Like many others who have enjoyed a meal at Taco Bell, I was deeply moved when they announced the imminent release of “Glen and the Magic Taco”, their first-ever animated digital short. This was easily the biggest entertainment bombshell to drop in 2017, and I couldn’t help but feel some sort of mythical ownership of this tremendous moment due to my steadfast support of them through the years.
So after experiencing a brief interlude of emotions that I’ve only read about in Men’s Heath magazine, I hurriedly scoured the web looking for any additional information I could find about this new endeavor.
I truly had a lot of questions that I needed answered.
For example, do they have an entire production company dedicated to churning out multiple Taco Bell-inspired media franchises? Or will they attempt to become a top tier streaming destination like Crackle? 2D or 3D animation? Who are the voice actors/director/writers? Is Aaron Sorkin attached in any way? Can he be? Is it too late for him to come on board?
(On a side note, I also wondered why my own agent hadn’t tried to arrange a meeting for a voice or writing gig here. Certainly she must know of my affinity for the brand, given the numerous Taco Bell prepaid cards I’ve gifted her for birthdays and holidays? I contemplated calling her with my inquiry but concluded that I should pick my battles, and that this battle was not worth it. Better to go to war over a Taco Bell cable network pilot or series.)
Unfortunately the only news I could come across were regurgitations of Taco Bell’s press release regarding the project. Undeterred I decided to email their press department. I sent over a short list of softball questions along with a list of days (any) and times (any) I was available to conduct an in-person interview. Here’s the submitted questions:
- After watching this short, will I have sweet dreams, or the sweetest dreams?
- Is this part of a Yum! Brands canon that includes KFC and Pizza Hut?
- Is it true that earlier versions received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA due to excessive sexual and violent content?
- Will there be screenings in L.A./N.Y. to make it eligible for awards (WGA, DGA, Academy, etc.)?
- Was anyone injured during the making of this short, and if so, how will this effect your liability insurance for future projects?
A little all over the place, I’ll admit, but a cake walk for even a novice flack, right? Unfortunately I haven’t received a response as of publication time. I fully understand that sending an email to a catch-all PR address is likely to end up in the trash folder. But to not even get a canned response was pretty weak sauce (<- see what I did there; self high-five).
As it were, the short movie dropped yesterday and can be viewed here:
Right off the bat, let’s just admit that there are some small things that need work. Glen’s role was miscast. Magic Taco is phoning it in and doesn’t seem to care about his pivotal role (director also to blame here). The cactus narrator comes off like a hate-filled monster, but he seems to be the only one that’s even trying. And perhaps most concerning is that the concept itself may prove too cerebral for the average passive viewer.
Yet I’d caution you to not give up too soon on this piece. “It’s a Wonderful Life” was considered a box office flop when it was released in 1946, but now it’s the penicillin-resistant STD of holiday movie classics. And it really does offer a sweet and honest origin story that’s rife with the sweetest juice of all — possibility.
So, despite the flaws, I’d be a total asshole if I gave it anything less than 99/100 on Rotten Tomatoes (were I still allowed to review on that site). Please act as my proxy.