Not to toot my own horn here, but I like to think I'm a pretty creative individual, someone who's good at coming up with ideas for stuff. The problem is that I also have the attention span of a mosquito, so often times I'll only focus on one idea for a little while before leaping onto another one. Case in point: I've had this idea for a feature film for like twelve years now, and I've been trying to write it, but between rewrites and plot tweaks and getting sidetracked by other stuff, it's been more than a decade and I'm still only a little bit more than halfway through the thing. One of my New Year's resolutions was to devote myself a little more thoroughly to my outside writing projects, so I'm quite optimistic that it won't take me another twelve years to do the second half, but I still frequently find myself muttering "Focus!" at random intervals.
Fortunately, though, completely separate from my ability (or lack of same) to actually get these things down on paper, my ideas are pretty sweet. If I could just get my foot in the door of a TV network or movie studio, I could probably make them some serious bank. For this week's +5, I'm going to give you a delicious taste of what I'm talking about by pitching Five Can't-Miss Movie/TV Ideas. And yes, if I see any of these pop up on a screen of any size and I haven't gotten a check, I'm suing you bastards, every last mother's son.
"Every Day Should Be Saturday" (A college-football version of "Friday Night Lights" -- written by Aaron Sorkin)
OK, Orson Swindle might be pissed at me for co-opting his blog name, but he'll get the royalties that are coming to him -- and the concept comes pre-approved with a glowing endorsement from Holly, whom I'm sure is not alone in being able to appreciate football AND drama AND the rapid-fire wit of the guy behind "Sports Night" and "The West Wing." First casting decision is to bring back John Spencer, a/k/a Leo McGarry from "West Wing," as the cranky but lovable head coach who . . . what? He's dead? OK, Brian Dennehy, then.
"Studio TC1 on Wood Lane"
Now, you may be asking: Why didn't I mention "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" in Aaron Sorkin's list of greatest hits? Because . . . well, because it kind of sucked after the first few episodes, quite frankly. But having already assigned blame for this, I'm not going to rehash all the reasons why it wasn't an engaging show; instead, I'm going to tell you how to make it better. How many British TV shows have we seen get completely lost in translation when they were Americanized for U.S. networks? "Coupling" springs immediately to mind, but "Weakest Link" had kind of a rough ride, too, and even "The Office" needed a season or two to find its way (and had to pretty much abandon any connection to its British counterpart in the process). Is it possible, then, that taking an American TV series and moving it to England might make it better? I mean, with "Studio 60" you had a great foundation, clever writing, and a few interesting characters to start with; maybe all it needs to get over the hump is to exchange the American TV sensibility for a British one, and the overly clever repartee for some traditionally understated Limey irony. I'm thinking Eddie Izzard and Simon Pegg in the Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry roles, respectively; Saffron Burrows in the Amanda Peet role; Ray Winstone as the asshole network chairman; and Martine McCutcheon, who was so adorable in "Love Actually," as Pegg's goody-goody love interest. What do you think, sirs?
"George Orwell's Animal Farm," presented by Pixar Studios
After 13 Oscar nominations and six wins (including three for Best Animated Feature), Pixar is like the Bill Belichick of computer-animated films: They've so completely dominated the field that there's really nothing left for them to prove. "Monsters Inc." and "The Incredibles" are two of the greatest films I've ever seen, period, never mind that they're kid flicks. There's just one thing Pixar has yet to do: a computer-animated film for adults. Take Brad Bird, who directed "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille," and put him behind the wheel of a new adaptation of George Orwell's justifiably iconic (and distressingly accurate) novel with an all-star cast of voice talent. I'm thinking the headliner should be Alec Baldwin as Napoleon the pig, and if that character doesn't ring a bell with you, you need to go read the book, numbnuts.
"Bond 23" featuring Sean Connery as the villain
The next James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace," has already been cast and commenced filming. But I've got an idea for the casting for the 23rd film in the series, which is already scheduled for 2010: Bring back Sean Connery as the bad guy. The dude may be 77 years old, but he's still got it. Supposedly he's retired from filmmaking, but I bet they could bring him back if they dumped enough money in his lap. I don't care what kind of villain Connery plays or what diabolical acts his fiendish plot entails; all I ask is that he refer to James Bond as a "beef-witted applejohn" at some point during the movie.
"Justify Your Existence"
Western culture seems to be reaching critical mass in terms of utterly useless celebrities -- the pundits and "experts" shoved in front of our faces just to go off on rants about things they don't know anything about, the people who get famous for doing stupid shit, the people who get famous for doing nothing at all besides promoting themselves relentlessly. The game-slash-reality show "Justify Your Existence" would force these people to put their meager talents, to the extent they actually have any, where their mouths are. Each episode would pit a given pseudo-celebrity against some random person yanked off the street to compete in that given celebrity's milieu of choice to determine whether they actually have any business being on TV all the time. You could have Ann Coulter facing off against a random man on the street in an "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?"-style quiz on the U.S. Constitution; the always-annoying Heidi Montag, who apparently fancies herself a pop star, facing an average Josephine in an "American Idol" sing-off; or maybe Paris Hilton competing with some unknown housewife in a fashion-design competition ultimately judged by Heidi Klum and the crew from "Project Runway." With any luck, this show would give us a weekly dose of pure, uncut Colombian schadenfreude as our nation's most worthless celebrities get shown up by the unwashed masses in the areas in which they themselves have decided to become famous.
And if that doesn't pan out, we'll just replace it with "The Throw Heavy Objects At Pete Doherty Hour." Good? Yes?
Anyway, while you ponder those, here's the Ten:
1. Johnny Cash, "Delia's Gone"
2. The Cardigans, "My Favourite Game"
3. 3rd Bass, "Oval Office"
4. Dr. Octagon, "3000"
5. The Fixx, "One Thing Leads To Another"
6. A Tribe Called Quest, "Against the World"
7. The Pharcyde, "Hard Times"
8. Thievery Corporation, "Focus On Sight"
9. Radiohead, "Backdrifts (Honeymoon Is Over)"
10. Public Enemy, "Contract On the World Love Jam"
All righty, readers, time for your own killer ideas and/or Random Tens in the comments. Or if you just want to praise the sweet Lord that the weekend's almost here, you can do that too.