Last year, Paramount (a studio that's been in the news lately for selling off its unwanted genre offerings to Netflix) released a $125M movie by the name of Monster Trucks. That film failed at the box office, and when it was later revealed that the picture's storyline had been inspired, in part, by a brainstorming session between former Paramount exec Adam Goodman and his 4-year-old son, everyone had a nice, long chuckle.
"Man alive," folks chortled. "They'll turn anything into a movie."
Which brings us to today, and the news that Fox Searchlight is gearing up for a film about Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Says Variety:
"Fox Searchlight and DeVon Franklin are set to produce the film Flamin’ Hot, which will tell the true story of Richard Montanez, who rose from humble beginnings to a successful businessman when he created a food phenomenon — Flamin’ Hot Cheetos."
OK, so, here's the thing: you hear they're making a movie about Flamin' Hot Cheetos, you can't help but roll your eyes and bemoan the state of the world. But Variety's report goes on to further explain what this story will entail, and we kind of see what they're going for here.
"The film follows Montanez, the son of an immigrant, who grew up as a migrant farm worker picking grapes in the fields of Southern California before becoming a janitor at Frito-Lay. It was while working at the company that Montanez came up with the idea to create Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, transforming the Frito-Lay brand into a pop culture phenomenon and disrupting the entire food industry in the process. Now commonly referred to as the Godfather of Multicultural Marketing, it was that initial idea that would spark a billion-dollar brand and catapult him from janitor to elite corporate executive."
By the sound of this, Flamin' Hot isn't just a movie about a variety of chips best known for being consumed with chopsticks by Oscar Isaac: it's also an inspiring rags-to-riches story, one based on the improbable life of a man who grew up toiling away in California's grape fields before revolutionizing an entire industry, and it'll be produced in a political climate where immigrants are unpopularly under attack. Once you get past the very silly concept of a movie based on a gas station snack, you can see how this might work. And really, is this any sillier than Hollywood attempting to turn the origin story of McDonald's into an Oscar hopeful? This might even be a more compelling tale, all things considered.
So, yes - they're making a movie about Flamin' Hot Cheetos. But also, they might be onto something. I say, let's give Flamin' Hot its day in court (unlike Flamin' Hot Funyuns, which should never be given a day in court because they are an affront to the very notion of dignity).
Stay tuned for more on this one as it develops.
(Note: Header photo by Calgary Reviews, used with permission via Flickr)