Something’s been weighing me down recently. I can’t square away how absurd Stuart Little is, and I’m afraid if I don’t get my arms around this I’ll burst.
To preface, I’m largely avoiding Jonathan Lipnicki in this post because time has been hard enough on him.
Over 5 decades before the film adaptation came to being, E.B. White’s Stuart Little thrilled children with its depictions of Stuart’s life in New York City. Oh, and in the book, Mrs. Little gives birth to Stuart instead of adopting him. No, this wasn’t a deleted scene from a John Carpenter movie - in E.B. White’s book, a human gives birth to a mouse.
The interspecies birth probably raised interesting questions for Mr. Little. Questions such as:
1. Is my wife cheating on me with a mouse?
2. Am I a mouse?
3. Is my wife running a Petsmart in her vagina?
Sadly, none of these questions were answered in the classic children’s novel. By 1999, studio execs likely came to the realization that a scene depicting Geena Davis going through labor and delivering a newborn mouse would be a bit much, so they cut the immaculate conception.
Jump from the publication of the book to 1999 - Sony Pictures releases Stuart Little just in time for Christmas. Michael J. Fox voices Stuart, Nathan Lane plays a cantankerous, jealous housecat, and M. Night Shyamalan helped write the script.
Yep, that’s right, the man behind Mark Wahlberg’s greatest scene took part in creating this Kafkaesque rodent fever dream.
Mr. and Mrs. Little walk into an orphanage to find a companion for their son and pass over every single human child only to pick a mouse. What kind of example does that set for children? Are mice more valuable than people? Is my life a lie?
Not to mention that it’s a logistical nightmare to invite a mouse into your home. Didn’t the Littles know what happens when you give a mouse anything, let alone your psychotic, misplaced love?
Throughout his relationship with the Littles, Stuart undergoes tremendous abuse and trauma. Not only is he made to believe that he’s equal to a human being, but he also gets thrown into a washing machine and trapped in Nathan Lane’s mouth (to some, perhaps, the latter is not torture).
The science isn’t in on this yet, but it’s possible that working on the film kickstarted Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s.
The movie also helped launch what I call the “Stuart Little Curse” - it’s where you were somehow involved in the making of Stuart Little, and nothing really terrible happens to you, but every now and then at parties you bring it up and people vaguely express their interest, but then the conversation comes to a slow halt.
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