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Sunday Grab Bag

Movie Premises That Could Use A 10-Year Moratorium

By 04.18.10

Yo, girl. So when are you gonna, like, let me get up in there or whatever.


One might assume that people who produce movies for a living would be around other movie people a lot, and read lots of scripts, and see lots of movies, and spend a lot of their time talking about movies, and thus get tired of seeing the same types of movies all the time.  And yet, even the most cursory scan of the trades will prove that they don’t.  Oh sweet mother of God they don’t ever.  In fact, the movie business seems to function more like tattoos at a frat house.  One guy gets a tribal armband; everyone else gets a tribal armband.  One guy gets a sleeve; everyone else gets a sleeve.  One guy gets a picture of my mom getting mounted by a gargoyle; everyone else gets a picture of my mom getting mounted by a gargoyle.  The point is, my frat bros were real jerks and not nearly as funny as they thought they were. But back to the movie thing.

What I’m saying is, certain types of movies just keep getting made over and over until you feel like you’re listening to one of those P Diddy songs where all he does is say “Uh. Yeah. C’mon.  Ugh.  Yeah. Yeah. C’mon.” and you’re the only one in the room who realizes it’s a cover.

Look, there's no reason NOT to include this picture every chance I get.


Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of some of the worst offenders, the types of movies that should never be made again, or should at least require a 10-year moratorium, or maybe a three-day waiting period while we do a background check on the screenwriter.  It’s a dangerous business.  If these things fall into the wrong hands, someone like me could throw a hissy fit.  And no one wants that.  Trust me, it’s embarrassing.

Premise: The Boy from the Wrong Side of the Tracks
Recently seen in: Avatar, I Remember You, Twilight, Dear John, Leap Year

(Insert obvious gay joke here)


This one’s been around since Romeo and Juliet, and even that was a remake of something older. It’s basically the archetypal romantic comedy, and if any premise needs a complete overhaul, it’s the romantic comedy.  Hey, ladies, we get it.  You like the bad boys.  Even if you’re a princess (be it literal heir to a kingdom or Jewish-American).  You just can’t help going all Swooney McJuice panties when you see Robert Pattinson use the paperweight in the fancy office for an ash tray.  No Smoking section schmo schmoking schmection, he’s got no use for our societal conventions, man! He’s undecided!  About what?  Everything. (*queeeeeef*)

Look, I get it, there has to be a big fake obstacle that keeps the two hotties from making wiener kisses in the first five minutes or else it wouldn’t be a story, it’d be a text from last night.  And anyway, Nicholas Sparks needs the money, dude can barely dress himself.  All’s I’m saying is, maybe we put the kibosh on the super identical nice-girl-falls-for-dirtbag aspects of this one for 10 years and maybe try to switch things up a bit.  Otherwise, stop acting surprised when you find out America’s Sweetheart’s husband has been cheating on her with a Nazi skank.  It’s our own fault for slowly conditioning our daughters (well, your daughters – score!) to believe that every slimy douche on a motorcycle has a heart of gold.  False.  Usually it’s just a rose tattoo and a meth habit.

Really? You couldn't tell THIS guy was a sh*tbag?


Kissing this frog won’t turn him into a prince, he’ll just give you warts with his pee.

Premise: Zombies

"Braaaaaaaains."


Recently Seen In: Zombieland, Dawn of the Dead, Survival of the Dead, Crazies, Shaun of the Dead, Woke Up Dead, The Revenant, Dead Snow, Resident Evil, I Am Legend, Zombie Strippers…

The mother of all overused premises, a simple IMDB search pulls up no less than 591 movie titles with “zombie” as a plot keyword, dating back to White Zombie in 1932 .  Now, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the occasional blood puke now and again, I do. I mean, I’m not a communist.  I just don’t think there’s anything new we can bring to this genre.  Zombie buddy comedy, zombie porno, zombie rom-com — whatever you think is so kitschy and cool, trust me, it’s been done.  At this point, zombie movies are kind of like having one of those waxed, handlebar mustaches.  Yeah, that was hip and funny the first 1500 times I saw it, but now you kinda just look like an assh*le.

