Please Stand By
A movie that's eerily similar to our movie, My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving.
Please Stand By is a wonderful movie about a young autistic woman. She escapes her group home to submit her Star Trek manuscript to a writing contest that’s hundreds of miles away. I highly recommend it. The movie stars Dakota Fanning as the lead with autism. Years earlier, she coincidentally played the daughter of a special needs man played by Sean Penn in the movie I am Sam
This movie has a modern twist. The main character is an attractive young girl who ‘seems normal’ including having her own job but has autism. She is the main driving force in the movie. The story is set up to show that she has autonomy in her group home if she lives in accordance with the house rules. As is the case with other real people in similar situations and conditions, she isn’t locked up. In fact, her home is quite comfortable by most people’s standards, especially with the housing crisis in San Francisco. And she even has her own computer where she writes her screenplay.
Plus, she’s obsessed with Star Trek which makes her that much cooler. (It just doesn't state which version of Star Trek though because it's a surprise) These are just some of the many similarities to our movie My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving (MAT). I will talk about this in a series of blog on this film since this is the case. My other area will be to shed some light on the challenges of writing a character with special needs.
Millennials relate to each other with shared experiences through our phone and social media. Generation X tends do this with pop culture. My experience shows that special needs adults and children also use pop culture to relate. In Please Stand By, Wendy (Dakota Fanning) uses her favorite TV show Star Trek to connect with others. The filmmakers cleverly intercut Wendy’s Star Trek story during her journey across California. It helps reflect her feelings that she is unable to convey in person. That is a typical characteristic of someone with autism. When they feel emotions it is an intense feeling that they can’t control or verbally share.
Our movie MAT also has a lead character with special needs and is named Marcus. He is obsessed with zombies and uses his favorite zombie TV show, Apocalyptic Zombies, to make sense of the world around him including other people. If you don’t understand zombies, you don’t understand Marcus. This creates great subtext into his relationships, motives, and his thoughts. Apocalyptic Zombies conveys many of the feelings that Marcus feels: panic, loneliness and cornered. It also displays his quirky sense of humor for Apocalyptic Zombies is about fast zombies terrorizing people like in the classic 28 Days Later…
As I wrote for the character Marcus, I had to go deeper than Marcus’ love for zombies because everybody loves zombies especially me and my wife, Holly Soriano. Both of us adore the Evil Dead and Ash vs the Evil Dead series. Marcus loves Doris in a mother-son sort of way. His caregiver Doris also loves zombies too. Marcus further identifies with the show’s main character Andrea when she loses her own mother for Marcus hasn’t had contact with his mom since his childhood. Andrea’s plight is further desperate for she also needs to charge her cell phone in the middle of the apocalypse… How can a girl really cope if she only has two bars!?! Marcus follows her example by going on his own journey to find his long lost mother.