Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Annie (2014)": Grossly Classist Propaganda

Now Available on DVD and Blu-Ray

After watching this remake of Annie, I can’t help but picture a boardroom of wealthy executives, cynically tossing ideas around on how to tackle the public perception that the rich get richer at the expense of the poor.  “The people need a movie to assure them that the root of wealth is hard work and sacrifice, and that anyone can achieve prosperity if only they believe,” says one shady figure. 

“But people won’t see a film unless it has brand recognition,” says another. 

“What about that musical, Annie?” proclaims a third.  “It already deals with class disparity, and brings together the rich and poor in a heartwarming tale of family.”

“Yes!  But seeing a little ginger kid isn’t going to motivate the plebs to spend their minimal disposable income.  We need to make Annie look like them.  Annie needs to be black.”

“Great!  Then we can market this as a progressive step for the film industry rather than a transparent attempt to garner buzz and appeal to a demographic we intend to propagandize to.”

“Speaking of propaganda, I think we’re going to have to change some plot details.  People can’t relate to the Great Depression because the Internet didn’t exist then.  We have to modernize.  That will allow us to showcase impractical and excessive wealth to transform Annie’s journey into one of shallow wish fulfillment.”

“Imagine how much product placement we can get out of that!  And let’s make sure to insert some satirical jabs at exactly that practice so that the masses will think we’re hip and self-aware.”

“We’ll need to make sure the script is rife with phrases akin to pulling oneself up by their bootstraps, so that Daddy Warbucks doesn’t seem like he’s too entitled.  In fact, Warbucks’s name needs to go.  Let’s make him Will Sacks.  You know, like sacks of cash.  People might think that’s clever, but we really just don’t want to associate wealth with war more than people already do.”

“His character arc should involve nothing more than growing to love and care for Annie, perhaps with him running in a political race for a position that will clearly only feed his ego.  That way, when he inevitably withdraws in order to spend time with Annie in his affluence, he will seem like a better person.  We absolutely cannot allow any of the original musical’s implication that Warbucks becoming more charitable toward the poor will enhance his character.  In fact, throw in a line about how hand-outs are bad!”

“Speaking of the fact that this is a musical, does anyone want to shell out the cash to hire good singers, an experienced musical director, or even a decent choreographer?”

“Nah!  People won’t notice if we spend the entire budget on big name actors without consideration of their fitness for the roles.  Slap enough zeros on the check, and big names like Jaime Foxx, Rose Byrne, and Cameron Diaz will swallow their pride and peddle this shit.  Their presence alone should get some asses in the theater seats.  Only musical nerds will notice if the production quality is terrible.”

“So, just to recap, we’re going to produce a remake of a musical that originally had intentions of breaching the class gap, sanitize it so that wealth seems absurdly amazing, instantly attainable, and consequence-free, then assemble the pieces with no real care so that we can make a propaganda piece promoting the idea of a degree of upward mobility that 99% of people could never hope to realize?”

“That’s the idea!”

But the executives were wrong in their arrogance, and the film bombed happily ever after.  Fuck. This. Shit.

EDIT: I initially misidentified Cameron Diaz as Charlize Theron. That has been rectified.

1 comment:

  1. Did you mean Cameron Diaz, not Charlize Theron?