When last the Friday Random Ten+5 reared its ugly head, we came to the sad but necessary conclusion that the second "Transformers" movie just wasn't all that good. Not quite bad enough to ruin my fond memories of playing with the toys as a grade-schooler, but we're not out of the woods yet: Brace yourselves, Dudes In Your Late Twenties To Mid-Thirties, if you played with G.I. Joes as kids, there's a G.I. Joe movie coming out this summer that may just be bad enough for you to disavow any knowledge of that franchise's existence. And at least "Transformers" and "G.I. Joe" have reasonably engaging source material; apparently there's a whole slew of movies in development right now that will rape even the most mundane of our childhood memories. You may have heard, for example, that there's a Monopoly movie coming out that's going to be directed by fricking Ridley Scott. But what you may not have heard is that McG, fresh off of steering the "Terminator" franchise straight into the ground, is in talks to make a Hot Wheels movie. And it gets worse: Apparently someone at DreamWorks is angling to buy the rights to a View-Master movie. Lemme stop you right there, DreamWorks: If the magical View-Master in this prospective film isn't showing a special story disk titled "Erin Andrews and the Thong Bikini of Destiny," you're probably not getting my $9.25.
But there's a silver lining to all this cinematic dumbfuckery, and it's kind of along the lines of the epiphany Patton Oswalt had toward the end of his "Death Bed" bit: Apparently any talentless douchebag can just pick a childhood toy at random and turn it into a major movie project these days. With that in mind, I think it's finally time for me to do something with my nascent screenwriting career, and I've got plenty of ideas. And you're getting an exclusive preview, you lucky fucks: This week's +5 is Five Toy Lines I Could Probably Turn Into Movies. Feel the excitement!
The Game of Life
If you think about it, there's a real opportunity for some heavy-duty black comedy here. Maybe you've got Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michael C. Hall as friends who build an increasingly intense rivalry as teenagers, and they make a vow to turn the rest of their lives into a competition where they try to amass as much money as possible and the person with the most money at the end wins. From there it's a non-stop battle to come out of college with a good job, have as many children as possible, and fall ass-backward into the right money-making opportunities until they can finally face each other as old men at Millionaire Acres and attempt to crush each other's lifetime hopes and dreams once and for all. As all this is unfolding, of course, they go progressively crazier and crazier until they both end up as nutty as Daniel Day-Lewis at the end of "There Will Be Blood" and they're both completely broken and miserable. (I didn't say it was going to be an uplifting movie.)
I got some of these a few days ago (yeah, I did, what of it?), and they're actually pretty badass -- the little mini-figures have computers and pistols and rocket launchers and everything. Since they've already made extremely well-reviewed video-game franchises out of the Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones series, I'll bet somebody can squeeze a movie out of this. It couldn't possibly be any worse than "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
I'm thinking this movie takes place at the point in our dystopian near-future at which we finally run out of our last drop of oil, and adults have to resort to relying on their kids' Power Wheels for transportation. Then someone discovers a revolutionary energy source and the shadowy intelligence organizations from all the world's major powers become locked in a deadly battle to obtain it, which would be the perfect excuse for some "Ronin"/"Bourne Supremacy"-style car chases through the cities of the world, recreated entirely with Power Wheels vehicles.
This video game looks absurdly simple compared to what kids are playing these days, but I have yet to be able to resist one of these machines in a bar, arcade, bowling alley, or any other locale. Could a feature film be as addictive? I mean, you've got the first act, where our protagonist is blowing up alien spacecraft; the second-act complication, in which his ship is CAPTURED and he has to make his way back to base; and the thrilling third act, in which he has to blow up the alien tractor-beam ship without blowing up his own ship so that he can get it back and blast away at the aliens with twice as much firepower. That's at least 80 minutes' worth of screen time right there.
Actually, I just want Trey Parker and Matt Stone to turn the "Guitar Queer-O" episode of "South Park" into a full-length feature film, because that episode was on the other night and I was reminded of how fucking brilliant it is. All it needed was a Yoko to turn Stan against Kyle and break up "the band."
Producers, my e-mail address is on the right at the top of this page; don't everyone bum-rush my inbox at once. In the meantime, here's the Ten:
1. Flight of the Conchords, "Foux Du Fafa"
2. Pet Shop Boys, "Flamboyant" (Scissor Sisters Silhouettes & Shadows mix)
3. Orbital, "The Girl with the Sun in Her Head"
4. Pet Shop Boys, "I Don't Know What You Want but I Can't Give It Any More"
5. Passengers, "United Colours"
6. Weird Al Yankovic, "Another One Rides the Bus"
7. Underworld, "Shake It Higher"
8. Underworld, "Lenny Penne"
9. Johnny Cash, "Joe Bean"
10. The Streets, "Stay Positive"
Back to you, folks. Your Random Tens and terrible ideas for cash-in toy-based movies in the comments, please.