HOLLYWEIRD, CA - In an attempt to reduce spiraling production costs associated with special effects-laden fantasy and adventure movies, Hollywood filmmakers are making spaghetti Westerns again in the hope that these cheap films may make a comeback among moviegoers.
"The cost of making special effects extravaganzas is becoming increasingly expensive," Myron Meyerson of Columbia Pictures complained. "Just to break even, we have to rely on geeks seeing the same picture three or four times and, quite frankly, the geek population has shown a sharp drop in the past decade."
In addition, some actors, such as Paul Newman and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who asked not to be named, quit acting because, they said, they didn't want to appear in movies alongside robots and cyborgs.
Many producers blame Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for the trend in making movies that are little more than showcases for visual special effects. "E. T. and Star Wars were okay as single films, but there shouldn't be any need for filmmakers to just keep pumping out such crap," Meyerson contended.
Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns, starring flinty-eyed Clint Eastwood, did well at the box office at the time of their release and continue to earn money on DVD. "There are still enough manly men in the United States, as hard as that may be to believe for some moviemakers, to warrant the making of these movies," Myerson suggested, "and Columbia is going to lead the way, as usual, by returning to this watering trough."
Although Eastwood is "too old and feeble" to star in the new spaghetti Westerns, Columbia's executives are considering both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise for leading roles in the retro-movies. "No one else is hiring Tom," Myerson pointed out, "and rumor has it that Angelina just wants to get Brad out of the house for a while."
To attract moviegoers' attention and to suggest that the old has become new, the spaghetti Westerns will be known as cannelloni Westerns, fettucine Westerns, linguine Westerns, tortellini Westerns, and ziti Westerns.
One thing that Columbia's brass does like about the Spielberg-Lucas approach to filmmaking is their use of unknown actors in their movies' main roles. No one had ever heard of such performers as Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher before Star Wars. Even better, Myerson said, is the use of animated characters such as Jar Jar Binks, Jabba the Hutt, and Billy Dee Williams.
To cut costs further, Columbia is thinking about dispensing with the use of Pitt or Cruise in at least one series, tentatively called, in a tribute to the Eastwood series, The Horse With No Name, which would star a trained horse. "We're even toying with the idea of making the animal a talking horse, like on that nag on the old TV show Mr. Ed. That way,"'' Myerson said, "our series' star would be working, literally, for hay."