Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who Wants to Be a Screenwriter? (Part Trois)

Bo Catlett: "You have the idea and you put down what you want to say. Then you get somebody to add in the commas and shit...you come to the last page, you write in 'Fade out' and that's the end, you're done."

Thanks to the constant stream of unoriginal movie reboots of TV classics (or not-so-classics), I've developed several of my own movie treatments over the years. This has become something of a recurring (albeit sporadically) feature so, to fully bathe in my genius, you'll need to read (or revisit) Part Un and Part Deux.

Since Hollywood has shown no signs of stopping its TV invasion (Channing Tatum in a 2012 version of 21 Jump Street...REALLY???), I’m continuing to offer my own ideas. Once again, I’m extending an invitation to all of the soulless screenwriters out there to partner up so I, er, we can get rich quick with these future cinematic masterpieces.

* Charles in Charge
Starring: Aaron Johnson as Charles, Meg Ryan as Ellen Powell, Jesse Eisenberg as Buddy Lembeck, Emma Stone as Gwendolyn Pierce, and Scott Baio as Walter Powell

Thriller: When the Pembroke family places an ad to find a live-in nanny, charming young Rutgers student, Charles, shows up on their doorstep. After getting the job, he moves in and quickly wins over the family and neighbors, including Gwen, the pretty girl-next-door, and Buddy, the party boy-down-the-street. Suddenly, the Pembrokes are called away to Seattle (ostensibly due to Mr. Pembroke's new job), leaving Charles in charge of finding a sublettor until they return.

Enter the Powells: Walter, Ellen and their three young children. Like everyone else, they are charmed by Charles...until Walter starts to feel like the young man is undermining his relationships with his wife and kids. When Walter is found dead—an apparent suicide—a devastated Ellen turns to the boyishly handsome manny for comfort. Gwen feels uneasy when she starts to see some cracks in her "perfect" boyfriend's behavior, like the creepy way he refers to the Powell children as "his." When she spies Charles and Ellen in bed together, she starts to think that Charles is not who he seems to be and turns to Buddy for help. When the two teens try to track down Mr. Powell at his new company in Seattle, they discover not only that he doesn't work there, but also that the family seems to have vanished without a trace. Suspecting that Charles killed the Powells, Gwen and Buddy head to the Pembroke home, armed with a plan to trick Charles into revealing his guilt. But when the wily Charles realizes that his friends are on to him, a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse ensues behind the doors of the seemingly peaceful suburban home.

* Quantum Leap
Starring: Hugh Jackman as Sam Beckett, Gary Oldman as Al Calavicci, Sandra Bullock as Tina Reynolds, Jason Segel as Gooshie, and Denzel Washington as the voice of Ziggy

Mindless SFX Extravaganza: Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap Accelerator and vanished. He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.

Yes...THAT, plus a shit-ton of digital manipulation, explosions, morphings, 3-D effects and, of course, a romantic angle. While Sam meets a lot of lovely ladies on his trek through time, he always stays faithful to his true love, Tina, who is waiting patiently for him at home. Or is she?? Perhaps she'll fall prey to the charms of Al, who is Tina's only present-day connection to Sam? Perhaps she'll fall prey to the weird charms of Gooshie, the QL project's head programmer? Perhaps she'll be kidnapped and/or killed by a half man-half robot, rogue time traveler from the future who somehow got sucked up into the QL Accelerator and is now really pissed off about it? Perhaps the plot will be inconsequential because Hugh Jackman will be shirtless for 70% of the film? Perhaps one Hugh shower scene won't be enough, so I'll throw in one more?

