Comics – What a Disaster!

Cheryl-Blossom-6
Writer: Dan Parent
Pencils: Dan Parent
Inking: Jon D’Agostino
Lettering: Bill Yoshida
Coloring: Barry Grossman
Original Publication: Cheryl Blossom, No. 6
Cover Date: October, 1997
Length: 21 pages

Although I have the original issue, I’m reviewing this story from the digital edition.

Part 1

Priscilla and Cheryl leave the movie theater after seeing a disaster movie called Flash Flood. Priscilla found it to be “such a thrill”. Cheryl found it to be “quite dull”. Priscilla thinks Cheryl is cray-cray. Cheryl explains: “It was the same old tired disaster movie formula! If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it 100 times!”

At Priscilla’s prompt, Cheryl admits she thinks she can do better, so Priscilla reminds her of her past failed attempts at acting. Cheryl angrily says she was “just a kid”. She says her recent media adventures have taught her a lot about the business. Cheryl decides to make her own disaster movie. She has the money but tries to figure out how she can make her disaster film stand out.

Her idea is for all disasters to happen all at once. As they arrive outside the Blossom estate, Priscilla asks to be in the movie. Cheryl agrees to give Priscilla a bit part. They part ways, and Cheryl goes to make some phone calls.

Cheryl calls up a Steven Spielberg knockoff and introduces herself. He recognizes her as “that nitty redhead who’s always on Hard Copy“. She asks him to direct her movie, but he’s in the middle of one. She says she’ll pay him three times his fee, so he closes the set for the rest of the day and flies to Pembrooke (without even getting Cheryl’s address).

Once he meets with Cheryl at her place, she asks him if he’s interested. He lists things that he has to do. Cheryl wants the movie in theaters before school begins (which is in one month). He says it’ll take one to two years. In desperation, Cheryl offers to “pay through the nose for this”, because she wants to hit “while this trend is big”. He’ll have his writers work on a script. Cheryl gives him lengthy outlines. She also offers to work cheap in order to act in the film. She asks him for the cost of the film and guesses $1,000,000 – $2,000,000. He laughs and says the “average Hollywood blockbuster” costs $15,000,000. Hahahahahahaha! That’s nowhere near true! Not even for the time period and especially not for his movies. Cheryl is worried but tells him that she’ll get it.

Cheryl goes to the bank to make a withdrawal. The bank calls her father to inform him, because, even though the account is hers, she’s still a minor. Cheryl is asked to wait. Her dad arrives and is like “What the fuck?!” Cheryl explains. Clifford forbids it.

Part 2

On the ride home from the bank, Clifford lectures her about wasting money. Cheryl says making movies can be a learning experience. He suggests she go to film school. He also suggests getting financial backing for her movie. She thanks him for the idea.

While watching a movie at home, Cheryl notices product placement, so she gets knockoffs of Pepsi and Doritos to be used in her movie (she’s known for her media attention, which they view as a good thing). Cheryl signs up a bunch more companies and gets the needed funding. Clifford is impressed and predicts Cheryl will probably run Hollywood one day. Jason makes an insult.

When Cheryl reads Steven’s script, she finds it terrible, because there are “only 3 or 4 disasters” in it. He says they need some reality. Cheryl wants to go all out. She tells him to fire the writers, and she’ll write the script herself.

The next day, Steven reads Cheryl’s script and isn’t impressed. Apparently, she wrote the product placements into the script, which I’m sure isn’t how it’s done. He calls it a big-budget infomercial. He also calls her out on the implausibility of so many disasters hitting the same town. He quits to save his reputation. She tells him to go “hack out some sequels”.

Deciding to direct the movie herself, Cheryl goes out to the set, which is Club Blossom. Apparently, this was a last-minute decision, because Jason is surprised and says she can’t use it. Cheryl says she has no choice, because there’s no time to build sets. He tells her to go elsewhere. Louella, however, says this is great publicity. They agree to let Cheryl use the inn, if she gives them parts in the film. She agrees and gives them instructions about product placement. The actors arrive. They include knockoffs of Jean-Claude Van Damme (who Cheryl loves), Macaulay Culkin (who still looks like he did in Home Alone, despite this being seven years later), and Madonna (who Cheryl hugs and reminds of the last time that they met). Madonna doesn’t give a shit.

Part 3

A couple hours later, on the set, Cheryl compliments Madonna for being in her movie, but Madonna admits she’s doing it for the money. Cheryl takes credit for delivering Madonna’s baby, which she didn’t do. She tells her three actors to take their places and only now tells them who they’re playing and what they’re doing. Yeah, no, bullshit. Any serious actor (and director) would have discussed this long before the first day of filming.

Anyway, they’re the Reynolds family, running this rustic country inn. Cheryl then links a volcanic eruption to tornadoes, massive storms, flooding, and earthquakes. Madonna is confused. She and Jean-Claude check their scripts (which they apparently pull out of their asses) and ask how a blizzard and an asteroid attack come into play. Cheryl says she’ll work that out later and tells them to take their places (again).

