At various times, productions that pit great villains against each other emerge to suck money from the pockets of teenage boys. King Kong vs. Godzilla. Predator vs. Alien. Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein. Bambi Meets Godzilla. Pink Floyd's Paul Rodgers tours with Queen.
Some of the most obvious (to me) and most promising of the pairings of villains or super heroes have yet to be made. This is my attempt to begin to address this egregious oversight on the part of Hollywood.
Calvin & Hobbes Sleepover at the Simpsons
Mayhem ensues as Calvin and Bart team up to battle insomnia. In a touching ending, Homer is left feeling incredibly fortunate that for all his shortcomings, Bart is not Calvin. Fortunate, that is, until Bart starts plotting wild schemes with a stuffed platypus.
Justice League Battles the Buddha
This clash of the corporeal and spiritual plays out until Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of them grow frustrated by the Buddha's benign disinterest in them, their wicked cool costumes, and awesome super powers and doesn't just refuse to fight back but goes so far as to actually ignore them.
Freud vs. Bruce Wayne
Freud struggles to get Bruce Wayne to open up about his dark fears and delusions of grandeur, but Bruce continues to retreat to the Bat Cave, going so far as make Alfred phone Freud to cancel appointments. (As an interesting subplot, Freud is able to get Alfred to see that he is an enabler in Bruce Wayne's odd fantasy life.) This face off between super heroes perhaps ends most enigmatically, as we watch, in the last scene, Freud descend into the subway, his cape billowing behind him. We are left to wonder whether Bruce Wayne's fantasy life has become Freud's.
Nietzsche vs. Dr. Hannibal Lecter
Nihilism erupts in this powerful contest between two men playing a game of moral chicken - each upping the ante in a series of encounters designed to test the limits of a world beyond good and evil. Nietzsche steals from a collection plate. Lecter drives a Hummer in the car pool lane. Nietzsche seduces a nun. Lecter papers over solar panels in a university neighborhood. The tit for tat escalates until the attack on morality leaves viewers either floundering in an existential abyss of moral uncertainty or desperately clinging to their cultural mores.
Stephen Hawking vs. Jack LaLanne
LaLanne scoffs at Hawking's attempts to articulate the importance of intellectual development, annoyingly picking up furniture and cars and saying, "I'll bet you can't do this at 94!" as a rebuttal to every point Hawking tries to make. Hawking, in the end, is smart enough to realize that he'll never win over LaLanne and submits to coaching from LaLanne on how to improve his posture.
The possibilities seem endless. (Justice League vs. Victoria Secret's Supermodels in a struggle about how to best define underwear as outwear, for instance, or the Godfather of Soul James Brown vs. the great running back Jim Brown.) I plan to pitch these movie ideas to people in Hollywood. Now if only I can get someone to return my phone calls.