Caffeinated Clint

Caffeinated Clint : Pitch This!

Looking back at the films released this year, I can in all honesty say that – well, besides “Star Trek” – the most successful of the bunch weren’t necessarily the most entertaining.

In fact, many – like the dreadful “Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen”, the mind-numbing “G.I Joe”, and “Saw VI” – went off like a wet firecracker.

Problem is, the studio’s have come to the realization that it’s much easier to not only make, but make a buck out of something that offers name recognition – like the abovementioned robot-humps-Megan-Fox’s-leg-movie, one of those” now 100% kiddie-friendly” horror remakes, or something based on a video game that was in a bargain bin a month after it shelves – so they’re less and less interested in original material. Heck, a couple of studios will laugh at you, crumble your script up and use it as a spit-ball, and offer up their best Bill Mechanic-impersonation if you even try to pitch them something original.

For my money, the best films of the past twelve months include such titles as “Adventureland”, “The Brother’s Bloom”, “Fanboys”, “The Boat That Rocked” and “” but chances are, only a small portion of you out there have seen those flicks – why? For the simple fuck-fact that you never had the opportunity. When sure-things like “Transformers” and “Saw 6” are hogging most of the screens at the multiplex, there’s just no room for the smaller (but arguably better) film, like say, Greg Mottola’s “Adventureland” which disappeared from theatres quicker than a restroom streaker.

A number of filmmakers, producers and studio execs themselves have told me this year that the majority of films getting up at the moment are sequels and remakes – and pretty soon, that’s about all they’ll be making. “Ya see, they – the flicks with brand recognition – make money; the ‘good stuff’ doesn’t (there’s probably another argument here to make – something along the lines of ‘if the studios pushed the smaller, better film more – as Sony did with “District 9” and Paramount did with “Paranormal Activity” – mightn’t that turn things around?), thus it’s franchise, franchise, franchise and rehash, rehash, rehash all the way”, says one filmmaker.

And what you’ll find over the next couple of years is that you’ll be seeing more and more ‘name’ brands getting the movie treatment – heck, even Hasbro board games like “Monopoly” and “Risk” are getting the movie treatment (even sadder that big name directors like Ridley Scott are bringing them to the screen, but I guess if nobody’s prepared to make their original material – they gotta get their meal ticket somewhere else). ‘The suits don’t care where the name originates from… so long as you can build a movie around it. In-and-Out-Burger : The Movie can’t be too far away”, says a writer who, despite a few good credits on his IMDB, can’t sell his latest piece – because it’s “too different”.

Despite most of them sucking worse than a clogged hoover, there will be dozens more horror remakes (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Poltergeist”, “The Birds”, “Mother’s Day”, “I Spit On Your Grave”); hordes of sequels (Rambo will be back, Indiana Jones, Michael Myers, even Shrek!); a bunch of films based on musicals (“Nine”, “Rock of Ages”, “Wicked”),a slew of direct-to-DVD sequels (Universal Soldier 3 got you excited? What about Death Race 2?), a trunk full of video-game flicks (“Prince of Persia”, “Tekken”), remakes of films that shouldn’t be (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “Less than Zero”, “Death Wish”, “Total Recall”, “Fright Night”, “The Clash of the Titans”), and, of course, oodles and oodles of films based on comic-book properties – “The Flash”, “Thor”, “Captain America” – heck, even the inked offerings that have already spawned films, like “Fantastic Four” and “Daredevil”, are being rebooted. Soderbergh couldn’t get “Moneyball” up, Duncan Jones is struggling to find the finance for his “Moon” follow-up “Mute”, and that all-star sequel to “The Last Detail” doesn’t look like it’ll ever happen find a backer, and yet there’s script-less junk being greenlit based on the name value embossed on the A4 top sheet. Sadder than a dickless man in the playboy mansion, hey?

