If you're anything like me, you look at some of the movies getting greenlit lately and the trailers that run before the films you actually want to see, and you think to yourself, "Good Lord. Anyone with half a brain could do better than this. Or at least, like, not worse."
Well, I am anyone and I have half(ish) of a brain, so I decided to give it a shot. Here are pitches for eight dumb movies. These are freebies. I am giving them away. You, Mr. or Mrs. Hollywood Producer, can have any or all of them. The only condition is that I get to show up on set every day, and I get a megaphone. And a million dollars. So they're not so much free as ... not free.
We can hammer out the details later.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Title: Clone Heist
Ideal Star(s): Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence
Summary: Max Barcelona is a master jewel thief with a problem: he can't find good help. He pulled off a big heist a few years ago, but since then all the members of his legendary five-man crew have been either killed or incarcerated, and Max has frittered away all his money on fast cars, fast women, and games of chance. Now he's deep in debt to some very bad people who have given him an ultimatum: come up with $2 million by the end of the month, or it's curtains for his beloved grandmother.
So. Off to Monte Carlo it is. Max knows there's a priceless collection of diamonds coming to town, and he intends to steal them to pay off his debt. Unfortunately, every new henchman, wheel man, and electronics expert he brings in proves to be incompetent (MONTAGE), and with only 48 hours until the robbery is set to take place, Max is still stuck at square one alone in his makeshift headquarters. If only there was a way he could do it all himself. But no, this job is too difficult, too involved. He'll need at least four men.
Just then a mysterious older gentleman walks in with a proposition: what if he could do it all by himself? The man leads Max back to his laboratory, where he explains that he's just perfected a cloning machine, and is willing to make more Max's in exchange for a cut of the haul. But something goes wrong. Each one of the clones is slightly ... off. One is super-hyperactive and jittery, one is a wild man who doesn't know how to evaluate risk vs. reward, one only speaks Spanish, etc. But it's too late to turn back now. This wacky crew of clones is his only hope to make off with the diamonds and save his grandmother, so he has to figure out how to make it work. And to make matters worse, his longtime FBI nemesis, the alluring Special Agent Rebecca Beretta, just showed up, and she knows Max is planning something big.
So, basically, it's Multiplicity meets a George Clooney movie meets a Pierce Brosnan movie.
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Title: Pope's Day Off
Ideal Star(s): Jeffrey Tambor, Helen Mirren
Summary: Pope Leo XIII is STRESSED. OUT. He wanted to be the first American pope ever since he was a small boy living in Queens, and his dream came true a few years back, but now the job is wearing him down. Every day he's got an appearance to make, or a mass to lead, or a visiting dignitary to greet, and he's so lonely, and it's just ... when does the pope get to have a little fun, you know?
So, one night, Pope Leo hatches a plan. He slips past the Vatican guards, dons a baseball cap and sunglasses, and boards a train headed out of Rome. By morning, word has leaked: the pope is missing. CHAOS. Has he been kidnapped? Is he alive? WHERE IS POPE LEO? Answers: no, yes, and in Paris. He's kicking back, seeing the sights, and taking a guided tour of the city like a regular schmoe, and he is loving it. Heck, he even met somebody: a recently widowed British woman named Katherine Wealthshire who, like him, jetted off to Paris on a whim to escape her monotonous life. They are really, really hitting it off. But Pope Leo knows he can't keep this up forever. His face is all over the news (which, obviously, leads to zany hijinks at every bar and news stand he stops at), and the Vatican guards are closing in. Soon he'll have to make a choice. Does he go back to being the pope, or does he leave the position -- and the church -- behind to start a new life with Katherine? Maybe open a little gelato shop in Rome together. That sounds nice.
NOTE: Not to be confused with my other pitch for a pope comedy starring Jeffrey Tambor, Pope Swap, in which he and a rock star played by Channing Tatum switch bodies after wishing on the same shooting star one night in Rome. I really want to see Jeffrey Tambor play the pope.
Title: Rex Benedict: Sperm Smuggler
Ideal Star(s): Nicolas Cage
Summary: The year is 2460. Due to overpopulation, all men are sterilized as soon as they hit puberty. Moments before sterilization, however, small amount of sperm is extracted and shipped to an off-shore government facility. In order to retrieve it, the men must fill out a lengthy application and go through multiple interviews to determine if they should be allowed to father a child. There is a maximum number of babies that are allowed to be born every year, and the process is very competitive. It has also become incredibly corrupt, as the wealthy and influential are routinely approved, but regular, good, hard-working Americans are denied or put on a never-decreasing waiting list.