Assh*les


Bottom line, if you want to reinvent the genre, you’re going to have to try a lot harder than putting an “X” at the beginning.  Oh right, I forgot to mention: XombieYeah, they totally optioned that.  This needs a 10-year-moratorium like Danny Masterson needs to feed on the flesh of the living.

Premise: Vampires

That's right: Vampire baseball. With scarves. Trust me, dude, it's worse than you thought.


Recently Seen In: Twilight, True Blood, 30 Days of Night, Blade, Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, Transylmania, Stan Helsing, Lesbian Vampire Killers, Underworld, Daybreakers

It’s almost unfair to use a picture of Twilight to illustrate this one, since vampires had been done to death long before that.  With 674 titles dating all the way back to 1916, it outdoes even zombies in sheer numbers.  This premise was so dead we had to reinvent it in such a way that the vampires became the exact opposite of their sexpot, immortal-fountains-of-earthly-pleasure roots and turned into sensitive, abstinent, monogamous, vegetarians.  And even that doesn’t account for True Blood.  But here’s the easiest way to prove that the vampire premise has gone the way of Fred Durst jumping a shark; if it was still an interesting concept in and of itself, how come every vampire franchise of the last ten years — Twilight, True Blood, Blade, Underworld — has had to throw in some other mythical creature to keep things interesting?  Werewolves, shapeshifters, super vampires, and werewolves again, respectively?  A fictional world in which vampires exists now apparently implies all manner of other fantasy, like unicorns, or the female orgasm, just so we don’t get bored.

Blade 2 pitch meeting:

EXEC: So this time Blade can’t just fight vampires, he did that in the last movie.  Any ideas?

*Silence*

EXEC: C’mon people!  This treatment’s due next week!  What am I paying you for?

*Guy tentatively raises hand*

GUY: Maybe he could fight…. super vampires, sir?

EXEC: Super vampires, Johnson?  Tell us, what exactly would that entail?

JOHNSON: Uh…. They’re like regular vampires, but with… uh… more fangs, sir?

Holy f*ck, more fangs! It's like the Gillette Mach 5 of bad guys!


EXEC:  Goddammit, Johnson, you must be the smartest man alive!  Here, take the keys to my Mercedes, son.  Why don’t you come over tonight and f*ck my underage daughter?

Premise: The Post Apocalypse

Recently Seen In: I Am Legend, 28 Days Later, The Road, Book of Eli, 2012, Zombieland, Terminator Salvation, The Matrixes

Look, dude, just level with us: is it gonna be a Jesus parable?  Aw crap, it’s going to be a Jesus parable again, isn’t it.

The Secret Order of Assassins/Roving Band of Mercenaries

Recently seen in: Ninja Assassin, GI Joe, The A-Team, The Losers, Wanted, Batman Begins, Hitman, Kill Bill, xXx….

So you woke up a schlubby douche loser, then one day, something happened, and you joined a group of people who kill people, or people who keep people from killing people.  The point is, Linkin Park music was there.  You had a couple homoerotic shirtless training montages, you conquered your fear, learned a few things from your gruff Asian/super hot chick mentor, but bottom line, you became really proficient at your slow-motion CGI weapon of choice.  But then, you and your group had a falling out.  Because  you wouldn’t kill who they told you to, or the leader wasn’t your real father, so you ran away.  But still, people keep showing up at your house all the time, even though you came to live in this monastery on top of Mount Everest specifically to avoid this kind of thing. “Are you the best?  They tell me you’re the best,” they always say, knowing full g*ddamned well that you’re the best.

“Of course I’m the best!  Didn’t you see the beginning of this movie where I was an average nobody getting sh*t on all the time?!  No one who gets cruelly sh*t on all the time for no reason grows up to be second best!  Have you learned nothing of this genre?!”