So if that’s how it’s going to be, that’s how it’s going to be…. My fellow producers, filmmakers, writers… here’s a few ideas that might get you through the front door. Throw that brilliantly-written, original piece to the side, and write a treatment for something that’ll sell toys, look pretty on placemats, and catch the young one’s eye when it hits the newspaper!

Fancy a remake?

“Mannequin” – hey, remember that little beautie? Didn’t make a dime at the box office first-time around (The theme song did better), but who cares… the story is there for the taking. Robert Pattinson would make a terrific Jonathan Switcher, and Kristen Stewart would make a really cutie Mannequin! The kids would camp out for weeks to see it! And when it comes to ‘Hollywood’, it ain’t gonna get any better than big-time ‘celebrity’ Perez Hilton! Sign the boy up now!

“Weekend at Bernies” – Was a surprise hit when it was released at the tail-end of the 80s. Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman were fun, sure, but imagine how great this could be if it were The Jones Brothers dragging around a corpse! And Renee Zellweger is so expressionless these days she could probably play ‘Bernie’ – the late female executive who invited the two to her beach house for fun and frolicking only to sniff a little too much skunk off the mirror! Brilliant!

“Crossroads” – Since he’s already remaking “The Karate Kid”, and that’s bound to be a smash, it probably won’t take much to entice young Jaden Smith into redoing another Ralph Macchio ‘classic’. Instead of the blues… maybe he could be a talented pre-teen rapper?!

“Tango & Cash” – The Rock and Seann William Scott are bunking together these days, right? They’d probably be happy to work together again – – and tell me they’re not going to have a hoot wearing women’s clothing and mocking their larger-than-life personas? (“Wrestlers are pussies!”, says Johnson as he fires a round into the guts of the oil rig).
Hell, and just to please The Rock – and his diaper-wearing fans – they could switch the central location from a jail to a juvenile detention centre…. Where Tango & Cash are forced to go because the jails are full! The kids will love it!

“The Running Man” – With Adrien Brody set to go fist-to-glove with the ‘Predator’ next year, in turn somewhat taking the place of the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s evident the boy’s about to become a bonafide action star. And what better a vehicle for Brody to follow “Predators” up with then another Schwarzenegger classic, “The Running Man”?! Attach him now though…. Before they get him from that long-gestating “Escape from New York” remake!

Fancy bringing a TV hit to the big screen?

“Booker” – Make sure Richard Grieco doesn’t hear about it, otherwise your phone will never stop ringing, but if you can entice Cannell to produce a feature-film version of the popular ‘’21 Jump Street’’ spin-off you could be yachting in the Bahamas before the 71-page-script is even in coloured pages form. And since they’re making a “21 Jump Street” film, you could have ‘Booker’ cameo in it, thus setting up the vehicle that’ll be released the following Summer. Vince Vaughn’s name should be atop of your wish list to play Booker.

“Different Strokes” – Now this is something Wil Smith is bound to want to get involved with! – Fuck, it’s the perfect opportunity for him and young Jaden to work together again! See where I’m going with this!? Yep, Will as Willis, Jaden as Arnold. And how cool would the theme song be if Will laid down his vocals on it!!? Bring a hairdryer with you to the pitch meeting, because you’re gonna need to dry some execs’ trousers!

“Fawlty Towers” – When it comes to classic British comedy, you know there’s only one man that can possibly do a film version justice…. Yep, Steve Carell! I can see the TV spots already! ‘Manuel!!!!’

“Charles in Charge” – Imagine this : Taylor Lautner, one of the hottest new stars in the world, is suddenly forced to accept a job as a live-in nanny to bunch of screaming vampire-movie loving girls! Let the bids begin!

“Fang-Face” – The classic Saturday morning cartoon finally gets the big-screen treatment! Bill Murray was Garfield, Dan Aykroyd’s set to play Yogi Bear… surely Jack Nicholson wants in on the fun!? Heck, if Nicholson plays hardball just tell him you’ve got a letter of intent from Adam Sandler to play his sidekick Fangpussy! Fuck, I’d buy shares in this bitch now!

…. End of Part One.

To Be Continued.

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