The Office Reboot

Anyone who follows TV news is probably aware that The Office, getting a little long in the tooth, as they say, is rumored to be undergoing a reboot for its ninth season.  Many cast members gone!  Who will still be there?  Will it even take place in an office?  How will this all be explained?  So, having an idea or two, I took a couple of days to write down how I would upheave the show if it were left to me.  I’ve never written a script before and I know it’s way too short, but who really cares?  This is just a silly thing I did.  I don’t even think it’s all that funny.  But come on, when was the last time The Office was funny anyway?  (zing!)  What this does do effectively, I think, is move some chess pieces around to become a true total Office reboot, if anyone actually felt inclined to take my suggestions.

Here it is:

 

Open on empty office.

Cut to empty conference room.  Empty kitchen.  Empty breakroom.  Empty annex.  Empty manager’s office.

Cut to David Wallace standing in parking lot outside the office.

DAVID WALLACE: So, uh, Dunder Mifflin is dead.  For good this time.

Wallace continues speaking in voiceover as a montage of wacky Office antics from past seasons is shown.

DAVID WALLACE:  I ran the numbers, took a look at the available staff and the bottom line is that the company is just not profitable.  I actually never really had much legitimate intention of trying to turn good old Dunder Mifflin around.  I knew what I was getting into.  No, what this was really all about was being able to look Jo Bennett in the eye and say, ‘I won.’  And I couldn’t even do that because she died.  So, whatever.  I sincerely apologize to Andrew Bernard, to Jim and Pam and Dwight and Stanley and everyone else in the Dunder Mifflin family but this chapter in your lives has sadly come to an end.  It’s time to move on.

DAVID stares at the camera for a few moments.  He raises his eyebrows and holds up his hands, wondering if the film crew is finished with him.

DAVID WALLACE: You guys probably have more than enough usable footage by now, am I right?  I would imagine you must be relieved to have come to the end of the Dunder Mifflin story.  It couldn’t have been very interesting.  It was a paper company, for God’s sake.  Not-not that your film won’t be fantastic, of course.  I look forward to seeing what you guys do with it.  (pause) What are you going to do with it anyway?

DAVID strains to listen to some off-camera mumbling.  He steps out of frame briefly, then steps back in.

DAVID WALLACE:  Oh, well that makes perfect sense.  And here I was starting to think you didn’t even have a vision.  Well then, if you have everything you need from me, I’m going to go now.  Good luck to you, gentlemen.

Camera pans to follow DAVID WALLACE walking away, getting into his car and driving off. Camera swings around to outside of the office building.

OFF-CAMERA VOICE:  Okay guys, that’s a wrap.

Screen goes black for several moments.  Re-open with handheld camera pointing at the floor of a production van.  Camera swings up and focuses on man in front passenger seat.

DIRECTOR: What the hell are you doing, Jack?  Shut that off.

JACK: I thought you might want to insert yourself into the narrative.  Like Michael Moore.

DIRECTOR: Well, I don’t.  It took eight years just to get to this point.  Do you really think I would want to start trying new things?

Camera swings over to focus on the van’s driver.

JACK: What about you, Smitty?

SMITTY: Man, I just want to go home.  I haven’t been home for more than three months at a time in almost a decade!  And for what?

JACK: The art?

SMITTY: The art of what?  A man using tissue boxes for shoes?

DIRECTOR: That was a great moment.

SMITTY: The great moment will be when I get to sleep in my own bed.  I don’t even live in Scranton!  I’ve been living out of a suitcase in a cheap hotel all this time.

JACK: I get where you’re coming from, man.  We all haven’t been home much.  I missed Grandma’s last Christmas cause I was stuck on Schrute Farms.  We were so sure Mose was up to something!

SMITTY: I’m pretty sure one of my kids isn’t even mine!  No one else in my family has red hair!  Sheila did threaten to leave me during that time we spent with Halpert in Connecticut.  Probably had a backup guy waiting in the wings.

DIRECTOR: Can we not talk about how this film has ruined our lives, please?  I don’t think I’ll be able to take it if this all ends up amounting to nothing.

