Coming Summer 2011: Super Grover, The Motion Picture

Dear Hollywood Fat Cats,

Have I got a pitch for you!

As dream bandits with your noses halfway up the zeitgeist, you have surely noticed an almost Beatlesque surge in the popularity of comic book movies over the course of the last few years. Even as I write these words, a nation of fanboys are breathlessly lining up for the latest movie adaptation they never thought they’d live to see of a beloved series, Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man. Kenneth Branagh is making a Thor movie, which makes me feel really great for Thor and more than a little bad for Kenneth Branagh. I think there’s a Powerpuff Girls DVD out. I’ve even heard rumors about a Watchmen movie at some point. The fever is everywhere!

I, too, have had one finger on America’s pulse and the other on my light, light wallet. I have seen them backing the Brinks truck up in front of the homes of The Dark Knight‘s producers, and I want in. With that in mind, I have developed an idea for a comic book movie of my own, and I’d like to work with you to bring it to life. I know it may sound farfetched at first, but I promise you: take a chance on a kid with a dream, and we’ll all be taking coin baths by this time next year. In short, I propose that we adapt the most influential graphic novel of all time, a book that most comic lovers read so early that they forget it’s actually the first graphic novel they ever read.

Eight words, gentlemen: The Monster at the End of This Book.

 


I know what you’re thinking: “This kid must be out of his mind.” For years, one of the words most commonly used to describe The Monster at the End of This Book has been “unfilmable.” Director after director has been daunted by how dense and layered the book isn’t. Some say the fourteen years he spent trying to adapt The Monster at the End of This Book is what finally drove Stanley Kubrick mad. It is, after all, twenty pages of Grover alone, begging the reader not to turn the page. It’s Waiting for Godot meets Swimming to Cambodia meets Modern Times. How could a work like that be translated to another medium? You could never remain faithful to the original’s prosaic beauty as a comic, with its psychedelic word balloons and vibrant, alive pages with just Grover on them.

Also, movies don’t have pages you turn. That sort of throws a fire blanket on the entire plot.

What I propose is the kind of ground-floor-up reworking of the book that you Tinseltown yarn spinners do especially well, a fresh modern script that remains 100% true to the spirit of the original masterpiece while at the same time re-imagining it to the point of being completely unrecognizable. The only way to do this, as far as I am concerned, is to delve into the rich backstory of the central character, Grover, and take advantage of the years of continuity that he has built up as a lovable, furry, incredibly marketable icon. In short, we must make Sesame Street: Origins: Super Grover.

Kids love superheroes these days. They love them so much that they don’t care if it’s forty-year-old Robert Downey Jr. under that mask chain smoking his mustache off. And they love Super Grover most of all. He’s got the cape; he’s got the helmet; he can basically fly. Most importantly, though, he’s vulnerable. He has failings and flaws, just like you and me. He makes mistakes in the Marvel manner. He’s prone to shrieking and flailing his limbs. Kids relate to that.

At the same time, hardcore fans of Super Grover are older now. Take one look at the way people on the internet have responded to the dissolution of Spider-Man’s marriage and you’ll see that the fans demand a Super Grover with an adult sensibility, a Muppet who has grown up with them in the most depressing way conceivable while repelling new readers as hatefully as possible. This will not be your little sister’s Sesame Street; this Super Grover is all up in your grill to the extreme. He’s got a mortgage and a prostate exam scheduled. He is breaking jaws and taking names no matter what Gordon and Susan have to say about it.

Here are the major story beats as I have them worked out so far:

Act I: We begin with Grover working away at his day job/secret identity as the most breathtakingly awful waiter who has ever lived. After he serves his most loyal customer alphabet soup without all the letters in it, the customer finally snaps and chases him down Sesame Street wielding a bread knife and babbling incoherently. Making his escape, Grover ducks behind Oscar’s trash can and discovers in the refuse a suit imbued with the Power Cosmic. He dons it, and Super Grover is born, wielding a gift he cannot even begin to understand. Then, for the next half hour of the movie, he crashes into CGI trees in slow motion. Metal should be playing while this happens.

Act II: Just as Super Grover begins to come to terms with his power, he learns from the Amazing Mumford that there is a monster at the end of this movie. To save the citizens of Sesame Street in his care, Grover does everything in his power to prevent the movie from ending by staging a completely unnecessary two-hour extended fight sequence against the fearsome, mythical Snuffleupagus.

Act III: Like any truly devoted fan of the source material who attempts to bring the writer’s original vision to life, this is where I completely change the ending.

Using his skills as the world’s greatest detective, Super Grover eventually discovers that the monster at the end of this movie is that soulless, unrepentant, giggling f***er Elmo, hellbent on using Sesame Street as a demonic launchpad to conquer the entire world. (The audience will respond to how topical this plot point is, as the real Elmo actually is hellborn and bent on world conquest.) Chilled to his very soul by Elmo’s plans, Super Grover vows to stop him by any means necessary… but will his violent actions rob him of the very lovable furriness that makes him a hero? If he crosses that line, will not the true monster at the end of this movie be Grover himself?

The interrogation scene between Grover and Elmo will have Oscar voters talking.

This is all I have come up with so far, although I am working on a subplot in which both Grover and Elmo alike are being manipulated by far more powerful, sinister forces, almost as if they are puppets in a larger game. This twist leaves us with excellent sequel potential. In addition, I am working on creating opportunities for Super Grover to work with Captain Vegetable and Letter-man, which will yield huge dividends in the spinoff department. If all goes well, all of the characters could be teaming up again in 2013’s blockbuster, The Legion of Educational Heroes, which you and I will watch from atop a gigantic stack of $100 bills.

