By Christopher Campbell | Spout December 7, 2011 at 5:36PM
It's great that the holidays fall at the end of the year, so that we may remember all our favorite movies when compiling our gift wish list. Never mind what you're asking Santa for in terms of DVDs and Blu-rays, though. I'm more interested in the list that emphasizes the wishing part, as in you'd need a genie to get you the stuff you truly desire. I've come up with ten impossible gift items for the 2011 moviegoer, just for fun. Is there something you saw in a film that you wish you could have but never will? Let me know down below.
The first impossible gift I thought of is this "Mad Max"-inspired, flame-throwing muscle car, which immediately went down in history as one of the coolest movie cars of all time following the Sundance debut of "Bellflower" in January. Technically, it's not as impossible as you'd think, because the filmmakers will apparently build you a custom-made "badass post-apocalyptic, fire breathing, battle ready" replica for a mere $250,000. But it won't be the original Medusa, which of course has that added film memorabilia value of having appeared onscreen. You may as well just get a toy version. Speaking of which, where are the die cast tie-ins for Matchbox or Hot Wheels? I'll settle for the possible stocking stuffer.
I don't care what George Clooney says in the voiceover at the start of "The Descendants," living in Hawaii is not just like living anywhere else. Even the homeless have to prefer it to any other state in America. And screw him for trying to align his usual life -- that is, his life before his wife's accident -- with anyone who doesn't own a giant house with a pool on Oahu or the money and freedom to fly from island to island and spend most of his time on the beach. Just like those liberal communists The Muppets, it's so easy for him to say money and life in paradise isn't everything when he has it. And on top of all that he has at least the access if not full ownership of 25,000 acres of untouched beachfront land on Kaua'i. Me and a bunch of others would love to go occupy that area, camp out, pretend we're on "Lost," etc. But even if it's a real place, it's probably protected by electric fences and either dinosaurs or smoke monsters or something.
While the latest "Harold & Kumar" sequel has been a quiet success at the box office, I'm disappointed there hasn't been a lot of mainstream attention given to the movie's best element: Wafflebot. I saw tons of love for the waffle-making robot on Twitter, but it wasn't long-lasting, and those talking it up were primarily other movie bloggers. Then they saw "The Muppets" and fell in love with '80s Robot (pictured at the right), forgetting all about the greater machine that makes delicious breakfast food and also saves you from bad guys with his scalding syrup. Then again, '80s Robot can drive and seems to have a surplus of New Coke. Other great robots I'd love to receive this holiday include Pizzabot, from the new "Toy Story" short, "Small Fry" (whether he makes miniature pizzas or if there could be a life-size version of the kids meal toy), and the non-sentient automaton from "Hugo," even if all it does is draw pictures of Georges Melies' "A Trip to Moon." Others may wish to have a giant boxing robot, from "Real Steel," or maybe Brains and Wheelie, the little sidekick bots from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."
4. Ticket to another Earth, from "Another Earth"
Even though NASA just announced discovery of an Earth-like planet, which has been named Kepler-22b (coincidentally so close to last week's home video release of "Another Earth," by the way), that doesn't make it any easier for you to get a ticket to travel there and meet your doppelganger or whatever. Mainly because this new planet is 600 light years away. You probably have a better chance of buying a ticket for a front row seat to watch a planet hurling towards us, as in "Melancholia." It's an impossible enough gift to get a ride into orbit as a space tourist, which can run you at least $20 million.
I haven't seen "In Time" so I'm not completely clear on how its whole "Logan's Run"-like situation works, but I guess in the future you don't physically age beyond 25 yet you can only live beyond 26 if you pay for the extra time. As far as it fits this list, I would love to look like I did at 25 again, which I guess is an impossibility of both contemporary science and the fact that I'm now nearly 35. On top of that, if this was already the year 2161 and the advances in genetics existed, I'm sure I'd be in the 99% who can't afford the added lifespan. I have seen the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" installment, and I'd probably prefer a sip from the Fountain of Youth, an impossible present of the past rather than the future.