Long, awkward silence ensues.  The sound of the road flying by outside is interrupted finally by JACK.

JACK: Soooo, you guys want to watch Pam giving birth again?

SMITTY:  Ew, no, you freak!

JACK: How about Angela and Dwight doing it?

SMITTY: (thinking it over)  Yeah, sure.

DIRECTOR: I feel like we’re forgetting something.

JACK: Not likely.  Your attention to detail all this time has been downright creepy, I gotta say.

DIRECTOR:  Still…

Cut to the Halpert family kitchen where a camera is slowly zooming in on a baby being spoon-fed orange baby food slop.

PAM: Larry, come on!

Camera swings over and focuses on PAM angrily staring straight into the camera while still absent-mindedly feeding the baby.

PAM (exasperated): Is this really going to make the cut for the Dunder Mifflin documentary?  That epic moment when I fed Phillip captured on film for all eternity!  You know, I could get my mother to come over and film this and I wouldn’t need to wear a mike!

LARRY (off camera): S-sorry, Pam.  I guess I could go see what’s happening in the garage.

PAM: Please do.

 

OPENING TITLE SEQUENCE

THE (HOME) OFFICE

John Krasinski as JIM HALPERT

Jenna Fischer as PAM HALPERT

Brian Baumgartner as KEVIN MALONE

??? as LARRY THE CAMERAMAN

CREED BRATTON as himself

Precocious young actress as slightly aged CECE HALPERT

Featuring Ed Helms as ANDY BERNARD

and Catherine Tate as NELLIE BERTRAM

 

SCENE:

ANDY (talking head):  Dunder Mifflin closing was a sad day.  So many good people lost jobs that they had held for a very long time.  We were like a family and now we may never be all together ever again.  Dwight is busy on his beet farm.  Stanley moved to Tallahassee.  Angela followed her husband to Harrisburg to get into a bigger political arena.  Erin dumped me and moved to Hollywood to start an acting school.  For cats.  I know, that’s insane, right?  She’s allergic to cats!  Anyway, we’re all scattered now.  Except for me.

Camera zooms out to reveal ANDY is standing in front of a garage.

ANDY: I moved into the Halpert family garage.  I thought I was going to get my job as manager back and then …I …didn’t.  Kinda blew my entire life savings.  Wallace really screwed me over.  But I’m not bitter.  I haven’t lost everything.  I still have a garage full of paper.  Turns out buying the product yourself in order to meet sales goals was not the best idea I ever had.  That’s okay, though.  I’ve got a roof over my head.  I’ve got a product to sell and it won’t be very long before the old Nard Dog is back on top.

ANDY crumples a piece of paper with both hands.

ANDY (sheepishly): I can’t afford a pillow so I crumple paper into little balls and stuff them into a potato sack.  It’s strangely comfortable.

 

SCENE:  PAM is sitting outside on the front steps, watching her two children playing with toys on the lawn.

PAM: It certainly hasn’t been easy since the closing.  Jim and I working in the same place was perhaps foolish, what with all the instability toward the end of the Dunder Mifflin Sabre days.  It was a sentimental thing, I guess.  I think the thing I regret most is probably… (turning suddenly angry) agreeing to film crew access!  Dunder Mifflin is closed now!  Why are you still here?  Seriously!  Why don’t you go to Colorado and find Michael?  He loved you guys!  Come on, kids!

PAM gathers up her children and goes into the house, slamming the door in the camera’s face.

LARRY (off camera):  That wasn’t very nice.

Footsteps and whistling are heard.  Camera swings over to see CREED approaching dressed as a mail carrier.  He takes several envelopes from his sack and places them in the Halpert mailbox.

LARRY (off camera): Hey, Creed!  It’s me, Larry, from The Daily Grind film crew!

CREED freezes in his tracks and looks around nervously.

CREED: Don’t say my name, man!  (whispers) I’m undercover FBI.  I’m tracking a particularly sneaky criminal and I’m getting really close.  Look at this.

