For a long time I’ve wondered if I have what it takes to write for The Onion. Here are a pair of early attempts at fake news.
Pontius Pilate Biopic Flops at Box Office
Critics find no fault in it
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA, Pilate, a biographical film about the life and times of Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, has suffered a disastrous opening weekend, grossing only $879,272 at the box office. Sony Pictures reportedly rushed the film to an early release, hoping to capitalize on the box-office fervor whipped up by Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
However, Pilate’s poor performance has led to bitter recriminations from many involved in the film’s production. Director Gaspar Noé has claimed that the studio illicitly tampered with the final approved version of the script before it reached his hands – a claim which the studio has denied. Screenwriter Nicolas Winding Refn has refused to offer any public comment on the matter. Meanwhile, the studio claims that Noé obstinately attempted to pack the film with scenes of graphic sex and violence, intentionally flirting – in the studio’s opinion – with the dreaded NC-17 rating.
Barely mentioned in all the backbiting is the nearly unanimous critical acclaim that Pilate has received. Using a kaleidoscopic approach to unravel the life of perhaps the most infamous bureaucrat in history, the film casts no less than seven actors as Pontius Pilate, including Ewan McGregor, Tom Wilkinson, Jeff Goldblum, and Judi Dench, among others. However, in a rambling, profane email sent to Sony Pictures employees, one producer wrote, among other things, “You can’t pay your goddamn creditors with Golden Globes, and sure as hell can’t eat a fucking Oscar” and “One of you go tell the bank you’re paying this month’s mortgage with good reviews, and you tell me what happens.”
This is not the first sign of trouble for Pilate. In what was widely viewed as a publicity stunt at the time, the producers of the film held an unusual ceremony before the initial screening of the film. On a temporary stage erected before the audience, the producers wordlessly faced the audience, then took turns washing their hands with water from a stone basin on the right side of the stage.
White House Easter Egg Roll Turns Up Body of Jimmy Hoffa
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Jubilation turned to horror Sunday, as a participants in the 136th annual White Hose Easter Egg Roll witnessed the discovery of long-missing union leader Jimmy Hoffa’s decomposed remains.
The event – attended by over 30,000 guests – was well under way on the White House’s South Lawn when an egg rolled by Marcus Jamison, 7, veered from a racecourse and into a nearby shrub. According to Jamison, he attempted to extract the egg, and in the process scraped at some loose soil with his wooden spoon. At that point he discovered “A finger sticking out of the ground”
According to witnesses, President Barack Obama, officiating the race, saw Jamison stray from the course and went over to offer assistance. President Obama reportedly crouched, following the pointing of Jamison’s spoon, before jumping to his feet in a panic. Witnesses reported hearing Obama shout “Oh God! Oh God, Michelle, somebody get Michelle!” At that point, Obama covered the protesting Jamison’s eyes and led him away, at the same time motioning a nearby Secret Service agent over to the shrub in question.
“Block this off. Nothing rolls over here.” Obama reportedly said, his face reportedly ashen and grim. A half-dozen Secret Service agents then materialized and immediately began shepherding curious onlookers away from the area of interest.
A dig conducted under cover of night uncovered the mostly decomposed remains of an adult male. DNA testing and dental records later revealed the body to be Hoffa’s. The discovery has answered one enduring question, but raised countless others. In public, Obama has skirted the implications of the grisly find. In a press conference on Tuesday the president declared “We will do everything in our power to find Marcus’ egg. We will leave no stone unturned, and we will not rest until we find out what happened to it. Marcus and his family have been through a lot, and the least we can do is offer them some measure of closure.”