Thursday, March 27

Get ready, because the Friday Random Ten+5 is really gonna blow your skirt up.

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.


Three N Out said...

The only thing sadder in the world than the fact that Heidi Montag has found fame is that Spencer has somehow found it with her.

Anonymous said...

1. I thought Aaron Sorkin made Snarktastic Holly cry? She voted for Robert Richie at the end of season 4 to end the series.

2. When did Heidi Montag trade in her breasts for grapefruits?

3. I'm no far right winger, but I thought Colter wrote for the Michigan Law review. I think she'd handle the Founding father Challange.

4. I'm bringing a party sub to the G-Day game.

Holly said...


Universal Remonster said...

You should start your own network, Doug.

In all seriousness, if you would like a little motivation on the script you should join

It's just basically a fun club where you create a profile and then write a script in one month (and the site provides countless resources). Check it out. This will be the second year I've done it, and it's run by one of my film school cronies.

Reed said...

Did you ever see the made-for-TNT version of Animal Farm with animatronic pigs and stuff? I couldn't get through more than 20 minutes. It was utterly unwatchable. In sum, I concur. Someone needs to make a more worthwhile version (and not the kids cartoon that's out there, either).

I don't know that anyone will ever make a college football film/show that's better than The Waterboy, but I urge you to try anyway.

This week, I gave my annual "most worthless person of the year" award aka The Kaelin. I probably could have called it "The person with the least justified existence."

1.J Mascis and the Fog, "Outside"
2.Songs: Ohia, "Tigress
3.The Futureheads, "Thursday"
4.Dinosaur Jr., "Muck"
5.James Brown, "I Feel Good"
6.Public Enemy, "Terminator X to the Edge of Panic"
7.Silversun Pickups, "The Fuzz"
8.Jimi Hendrix, "Remember"
9.Hot Water Music, "Better Sense"
10.Chad Vangaalen, "Blood Machine"

Holly said...

(But yes, now that you mention it, the show is dead to me after season 4. John Wells can die in a fire.)

Kanu said...

My brain is still not fully functional, so just "El Diez":

1. 112, "You Already Know{remix}" from '{dodgy internet download}'

2. Chris Isaak, "Wicked Game" from 'Heart Shaped World'

3. Dave Matthews Band, "Rhyme & Reason" from 'Listener Supported Disc 1'

4. Beastie Boys, "Do It", from 'Ill Communication'

5. Akon, "Don't Let Up", from 'Trouble'

6. Louis Armstrong, "Ain't Misbehavin'" from 'Ken Burns Jazz Disc 2'

7. G. Love & Special Sauce, "Love", from 'The Hustle'

8. Snoop Dogg, "Snoop's Upside Ya Head" from 'Tha Doggfather'

9. Nas, "The Flyest" from 'Stillmatic'

10. Eightball & MJG, "Space Age Pimpin'" from 'On Top Of The World'

Happy weekend.

NCT said...

I really, really like the EDSBS idea. I think in some strange way, the reasons why Studio 60 didn't work for me but 30 Rock does might be mirror the reasons why Coach never worked for me but Every Day Should Be Saturday would.

1. Dolly Parton, “Mountain Angel”
2. R.E.M., “Pale Blue Eyes”
3. R.E.M., “Welcome to the Occupation”
4. UGA Redcoat Band, “Sweet Georgia Brown”
5. Dwight Yoakam, “Try Not To Look So Pretty”
6. 10,000 Maniacs, “City of Angels”
7. Alanis Morissette, “I Was Hoping”
8. Burning Spear, “Estimated Prophet”
9. Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, “Over At The Frankenstein Place”
10. They Might Be Giants, “Twisting”

Holly said...

Oh, right:

1. Red House Painters - All Mixed Up (Cars cover)
2. Evil Nine - They Live
3. Stuart Davis - Drown
4. Bjork - Hyperballad (Fluke mix)
5. Concrete Blonde - Everybody Knows
6. Band of Horses - Is There A Ghost
7. Black Kids - Designs On AKA You
8. Adam Freeland - Juvenile Delinquent (Tectonic mix)
9. Green Lemon - Chimurenga
10. The Moody Blues - Your Wildest Dreams (don't ask)

Anonymous said...

Doug - Get those lawyers ready:

"Sean Connery to Play Bond Villian?"

Saw that on Fark's entertainment section today.

shelly said...

Justify Your Existence should totally be developed for TV. I'd watch! *nods*

Chris said...

Since I have little better to do most nights than watch west wing while I am here in Peace Corps Namibia I gotta agree with Holly that I really hate John Wells.

That being said I bet Colter would wipe the floor with most Americans when it came to the constitution (as ryno mentions), not that her interpretation would be right, but I bet she knows it far more than most of those "Hills" watching sad sacks that make up far too much of america

God I wish I could be at G Day this year....

Ten for tonight straight from Namibia:
1. Ben Harper "Waiting on an Angel"
2. Norah Jones " Dont Know Why"
3. Nick Drake "Cello Song"
4. Elliot Smith "Twilight"
5. Wilco "Via Chicago"
6. John Coltrane "Everytime We Say Goodbye"
7. Jack Johnson "Inaudible Melodies"
8. Van Morrison "Warm Love"
9. Otis Redding "Try a Little Tenderness"
10. Drive By Truckers "Goddamn Lonely Love"

Yeah try not to be depressed....

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog as a general rule, but if these are your great ideas for TV shows, well, um, don't quit your day job.