Give Me That Filet o' Fish Movie, Give Me That Film

Everyone laughed when ABC announced plans to program a sitcom based on the Geico “Caveman” commercials.  They laughed!  As if the idea of basing a TV show on a commercial was some new low in creative exhaustion and corporate cynicism, lower even than Life with Jim.  Which is a shame.  Cavemen shot 12 episodes.  Only six aired. And it really wasn’t all that bad.  Given a chance, it could have been The Munsters for the new millennium.  And it would have been a welcome break from all the shows about fat guys married to hot wives…like, for example, Life with Jim.

Even though Cavemen was a total failure, I’m hoping the entertainment industry does not completely abandon the idea of turning commercials into entertainment franchises.  In fact, I demand that someone with at least a modicum of creative competence get to work on the following film project as soon as contractually possible:  Give Me That Fish – a cable-friendly comedy based on the McDonald’s filet ‘o’ fish commercials. 

If you haven’t seen these spots, you should.  They are genius.  Here is the first: 

In the first installment, Fatty is not disturbed in the least that his novelty fish plaque, previously limited to singing only an abbreviated version of Al Green’s Take Me to the River, has suddenly achieved some form of uncanny sentience, perhaps from its years of inhaling gas fumes and fry grease.  Unlike Haley Osmond in A.I., however, the robotic fish has thankfully skipped over a tedious journey of existential discovery to cut right to the chase—quit oppressing me and my kind, Lardo.  Sayeth the fish:

Give me back that filet o fish, give me that fish
Give me back that filet o fish, give me that fish
What if it were you hanging up on this wall?
If it were you in that sandwich you wouldn’t be laughing at all

Not only is Fatty unconcerned by this development, he actually digs it—nodding his head in time with the fish’s hijacked Casio beats. 

But what does the fish want exactly?  First, he appears to advocate the liberation of all “trophy” fishes—those unfortunate aquatic creatures who have been captured, shellacked, and nailed to walls around the world.  Put yourself in my place, he implores his human captor.  But then, like all great orators, the fish quickly introduces a new theme in his bid to foster interspecies empathy.  Imagine if you can, he says, what it would be like to be breaded, fried, and eaten.   And implicit in the fish’s logic is an even more disturbing scenario---imagine what it would be like to be nailed to the wall and witness the ritualistic consumption of your own kind day after day—like for example if I ate your friend Skinny, who at this point arrives to return a power drill.

But even here the fish’s objective remains unclear.  Give me back that filet o fish, give me that fish.  To what end?  After all, this particular filet o' fish is already half-eaten, resting comfortably in the gut of the bearded one.  Does the fish seek some type of dignified return of the remains?  A ceremony of restitution and repatriation perhaps?

Or, horrifically, does the fish want the filet for himself?  Is this melodic sea creature in fact a necro-cannibal, looking to feast on the remains of his own species?

But the scene is more suggestive still in that this singing fish is in fact not a "fish" at all, but merely a hunk of plastic with a microchip brought to life by a couple of AA batteries.  Is it indeed the "fish" speaking for himself and his "kind," or has this trinket been possessed by some larger animistic spirit of the sea?

Then again, perhaps this singing fish drama is just a psychotic episode in the mind of the bearded one.  Perhaps the years of gas fumes and fry grease have cultivated, not plastic ensoulment, but a gateway to rampant hallucination.  But no.  When Skinny arrives with the drill, he obviously hears the fish’s lament as well.  Or does he?  Nothing is said after all.  Perhaps he is merely unsettled by the sight of his friend sitting alone in the garage, once again gorging himself with fast food, vacantly tapping his foot to the tinny sounds of “Take Me to the River.”  Their eyes meet briefly.  My friend has become so desperate and sad, thinks Skinny.  But Fatty only shrugs his shoulders as if to say, “Eh, what can you do?  I’m still gonna eat this fish.”

While it is not entirely clear how uncanny comedy moves grease-pads for McDonalds, this version of the ad is certainly more effective than the original concept, which featured a cute little calf staring over a fence at a man eating a Big Mac.

Give me back that Big Mac, it's my dad
Give me back that Big Mac, it's my dad
What if it were you taking a ball-peen hammer to the head?
If it were your guts ground to chuck, I bet you’d see red!

That spot, as they say in the industry, was a little too “on the nose.”

A second installment in the series adds an element of J-horror to the storyline—the fish somehow acquiring, not only sentience, but the ability to dial a phone.  Fatty remains unimpressed, but Skinny does now appear fully engulfed in this nightmarish world as well.


As you can see, these commercials already possess more depth, ambiguity, and possibility than 90% of the movies released today—which is why Give Me that Fish must be made into a full-length feature.  Here are the rules as I see them:

82 minutes.  PG rating.

Only the fish may speak.  ALL humans in the film must remain silent for the duration.

Through extremely creative visual language and a series of original songs delivered by the fish (preferably all in the same meter and melody as the original), we will gradually learn the real story behind these suggestive tableaus.  What DOES the fish want?  How did he reach self-awareness?  Why is Fatty so blasé in the presence of such an occult miracle?  Why did Skinny borrow the power drill?  Where did Fatty score that sweet El Camino?  Who exactly is singing the eerie back-up vocals for the fish? 

You may think I’m joking, but I assure you I am not.  Ask yourself this:  Two films open this weekend—She’s Out of My League and Give Me that Fish.  Is there any hesitation in your mind whatsoever as to which film at least has the potential to take popular filmmaking in a bold new direction?  So what if it's a gigantic product-placement for McDonalds?  It's not like She's Out of My League won't encourage even greater economic expansion in the fields of energy drinks, body sprays, and dick-joke writing.

Say it, say it with me now:  Give me that Filet o' Fish movie, give me that film

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