Enter Rex Benedict, a flashy pharmaceutical representative who works with the doctors at the facility, and is secretly a member of an underground resistance movement called Free Seed. He has been smuggling individuals' samples out of the building and onto the mainland, where they are distributed to men (and their families) who have been unjustly denied. The children are then born in a hidden Free Seed health center and raised off the grid. Everything is going according to plan ... until Rex gets held up and 50 samples melt inside his suitcase in the airport. (NOTE: Rex: "No, that's, uh, mine?" TSA Agent: [hilarious side-eyes]) Now he's on the run, and the future of the Free Seed movement depends on him.
Just then he makes a decision: If they're coming after him, he's going to take the whole system down.
Title: An Elephant Never Forgets
Ideal Star(s): Vin Diesel (voice), Pat Morita-type
Summary: I actually pitched this entire movie on Twitter one night at 1:30 a.m. I am a very normal person.
Title: Bald Eagle
Ideal Star(s): Bruce Willis
Summary: Mike "Hawk" Eagle is a tough, chrome-domed former Chicago cop who's just settling into retirement. Fishing, playing with his grandkids, taking his beloved boat Betsy out on Lake Michigan, etc. He was a legend in the precinct, but time had started to pass him by. The whole police system in Chicago was moving to computers and smart phones and Wi-Fi, and Hawk is, well, Hawk's not big on technology. He had a good run, but it was time to get out.
But then one day he gets a call from the chief: It turns out the city's most notorious criminal, Lucious Mack, who Hawk thought he killed in a warehouse shootout a few years back, has returned, and is more dangerous than ever. The chief tells Hawk that Mack has secretly been infiltrating the police force with moles, spies, and double agents during his hiding, and has hacked all the networks the police would use to investigate him. There's no way to tell how deep corruption the goes. Not yet at least. All the chief knows is that they'll need a man on the outside. A man who can't be bought. A man who knows Lucius inside and out. A man who isn't bound by the rules and regulations that govern active Chicago police officers, and knows how to do some good, old-fashioned police work without the assistance of 21st century technology.
They need Hawk Eagle.
[pumps shotgun, shoots iPad]
Title: Kid Senator
Ideal Star(s): Adorable child actor TBD, adult chief-of-staff TBD (Sinbad-type)
Summary: I'll be honest, I don't have much here beyond the title and the single post-record-scratch line of dialogue, "But Senator... YOU CAN'T SKATEBOARD TO CHINA!" That would have been enough to get this greenlit in 1995. Trust me, I saw Blank Check and First Kid.
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Title: Daily Double Trouble
Ideal Star(s): Frankie Muniz (COMEBACK?!)
Summary: It's been a rough couple months for Blake Stanford. He graduated from a second-tier law school in the spring and passed the bar exam that summer, but the job market hasn't been too receptive to a baby-faced kid from the Bronx who doesn't have a degree from a prestigious school. His loan payments are piling up, and his gig bartending on weekends at his uncle's pub isn't going to cut it. He needs to come up with a plan.
Blake has always been a bit of a trivia buff, so he decides to do the Jeopardy! online tryouts. Unfortunately, the night he planned to do it, he gets called into work at the pub at the last minute, and misses the window for the year. Bummed out, broke, and, okay, a little drunk, Blake decides to fudge his login info and do the tryout for the Teen Tournament the following day. The next day he receives an email. He's made it to the second round, and has been invited to Los Angeles.
Now Blake -- with the help of his beautician sister and hacker best friend -- has to convince everyone at Jeopardy! that he's 16. Hilarity ensues. And things get especially interesting when he falls for a 25-year-old producer on the show named Becky who won't give him the time of day because he's "just a teenager." Will Blake keep up the ruse and go after the grand prize, or will he come clean to Becky and face the consequences?
Or is there ... another way?
Ideal Star(s): The Rock, Eva Mendes
Summary: A totally faithful, shot-for-shot remake of the classic 1942 film, except now The Rock is Rick, Eva Mendes is Ilsa, and Ludacris is Sam, and the song Sam "plays again" is "Roll Out," and instead of ending with Rick convincing Ilsa to get on the plane, it ends with The Rock kissing her, jumping in an F-14, and going on a one-man raid of Hitler's compound that culminates with him parachuting out of the plane and choking Hitler to death with his belt. Also, James Franco plays Hitler. Obviously.