As I am busy at work on another project, I now offer a guaranteed get-rich plan for 2009 to all my grumpy, fretful, financially hard-pressed fellow Americans.
Give a troubled America schmaltz, and the world is yours, my friends.
The New Depression is upon us. It is time to get sappy. And silly. And hopeful and giddy and dreamy.
It is time for Hollywood and Broadway and Tin Pan Alley to deliver what they've always produced when times were hard and the wolves were at the door.
Time for Zuzu's petals, and Clarence's bell!
Time for frail children to declare, "God bless us, every one!"
Time for John Cleese to hear, for the thousandth funny time, that his parrot, the somewhat rigid Norwegian Blue, is just pining for the fjords.
Think of the heroes, and heroines, from economic turmoil past.
Dickens. Capra. Python.
Shirley Temple. The Marx Brothers. Indiana Jones.
We need distraction, people. All this moping and groaning about our 401(k)'s won't do at all.
We need a screenwriter who can take an out-of-work analyst from Lehman Brothers, throw him onto the street, give him a quest—a last wish to fulfill or a contest to win—and have him end the movie, wiser and warmer, in the arms of the girl of his dreams. And we'll need a young Tom Hanks to play him.
We need an adorable child actress, to turn a world of stuffy adults upside down and teach them the meaning of Christmas. We need Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye puttin' on a show in the barn. We need Robin Williams as Mork. We need to watch Love A ctually for the umpteenth time and see that little kid humiliate airport security.
C'mon. We can lick this. As a great American once asked: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
There are signs...harbingers of hope. Liza is back. And Springsteen is readying a new album. So open a bottle of red wine, rent A Good Year, and feast on the story of Max and Fanny—a movie before its time.
And, listen! You there, in pajamas in your parents' basements! Don't wait for jaded California producers and pompous baby boomers to show the way. Let YouTube bloom with a thousand schmaltzy flowers.
All together now, as we join the high princess of schmaltz—a gal so downright perky that when the hard times of the 1970s and 1980s hit, America went back to the Depression, dusted her off, and made her a national icon once more.
It was only a matter of time, you know, before we saw her again.
Bring it, Annie.
"Oh, the sun will come out, to-morrow...."