He holds a coupon booklet up to the camera.

CREED:  Huggies coupons for Pam Halpert or…

LARRY (off camera): Or?

CREED:  Or “Current Resident.”  This dirtbag has been getting mail delivered to him all over town.  But I’m going to find him.  The mail will be his undoing.

LARRY (off camera): Uh, okay.  Good luck, pal.

CREED taps his finger on his nose knowingly, and then continues on his route.  The camera watches him walking down the street, still looking around suspiciously.

 

SCENE: A car pulls into the Halpert driveway.  JIM gets out and, though he briefly acknowledges the camera, he looks distracted and worried.  He enters the house and the cameraman follows him inside.  They go through the house and into the kitchen to find PAM doing dishes.

PAM: You let the camera in?  I just got rid of him!

She holds up a half empty Oreo package.

PAM: He steals cookies!

JIM: That is the least of our problems, hon.  I kind of ..got…fired.

PAM: What???

JIM: It wasn’t my fault.  There was this guy who sat near me.  He was always bouncing coins off his desk and catching them in his hand.  It was really annoying.  Like Dwight-level annoying.

PAM: You didn’t.

JIM: I did.  I’m sorry.  I thought it would be funny to take all the screws and supports out of his desk so that when he bounced a quarter, the whole thing would collapse.  But I didn’t even get to see if it worked or not before I was busted on the security cameras and walked right out of there.

PAM: This is great.  We’re going to lose the car because my husband can’t stop pranking people!

JIM: We’ll figure something out, honey.  I promise.  We’re Jim and Pam!

PAM: It’s okay.  We’ll just stretch the savings a little more.  Maybe Andy will surprise us and actually come up with some rent money.

The phone rings.

JIM: Look at that.  It’s probably opportunity calling.

PAM picks up the phone and listens intently.  Her face slowly contorts into a mixture of anger and disbelief.  She hangs up and remains speechless for a moment with her mouth hanging open.

JIM: What is it, hon?

PAM: That was our friends over at Daily Grind.  The Dunder Mifflin documentary has wrapped production!  Like a month ago!  They want Larry’s equipment back.

She points to the camera.

PAM: This guy has been stalking us!  Off the clock!

LARRY (off camera):  Now, now, wait a minute!  I swear I didn’t know!

JIM: For real, Larry?  That’s what you’re going with?

LARRY (off camera): It’s true!  You know how they spread us all out!  Follow you to Utica! Go on Michael’s lecture tour! Go to Florida! Go to New York City!  It never ended!  Why would I think it had ended now?  They never told me.

JIM: Okay, I believe you.  But even letting you off the hook, you still have to shut that thing off and leave our house.  You know that right?

LARRY (sadly, off camera): But, but, we’re Jim and Pam and Larry!  I’ve always been there for you guys!  I’ve witnessed every important moment of your lives together!  Now you’re just gonna ditch me?

JIM: Wait a second.  Are you actually angling for us to let you stick around and film us even though the shoot is over?  Get out of here!

LARRY (off camera): But…but…

JIM: Like how about now?  Right now?

Jim puts his hand on the camera lens and begins to push.  Camera swings away and follows Larry’s feet as he heads back to the front door.  Camera continues rolling as Larry heads over to the garage and finds ANDY sitting on a stack of paper, cutting origami.

ANDY: Oh, hey, buddy.  I was just thinking about my bright new future.  I’m going to teach night school.  English as a second language by way of the ancient art of origami.  (yelling) Yeah, back it up!  Careful!

The sound of a truck beeping and backing up is heard.  The camera swings over to see a truck trying to maneuver awkwardly around the Halpert’s station wagon and get closer to the garage.  It bumps the car a little bit, Andy and Larry both hiss and oooh from off camera.

