Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Tips for Making Better Films

 Dear Hollywood,

May I offer you some advice? I know that you do a lot of research to make sure that your movies are as true-to-life they can be... I mean, you put nipples on the Batman suit, so clearly your commitment to accuracy of detail should not be underestimated. But I think we might need to talk about the apocalypse movies. Having lived through this anti-utopian affair known as #2020, which apparently signed on for the #2021 sequel, I have some thoughts.

Stockpiling: Hoarding food and hand sanitizer? Yep, you got that. I mean, Matt Damon is practically a walking advertisement for Purell in "Contagion." However, while Dustin Hoffman is off chasing down the monkey for its antibodies in "Outbreak," do you know what the rest of us are doing? Staying home, not sleeping, doomscrolling the news, and WebMDing our psychosomatic symptoms. Some B-roll footage of that, and you have perfect product placement opportunities for Nexium, Pepto-Bismol, orTylenol PM just waiting for you. Want to add it as a minor sub-plot? Try this:

Cuba Gooding Jr. "When's he gonna be back?"

Renee Russo: "I don't know."

Cuba Gooding Jr.: "This is freaking me out! All these people getting sick... I can't sleep. I think I'm losing it."

Renee Russo: "Here, try this."

Cuba: "What is it?"

Renee: "It's a script for Ambien. Its what I use when I can't sleep. Puts me out so I can rest while the population of California is dying at rapid rates."

Cuba: "Is it contraindicated with my Tums? This anxiety has also being doing a number on my gut."

Renee: "Nope, perfectly safe to take together."

Cuba: "Thanks. Glad I've got a doctor around to talk to."

What else happens when the sky falls: Clearly, hell must break loose in all good apocalypses. You've done well with your lava bombs in "Volcano," superspeed, super strength zombies in "World War Z," and the shooting rock that kills Pierce Brosnan's wife in the beginning of "Dante's Peak." However, you clearly forgot to highlight all the other crap that is hitting the more proverbial fans at the same. Nearly everyone I know, including myself, is going/has gone through a organization restructure or corporate buyout during this crisis; because there's no time like a global pandemic to contract with org development consultants. I mean, wouldn't "Armageddon" have been that much more layered and emotionally complex if this segment had been added?

Scene: Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck in locker room, donning space suits for their mission. Bruce's Blackberry buzzes (employ your suspension of disbelief here. I know Blackberries weren't in use in 1998).

Bruce (looks down): "Well, damn."

Ben: "What is it?"

Bruce: "Email from Corporate. Looks like the merger is going through."

Ben: "What's that mean for us? Is this mission scrubbed?"

Bruce: "They want us to interview with Bob the consultant, day after tomorrow."

Ben: "But..."

Bruce: "That's right. We're gonna take that call...from the asteroid. Pack your resume with your space helmet. They are going to want to know your relevant work history."

Government Leadership: This might be where your scripts really need some rework. Clearly, far too many of your world-ending movies have revolved around the American President doing the right thing. Listen, I would want Morgan Freeman when the asteroid is hitting earth in "Deep Impact" as much as the next fangirl, but considering that in a last minute bid of manic energy, the real-life president just issued commutations for gangsters and ne'er-do-wells like Steven Bannon and Kwame Kilpatrick while continuing to minimize the deaths of over 400,000 Americans on his watch, you may want to consider scripts like this modification of "Independence Day." 

Scene: In the alien ship

Will Smith: "What do you think?"

Jeff Goldblum: "Checkmate." 

Will Smith lights cigar. Alien bursts in.

Alien: "This is a non-smoking ship!"

Jeff Goldblum: "Wait, err, the alien speaks English?"

Alien: "Of course we do! Our intelligence level surpasses yours in so many ways that when your president first contacted us, we instantly learned your bigly language!"

Will Smith: "The President contacted you?"

Alien: "Certainly! We made a deal, a beautiful deal, for a new golf course in the constellation Xq-690 in exchange for your planet. How else do you think we got here?"

Jeff Goldblum: "God I hate being right all time time."

Will Smith: "Wrong movie, man."

Jeff Goldblum: "Still works though, now doesn't it?"

Jeff Goldblum hits the "execute" button on the computer, Jeff and Will just sit there.

I really feel like with these considerations, your future films will have that je ne sais quois that will set them apart, quite possibly earning you those nominations you so deeply long for, almost as much as the rest of us long for that vaccine. 

Thanks for your consideration.



No comments:

Post a Comment