Once upon a time (September/October 1997), in a faraway land (Oakview, CA), there appeared an enigmatic ad in local rag called Backwoods Home Magazine. It was unassuming in appearance, but mind blowing in its scope. This is what it read:
WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid when we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
Eventually this simple ad would be featured on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” as part of one of “the comedian’s” many hackneyed headlines gags, and over time it became a self-sustaining meme on these here Internets — thank God for them. This ad was not a elaborate, prolonged hoax like the John Titor story (which, is pretty damn interesting on its own if you have the time to read up on it), but the truth behind its meaning is only somewhat more interesting. To probably everyone’s dismay, the man who placed the “safety not guaranteed” ad is no time traveler, but a frustrated writer who was merely doing a favor to a friend and filling extra space in that month’s issue of Backwoods Home.
He also placed a personal ad. That one was real.
The relatively banal truth hasn’t stopped up-and-coming writer/director Collin Treverrow from making a movie about it. Albeit, while taking quite a few liberties that serve to maintain the time travel mystery for the film’s run time. Starring Mark Duplass (“The League”) as the possible time traveler, Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Rec”) as a magazine intern intrigued by the ad, and Jake Johnson (the best part of “New Girl,” with apologies Schmidt fans) as the magazine editor who just wants a good story, Safety Not Guaranteed has already received some incredibly positive reviews.
Based on the just released trailer (that I’ve been actively looking forward to since I read the /Film piece), it’s easy to see why:
Yeah. I’m totally down for this. It looks like the ending might get a little more sci than fi, ala Starman , so hopefully it earns that kind of payoff. Though, I can’t help but feel that 2012 really is going to be an unforgettable year in movies, and Safety Not Guaranteed may just be part of that. What say you, interested in a little temporal vacation?
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He’s pretty sure the real guy who placed the ad is still single, ladies.