ANDY: Just kidding about night school.  (throws the origami away)  But I wasn’t kidding  about things getting better for me.  Dunder Mifflin may have gone out of business.  But Big Red hasn’t.  Remember Prestige Direct Sales Solutions?  They don’t care that their old paper supplier has gone out of business because they got in bed with the Nard Dog last year.  And Andrew Bernard keeps his clients happy.  Well, client.  Singular.  And I don’t know what I’m going to do when this garage empties out.  Where do you even buy a supplier’s sized shipment of paper anyway?  I really have no idea how business works.  But that’s not important right now.  What’s important is that this is my moment of triumph! (pause) …I hope Jim and Pam accept rent by Paypal.

 

SCENE: a moderately populated bar where people are casually drinking and mingling.  ANDY is sitting by himself, nursing a fruity umbrella drink.

ANDY: This was supposed to be a celebration but without any of the guys here, it’s kind of just sad and uncomfortable.

NELLIE appears suddenly by his side and takes the stool next to him.

NELLIE: Did someone say sad and uncomfortable?  Are we talking about the last days of Dunder Mifflin Sabre?

ANDY: Whoa, Nellie!

Awkward pause.

NELLIE: You’ve always wanted to say that, haven’t you?

ANDY (smiling): Yes!  And I never thought I’d get the chance!  What are you doing here?

NELLIE: I got into a bit of a row with my current beau so I was just running about town, looking for what I believe you Yanks call a revenge f***.

ANDY: Whooooooa ho hoooo, Nellie!

NELLIE: Got that out of your system yet?

ANDY: Actually, that time I was calling you a ho.  (nervously) Just a little joke.  Sorry.

NELLIE smiles and playfully touches Andy on the nose.

NELLIE: You keep talking like that and I just might have to spank your bottom.  (laughs)

ANDY (nervously):  That’s quite all right.  I prefer my bottom, uh, un-spanked, thank you very much.

NELLIE: I think you’d like it the way I do it.  I’m afraid my aim is not very good.  Sometimes I end up spanking… something… else entirely.

ANDY turns to the camera and mouths ‘what is going on?”  When he turns back around, NELLIE is trying to seductively eat an olive.

NELLIE (points to Andy’s glass): If I remember correctly, that was your celebratory fruity drink when you thought you had the manager job back.  What might I ask are we celebrating tonight here all by yourself?

ANDY: Oh, nothing much.  Just got paid by Prestige, the client I stole from Dunder Mifflin, that’s all.

NELLIE: Oh, I remember that.  That was some crafty work.  Showed some initiative I didn’t know you had in you.  I was impressed.  Especially after having met you and thinking you were a worthless lump I maneuvered out the door oh so easily.

ANDY: Yeah, well, I’m not…that.  A lump.

NELLIE: I know where you’ve got at least one lump.

ANDY: Oh, oh, oh, okay, you’re going to go there again.  Well…

NELLIE: Let’s just cut to the chase instead of playing this tired bar scene back and forth game.  What do you say?  You buy me one of those fruity drinks and we go back to your place to celebrate some more…

ANDY:  Ummm, yeah, sure why not?  I’m not with Erin anymore.  I’ll be your revenge…intercourse.  But I have to warn you, I only have a cot.

NELLIE: A cottage?

ANDY: No, a cot.  In a garage.  Jim and Pam’s garage actually.

NELLIE: Bloody hell!  You’re kidding!

ANDY: Sadly, no.  I am not.

NELLIE: Well, I’m afraid the deal is off, then.

ANDY:  Really?

NELLIE (thinking about it): No.  We can even skip the drink.  I’m f***ing randy as hell.  Let’s just go.

ANDY (standing up and gesturing): Lead the way, my fair lady.

NELLIE:  Really?  Lead the way?  To your place?

ANDY: My cot!

NELLIE: I’m going to regret this in the morning, aren’t I?

ANDY: Possibly before that.

 

SCENE: The middle of the night.  The camera is in night vision mode.  It creeps along the side of the house and peeks inside a window.  The shot is mostly obscured by curtains, but the camera can just make out PAM and JIM sleeping soundly in their bed.

LARRY (off camera): Oh, Pam Beesley.  Remember those long lingering moments we shared on the cruise?  Remember Casino Night when we told you how we felt?  The proposal in the rain? The wedding?  The birth of our children?  I could never leave you, my dear Pamela.