* Too Close for Comfort
Starring: John Mahoney as Henry Rush, Kathy Bates as Muriel Rush, Mandy Moore as Jackie Rush, Drew Barrymore as Sara Rush, James Franco as Monroe, Victor Garber as Ted Day, and RuPaul as Myron Rafkin

Comedy/Light-hearted gay sex romp: Things are starting to get a bit cramped for the Rush family. Conservative comic strip artist Henry and his liberal wife Muriel are sharing a small upstairs apartment in a chic San Francisco home with their two twentysomething daughters, Jackie and Sara, who want their independence but have no money to make that happen. When the transvestite tenant downstairs dies (something lame like a drag-racing accident...get it?), Henry allows the girls to take the apartment rent-free. The girls keep all of the former tenant's wacky furniture and decor intact, much to Henry's chagrin. The ghost of Myron frequently appears to the girls to share makeup and fashion tips, all the while shooting off sassy one liners about the afterlife.

Sara meets the airheaded Monroe in her drama class and immediately develops a crush on him. During a HILARIOUS family dinner scene full of double entendres and misunderstandings, Henry makes it known how happy he is that Sara has found herself a man, but Monroe drops the big bombshell that he is gay. Although Henry seems sickened by Monroe's sexual orientation, Monroe's gaydar picks up on Henry's repressed homosexual longings. The two men strike up a father/son friendship, and Henry eventually opens up to Monroe about his true desires. Muriel admits that part of her always knew that Henry was gay but she didn't want to break up the family. As fate would have it, Muriel's high school sweetheart, Ted Day, finds her on Facebook and they rekindle their old flame. Henry starts dating a club owner, and then everything just devolves into a lot of sexual exploration, singing, dancing, roller skating, flashy clothes and general awesomeness. In the end, Henry takes the "gayed up" downstairs apartment, while Muriel's high school sweetheart moves in with her upstairs, which frees up high school sweetheart's amazing houseboat for the two girls. The houseboat ends up serving as the perfect location for the best divorce/coming out party ever. Everyone is happy, everyone is gay (or at least gay-friendly). The soundtrack is incredible, of course, especially the theme song by Lady Gaga and Bette Midler.

* Barney Miller
Comedy: In late 1970s Manhattan, Barney Miller is the Vice Squad's lead investigator, who seems to be on the verge of a promotion now that the current captain, Philip Fish, is nearing retirement. When feminism struts into the police station in the form of ambitious female detective Victoria Van de Camp, Barney and the rest of his guys take turns making feeble passes at her and doing their best to keep her doing paperwork and investigating "girly" crimes. Barney and Victoria eventually fall for each other, causing Barney to think that she'll settle for a life at home as his little woman. But soon Victoria proves that she's serious about her career when she solves a huge case on her own. Thinking that she is gunning for the captain job, Barney turns from Victoria's lover to her bitter rival and hijinx ensues!

Why, yes...it is quite similar to Anchorman. Thanks for noticing! (Hey, at least I stopped ripping off Dodgeball.) This one also boasts a somewhat familiar, all-star cast:

Jason Sudeikis as Barney Miller
Elizabeth Banks as Victoria Van de Camp
Robert Duvall as Captain Fish
Paul Rudd as Stanley Wojciehowicz
Vince Vaughn as Arthur Dietrich
Steve Carell as Carl Levitt
Tim Meadows as Ron Harris
Ken Jeong as Nick Yemana
Luis Guzman as Chano Amanguale
Fred Willard as Frank Luger


Billy said...

Here's what's scary. I sincerely believe your quick pitches here are better than half the crap that actually gets friggin' pitched.

(Proof: Bewitched. As in, IT GOT APPROVED... As in it leaves me wondering WTF didn't.)

tennysoneehemingway said...

That Barney Miller one is already in the works, isn't it? It should be by now.

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

So that's The Too Close for Comfort thing you mentioned. Fun!

I think Jason Sudekis in Barney Miller is effing brilliant, would rather go see that than anything currently playing. I mean, Sucker Punch, people?

As for Bewitched, the witch in a remake of the show was a clever idea, but it was poorly executed, starting with the casting of Will Ferrell. A total misfire, at least they took a risk though.

LOVE this post!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

First I was scandalized that RuPaul would get killed off so quickly, but then the idea of a sassy RuPaul ghost really started to appeal to me. RuPaul walking through walls! Yes.


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