Michael Stevens returns to Fake Movie Friday again this week. Let’s hope he sticks around forever because these have been fantastic. Enjoy!
Satan in Seafoam
Director: Michel Gondry
Producer: Brad Pitt (liked the premise, wasn’t satisfied with the genre)
Writer: James Mangold (wrote the script in the early 2000s as a thriller/love-story)
Writer: James Franco and Lena Dunham (Major Rewrites)
Co-Writer (uncredited): (Melissa Rosenberg provided the new treatment and dropped out)
Andrew Garfield – Sam, a mysterious new neighbor… this is a part Josh Hartnett should have played.
Lena Dunham – Molly Charles, a twenty-something record store worker lady. The part was going to be older and played by Sandra Bullock.
Donald Glover – Cameo
Charlie Day – Marty Charles, her ne’er-do-well, freeloading older brother, a former addict, and an unexpected source of wisdom. Owen Wilson.
Michael Keaton. – Mr. Charles, her witty, widower, working class dad who drinks a little too much. Gene Hackman.
Bill Murray – Sam’s old boss. Dustin Hoffmann.
James Franco – Sam’s old cubicle mate. Sam Rockwell. (This part was going to be a major antagonist, but was scaled down in rewrites to really focus on the fish out of water love story)
Aaron Eckhart – Cameos as Zeus
Setting: Brooklyn, NY.
Pitch: It’s like Splash with The Devil!
Tagline: Paradise is never lost.
Pre-production: The movie was in development hell. Brad Pitt really wanted to see it happen, and likened the opposites attract story to a romance film from the 80s, so there are lots of clever little John Hughes nods in this fucking weird little (arthouse?) movie.
In the vein of Meet Joe Black, Pretty in Pink, Nick and Nora’s 500 Days of a Kind of Long Story Pilgrim, and Eternal Sunshine of PunchDrunk Fidelity, comes this generic romantic dramedy. Just so you know, this movie does not know what it is.
So the movie opens in a business-y type office. Everything in the office is eerie white. Garfield (whose character has no name yet) is being fired by Bill Murray. Garfield is wearing a black suit with a white Oxford; Bill Murray is wearing a grey suit with a white shirt. James Franco is dressed the same. His character is real stoic, militant, and suck-upy, like Taye Diggs in Equilibrium. James Franco (who is only referred to as “my Son” by Murray) is very satisfied by Garfield’s “firing.” As Garfield begs to stay, The Boss (Murray) patronizes him and says some mean shit to piss him off. AND HE’S FIRING THE DUDE. Anyway, The Boss says something to finally piss Garfield of and Garfield just goes berserk and starts ranting and cursing about how he doesn’t need the boss anyway and that people will listen to him and yadda, yadda, yadda. Franco sees this as an act of rebellion and tells him to “get the fuck out.”
Garfield: Please, you’re only hear because…you’re favored. You’re a spoiled princess.
This sends Franco into a berserk rage that sends him flying to the ground to beat the shit out of Garfield. He’s yelling “get the fuck out” and all kinds of non-sense–he mentions angels at some point and some girl named Lilith (the scene was cut out of the theatrical release, but she was played by Bryce Dallas Howard) He stabs him and it makes a nasty mark. Blood stains Garfield’s white shirt. As Franco pummels Garfield into the ground, the ground starts the break, and Garfield falls into a (minimally CGI’d or practical effect) abyss. As Garfield falls into the darkness, we get a VO:
Garfield VO: I can’t stand his smiley fucking face. I’ll be damned if I don’t have my job back…
Garfield: (falling) I’m coming back for both of you jobs. The people will listen to ME!
The camera zooms into his eye.
Garfield: This is going to be long fall… like I said, I’ll be damned.
The NERD remix of Sympathy for the Devil plays over the credits and we see pictures and short montage scenes of history with Garfield humorously thrown in, influencing human history. He’s bringing fire, he’s selling weapons. He’s advising tyrants. He’s telling people to do “bad” and “evil” things. YAY you get it. Garfield is a non-denominational Satan type character. He’s Prometheus, the Angel of Death, Loki, Dracula, Alexander the Great and all of those evil/violent motherfuckers combined. He’s not really evil, he’s just the only unemployed immortal, so he spends eternity fucking with people. There’s even a funny scene that is called back throughout the montage of Garfield asking Shakespeare to put more dirty jokes into his plays. This guy has seen it all. The thing is, he’s only really persuasive and immortal. He really has no power beyond that. But news gets around of him in ancient times, and he becomes the scapegoat for other people’s evil decisions. It’s all thrown on him and he’s just a sad tricky little guy. This movie turns Satan himself into Aladdin. Eventually when the fifties arrives, Satan decides to live a normal life. He buys a Seafoam (his favorite color) shirt to replace the one still stained with blood (immortals can hurt each other–NOT A PLOT HOLE) the he never replaced. He trades in his black suit for a friendlier navy one and steals a cream pair of shoes and a brown belt. Satan is a nice guy! He then wanders the streets of NY in search of a job…for a few decades. Yes this movie found a way to ruin Paradise Lost.