Give me a call and let me know what we need to do to make this happen. I look forward to sitting next to you at a con panel, answering sarcastic questions from an indignant fanboy dressed as Big Bird.

Sincerely Yours,

Jimski, Mogul For Hire

 


Naturally, Jim Mroczkowski is thinking Nicolas Cage as Grover. Submit your casting suggestions via Twitter or Jimski.com.

 

Comments

  1. I hope they bring it to IMAX

  2. I read this book everyday from the ages of 4-10. Brilliant.  How about Ebert as Statler and Waldorf?

  3. Super Grover in 3D all the cool movies are doing it.

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks Elmo is a "soulless, unrepentant, giggling f***er".

  5. Jimski i am totally down with this movie. this was my favorite book when i was a little kid and now i still love it when i go and look for it after i write this. you let me know how i can help with this. oh and elmo sucks, grover rocks!!

  6. Man, the monster at the end of the book, there’s a childhood favorite

  7. What’s worse?  The fact that I believe a pitch like this would get optioned?  Or that I’d go see it and even buy a grover t-shirt for opening day?

    To paraphrase High Fidelity: "Do I enjoy comic book apadtations because I’m miserable?  Or am I miserable because I enjoy comic book apadtations?"

  8. That was…..brilliant. ELMO is evil. He’s like the Oprah of the Muppet world. Seriously that article just made my day. I agree with Darth though, I’d totally go see it!

     Where did you find that Alex Ross-ish painting of SUPER GROVER? That’s cool.

  9. The Monster at the End of this Book……

    Honestly? Probably in my top 10 all time favorite books. I dont care if a man almost 20 years old still loves this story. I still have the original golden book’s version that my grandmother had when it first came out. Classic.

    Great article too btw.

  10. I just wanna put it out there that I can do Grover’s voice.  Call me.

  11. Super Grover! of course why didn’t I see that, and here i’ve been blindly rambling about how disney should do a Darkwing Duck movie! But super grover there is an icon that spans generations, as a tie in they can put out super grover dvds targeted at different age groups, Younger Kids will get newer episodes of sesame street that meet the TV G rating and older people can fill in the gaps with Older Episodes That carry a heavier rating by todays standards.

  12. And in 2012 Frank Miller presents Big Bird in That OTHER Yellow B@$tard.

  13. Finally ever since Follow that Bird have I said this would be a good movie.  I really didn’t say that I was a youngin.  But this is such a better idea then the Elmo movie.  Is Elmo old news now?  Do kids still like Elmo?

  14. It’s no coincidence that you got the Monday slot Mroczkowski. Amusing. Never read it, so I guess that means I’m obliged to rush out and get it now.

  15. Great article. I was a total Seasme kid and I still have a deep love of Super Grover. I have tired to introduce my daughter to the greatness that is Grover, but i cant seem to usurp the annoyance that is Elmo. Punchy lilttle prick.

  16. monster at the end of this book frightened me as a child, and still makes me uneasy.

  17. This idea is so "NEAR!" to my heart.

     

    It’s a shame it’s so "far!" from being filmed.

  18. The Watchmen release date is near.  The Super Grover opening weekend is far.  You got that?  Near.  Far.  You must underst…You don’t…you don’t understand?

     

    Great article.  Do you think they’d option Super Grover To The Rescue for a sequel?

     

     

  19. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Now I just want to cast the muppets as Watchmen characters.  

  20. it’ll happen, there Muppet youtube videos of Matrix, Pulp Fiction and even House of a 1000 Corpses.  They’ll be a Watchmen one before too long

  21. Elmo…..one of the worst things to happen to humanity.

  22. "What I propose is the kind of ground-floor-up reworking of the book that you Tinseltown yarn spinners do especially well, a fresh modern script that remains 100% true to the spirit of the original masterpiece while at the same time re-imagining it to the point of being completely unrecognizable."

    You’re way too good at this.

  23. How did elmo become the popular one anyway, big bird is way beter and can teach more important lessons such as don’t touch bird or get avian bird flu, etc.

  24. there’s no ‘tickle me big bird’

  25.  KreiderDesigns, that Alex Ross-ish painting of Super Grover is an actual Alex Ross painting of Super Grover. Because once you’ve painted your friend in a Batman outfit 300 times, why not?

  26. @Jimski: You mean that is a genuine Ross painting?

    Oh my god….I didnt realize you could ask him to do something other then superheroes.

    I have to make him draw Spongebob Squarepants. It’s my new life long dream.

  27. Brilliant.  Utterly brilliant.

    (Unrelatedly, I’m pretty sure I had an elaborate nightmare about this book when I was 4.)

  28. The Monster At The End Of This Book is my all time favorite Kid’s book.  I always made my mom read that to me.  She did a mean Grover voice.

  29. That was great Jim.

  30. Oh, Jim.   You can’t fool us; we’ve learned.   Sure, you’ll spice it up for the original release, make it all edgy and gritty.  Then later for the anniversary DVD/BR releases you’ll just photoshop guns into cans of silly string, Snuffleupagus will sneeze first, and you’ll edit out the muppet-on-muppet cannibalism.

  31. So when he said "Cookie" he meant muppet flesh? So "Cookie" is a slur against muppets – it must be. That changes everything. It rivals Pepé Le Pew taking the pussy.