Somehow, we’ve run out of ideas. Or we’ve developed an incomparable laziness when it comes to generating new ideas. Either way, when the human psyche is on the verge of collapse, well—that’s when Marmaduke happens. Like the slow, burning death of Earth’s yellow sun, or the unstoppable progress of herpes through the genitals of our brains: Marmaduke. Voiced by Owen Wilson.
We’ve got a lot of newspaper comics to get through before we can finally be done with our disturbing fixation on bringing cartoon characters into the real world. Seriously: just get all of these movies out this year so we never, ever have to do this again. I’m going to give you a head start, Hollywood.
Peanuts: Starring Michael Cera as Charles Brown, directed by Wes Anderson. Charles Brown is a young man with cancer—and that’s not the worst of his problems!
Family Circus: Starring Bill Pullman as The Dad, and Michael Cera as Jeffy. Directed by whoever did that black Honeymooners movie. A lot funnier if you turn off the sound and just shout profanities and incest jokes for an hour.
Cathy: Starring Fran Drescher. Or Mary Steenburgen. Or Sarah Jessica Parker. Or someone equally disgusting and inept. Directed by some chick. Probably Penny Marshall. Being a woman is hard work! But it’s even harder when you’re a fucking moron!
Beetle Bailey: Starring Michael Cera as Beetle, and Jeff Bridges as Sarge, Directed by Charlie Kaufman. The only atrocity of war is how hilarious it is! I mean, until the second half when Kaufman goes all dead and corpsey on us.
Hägar the Horrible: Starring John Goodman as Hägar, and Michael Cera as “Lucky” Eddie. Directed by The Coen Brothers. Because America really needs a good, old fashioned rape comedy. Vikings are the next ninjas, or zombies, or vampires—or whatever kids these days are sycophantically dedicated to.
Luann: Starring Ellen Page and Paul Giamatti as Luann. Directed by Michel Gondry. Greg Evans is a 16-year-old girl trapped in the body of a 63-year-old man—and he’s not very good at being either. As his reality fluctuates between these two identities, Luann struggles to retain her sanity and keep her grades up! What happens when Luann realizes he’s a newspaper comic? Gondry mindfuck is what.
Red Meat: Starring Steve Buscemi. Directed by Werner Herzog. Ninety minutes of Buscemi staring at you. You, personally. Every once in a while, Herzog walks into the frame and points at himself, just so you realize how important he is. Lest we forget.
I’m also willing to accept any of these as video games.
It’s certainly not news that the Sunday funnies are a kind of weird oroborous that defy the laws of nature by getting worse every day, but they’re coming closer to being completely hilarious because of their very progression into the abyss of anti-comedy. Garfield, when slightly tweaked into the forms of Garfield Minus Garfield or Lasagna Cat, is surrealist exploration into the nature of humor.
Which, of course, is completely unprofitable. So let’s hurry up and vomit these eternal screen gems onto the willing audiences, and then we can get down to business.