If you write on the web for a living, April Fool's is a blight on the calendar. Fortunately, these days most sites are pretty good about how they handle it. The number who try to trick people with bogus news stories has gone down, and those who do still pull one off tend to do so in such a way that the story is so ludicrous you can instantly realize it's a joke, yet so well-intentioned, you can appreciate the gag. Case in point, the Criterion Collection's unveiling of their new disc for the seminal Arnold Schwarzenegger film Kindergarten Cop.
Criterion created an entire product page to sell the joke, including a clever synopsis for the film that partially reads like one would imagine an Armond White review of Kindgarten Cop would be like, as well as a list of all the special features on the three-disc special edition, which includes "More than six hundred minutes of rare behind-the-scenes and archival footage." Sadly, the status on the right of their product page will never, ever change from "Out of Print" to "In Stock." It is a cruel world we live in.
And in April Fool's product news, we have this year's crop of phantom Think Geek products, the highlight being their Star Wars Admiral Ackbar Singing Bass. Considering how damned obnoxious all singing fish products are once they're inside your home and are apparently powered by undying batteries, we're relieved this isn't a real item. But, if for some reason you really, really want a singing Admiral Ackbar on your wall, you can request Think Geek to make it-- they did it with the Tauntaun sleeping bag, which was a joke from year's past that became a reality due to fan demand.
But not all April Fool's jokes are quite so obvious. The minds over at Worst Previews fabricated a story about how James Cameron said on the red carpet for the Titanic 3D premiere that he wanted to direct the sequel to Ridley Scott's Prometheus. They even came up with several quotes to attribute to the director, and while the content of those quotes should have already tipped off their ruse, Worst Preview sealed the deal when they ended their piece with a source link to a Prometheus forum, and when you clicked on that link an image of a jester popped up.
However, The Guardian did not click that link.
Instead, The Guardian read Worst Preview's piece, still thought, "This makes perfect sense!" and decided to run with it as a piece of legitimate news on April 2nd. And since The Guardian has established themselves as a legitimate news source, others began to fall in line, erroneously citing their piece as the origin of this massive James Cameron Wants to Direct Prometheus 2 scoop.
And while a few of our fellow bloggers did trust The Guardian (and it's understandable considering they pretty much buried their mention of the original Worst Preview piece into a single, non-descript hyperlinking of the words "he said") and ran with the story, the funniest evolution of this gaff comes from Deadline, an outlet that prides themselves in their timely exclusives. In fact, Deadline prides themselves so much in having their spindly legs awaiting every vibration of their Hollywood web, when they quickly realized that the story they'd pounced on was made up, instead of saying, "Oops," they offered an update citing anonymous "insiders" telling them that James Cameron's comments to The Guardian were "a slightly humorous off handed comment."
But, again, James Cameron never even said those words to The Guardian, which makes Deadline's confirmation of their comedic intent actually really, really funny. A writer at Worst Preview made them up after watching the below video. Note: the reason their April Fool's joke was sly enough to spread is because it was indeed inspired by actual red carpet comments from Cameron regarding his fandom of the first film, but they cited one real sentence and several fake ones. Apparently that's all it takes (Oh, and some readers who didn't actually click on source links).
Well played Worst Preview, well played.
And lastly, we tip our hats to our good friends at Film School Rejects. Every year they run an elaborate April Fool's Joke, and this year they kept pace by announcing they were going to become a print-only zine. And while the announcement alone is worth a chuckle, just wait to you read their entire first issue. Great stuff, guys. Our hat is off.
Update: And how could we forget Spielburgers? A joint we wish was a real place, because where else can we find a menu that includes:
Devils Tower Mashed Potatoes
The Toon Town Dip
Mrs Brody's Clam Chowder
Dr. Hammond Grilled Cheese
Chilled Monkey Brains
Joe vs. The Chocolate Lava Volcano Cake
Oh, the (totally legal) things we would do to a restaurant that had all of that, and many more, on the menu. Seriously, give their mouth-watering menu a full read, it'll get a few laughs out of you. Just don't read it on an empty stomach.