Come with me on a journey. A journey into the future, in which I tell you of the fall of cinema, and of civilisation itself. It is the year 2053. The likes of Cineworld, Odeon, and other cinema chains are in ruins. Their bricks and mortar lay smashed on the road, clogged with weeds and moss. Insects buzz lazily amongst the wreckage. The sun beats down, hard and hot.
A young boy, dressed in rags, runs into one such abandoned cinema. Through the holes in the roof, he can see the grey green clouds drifting overhead. It is a forbidden place, untouched for decades, full of questions.
The boy’s father calls for him, warns him of the dangers. The boy ignores him, scurrying across cracked floors, and over rotting counters, withered popcorn crunching underfoot.
The boy stops. There is a skeleton sitting upright against a wall. Shreds of tattered clothing hang from its weathered bones. Between spindly fingers, it is clutching a faded movie ticket. The boy peers closer, reading the words on it…
Suddenly he feels his father behind him, and jumps with a start. His father’s face is grim.
"What is this place, father?" enquires the boy with wide eyes.
His father places a comforting hand on his son's shoulder, and motions him to sit down. He's perhaps of an age where he should know the truth. Or at least, a version of it. Sitting down himself, the father clears his throat, and begins his tale…
Nicolas Cage Wars 2021
"This was a place where movies could be enjoyed in the early part of the twenty first century, before the Nicolas Cage Wars of 2021. Many talk of what triggered the wars, and many believed events were set in motion in the year 2011.
"You see, disaster struck in Hollywood. A strange, unexplainable virus infected Los Angeles, a contagion that targeted only Hollywood stars.
"Even worse, rising stars, as soon as they had a hit film, fell victim to the deadly virus. However, one man was immune to it’s destructive power. That man was Nicolas Cage. Nobody knows why. Perhaps he possessed enough innate charisma, enough star power to successfully stop the virus in its tracks.
"And so scientists ran tests, as scientists often do, but they couldn’t learn the secret of Nicolas Cage's immunity in time."
The boy looks up at his father, and says, "In time? What happened?"
"Understand that this was all very secret," continues the boy’s father. "As Hollywood stars dropped like flies, the industry went to great lengths to hide the fact, using huge numbers of lookalikes. But then they started dying too.
"Even worse, the virus was spreading at an incredible rate, crossing the pond to Europe. Now even their stars were a resource that could not be tapped into. The virus was beginning to adapt.
"As more and more of the acting fraternity began to die out in 2011 and beyond, they increasingly turned to the one actor who stood tall, Nicolas Cage. He, and only he, could keep the magic of movies alive. And thus, he began to work harder than ever.
They cloned Nicolas Cage!
"One by one, the Nicolas Cage movies kept on coming. First, one a month. Then, two a month. Then, one a week. But soon, it became apparent that Nicolas Cage, the last surviving actor on the planet, was only one man. Not even one so awesome as he had the strength to star in every movie ever made.
"So science stepped in, desperate, perhaps looking for absolution after their failure to stop the virus."
"What did they do?" asks the boy.
His father continues, "They cloned Nicolas Cage! Soon an army of Nicolas Cages were working around the clock, and the movies increased apace. Millions of perfect copies of Cage, starring in thousands upon thousands of movies. Day after day, week after week, year upon year.
"But alas, the Nicolas Cages became restless, angry at being forced to act in award winning dramas, followed by a couple of shit movies, and then another award winning drama, followed by even more shit movies.
"And so it was that they started a long, and terrible war against the rest of the human race. The Nicolas Cage Army (NCA) was far too powerful, far too stylish. Long mullet hairstyles, swishing in slow motion, as an NCA soldier dodged incoming bullets with a graceful turn, before shooting the enemy with a casual backhanded flick of an automatic pistol, proved too much for the rest of humanity.
Mullet hair swishing in the breeze
"In 2026, after five long bloody years, the war came to an end, and the NCA stood victorious. But the planet was in ruins, battered into submission. The Earth was renamed Cageworld, and the NCA disbanded, left to wander the wasteland, their numbers dwindling until… until…
"Well, here we are. It's just us now, son."
The boy turns, his mullet hair swishing in the breeze, and he says, "That’s a great story, dad! But," waving his hand at the Drive Angry movie ticket, "what was Drive Angry like? Any good?”
"Yeah, not bad. Cage (V1.0) was a bit subdued. Amber Heard had nice legs, and Will Fichtner was probably the best thing in it. It was pretty violent."
The boy looked thoughtful for a moment, and said, “Great review, dad!”