It’s Christmas Day, which means that the vast majority of businesses are closed today, except for movie theaters. I was looking to see what movies are out, to see that Valkyrie opens today. That’s right, what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to go see a movie about Hitler? (I’m just waiting for a biopic about Jeffrey Dahmer for next Thanksgiving. At least it’ll get my appetite going.) Valkyrie might end up being the best-grossing film today — at least in this town. According to trashy entertainment blogs, this movie is an attempt to rehabilitate Tom Cruise’s image, tarnished by his association with Scientology and his crazy antics. You know things are bad for you when dressing up as a Nazi improves your public image.
But to say that this movie is about Hitler is not strictly accurate. Technically, it’s a movie about Tom Cruise trying to kill Hitler. Or, to be even more accurate, it’s a movie about Tom Cruise in an eyepatch trying to kill Hitler. Do you think the eyepatch had something to do with the movie being green-lit? I like to imagine the movie pitch went something like this:
Screenwriter: So, it’s a historical drama about Claus von Stauffenberg, a German officer who decides to kill Hitler–
Executive: Hmm, I don’t know. Hitler movies are a little… well, our market research indicates Hitler movies are not “in”.
Screenwriter (thinking fast): Well, uh…. the hero wears an eyepatch!
Executive: Oh, really? Eyepatches are very in! You know, the whole Pirates of the Caribbean thing. How about twenty million dollars for your budget?
Screenwriter: Ah, yeah, I think that might work.
Executive: Can we have Tom Cruise playing this dude?
Screenwriter: Well, uh… It’s not exactly an action hero part, but more of a delicate role about a complex man who struggles with his conscience and a sense of duty and is plagued with doubts about–
Executive: Perfect. Tom Cruise it is. Can we also have Tom Cruise say, “Yarr!” a lot?
Screenwriter: Can you repeat the phrase “twenty million dollars” again for me, please?
Executive: Twenty million dollars.
Screenwriter: Absolutely. Yes. Yarr!