ANDY (off camera):  Psst.  Larry!  What the hell are you doing?

The camera spins around to find Andy in his pajamas.  He puts his finger to his lips.

LARRY (off camera): Establishing shots.  Of the house.

ANDY: I heard a noise.  Was that you?

LARRY (off camera): I don’t think so.

ANDY: It sounded like the cans being knocked over.  Raccoons maybe.

LARRY (off camera): You interrupted your own booty call to check out some raccoons getting into the garbage??

ANDY: Sadly, I ended up getting her booty answering machine.  She fell asleep in the car.  I put her on my cot.  Didn’t want to stare at her, hoping she’d wake up, so I went for a walk.

The sound of garbage cans being rattled startles both men.

LARRY (off camera): Holy s***!  Not a raccoon!  It’s a bear!

ANDY: What do we do?  What do we do?  Where’s Dwight when we need him?

A large figure stumbles toward the camera.  Through the night vision lens, it becomes clear that it is not a bear, but a severely disheveled KEVIN MALONE, who seems confused and is growling, much like a bear.  When he sees who he has bumped into, he drops his guard.

KEVIN: Oh, hey, guys.  What are you doing here?

ANDY: I’m living in Tuna’s garage.

LARRY (off camera): Me too.

ANDY: Really?

LARRY (off camera): We’ll talk.

KEVIN: I’ve been hiding in the basement.  I’ve been banging on the pipes, trying to make them think they had a ghost.

ANDY: Doubt they noticed the noise with two young kids in the house.  Why would you do that anyway?

KEVIN: I don’t have any place to live.  I thought they would get scared and leave.  But they haven’t yet.  So I’ve been forced to sneak up to the kitchen and steal their cookies.  Once the cookies were gone, I was forced to come out here and dig through the trash for more cookies. I found some Oreo crumbs and I’m not sharing.

ANDY: This is so sad.  I can’t BEAR to see you like this, Kev.  I insist that you come stay with me in the garage.

LARRY (off camera): With us.

KEVIN: You guys would do that for me?

ANDY: Sure!  You’re an accountant and Big Red Paper is just getting off the ground.  We could use a good bean counter.

KEVIN:  Beans are okay, but I’m better at counting cookies.

ANDY: Uh, fine.  You can do that.

KEVIN: Niiiiice.

ANDY: Come on, buddy.  We’ll go and make you a sack full of paper balls.

LARRY (off camera) What?

KEVIN: Heh heh heh.  Sack.

LARRY (off camera): Balls.

KEVIN:  I don’t get it.

The sound of cans rattling is heard once more and all three men become frightened.

ANDY: It’s another bear.  Run!

The three men take off.  The camera is dropped on the grass and left behind.  A raccoon wanders into the frame and begins to investigate the abandoned equipment.

 

Scene: Daytime. In front of the garage.  KEVIN is loading boxes of paper onto the back of a U-Haul.  ANDY stands in the foreground and addresses the camera.

ANDY: Just like I said, things are already starting to turn around.  Big Red is up…

PAM: What is going on out here?

Camera swings around to see PAM (holding the baby) and JIM approaching in their pajamas.

JIM: Andy, what the hell is all this?  Where did Kevin come from?

ANDY: Oh, he’s been living in your basement.  Kind of a long story.

JIM: Not really.  You just told it.

PAM: Ohhhh, that’s where the cookies went…

LARRY (off camera): Someone owes me an apology.

PAM: Sorry I said you took the cook-wait, what are you still doing here?

ANDY: That’s the best part!  I’m getting a new company off the ground and Larry is filming it for a new reality show pitch.  Coming soon to Bravo: The Start-up!

JIM: So, instead of moving out, your plan was to start a paper company out of my garage and hope Pam and I just wouldn’t notice?

ANDY: No, silly Tuna!  I thought we could run it together!  Think about it!  You’d be able to run the company from your house and be close to the little kiddos.  You’d be your own boss which means you could never get fired for pulling a prank!  You could prank me, like, all the time and I wouldn’t even get mad.  Your walls would be safe. (nervously chuckles)

JIM (looking at Pam): I hate to say it, but that actually doesn’t sound half bad.

