January 23, 2015
Go ahead, make my diaper
by Adly Elewa
I—like practically everyone else in this great country—went to see American Sniper last weekend. I really wanted to talk about the discrepancies between Chris Kyle‘s memoir and the film. Like, what do those omissions and alterations say about Clint Eastwood’s political leanings? Where are we in our hindsight appraisal of the Iraq war? What happens to personal history when it is adapted by someone else to serve a greater purpose? What is subjective truth?….But, who cares! Let’s just talk about the very obviously fake baby.
I wish I could find a link to the scene without commentary but most of the clips have been pulled by the studio. This is the best I can do:
That is a really fake baby. Please take note of the “hot sack of potatoes” hand-off and Bradley Cooper’s desperate attempt to inject life into the thing with some entry-level sleight of hand. We are on to you, dude. That thing is plastic.
Why use a fake baby? Jason Hall, the movie’s screenwriter tweeted (then deleted) an explanation: “Hate to ruin the fun but real baby #1 showed up with a fever. Real baby #2 was no show. (Clint voice) Gimme the doll, kid.”
Don’t worry, Academy Award-nominee Jason Hall. My fun has not been ruined. Plastic babies are pretty reliably fun, excuses be damned. In fact, fake babies always show up right before something shocking or hilarious happens.
For an example, look no further than this amazing clip from Naked Gun 33 1/3. It is the holy grail of fake babies in danger humor. It has a terrorist, a pack of disgruntled postal-workers , and OJ SIMPSON! Yes you saw correctly. That was FOUR spring loaded fake babies!
Comedy was off the table with this movie. So, seeing that doll make its cameo had me all tensed up. That doll has no-idea what type of crazy stuff it’s about to go through. The only reason that thing is not a flesh and blood card carrying SAG member is because lawyers frown upon loading a newborn with gunpowder detonated squibs.
I missed all the dialogue in that scene. I was thinking, I bet Mustafa followed him back home! Any minute now baby cries are going to turn into countdown beeps, or a red dot sniper thing is going to creep up the back of that onesie.
I still don’t buy the “official story”. There has to be a deep explanation. Maybe the fake baby was some kind of metaphor? Is Clint suggesting that Kyle’s drive to complete his mission is so singular, that his child is merely a prop to be overlooked? Are we the fake baby? Nah too artsy for Eastwood. Was it a political statement? Is that sick baby story a long-con set up for an Obamacare tirade?
I think what I am trying to say is that fake baby wrote some checks its plastic ass did not cash.
God Bless America.
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Adly Elewa was formerly the art director of Melville House.