In the wake of the box office success of its critically drubbed computer-animated comedy “The Emoji Movie,” Sony Pictures has announced plans for a prequel entitled “The Emoticon Movie.”
Precursors to the colorful ideograms known as emojis, emoticons emerged in the 1980s as a text-based method of signifying feelings like happiness, sadness, and anger through arrangements of ASCII characters that vaguely resembled sideways faces. Supplanted in recent years by the graphical superiority and near-limitless representational range of emojis, emoticons are still used sometimes by Facebookers over the age of 50, and by people who just refuse to get with the fucking program.
“Emoticons are due for a comeback, like vinyl records,” explained Sony Pictures CEO Anthony Vinciquerra. “They have a certain anti-corporate, D.I.Y. quality that, according to our marketing team, appeals to left-leaning, nostalgia-prone urban hipsters in their late twenties. This demographic grew up on flip-phones with bare-bones text-messaging applications, and they remember losing their virginities by compiling Belle and Sebastian MP3 playlists and sending their girlfriends less-than-three heart symbols. Fucking scumbags.”
In stark contrast to its commercially oriented 3-D predecessor, “The Emoticon Movie” will be a black-and-white, low-budget drama that will be produced by the art-house division Sony Pictures Classics. Mumblecore icon Andrew Bujalski (“Mutual Appreciation,” “Computer Chess”) has signed on to script and direct the feature; the budget, reportedly, will consist of one copy of Notepad, the simple text editor included free in every edition of Microsoft Windows since 1985.
Per Bujalski’s description, “The Emoticon Movie” will chronicle the romantic disappointments of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, an aimless Brooklyn-based barista who is dumped by his girlfriend, 8‑*, an acclaimed memoirist who believes that he has failed to grow personally and professionally since their graduation from Sarah Lawrence College in 2011. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ finds himself in an existential crisis, from which he seeks to escape through a torrid but ultimately meaningless affair with his neighbor :wink:, a cynical mixed-media artist.
Industry gossip has suggested that Michael Cera will star as ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, and Greta Gerwig will play 8-* if contract negotiations are successful. “Michael is incredibly excited for the chance to transform himself into a string of text,” said an anonymous source close to the actor. “It’s the role he’s always dreamed of playing.”
For maximum authenticity, Bujalski plans to shoot the entire feature in Courier New, a monospaced slab-serif typeface.