I learned a lot from Wall-E this weekend. For one, there’s no reason to ever pay for snacks at a movie theater when the Wal-Mart down the street has a seven-foot-tall steel cage full of eighty-eight cent movie candy. I loaded up on Cookie Dough Bites, Nerds, and off-brand Goobers, then bought a cooler on the way out. No minimum wage Cinemark usher can tell me my candy cooler isn’t a purse.
I also learned that there’s nothing in the world cuter than a wide-eyed robot. Sure, Helena Bonham Carter comes close, but there’s all the sexual tension. She has the same kind of dirty lust factor as the gothy Asperger girl who runs the DVD counter at the public library. I can’t check out a Merchant Ivory production without picturing her straddling me, her head tilted to count the stripes on my bedroom curtains.
I guess my attraction to Wall-E is similar to that of Will towards Grace in that 30-minute minstrel show that used to be on TV. (Seriously, it’s clips from foppish fagsploitation filth like Will & Grace, The Birdcage, and Batman Forever that’ll be trotted out in the future gay Spike Lee’s version of Bamboozled.) I can sort of fall in love with the little guy without feeling like some kind of mechaphilic pervert. I felt the same way about Johnny 5, though his quasi-sexual relationships with Ally Sheedy and that guy in Indian face sort of corrupted the purity of our relationship. Still, I teared up a little whenever Wall-E lost himself staring at that sexy little iPod just like I wept when Johnny 5 wiggled his eye flaps at a butterfly. Here’s hoping the inevitable Wall-E sequel can live up to the standard set by Short Circuit 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold.
I was a little uncomfortable to learn from Wall-E that shopping at Wal-Mart is the first step on the road to Armageddon. And it wasn’t only because of my Wal-Mart supplied candy cooler. Maybe I should have known better before going into the movie. I always thought Wal-Mart was simply a home-grown business that made good. I felt maybe we shouldn’t begrudge the success of an American family that found a way to set up inexpensive stores in small, poor Southern communities where finally people could afford to buy their sweet potatoes instead of clawing them out of the dirt. But then I remembered that before Wal-Mart moved in, the desolate wasteland that is my grandmother’s Arkansas hometown was, in fact, a commercial paradise. The boulevards were slightly less condom strewn, and the storefronts weren’t quite as boarded up. I used to blame the traffic-stealing Interstate highway system and the mass exodus of domestic manufacturing for cutting off the lifeblood of small town America, but now I know it was Sam Walton and all those dangerously falling prices. Thanks, Wall-E!
But the oracles at Pixar also taught me something else that I should have already known. Sitting in front of screens and not walking can make you very fat. Maybe I’m reading too much into the movie, but I couldn’t help seeing a little bit of myself in all those mindless automatons in their anti-gravity chairs. Thanks to technology, I haven’t so much as strolled to the bathroom in over seven years. All I’ve been doing is stuffing my face with inexpensive Wal-Mart candy and puttering around on my HoverLounge. Even after flying home from the movie, I caught myself spending hour upon listless hour watching my DVDs of A Bug’s Life, The Incredibles, and both Toy Stories. Would I never learn?
As I sat there wallowing in my own despair, my cell phone buzzed in my pocket. I cursed at the blasted technology that had ruined my life and threw the thing in the toilet. From now on, I’ll only talk to people face-to-face after running to their homes. Instead of buying Pixar films from Wal-Mart, I’ll take that extra step and act them out for children at the local ampitheater. I’ll no longer type this blog but hand-write it in as loopy a script as possible, just to quicken my heart rate.
My life will follow the plan set out in the montage behind Wall-E’s closing credits. Thank you, Pixar, for teaching me through your stunningly realistic computer animations that technology and convenience are the enemies of creativity and, yes, love.