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Monday, June 26, 2006

The Da Vinci Bandwagon

Michael Rottman & Jeff Szpirglas

Now that The Da Vinci Code has become both a literary and cinematic success, you’ll soon be seeing other conspiracy-laden historical epics lining bookstore shelves and spinning through theatre projectors. Here’s a sampling of the latest projects in development.

The Rockwell Code
When a famed paleontologist carbon-dates the paintings of Norman Rockwell in a drunken stupor, he discovers that the American master’s works date back beyond the times of Christ and Moses put together. Rockwell’s take on Santa Claus is actually a depiction of Sumerian king Gilgamesh, who apparently had a thing for red suits and Coca-Cola bottles. Soon the paleontologist is being pursued by rabid art scholars, the Cult of Gilgamesh, and a legion of disillusioned children.

The Area Code
Remember Max Cohen, hero of the movie Pi? He’s learned that searching for numerological patterns in the Torah and/or stock market will only get you killed. In this ball-busting sequel, Max sets his sights on an even denser tome: the New York phone book. Making the startling discovery that each phone number begins with the digits 555, Max is riddled with paranoia. Is he trapped in a movie? Is a theatrical audience watching his every waking move? Are their cell phones and pagers turned off? It’s fun for the whole family as Max descends into another round of madness. From the bestselling author of Jersey City Telephone Directory and the Newark Yellow Pages.

The Original Codes of Comedy
Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey, and D.L. Hughley get a new manager, a mysterious albino (Dave Chappelle) who believes their ribald gags may reveal the existence of the Richard Pryory of Sion, keepers of jokes so mind-blowing as to incite anarchy. The albino insists they start telling more innocuous jokes about airplanes and pool cleaners. The comedians become suspicious, and thus begins a dizzy thrill-ride of intrigue, leading to a “your mama’s the bigger ho” showdown at Blacula’s Castle.

National Lampoon’s Da Vinci Keg
Floyd Brotstein may only be an Ohio State freshman, but those football jocks have already given him four years worth of wedgies during frosh week alone. University is like high school all over again: any hope of a girlfriend is lost, until Floyd accidentally wanders into the Computation Cult, that most ancient of secret societies. Its members are sworn to guard the Da Vinci chalice with their very lives and/or pocket protectors. Drinking from this goblet will render the most socially inept more desirable than an elephant in heat. Prepare for two hours of booze, breasts, and belching! Inspired by historical events.

The Morse Code
Director Mel Gibson’s decision to shoot 90 minutes of actors speaking in high-pitched dots and dashes was praised for its authenticity, but many felt the film dragged. Cultivated a small TV audience erroneously believing this to be the lost episode of Inspector Morse.

The Comics Code
Fredric Wertham is a good, clean, wholesome psychologist who soon learns of a shocking conspiracy: the authors and illustrators of comic books are rotting the minds of children across the nation and turning them into criminals. Batman and Robin are gay! Wonder Woman is an S&M freak! Superman is Jewish! Frederic needs to protect America’s children, and fast. A Senate subcommittee hearing led by the good, clean, wholesome senator Estes Kefauver brings these perverted supervillains to justice, and an authoritative body is established to keep comics clean.

The Da Vinci Load
Educational film examining human reproductive activities in minute detail. Notable for its sublime musical score and crowd-pleasing “money shot.”

The Dante Code
An ordinary librarian (Colin Hanks) discovers that he is the descendant of Dante and thus in line to inherit his ancestor’s 700-year-old locked trunk. The combination is made up of the coördinates of the Bermuda Triangle. Inside, he finds a fourth canto of The Divine Comedy in which Virgil takes Dante to the lost city of Atlantis. Accidentally dripping holy water on the pages reveals a map. After stealing a recently unearthed Nazi submarine full of gold, the hero and his girlfriend (Britnee Tautou) travel to Atlantis where they find it destroyed … except for one scrap of paper which turns out to be the missing movement of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony. When played upon Dante’s accordion, which was also in the trunk, the music causes a compartment to open, in which is carved the location of Area 51—Death Valley. Fighting his way through armed guards, the hero breaches Area 51 and discovers the final, terrible secret: it’s where they keep people who have seen the Pope with an erection.

Jeff Szpirglas not only teaches children, but also writes books for them, and, according to his parents, excels at acting like them. He gets an A+ in screaming rages, but a C- in penmanship.
Michael Rottman does not teach children, but can get one for you cheap. His work has appeared in Opium.print, Grain, and The Fiddlehead, and online at Y.P.R., The Morning News, and McSweeney's.