Premise: Superhero Movies
Recently seen in: Watchmen, Spider-man, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Green Lantern, Kick-Ass, Defendor, Superman Returns, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Wolverine, Captain America, The Avengers…

Do NOT ask about his webbing.


(source)

Look, I’m not saying I don’t like a lot of these movies, I do. I’m just saying maybe we should take the ones we have and just chill the f*ck out for a while.  We’re running out of actors here.  Ryan Reynolds is playing the Green Lantern even though he was already Deadpool.  Chris Evans is playing Captain America even though he was already Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four (*shudder*).  They made so many Spider-man movies, they eventually had to just say f*ck it and cast the whole thing over again.  Ditto X-Men, after Brett Ratner got his nacho cheese finger prints all over the franchise and spoiled it for everyone, just like his 15th birthday party at the petting zoo.

Which brings me to a related point: they’ve diluted the directing talent.  Chris Nolan, Sam Raimi, Zack Snyder, Jon Favreau, Bryan Singer – awesome.  Joe johnston, Martin Campbell, Louis Leterrier…Kenneth Branagh?  Uhhh, hmm.  How far down the list were those guys?  Yes, Kick-Ass looks awesome.  I’m just saying maybe we don’t need Kick-Ass, Watchmen, AND Defendor.

Premise: The Spy Couple

Recently Seen In: Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Date Night, Knight & Day, Killers, Duplicity

“Honey, did you take out the garbage?”

“Yessss.  Did you assassinate the president of Paraguay?  Botching this mission would be worse than your mother!”

Get it?  It’s hilarious because the normal tedium of relationships is interspersed with fantastical action-movie plots that you would not normally associate with relationship comedy.  I honestly think the main reason this has become so popular is that when you start with two attractive movie stars that you have to build a romantic comedy around, it’s much easier to write a 10-minute car chase scene than it is to write10 minutes of coherent plot and witty banter.  Anyway, pretty much the entire foundation for the humor relies on the action stuff being unexpected.  Guess what, it’s not anymore.

Premise: Black Folks strugglin with the Issues of the Day


Recently seen in: Tyler Perry, Tyler Perry Too, Madea Goes to Tyler Perry, and Tyler Perry: Based on the Novel Tyler Perry by Tyler Perry.

Really, I just put this one here for Tyler Perry.  The white man likes to give him a pass because most us have never seen one of his movies (and I confess I too had too little information to ridicule him for a time), but it’s kind of a patronizing attitude to have not to make fun of his crappy movies just because he makes “black people stuff.”  Like, why does the NY Times make A.O. Scott review The Last Song, but then send his understudy to do the no-more-predictably-crappy Why Did I Get Married Too? Issa comspiracy, muthafackohs!

Anyway, having now seen almost two Tyler Perry movies on cable, I think I can say with absolute certainty that fuuuuuu*k is he ever a corny-ass cheeseball.  He’s basically a black Nicholas Sparks.  Thus, I think he already said everything he’s ever going to say in about twenty minutes of one movie.   I know, I know, I should just live and let live, and leave these movies for the certain segment of the population they feed, like so much high-fructose-corn-syrup-dipped pork rinds.  And that’s a fine attitude to have, but I guarantee it wouldn’t come from anyone who has to get off the subway every day and come face to face with this f*cking thing:

Have you ever seen a man so creepily content to be trapped inside an oversize wedding ring?  Why the f*ck is he smiling like that?  Is his character a lobotomy patient?  Honestly, I think you need a closer look:

"I'm gonna to kidnap your childwen, and make dem live in da mailbox."


NEVER AGAIN.

And anyway, the guy’s more than rich enough already to live out the rest of his days on a private, tropical island somewhere hunting human prey for sport with Oprah.  It’s the American Dream.

HONORABLE MENTION:

  • Biopics of dead musicians
  • Holocaust stories
  • Free-spirit teaches uptight guy to loosen up
  • Supernatural event teaches workaholic dad the importance of family
  • Dreamworks movies in which the characters make this face

So, which ones am I a f*cking idiot for not including?  Insult my mother below.


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