PAM: I don’t know…

ANDY: Oh, Pam! Don’t think I forgot about you!

PAM: Heaven forbid.

ANDY: I took the liberty of showing some of your artwork to Prestige and…

PAM (angrily): You what!!!

ANDY: …and they loved it!  They think your generic, boring artwork would be perfectly suited for their junk mailings.  Your work is going to be seen and thrown in the garbage up and down the entire east coast!

PAM: Ummm…thanks?

JIM: Yes, thanks, Andy!  Pam, did you hear that?  Andy SOLD your artwork!

PAM (getting more excited): Andy sold my artwork!

ANDY: Sold it and they want more.  You’re officially part of the new company.  Big Red!  Or…maybe…The Halpert Family Paper Company.  Has that warm, friendly kind of vibe to it.

JIM: I like what you’re saying, Andy, but can we really do this?  Where are we getting the money to start a company?

KEVIN approaches.

KEVIN: Excuse me, sir, but I would like to invest in your company.

JIM: Really?

KEVIN: I’ve been an accountant for twenty years and a semi-professional gambler for thirty.  I think I know a solid investment when I see one.

ANDY: With our four combined severance packages and Kevin’s seed money, we can totally make this happen.

JIM: The Halpert Family Paper Company.

PAM: The Halpert Family Paper Company.  Let’s do it.  But where will I find the time to draw?  I’ll need help with the kids.

NELLIE approaches.

NELLIE: This might sound a tad cliché but perhaps you’d be interested in hiring a British nanny?  I’m quite good with small children.

JIM: Where the hell did she come from?

NELLIE grabs JIM’s ear and playfully tugs it.

NELLIE: My dear, dear Jim.  You will always find me wherever I am needed.

KEVIN: You’re hired!

NELLIE: Thank you!

NELLIE scoops the baby out of PAM’s arms before she can even protest.

NELLIE: Come, sweet child, let’s get you a bath and a massage.

PAM: Um, what just happened?  Ten minutes ago I was sleeping.

ANDY: It’s the first day of the rest of our lives.  We’re a family!

JIM: Does this mean you’re still in the garage?

ANDY: I have to be close to the action as co-owner!  Kevin, too.  We’ll be like your own personal Fonzie and…Fonzie’s fat brother.

KEVIN: Don’t be so hard on yourself, Andy.  You’re not that fat.

 

Cut to PAM confessional.

PAM: They say you shouldn’t go into business with your friends because it’s too much stress.  Fortunately, these people aren’t my friends.

LARRY (off camera): Awesome take, Pam!

PAM: I thought you were trying to sell a show.  You should go back to being the fly on the wall.

LARRY (off camera):  You’re right.  You will never hear from me again.  (whispers) I love you.

PAM: What did you say?

 

Closing credits scene:

PAM: Andy, get out here!

ANDY emerges from garage.

PAM (pointing forcefully to sign hanging on garage: “Halpert Family Paper Company f/ art by Pam”).

ANDY: You like the sign I made?

PAM: It says “fart by Pam”!

ANDY: What?  No!  It’s an abbreviation of ‘featuring’…(sees PAM glaring at him) …(meekly) I’ll fix it.

Cut to CREED confessional:

CREED: That garage business is really taking off.  Inside guy I know sold me a potato sack full of paper.  Best night of sleep I ever had.  They’re going places with that.

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Zombie Movie Night: June ’12

Mom: The boys are watching zombie movies tonight.

Dad: Awww, geez!

Mom: What does that mean?

Me: I think it means that it was cute at first, but now we’ve been doing it for almost 3 years.

Yes, dear father may think it’s weird that his two grown sons get together to watch a sepecific kind of horror movie every month but 1) Who else can say they spent a night watching films that not only explore the politics of humanity AND ponder the philosophies of the meaning of life BUT ALSO feature a stack of zombies assembled into a functioning automobile and zombies who react to being electrocuted by starting to breakdance?  2) Dad came over for the first one cuz what else ya gonna do?

