All the other cool kids have their own signature editorial columns, so I got one too!
Dear Robert Zemeckis,
Hey, man. Sorry to hear about your weekend. First Mars Needs Moms did its whole lead-balloon impression. Then Disney curbed your Yellow Submarine remake. But in times of adversity I think it is often therapeutic to take a moment to reflect.
Maybe it is time to, you know… how can I put this delicately… stop making these awful fucking mo-cap movies?
I get it. I know. It has been your thing since the 80’s to push the boundaries of technology in your films. The revolutionary split-screen stuff in Back to the Future II. The eerily seamless mixing of live-action and animation in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Inserting Tom Hanks into all that historical footage in Forrest Gump, and chopping off Gary Sinise’s legs. It was around Contact – with that crazy fucking shot of the girl running towards the medicine cabinet mirror – that I realized you were getting a little overly obsessed with the technical aspects of your films. But hey, it was a cool shot; didn’t add anything to the narrative or facilitate a deeper connection for me with the material, but whatever, I can gladly accept tech-wank for its own sake sometimes. Then… you just kinda went away, man. You were there, but it wasn’t you anymore – like that friend who joined the douche frat in college and was never really the same.
Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I didn’t tell you this enough when it mattered, but you used to be my favorite. I really mean that. Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? were three of my favorite movies growing up. Kind of defined my tastes in cinema to a large extent. WFRR actually got me interested in film noir. Can you believe that? Then when I got a little older I discovered your early work, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Used Cars. Used Cars is fucking gold, Bob. Gold. And Tales from the Crypt rocked my world too. There is a guy here at CHUD doing a whole on-going series about the show. People still care.
Look, I’m really sorry for what I said in the 90’s. It wasn’t cool of me to bitch about the types of films you were choosing to make. It’s your career, not mine. I was over-reacting. Yeah, Pulp Fiction losing Best Picture to Forrest Gump was a turning point for me in my realization that the Oscars were stupid, but come on, I was a teenager. I had a major Tarantino boner at the time, like every teenage boy who saw Pulp Fiction. Looking back now, Forrest Gump is iconic in its own ways. Great soundtrack too. And that was more about bad timing than anything else. I would’ve realized the Oscars were stupid regardless.
What I’m trying to say here, man, is… I’m sorry.
You didn’t need to stop making live-action films all together. 11 years. That’s how long ago Cast Away was. I can’t believe that and What Lies Beneath were what you left us on before journeying down the mo-cap rabbit hole. But let’s not dwell on that. And, hey, your mo-cap journey wasn’t a total waste of time/talent/money. I liked Beowulf. Actually, that film was the first modern 3D film that demonstrated to me how 3D could be used to create depth, and not just have shit popping out at the camera. So that’s cool, right? And I loved Monster House. Though I still don’t get why that film was mo-cap. But whatever. That’s not important. What’s important is that you stop. That you burn your mo-cap studio to the ground and salt the earth where it once stood. Build a fence around the property, tell people it is haunted, and never ever ever return.
Don’t just make a live-action movie to get it out of your system. I – I just don’t think I could handle you leaving twice. Please stay. I don’t care if you only make Forrest Gump-like movies for the rest of your career. Just no more creepy dead-eyed mo-cap horrors, I beg you.
The world has changed a lot since you left. David Fincher – the guy who made Seven – has kinda taken up the mantle of tech-wank in dramatic films. You’d dig what he’s doing. And there is this other guy, Gore Verbinski, who kinda reminds me of classic you in a lot of ways. But there’s no need to feel threatened or anything. Anyway, I think you’ll do fine. Just be strong and remember that there are a lot of people who care about you.
If you need anything, you know where to find me.