How ‘bout it, Mr. Eisner?

Times Staff Writer



Michael, you don’t know me, but you should. I got your e-mail address from your dry cleaner, you know, Ms. Rosie over on Lankershim. Look, you’re busy, I’m busy, so let’s cut to the chase: I’m an idea guy, Michael, and I’ve seen how you’ve been turning Disneyland rides into movie projects like the extremely underrated “Country Bears” and the upcoming “Pirates of the Caribbean.” My thinking is this is just the tip of the iceberg, and today, Michael, I’m prepared to show you the big fat bottom of that iceberg:

Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds of the Tiki Room -- I’m sure I have your attention, Michael. Read that title again and tell me: Doesn’t horror have a new name? A few years ago Gus Van Sant did a frame-by-frame remake of “Psycho” that, well, I didn’t bother to go see, but, wow, what a great idea. Imagine “Birds” -- disturbing! Feral terror! -- but laced with the fanciful musical entertainment of Disneyland’s beloved Tiki Room. It’s amazing it hasn’t been done before. Michael, I must be immodest and tell you that this is only the first of my ideas.


Cast Member Away -- We all know your California Adventure theme park was a huge blunder. But you can turn your theme-park tin into movie gold, my friend. Picture this: America’s everyman, Tom Hanks, reprises his role as a modern Robinson Crusoe, but the new site of his isolation is -- you guessed it! -- California Adventure. The plot: On his way to a new job at Disneyland, a Monorail crash throws our hero in the neighboring, always-abandoned theme park. His only companion? A balloon that he finds and names Goofy. Or Pluto or, you know, Jiminy, or whatever.

It’s a Small, Small, Scary World -- Picture the doll killers in “Child’s Play” and “Magic.” Do you remember the instant connection to childhood fears in a darkened nursery? Now, Michael, imagine not just one murderous plaything, but a legion of them. Some wear a fez, some come on llamas, others clomp along in wooden shoes. But all of them keep singing ... and singing ... and singing! The result is the largest R-rated opening weekend ever. You have my word on that.

Barmouse -- Can a 72-year-old cartoon character win an Oscar? Well, I think Cher showed us all the answer to that question. All it takes is the right dramatic role, and this is the one for one Mr. Mickey Mouse. We meet Mickey as a homeless wino named Charles Bukmouseski, a disaffected, self-destructive poet. He roams the underbelly of Toontown and then each night “gets blotto at grotto.” (A great promo opportunity for beer sales at Ariel’s Grotto in California Adventure!) “It’s not that I don’t like ducks,” he bellows at stunned tourists, “I’m just so much happier when they’re not around!” This is “Leaving Las Vegas” for the Mouse, Michael. And we can get Donald Duck next. I was thinking “My Webbed Left Foot.”

The Gift Shops of Main Street USA -- Michael, I don’t really have a star in mind for this one, or even a plot for that matter. But just think of the merchandising opportunities!

I have more ideas, Michael, lots more. Mel Gibson is “Mad Max Beyond Autopia.” And think of that new “Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” ride re-imagined as a Merchant-Ivory film. (Has Piglet’s lifetime loyalty to Pooh cost him his only chance at true happiness? Is Roo an illegitimate child?) And then there’s reality television and Disneyland’s secret life of sex and crime. You think Fox wouldn’t jump at the chance to air “Grad Night: The Horniest Place on Earth”? Or “Disneyland PD: The Mouse That Roars”?

I’m getting goose bumps here. Michael, let’s make movie magic. I do have a job, but for the right price I’d be willing to walk away. Oh, also, Ms. Rosie asked me to tell you that you still owe her $49.50 for those red leather pants. But -- if you keep it quiet -- I think I can help out with that little problem. I work on Tuesdays and Thursdays if you want to drop by.

Geoff Boucher can be contacted at