I also haven't yet seen Cameron Crowe's upcoming drama "We Bought a Zoo," in which a family spends its life savings to buy a dilapidated zoological park including 200 caged animals, nor have I seen "Zookeeper," which features talking animals. The former probably isn't an easily purchased enterprise, regardless of your savings, and the latter would technically only require you getting a job at the zoo, but the anthropomorphism are indeed an impossibility. Then there are the numerous documentaries (includeing "Project Nim" and "One Lucky Elephant"), most of which I have seen, involving people owning chimpanzees, elephants and tigers as pets. Often it can end badly for either the human or the beast, as we've also seen this year with the Ohio man whose animals got loose and were nearly all killed as a result (he died as well, but by his own hands). I've never been a huge supporter of zoos or circuses, but it's hard to deny the cuteness of Nim or the fun of having a friend dolphin or whale nearby (a la "Dolphin Tale" and "The Whale"). It's in our nature to want wild creatures as tamed pets. Especially when films like Disneynature's "African Cats" gives them endearing human-like characteristics and narratives. However, that's a near-impossible thing to have, as is the genuine responsibility and good conscience that you'd need to privately keep zoo and large aquarium animals in this day and age.
If you can't have a compound filled with wild animals, tamed or not, how about a compound filled with obedient humans, barbaric or not? Cults are becoming a major trend for indie filmmakers as we anticipate the end of the world any year now (or, allegedly, next year). There are the fundamentalist Christian cults ("Red State"), the purported woman from the future cults ("Sound of My Voice"), the cults where the leader just wants a harem of young women ("Martha Marcy May Marlene") and the cults where a bunch of naive kids leave society and settle in the woods ("The Woods"). We could probably include the church from "Higher Ground," the enchanted fanbase seen in "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" and the duped followers of the fake guru from the documentary "Kumare," as well. I've always just wanted to have a lot of followers who think my opinions and philosophy are worth paying attention to, if not necessarily obeyed in zombie-like fashion. Fortunately, I get to blog and Tweet to thousands of people, but I'd also love to have a giant piece of property with a huge farm house. And maybe you could all join me there so we can cut out these Internet-based middlemen. A cult and that property on Hawaii would be a terrific dual gift.
8. Mysterious magic cubes, from "Super 8"
Officially they're called Argus Cubes, according to the people at the "Super 8" Wiki, who obviously are spending too much time devoted to an extremely weak Spielberg wannabe film. Even though the movie sucks and the ultimate fate of the cubes is reassemby into a spaceship. But by themselves they're pretty cool for a few minutes, just being magical and mysterious, sitting on the desk like a neat yet impractical display gizmo. You could bring it to school for show and tell, during which everyone will just dismiss it as a fake Rubik's Cube. Or you can fool an old man into thinking its a stack of stuck-together sugar cubes. Video tape his goof and put it on YouTube. It might just provide a few days of fun, but that's not much different than most Christmas gifts you receive. For the non-impossible dream, you can also just buy the even less exciting collectible replicas for $14.95 each.
I've never quite understood the point of this magical item, either, but Thor's hammer is still pretty cool. There's they mythological use of making thunder and lightning, which for me is only valuable as a way of making my dog get scared and hide in the bathtub. Or there's the use of the superhero version, seen in "Thor," which is as a magical weapon. I still don't know all its powers, but I believe you can fly with it, cause storms, easily bust open a macadamia nut when you're on your private 25,000-acre campground in Hawaii and look even more badass while waving it out the window of the Medusa. Again, there are replicas, plastic ones available at toy stores. If Mjolnir isn't cool and powerful enough for you, maybe you'd like a power ring, from "Green Lantern," or a vibranium shield, from "Captain America: The First Avenger." And for the non-impossible dream, you can easily go buy a basic wrench to be like Rainn Wilson in "Super."
Is peace a possibility in this world? Steve James' "The Interrupters" makes it seem so, if not exactly easily, by documenting the efforts of Chicago's CeaseFire initiative and its "violence interrupters" who try to prevent gang fights and retaliation plots around the city. As seen in the film, the concept is being pitched internationally, and I'd like to hope such courageous peacekeeping measures catch on. But I'm also a cynic and expect war and worse from at least somewhere in the world at any given time. Plus, there are documentaries like "Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace," all the numerous war and genocide films and the multitude of fearmongering, doom-and-gloom and otherwise negative-toned films more common than positive-message works like "The Interrupters" that keep me believing this is an unachieveble dream. Not to be cliche, but if there's any gift on this list I'd prefer to be made possible, it's this one.