THE BLOG
03/28/2008 02:48 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

An Open Letter To JJ Abrams About "Cloverfield"

Dear J.J. Abrams-

Hi, how are you?

Based on all the hullaballoo, I am sure you are very, very talented. Maybe even "prodigiously talented," if I were the type of person to say that.

But to be honest, except for the first 2 seasons of "Felicity" (until the episode where she did it with Simon Rex), I am not all that familiar with your body of work. I know you created "Alias," and are therefore the man who made Jennifer Garner famous, which got her cast in "Daredevil," where she met Ben Affleck, which in turn freed him from the well-moisturized clutches of Jennifer Lopez. By the transitive property of celebrity relationships, if it weren't for you, there would be no Violet Affleck, which would be horrible, because she is one of my favorite celebrity toddlers. If it weren't for you, our Ben would still be making enormous monthly payments to Harry Winston for that ginormous pink (!!) diamond, and starring in embarrassing, self-referential videos where he lounges on yachts and spanks his fiancee's a**.

For all these reasons, America can breathe a deep sigh of relief and say "Thank YOU, J.J. Abrams!"

Also, you brought "Lost" to the world, and by all accounts, that is a great thing. For one thing, Charlie from "Party of Five" is on the show, and it's great to see him in a role where he doesn't have cancer, whether or not it's "the good kind." I have never seen an episode, but really it's only because I know myself too well. And if I know one thing about myself, it's that I love desert islands: Gilligan's Island, Lord of the Flies, Swiss Family Robinson, Island of the Blue Dolphins.... I can't get enough. I still dream about building an entire dinette set out out of bamboo and palm fronds, living off of coconut soup, and spelling "H E L P" out in the sand with rocks until I am rescued by kindhearted merchant marines. Plus, "Lost" seems to take the desert island story to a whole new level. If there is another thing I know about myself, it's that I love unsolved mysteries. I am not totally sure (irony!), but unsolved mysteries seem to be a main component of "Lost," based on the all the screen caps I have seen of trap doors, and people peering into them curiously. Based on this empirical evidence, I know that I would be deeply, perhaps unhealthily obsessed with your show, and spend an unreasonable amount of time scouring the internet for information about it. So for the sake of argument, let's just say I am a huge fan.

But lately, I have a bone to pick with you. I keep seeing ads for your latest production, "Cloverfield." I know you didn't write it, or direct it. But the ads keep saying "from executive producer J.J. Abrams," so I am going to give you all the credit (and criticism) for this one. I saw a trailer before "Juno" on Christmas day, and to be honest, it kind of made me mad. Apparently, it's some kind of monster movie. But I had to go to the movie"s website to find this out, since the trailer is intentionally oblique and just shows an eerily familiar scenario of New York City being demolished, and people running for cover in delis and subway stations. You don't have to be a New Yorker for this to make you squirm. In fact, I wasn't even in New York when I saw the trailer, but there was still a palpable sense of "yikes, I don't know about that" as everybody made that sound where you clench your teeth together and inhale sharply in order to express your disapproval.

So now that I am back in the city, it gets even worse. Every morning on my commute to work, when I am already constantly divided between the temptation to zone out and the obligation to remain vigilant and look for abandoned backpacks and shifty-eyed passengers, I have no choice but to stand and stare at posters showing a smoldering New York skyline and a decapitated Statue of Liberty. Again, there's no monster anywhere, just a familiar vision of destruction and a cryptic title, "Cloverfield." Call me crazy, but this seems like a consciously provocative choice. I will give you the benefit of the doubt: I will assume that this was, at least in part a marketing decision based on the box office performance of the last movie about a monster attacking Manhattan. No, I am not talking about "Blonde Ambition." Ha!

I am of course talking about "Godzilla." Maybe since that movie flopped, some studio fatcats decided that they had to think outside the box, and then came up with a teaser campaign that would get people's attention....by playing our traumatic collective memory of 9/11. Not to be all Bill O'Reilly about it, but I think you are maybe a little out of touch with what people want to see. At least people who are not part of your Comic Con fanbase and therefore don't already know that this is some new-fangled spin on "Godzilla." I am pretty sure it's not getting New York City excited, at least. Just because New York's already been attacked once (or twice, if you are Larry Silverstein) it doesn't mean it's okay to fictionally attack it over and over again just because the city is so iconic and easily makes for a dramatic movie poster. I mean, New York isn't the city in America that has instantly recognizable landmarks. Couldn't you have set the movie in LA? Philadelphia? Orlando? Buffalo? It seems like it's high time some other city got the (fictional) shaft.

But still, I really like your glasses.

Your friend,
Meredith

Subscribe to the Entertainment email.
Home to your favorite fan theories and the best movie recs.