Pick up to present day. The economy sucks. Satan can’t find a job. He finally (after decades of walking) decides to sit down. He’s somewhere in Brooklyn. He’s asks for a bite of a sandwich from the guy (DONALD GLOVER OMG) next to him. He guy is freaked out. Satan doesn’t need to eat, but he’s bored so he just takes the guy’s sandwich and DG walks away.
At some point he meets Lena Dunham (Molly) and has an awkward altercation with her, where he makes up his name: Sam.
Basically, Molly starts to fall in love with Satan because he’s that guy that everyone likes…think Anton Yelchin in Charlie Barlett where he plays the same character.
I hope you saw Meet Joe Black. Everything in the middle of this movie is that. During the film, we really get to know and love Satan. He’s weird and quirky and not quite human. He’s also friendly. (He gives a poor guy 100 dollars)
Turns out he’s not that bad. We just never got his side of the story and God is a dick who invents awesome things like blueberries, but makes them too small to really enjoy and sustain my happiness. God fired him from his job, because he was a threat to “The Company.” Franco’s character’s name in the film is merely “The Right Hand Man.” He’s The Archangel Michael, Jesus, and the messiah of many other religions. His motivation for meeting up with Sam again is to get him to take his old job back. You see, people don’t give a shit anymore. It was easier to get people to listen to God when they feared eternal damnation. If good can’t do it, evil can. Yep, heaven or “The company” is the bad guy. They don;t want good, They want obedience. Hell and its rebels want free will and moral freedom. Satan just wants love. He wants to be human. He wants to have a kid?
The months pass and Sam adjusts to being human. He’s eating, bathing, and wearing different clothes some days. He get’s a job at a coffee place, where he only drinks water and eats blueberries, though they piss him off.
At some point were going to have Molly find out that he is Satan, and he’s gonna be all mopey about how no one gets him and how he’s the world’s scapegoat and how much he can hate people. She going to totally accept him and not give a shit. We’ll have a nice montage of the two of them doing devil-y cute things. He’s Satan so he can kind of make people do stuff. By fall he sets up a nice little life for him and Molly. Sure let’s just leave serious conversations to the side. So what if their potential child is the worst thing that could happen to humankind. So what if it’s the reincarnation of Hitler. So what if he never grows old and watches her die. So what if he’s fucked a lot of things. Immortals don’t get STDs. So you shut up with your questions BECAUSE MOLLY LOVES SATAN AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS.
Hey maybe there’s an awkward dinner scene at her house?
We need a Halloween scene right? One that probably begins with Molly’s best friend (Kat Dennings) talking about how her ex was the devil. (Totally a trailer quote.) Anyhow there’s a loft party. Sam is “His Best Self” for Halloween: He’s wearing a black suit, and his favorite button down, a sea foam shirt. Let’s stay Molly’s a sexy angel for the sake of OMG-saw-that-coming. God and Franco are at the party. God offers Satan his old job, Satan tells god he works at a coffee shop now, God and Franco get it and peace away but not out. Zeus shows up to talk about all the people they fucked and its all fun and games. God gives one gift to Sam before he leaves because FOR NO REASON, God is nice now. Kinda like the New Testament.
GOD: I kicked you out of my home. I’m sorry
SAM: It’s fine. No worries, I found ways to make ends meet.
God looks at Molly being quirky and attention-y.
GOD: You know…you have a name now….Sam….hmm…I suppose it’s a good name. You have a real job now….big coffee man….How about life.
GOD: Mortality, Sammy Davis Hagar. Mortality. You can’t hope to share a life with someone if you don’t really have one. You can’t die. When’s the last time that really made you feel alive? Wouldn’t you like to breathe? Life without death…isn’t life at all. It would be like…
GOD: Me…without you…without this (gestures to the world). God without creation? Can you even tell me what that is? Didn’t think so.
So God plucks Sam and he feels his first sensation of physical pain. A week goes by. Molly and Sam are soooooo in love. At some point when Sam is out with Molly, Sam pulls an “I’ll be right back” moment (with some annoying kiss action). While away, some guy tries to beat the shot out of Molly’s brother on the street because of druggy things. Sam fights the guy and saves Molly’s brother. But at he stumbles back to where she is, he gets hit hard by a city bus. Being mortal, he and Molly share a last moment and he dies.
There’s a funeral and she is the only one who attends. “Sam S. Seafoam” is on the gravestone. She goes on to narrate the rest of the film and talks about “good” and “bad” and everything in between. With Satan’s (and her love’s) death, there are only more questions. Did he have a soul? Did he just go back to where he started? Did he just die? What is a soul? Bullshit bullshit bullshit….
But because the film studio didn’t like the ending where he dies like anyone else, Sam appears at his own funeral to surprise her….so yeah….it’s a funny ending? The kind that take a somewhat poignant and thoughtful point and reduces it to a happy, non-sensical, farcical ending. You paid like 30 bucks for this theatrical experience (on a date). You spent two hours here. All you got was this stupid fucking ending, and plot holes.