The following excerpts have been selected from courtroom transcripts of The People v. 20th Century Fox and the American Broadcasting Company, 946 U.S. 323 (2003):
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For – Plaintiffs: Opening Statement
Katherine R. Montgomery, 28
MONTGOMERY: May it please Your Honor, the privilege of opening the first trial in history for a Hollywood studio’s crimes against humanity imposes a grave responsibility. The hellish misdeeds which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so ill-advised, so evil, that American civilization cannot possibly tolerate another of its kind. The production and subsequent release of Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House, represents a case of shameless brand recognition so egregious it can no longer be ignored.
ABC’s parent company, the Walt Disney Corporation, has already faced similar accusations of shameless brand name pillaging in the cases of Lilo and Stich: Son of a Stitch, Pocahontas 3: Smallpox, and Cinderella: The Legend of Rumpled Foreskin.
Like fire, brand recognition is a dangerous thing to play with. Neither should be handled by anyone with severe intoxication or with less than a fifth-grade intelligence. Having seen the film, it is abundantly clear that the creators and distributors are, in fact, drunken morons.
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MONTGOMERY: Plaintiffs are here to call Daniel Stern to the stand.
(Mr. Stern was called to testify and was affirmed by the courtroom deputy)
MONTGOMERY: What do you do, Mr. Stern?
STERN: I’m an actor.
HONORABLE JUDGE SAXABOOM: Mr. Stern, need I remind you that you swore an oath to tell the truth before this court.
STERN: Excuse me. I used to be an actor.
MONTGOMERY: Mr. Stern, I’m looking at your iMDb profile and I see that you haven’t acted in a major motion picture since 2009’s Whip It.
STERN: Yes, that’s correct.
MONTGOMERY: Exactly how desperate were you?
STERN: I’m afraid I don’t understand the question.
BATES: Objection, your honor. Relevance?
HONORABLE JUDGE SAXABOOM: Sustained. Get to the point, counsel.
MONTGOMERY: Mr. Stern, what is your relationship with the Home Alone franchise?
STERN: I portrayed the character of Marv Merchants.
MONTGOMERY: In two films, correct? So, one might say you know a thing or two about the nuances of the character.
STERN: Well, he’s not much of a—
MONTGOMERY: Did 20th Century Fox approach you at any point for reprising this role?
STERN: Yes. They sent my agent a copy of the script last year.
MONTGOMERY: And what was your response?
STERN: I remember feeling severe pangs of diarrhea.
MONTGOMERY: Mr. Stern, your response to the offer…
MONTGOMERY: So to clarify, even you, a man so pressed for cash that you willingly starred in a Drew Barrymore-directed movie about roller derbies, wouldn’t touch the material?
STERN: I didn’t think Whip It was all that–
MONTGOMERY: Thank you, Mr. Stern.
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MONTGOMERY: Mr. Daniel, your directorial history includes K-9, Beethoven’s 2nd, and a single episode of Suddenly Susan.
DANIEL: I’m afraid I don’t understand the question.
MONTGOMERY: What the Hell is wrong with you?
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BATES: Your Honor, the defense now calls the CEO of 20th Century Fox, Stephen Blairson, to the stand.
(Mr. Blairson was called to testify and affirmed by the courtroom deputy)
BATES: Now, it is our understanding that you intend to release this film to video later this year.
BLAIRSON: Yes, that is correct.
BATES: And what is the rationale behind this?
BLAIRSON: It is our belief that Home Alone 4 would make a worthy addition to the Holiday family film tradition.
BLAIRSON: Yes that’s correct.
BATES: And you honestly believe that?
BLAIRSON: Yes, of course.
BATES: Your Honor, the defense moves to plead the innocence of the accused by reason of insanity.
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MONTGOMERY: I’d like to call the attention of this courtroom to exhibit 12.b
(evidence presented below)
MONTGOMERY: Mr. Weinberg, is that in fact supposed to be you as Kevin McAllister?
WEINBERG: Yes, that’s correct.
MONTGOMERY: Permission to punch the witness’s face?
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MONTGOMERY: Mr. Coniglio, what was your exact capacity in the production of this film?
CONIGLIO: I was co-editor with Mike Stevenson.
MONTGOMERY: Would you please indicate on this chart which version of Windows Movie Maker you used?
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CASTELUCCI: Not really. We wanted to try something new, to create a new sound to go with the film’s aesthetic.
BATES: And how would you best define this new sound?
CASTELUCCI: A combination of Kenny G backing tracks and music from The Blues Brothers.
BATES: I take it you’re a fan of that movie?
CASTELUCCI: The video game.
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For – Plaintiffs: Closing Statement
MONTGOMERY: Given the overwhelming evidence that’s been provided before this courtroom, it is obvious that the accused brazenly ignored precedent throughout the production process. Like an anthrax outbreak, the threat of a Home Alone 4 video release would spread and engulf hundreds of thousands of innocent families, too naïve to realize what horrors they’re unknowingly subjecting their children to.
This film doesn’t even represent a half-hearted attempt at paying tribute to its source material. These characters have been reduced to hollow shells, shadows of their former greatness that now exist in name only. This version of Kevin Macallister wouldn’t have surived the first five minutes of Home Alone. Kevin McAllister doesn’t have pensive, remorseful conversations with his teddy bear. He’d tell that self-awareness to suck it and then toss a cherry bomb into the nearest toilet bowl. The final product is so enervating, so uncomfortable that Old Man Marley never would have bothered to save this Kevin McAllister; he’d have held him down while Marv and Harry took turns taking cracks at his forehead with a shovel.
The capitalist wheel must continue turning, and with that inevitability comes the realization that there will undoubtedly be more shameless releases like this. We understand that, however a precedent must be set. The line in the sand has been drawn. As long as the threat of future Land Before Time sequels looms, as long as the routine financing of angry black women’s diaries continues, we will be there to enforce swift justice on behalf of families across America.
HONORABLE JUDGE SAXABOOM: Dispense with the soapbox, counsel.
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THE COURT: This court has convened this afternoon for the purpose of imposing sentences upon the defendants who have been on trial before this court and who have been adjudged guilty.
On Counts 1, 2 and 3, the Court has adjudged you guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and membership in an organization declared criminal. On Count 4, the Court also finds you guilt of being complete trout sniffers. For your said crimes on which you have been and now stand convicted, this court sentences you to death by pigeon-crotching.
HONORABLE JUDGE SAXABOOM: This court is adjourned. Merry Christmas, you filthy animals.