America's shopping day of Black Friday perhaps can't be branded with comedy when the events of that day have turned so ugly and tragic in the last few years. If nothing else, we can attach the word "black" next to the word comedy in order to compensate. Hollywood has already adopted those words and shaped that genre as a favorite way to tackle virtually any subject without any reservations.
Why, though, hasn't Hollywood made a movie about Black Friday as either a look at its evolution or as a chaotic snapshot in the modern day?
Outside of a documentary, it's much more feasible to make a fictional black comedy that takes place on Black Friday at a midtown mall. And, yes, if you think Kevin James will inevitably make a movie like that, then stand up and be counted. Better yet, Will Ferrell should get away from tackling news anchors and professional sports to the more complex subject of individuals who step on other individuals in order to satiate their materialism.
Such a movie might sound contrived in a pitch meeting, particularly if it involves Kevin James resuming his role as "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." But in order to get something substantial out of a movie about Black Friday, it really should go back to my aforementioned idea: Looking at Black Friday through a sequence of years. This all starts by envisioning a fictional family forming a longtime annual tradition of going to the same local mall for Post-Thanksgiving sales.
Yes, there's been a definite change from the Black Fridays of the sedate 1990s to the chaos of where we are now. Place a fictional family into the suddenly changed Post-Thanksgiving battleground of the last few years, and you have a true picture of American commercialism of the last 15 years. When this involves Will Ferrell as the father in the family and a physical war next to a sock counter, you also have true comedic potential.
The good news here is that because this has to be black comedy, a re-creation of what we've heard about in the news can be easier depicted. It means dealing with the customer tramples during the 5 a.m. door openings as that gateway toward the shock of how things have changed. Lest you think there isn't a plot there, then you don't know how family traditions mean fighting out the chaotic conditions until that tradition is fulfilled.
As well, when you use the world "battlefield", it means true warfare and scenes that require a cinematographer who knows how to capture such things. In order to take us right into the throes of it all, let's assume the employment of a shaky camera done in "Saving Private Ryan" style. However, there is one thing that it really can't show if this movie doesn't want to step over a line: Death.
Then again, what would happen if a Black Friday movie showed a death as what already happened once during a mindless 2008 frenzy at a Wal-Mart? There's such a thing as re-inventing the black comedy into a black dramedy where comedy and tragedy organically coalesce. Such a shock may be needed to show how much Black Friday requires a cinematic examination as one giant mirror held up to a once peaceful tradition mired in slow devolution.
Let's get a pitch going today, underemployed writers and producers. Don't wait until you've shopped for a new HDTV and treated a broken arm in the same hour.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Kevin James