REOPENING THE DREAM FACTORY
There once was an old city called Hollywood, which had spent its youth inventing so many wondrous works of imagination that its friends nicknamed it “The Dream Factory.” Hollywood liked this nickname very much. For years it strove to find new ideas to entertain those friends, seeking out the world’s best storytellers to aid it in spinning yarns, the likes of which no one had ever seen.
But time passes, as it does, and eventually the factory closed. Hollywood grew older and wearier. Also, its wife died of cancer.
One day, Hollywood was trudging slowly to work, when suddenly a young production company named Alcon Entertainment passed it by. Alcon noticed that Hollywood was looking a bit ashen and weak—and knowing that God loves us in our most desperate hours, because that’s when He knows we’ll pretty much agree to whatever, even a new Blade Runner movie—it stopped Hollywood on the street.
“What you need is some Chicken Soup For The Soul,” Alcon said to Hollywood, offering it a copy of the 1993 self-help manual that had spawned decades of sequels and spinoffs full of short stories and heartwarming platitudes, in which old people and teenagers are talked out of killing themselves because someone is nice to them for one day.
Hollywood was skeptical. It had tried this sort of thing before, developing movies out of books like He’s Just Not That Into You, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Yet somehow it still felt empty inside, having given its love over and over again to popular brands, hoping their popularity could help it recapture some inner spark, only to discover that being popular is not the same as being interesting.
Remembering the response to those movies, Hollywood began to choke up. It felt old and pathetic and unloved.
“But I love you, Hollywood,” Alcon said, smiling. “I love you in the way that audiences loved our movies The Blind Side and A Dolphin’s Tale—a love forced through mawkish sentiment employed to manipulate. Which is, not coincidentally, also what we’ll do here by getting Love Happens writer Brandon Camp to craft a Valentine’s Day-style ensemble movie out of Chicken Soup For The Soul.”
“And we also love you, Hollywood,” added a pair of voices that turned out to belong to producers Ben Haber and Jordan Kerner. “You let us do two Smurfs movies, even though no one really likes The Smurfs, and they were successful anyway. You’re the only place where the bar is set so low for family entertainment that something like that can happen.”
Tears welled in Hollywood’s eyes. It was moved by their generous words and their even more generous marketing prospectus.
Smiling wanly, it reached out one hand to shake those that wanted only to guide it along the easiest path to profitability.
“My friends, you have saved me,” Hollywood said. “You’ve given me the greatest inspiration of all: a movie based on a book whose title is automatically synonymous with ‘inspiration,’ so I don’t actually have to think of anything remotely inspiring.”
And with that, Hollywood closed its eyes and died peacefully, because that’s what happens in these sorts of stories.
Also, something about Jesus.
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