Thursday, July 12, 2012

Let's Reboot!

I'd imagine that somewhere deep in the bowels of Hollywood is a studio where most of the industry's screenwriting takes place. Located within this studio, there must be an impossibly gigantic whiteboard which all of the writers look to for inspiration. The whiteboard contains nothing less than Hollywood's current formula for success. The words "HOW TO WRITE A MOVIE" are (I assume) plastered firmly in thick, red silicon letters above this whiteboard so that there can be no question as to what the board's contents are all about. And written on the whiteboard itself would be the two sentences that studio executives are practically demanding their writers to follow:

"Step #1: Reboot something that's already popular".

"Step #2: Make it dark and gritty now".

It fells like by this point, the words "dark" and "gritty" have gotten tossed around so often in Hollywood that most folks there have become a bit confused as to their meaning. For example, every other blockbuster that gets released these days boasts about how "gritty" their fresh new story is, how it's "the grittiest film" you'll ever see. But we know that's a lie right away, don't we? The grittiest movie I've ever seen and ever will see was Spider-Man 3, because it had a character who was literally made of millions of tiny particles of sand and grit (although, since the majority of it takes place on sand, I'd say Beach Blanket Bingo would be a close second). But I digress.

Reboots are the other half of this trend. Everything is getting rebooted or remade now, and even their titles are getting an extreme makeover. Remember Judge Dredd? It's getting a reboot this year. Only, it's just called Dredd now. How about Invasion of the Body Snatchers? They got a remake, but it was called The Invasion. Why? Because in today's fast-paced, smart phone-fueled world, people don't have time for silly things like words. Brb ttyl LMFAO.

The reason I started writing these blogs at The Question Mark in the first place is because I've always wanted to continuously hone my writing skills and hopefully get exposure which could lead to future writing jobs some day. I'd really like to get paid to write books and scripts for the film/TV industry, so I'm dedicating this week's TQM entry to all of the Hollywood producers out there who are looking for writers to pen their next great masterpiece. I'm presenting you producers with six ideas for six great movies, all while never straying from your golden rules: "reboot something that's already popular; make it dark and gritty now". Also, Hollywood, I'm going to cater to your other whim: the titles will be as short as possible, so that people can spend less time telling the box office clerk which movie they want to see and more time paying for their ticket, okay? So here are my six ideas. If this doesn't make you wanna hire me, then I have no idea what will.

This is the retold, much better story of the life of everyone's favourite dim-witted southerner, Forrest Gump. This time around though, his mother never really loved him and Jenny died in a horrific car crash when she was 14. So Gump has become a gravelly-voiced badass bent on revenge. The entire movie will focus on his time as a soldier in the Vietnam War. The effects of war make him psychotic (as war is wont to do), and he starts imagining that he sees Jenny wandering the jungles. He goes mad trying to follow her specter, ripping the throats out of enemy soldiers in really cool, bloody ways as he inches closer to Jenny, only to have her slip away from him again and again. His commanding officer, Lieutenant Dan, decides to utilize Gump's psychosis by unleashing the man into a P.O.W. camp and letting him run wild. The "Life is like a bandolier of bullets" scene will have the audience cheering with delight.

Woody is an antique cowboy doll whose owner (a boy named Andy) was killed in an attempted terrorist attack on Washington D.C. by Al Qaeda insurgents. Driven mad with grief, Woody has become a gravelly-voiced badass bent on revenge. He, Buzz Lightyear, and a shitload of G.I. Joe toys discover a way of constructing actual working miniature guns out of Lego and TinkerToy. Together, the small army leaves the safe confines of Andy's house and wages war on the terrorists who dared to mess with them. Instead of learning to overcome their differences like they did in that bland "original" version, this time Woody and Buzz learn that dousing a chainsaw in gasoline and setting it ablaze allows you to kill twice as many terrorists as you would with a normal chainsaw. Also, Jason Statham does a few voices in it. He plays everybody.

John Hammond is a wealthy scientist and entrepreneur who has spent the last several years cloning dinosaurs on an uncharted island southeast of Costa Rica. The cloning is a success, and before long Hammond hatches plans to open a dinosaur gaming reserve (because theme parks are juvenile; gaming reserves are much more gritty and edgy). However, Hammond is stranded in the jungle one night and is devoured by a T-Rex. Hammond's son Jack, a gravelly-voiced badass, becomes bent on revenge. Armed with an arsenal of weapons that would make The Terminator blush, Jack ventures into the depths of the island to lay the smackdown on his father's creations and teach those overgrown iguanas who's really at the top of the food chain.

A poverty-stricken man and his two small children are trying to eke out a life in a post-apocalyptic Seattle. One day, the children find an abandoned antique car in a junkyard and insist on fixing it up. Before long, the father and his kids have converted the vehicle into a wicked-cool fire-red Lamborghini Diablo with side-mounted guns and rocket launchers. The kids nickname the car "Bang" because that's the sound its guns make when they're fired, and the car seems to take on a mind and personality of its own. Instead of the childish plot of the original, silly musical version, this movie takes a drastic turn when both children are kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer/drug lord who also has an army of zombies for some reason. The kids' father, who was already a gravelly-voiced badass to begin with, automatically becomes bent on revenge. He and Bang embark on a cross-country road trip of blood, bullets, and collateral damage in an attempt to rescue the children and save the day.

Ferris Bueller is an average American high school student who happens to be gifted with exceptional cleverness and improvisational skills. Faking illness to get out of school, Ferris prepares for a day of fun and excitement...and gets more than he bargained for. See, it turns out that the reason he's so clever and witty is because he's had a top-secret government chip implanted in his skull, a chip containing thousands of covert agent training tactics and escape plans. When the government discovers Ferris' location, they send agents to kill him. Luckily, they enter his house while he's out catching a Cubs game, but they murder his sister in cold blood. Ferris, whose voice is now full of gravel and whose personality is now badass and driven by revenge, decides that he's going to play by his own rules from now on. He sets out on a quest to take down the government agents one-by-one, utilizing every one of his awesome skills at disguise, identity theft, and theatricality to achieve his bloody goals. And all the while, his bumbling yet lovable principal Ed Rooney is constantly trying to prove that's he's not really sick after all!

Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, and Ray Stantz are three down on their luck scientists obsessed with the paranormal and occult. With no means of garnering income, they open up a ghost-catching business in the hopes of becoming New York heroes. Instead, they're ridiculed. Until one fateful night, when a truckload of Al Qaeda insurgents (who were planning some kind of terrorist attack on the MetLife building) all perish in a fiery explosion before they can accomplish their goal. The terrorists' ghosts are angry, bitter, and full of resentment, and strike a deal with a Sumerian god of destruction named Gozer to harness the powers of Ancient Evil and make New York City burn! Catching wind of this nefarious scheme, the Ghostbusters trade in their proton packs for some much more badass heavy artillery machine guns that can also kill ghosts, and they set out to make sure that justice is served the American way! Rick Moranis stars again as an aged Louis Tully, who is no longer an accountant but an Iraqi War vet who has a surprisingly soft-spoken voice but regardless is full of thoughts of revenge. Also, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is just a big white tank now, because that's grittier.

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