Meanwhile, the Clumpitts observe this from their treehouse and decide to come over and investigate. They assume they’re gonna be in the movie, but Cheryl doesn’t want them around. Then, suddenly, a crane smashes their treehouse. I guess it’s some worker performing work for the club, because Cheryl apologizes to the Clumpitts and begs them not to sue. Louella offers to let them stay here until they replace their home. Cheryl would rather be sued. But, seriously, why were these fuckers allowed to live in a treehouse?

They shoot the first scene. Jean-Claude’s character’s name is Hank. Cheryl plays Dr. Mona Delite, the town genius that rushes over to save the day. Jason and Louella (quietly) disapprove of Cheryl’s hammy acting. Cheryl starts with the product placement, which is way more blatant than in actual movies. This causes Madonna to quit.

Cheryl decides to play the wife. The Clumpitts arrive, asking for food (considering the dad already asked about food earlier, while Louella was taking them into the inn, why didn’t she see to it?). Cheryl angrily calls cut. Jean-Claude and Macaulay quit. Cheryl decides to play all of the parts.

Part 4

So they film the entire movie, Cheryl promoting various products through all of it. Cheryl calls it a wrap and thanks everyone. A camera operator predicts the film will be a disaster.

Cheryl calls the special effects lab to see how they’re coming, even though there’s no indication that she’s sent them the footage yet. The guy says they’ll need months. Cheryl says the premiere is in one week and tells him to do what it takes to finish by then. She then slams down her…cell phone…outside.

One week later, the inn is getting ready for the premiere of Cheryl’s film, The End is Near. Jason asks her if the film is ready. Cheryl says they’re still putting it together, and she needs to see the final cut. Cheryl either calls someone or gets called and learns the film won’t be ready until 7:00 tomorrow. She realizes she’ll have to see it with everyone else. Wait, one week earlier, she said the premiere was in one week. Is this a goof, or is the story implying Cheryl is delaying the premiere by one day? Anyway, Cheryl hopes the film comes out okay.

The next day, at the premiere, Cheryl is excited, but Louella quickly notices the less-than-convincing model work. Cheryl notices a stagehand visible in the film and notes they didn’t zoom in as they should have. Cheryl is excited to see herself on screen. An audience member says the multiple product placements are distracting. The stage hand is visible again, and Cheryl asks about cropping him out. I have a few things to say about this. One, this isn’t really a special effects problem, just basic editing incompetence. Two, these aren’t special effects at all; they’re practical effects. They would have been filmed separately from the actors (and likely by a different director); they wouldn’t have been handled by the SFX house that Cheryl hired (unless special effects were added to the shots). Three, Cheryl knows enough about filmmaking to know more than the people behind that complete fucking abortion of a so-called “HD remaster” of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, stage hands and other crew do get picked up by cameras during production. Crop them out. It’s not hard. It’s especially inexcusable during shots involving miniatures. Rant over.

Cheryl is horrified to see the Clumpitts appearing in multiple scenes, mugging for the camera, and guesses they must have been snooping around the whole shoot. How did she not notice them while she was directing and starring in the film?! She’s literally in at least one camera shot with them! The audience (especially Jason) finds it hilarious. The final scene has slightly different dialogue than the scene that we saw filmed earlier, and Cheryl and Louella are wearing completely different outfits. Cheryl wants the film to at least end normally, but the Clumpitts are in the final shot. Cheryl starts crying.

After the film ends, Cheryl’s still in tears. Priscilla comes up to her and tells her that everyone’s talking. Cheryl feels she deserves it for rushing the movie. Jason informs her that everyone’s in love with the Clumpitts. Louella tells her that everyone thinks Cheryl made them “these goofy stars” on purpose. The Clumpitts don’t know how to respond to reporters’ questions. Cheryl takes charge of the situation, taking on the role of the Clumpitts’ agent. A reporter asks her about her decision to finally make a parody of disaster movies. Cheryl says she figured it was time to laugh at the genre. Jason’s upset about Cheryl’s good press. Louella is happy and says, as long as it benefits the inn, she doesn’t care.

As if you couldn’t already tell, this story was basically just a rehash of the Cheryl Blossom (Goes to Hollywood) miniseries – but done in a third of the space. It offers nothing new. Cheryl has learned nothing from her previous moviemaking experience. But she ended up being an accidental visionary.

Extras

Between Parts 1 and 2 is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Hairstyles”, which include The 60’s Look, The Clueless Look, The Grungy Look, The Elegant Look, and The Wavy Look.

Between Parts 2 and 3 is a 1-page “Dear Cheryl” letters column by Sara Algase.

Also between Parts 2 and 3 is a page of Cheryl fan art with entries from Jessica Bertino of Hammonton, New Jersey; Rachael Frimberger of Vancouver, Washington; Jamie Andreson of Mill Valley, California; Nathalie Sosa of Miami, Florida; and Anum Tariq of Fremont, California.

Between Parts 3 and 4 is a 1-page Cheryl illustration titled “Cheryl’s Blossomy Looks”, which are flower-themed.

Author: markmooreauthor

I love watching anime and superhero movies, and I love playing video games. I also write fan fiction and original fiction.

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