Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Like Trees

I was just over at Square Books looking at all the books. And I saw one with the subtitle "One Man's Serendipitous Journey to Find the Trees That Inspired Famous American Writers." Look, don't get me wrong, I like trees. In fact, you might just say I love trees. If you don't believe me, check out this dumb old interview I did in which the last thing I mention (with horrific sentimentality) is a tree. But there are still lots of reasons why "One Man's Serendipitous Journey to Find the Trees That Inspired Famous American Writers" is the least exciting subtitle ever, including the desperation of the word "famous," which seems to sense, like the host of a terrible party, how dull the rest of the subtitle is. By way of contrast, let us examine the subtitle of STUNTMAN! by Hal Needham, our current Doomed Book Club selection: "My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life." That's a subtitle that tells you Hal Needham might just narrowly avoid being murdered by a serial killer in his book! Which is something that happens in STUNTMAN! for real! I doubt it happens on one man's serendipitous journey to find trees. The only thing that saves Hal Needham is drinking booze instead of milk. Let that be a lesson, kids! The milk has been drugged by the serial killer! I should add that in STUNTMAN!, Hal Needham begins his professional life as a tree climber: "As Lenny and I watched, I commented a little too loud that those guys didn't know how to climb a tree. A voice from behind said, 'And I suppose you do.' I shot back, 'You can bet your house on that, son.'" Then Hal Needham climbs the tree and everybody is stunned at his prodigious tree-climbing skills. Now THAT'S how you handle a tree! As my friend the Hollywood producer pointed out, it (Hal Needham blurts out something inappropriate; people laugh at Hal Needham; Hal Needham makes them look like idiots; everybody suddenly loves Hal Needham and gives him lots of money) is the template for just about everything that happens in STUNTMAN!