
Dr. Robert Langdon gives up treasure hunting and retires to a tropical island with Audrey Tautou, Emily Blunt, and Denzel Washington.
Ellen Copperfield is a contributor to This Recording.