The night’s first feature was Helldriver, another in a long line of entries from Japan.  Young Kika has a problem.  Her abusive, cannibalistic, murderous, psychotic mother and uncle are out to get her once and for all.  But then a strange comet punches a hole right through mom’s torso.  Her response to this problem is to rip into her daughter’s chest and secure an emergency back-up heart for herself.  Also, an alien force has taken her over and made her the epicenter for a viral zombie outbreak that causes six million citizens to sprout horns on their heads and crave human flesh.  So the government builds a great wall seperating man from zombie.  A political debate develops between those who want to kill the zombies and take back the country and those who want to spare the zombies and find a cure for the disease.  Kika, who the government has turned into a literally heartless bionic zombie-killing machine gets caught in the middle and agrees to go behind enemy lines, thanks in no small part for to the chance to kick her mom’s evil ass.

Helldriver is a perfect blend of gory zombie action and Japanese comedy, which for once seems to be mostly intentional and   doesn’t come off as the headscratching cultural difference we usually feel while watching Asian films.  Sure there’s a hailstorm of decapitated zombie heads launched by a big zombie cricket player and the final battle takes place on top of a fighter jet made out of connected zombies holding onto two missles, but it never feels like the movie is not in on the joke.  Even the political stuff, which is handled a bit more seriously, plays pretty well and doesn’t detract.  It actually brings up a good point so often ignored in other zombie gore-fests.  If your zombies are sick people, should you really be slaughtering them, even in self-defense?  Or do they still retain their rights as people?  Oddly, nothing is decided in the end as they instead go with the classic deus ex machina ending of everything going back to normal once Mom is defeated.  But Helldriver is ultimately great fun and I would put it near the top of the list if you are seeking out Japanese zombie flicks.  The grade is A.

Our second film (after Dad ditched us) was Choking Hazard, our first and possibly last entry from the Czech Republic.  A small group of people are spending the weekend at a remote hotel as part of a philosophy class taught by a blind professor.  The first night is almost ruined when a porn actor shows up thinking it’s the set of his next film.  Then it’s definitely ruined when a large group of zombie woodsmen emerge from the forest to start eating people.

Choking Hazard is a solid comedy that lands almost every joke and despite its philosophical debates, never feels the least bit heavy.  There are actually some interesting points made by the professor during his teaching of the class, but it doesn’t bog anything down.  It’s not very long at all before the zombies are being lured onto treadmills or having buckets with smiley faces drawn on them get stuck on their heads.  It’s all good fun and when the weekend hunt is over, the woodsmen return from whence they came and the survivors get to go home.  Simple fun and another strong recommendation.  Another grade of A.

SATURDAY BONUS…

Due to a glitch in the Netflix matrix, Jeff was unable to secure his originally intended film until Saturday, so we gathered again the next afternoon to check out Descendents, our first and possibly last entry from Chile.  Sadly, after two movies that ended up strongly in the top half of our rankings, this one turned out to be a boring waste of time, even at a running time of only 75 minutes.

Ten years ago, an airborne virus turned almost everyone into zombies.  Eventually some kids were born who were not only immune, but also not susceptible to attack from the undead.  Sadly, these children have to wander the ravaged country looking for scraps of food and any kind of humanity.  The zombies don’t attack them but for some unexplained reason, every adult human they encounter starts shooting at them.  Jealous much?  After a lot of boringness, flashbacks, flashbacks that show the same thing the last flashback showed, and a ten minute scene of children playing in a playground, the last survivors make it to their destination of “the sea.”  And then they turn into mermaids and a giant octopus destroys some helicopters.  Not making that up!  Still as awesome as that last part sounds, it’s way too late to save this turd.  They even manage to screw up the post-credits bonus scene.  It’s just some more boring footage, this time of news coverage of the zombie outbreak.  It adds nothing and if anything should have been used at the beginning instead of the voiceover provided by a bad child actress.  Grade: D