The movie “Twilight” opened this weekend to the delighted squeals of teenage girls and sexually frustrated middle-aged women everywhere. The novel it’s based on has been enjoyed by millions of readers, and hailed as the best book they’ve ever read by people who don’t read a lot of books, so anticipation for the movie was running high. I thought it turned out OK — but frankly, I was disappointed they didn’t use the screenplay adaptation that I submitted. Since they didn’t, here it is. To everyone who saw the movie this weekend: Do you think mine is better???
By Eric D. Snider
BELLA: I’m sad to leave the hellish, uninhabitable wasteland of Phoenix to live in a rain-soaked town full of rubes. I wish everything about my comfortable and privileged life were completely different!
DAD: Hi, Bella! Welcome to Forks, Washington. I’m glad you’ve stopped playing mother to your own flighty, irresponsible mom and come here to be my mother instead.
BELLA: It will be my pleasure to cook and clean for you.
DAD: I bought you an old truck from an Indian in a wheelchair!
BELLA: I … have no response for that.
* * * * *
BELLA: It’s tough being the new kid in school! Especially when everyone is so friendly and helpful and interested in me. Why can’t they just leave me alone so I can sit in the corner and cut myself?
CLASSMATE: You’re awesome, Bella!
BELLA: See what I have to put up with? Hey — who are those hot people over there?
CLASSMATE: Those are the Cullens. They avoid direct sunlight, they don’t eat food, they sleep in coffins in a graveyard, and holy water burns them. I think they’re Canadians.
BELLA: They sure are spectacularly gorgeous.
CLASSMATE: Yes, they are.
BELLA: I mean seriously, those people are BEAUTIFUL. Especially the one who keeps looking at me. Man alive, that guy is stunning. I mean, wow. He is hot buttered seduction on a stick. I’m not interested in him sexually, of course, because sex is dirty, but wow — LOOK AT HIM! Yee-ikes! Hubba hubba! If you don’t mind, I’d like to spend the next 75 pages talking exclusively about how attractive he is, and then bring it up again every paragraph or so for the remaining 400 pages.
CLASSMATE: Knock yourself out.
* * * * *
EDWARD: Hi, I’m Edward. I’m every girl’s fantasy boyfriend: moody, humorless, violent, capable of snapping your spine with my bare hands, liable to do creepy things like watch you while you’re sleeping, but also really cute.
BELLA: There is something strange about you.
EDWARD: (recoils at her garlic breath) I don’t know what you mean.
BELLA: I just can’t put my finger on what it is.
EDWARD: (lifts automobile with one hand) You’re imagining things.
BELLA: I feel like you’re hiding something from me.
EDWARD: (grabs passing rabbit with lightning speed; drinks rabbit’s blood) Don’t be silly!
BELLA: It’s like you’re different somehow.
EDWARD: (turns into bat; flies away)
BELLA: Hmm. I bet he’s gay.
* * * * *
JACOB: You should be careful with those Cullens. Many moons ago, our tribe’s elders, who were werewolves, made a pact with the Cullens, who were vampires. They’re not allowed on our land, not even at our casinos.
BELLA: What, still? Even after all this time has passed?
BELLA: Since when do white people honor treaties with Indians?
JACOB: I know, right?
BELLA: Let me guess — you’re a character whose only job is to provide exposition, and you won’t be useful until the next book.
JACOB: Yes. At the earliest.
* * * * *
BELLA: Thanks for saving me from that mob of guys who attacked me in the street! It’s a good thing you obsessively stalk me while simultaneously insisting you want nothing to do with me.
EDWARD: No problem. If anyone’s going to tear you limb from limb and gorge themselves on your sweet, delicious, life-giving blood, it’s going to be me.
BELLA: Aw, you say the nicest things! I’m pretty sure you’re a vampire, that I’m in love with you, and that part of you wants to kill me.
EDWARD: Don’t be silly. It’s not just part of me.
* * * * *
EDWARD: You know what vampires love? Baseball!
EDWARD: Sure! Haven’t you ever heard of vampire bats?
EDWARD: Anyhoo, these are the vampire friends I live with, the Cullens. They’ve been very eager to eat you.
BELLA: You mean meet me?
EDWARD: Meet you. What did I say?
ALICE: I’m Alice! I can see the future, but only when it’s useful to the plot. For example, right now: Look out for those mean vampires barging in from the forest!
MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES: Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum! I smell the blood of a human!
EDWARD: Stay away from her! Bella, you’d better go. I don’t want you to have to see me fight this guy for your honor, our muscles straining as we grapple, the air thick with testosterone and the sounds of our throaty snarling.
BELLA: Right! I wouldn’t want to see that! Especially not if your shirts got torn off!
* * * * *
MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES: You puny humans are so predictable and weak. Now I’ve got you alone, free to toy with you and torture you and deliver lengthy explanatory monologues to you! I just hope I don’t waste so much time fartin’ around that when I finally do decide to kill you it’s too late because Edward and the Cullens have arrived to save you!
BELLA: That would certainly be an unusual twist!
MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES: I must say, I can see why Edward likes you. Your smell is overpowering!
BELLA: Oh, you can smell that? Sorry, I thought I could sneak one out….
MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES: Never mind! At last it is time for me to–
EDWARD: Not so fast, Count Jerkula!
MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES: Edward! And the Cullens! Who could have foreseen your perfectly timed arrival?!
ALICE: I could have! Didn’t, but could have!
(Fighting ensues. MEAN VAMPIRE JAMES is vanquished.)
EDWARD: Bella! Are you OK? He bit you! I’ve got to suck out the vampire poison!
BELLA: Edward, you don’t have to make up excuses to put your mouth on me. I mean honestly, who ever heard of “vampire poison”?
EDWARD: I’m serious! It’s coursing through your veins as we speak!
BELLA: Uh-huh. Whatever you say, Powder.
* * * * *
BELLA: Why did you bring me to the prom, Edward? You know I can’t dance, and that I hate it when people tell me I’m beautiful, which happens all the time.
EDWARD: I don’t want your dangerous psychological infatuation with a vampire to interfere with your regular life.
BELLA: But I want to BE a vampire! I want you to do it to me. It will strengthen our love for each other. I want to become one with you. And what better night than prom night? We can do it in the back of the limo.
EDWARD: Wait, what are we talking about?
BELLA: I don’t know. All the metaphors have started to run together.
EDWARD: You’re sure you want to be a vampire?
EDWARD: Well, how about if I press my lips against your throat in an ambiguous way, just enough to ensure that readers come back for the sequel?
BELLA: It’s a deal.
(Fade to black; roll credits; send in ushers to mop up audience’s tears and drool.)
Longtime readers may recognize this format as the one used to mock another teen-girl-friendly film, "Titanic," way back in 1998 (although that parody was more biting, while this one is more silly). In fact, a few readers expressed disappointment that my review of "Twilight" didn't take this form, the line between "movie review" and "satire column" having become blurred in their eyes. I was working on this anyway, but I was glad to know some people were already thinking of it. (Yeah, I used the "vampire bat" joke in the review too. I should have saved it.)
"Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer and I were at BYU at the same time, and apparently she was an Eric D. Snider fan back in the day. She once named me her favorite movie critic on her website, although that page, her "unofficial bio," is gone now. (The link goes to an archived copy.)