Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Huge Budget Hollywood

Having recently watched 'I Am Legend' and a few other newer movies, I have decided to write a brief letter to Hollywood, asking and entreating the producers and writers to hear my pleas.

Dear Hollywood,

It has come to my attention (forcefully, with Dolby Surround Sound), that certain things in many of the recent movies being released simply don't work. The reasons for these numerous troubles are varied, but I've decided to give you a short 'heads-up' in regards to some of them, in case the overpaid film-designers in your ranks haven't done their research, or are too lazy to care.

1. Stop shortening film titles. There is no logical reason why 'The Way of the Peaceful Warrior' needed to be shortened for the movie version to 'Peaceful Warrior'. We're not so dumb as you think, and have the brain capacity to handle more than a three-word title. If you greenlight a script entitled 'Night in the Desk of Calvin Coolidge', there is no need to shorten it to 'Coolidge'. Titles aren't simply for exhibiting the lowest-common-denominator of the subject in summary.

2. Bad script alert: If you receive a script with any of the following lines of dialogue in it, the script is bad. I'm serious.

A. "No, that's impossible! We killed you!" No one wants rehashes of Freddy Krueger stories or badly made things in a similar vein.
B. "Get me the _______" (name of a person or superhero like Cobra, Daredevil. Also: President, Secretary of Defense, Media, etc...)
C. "So what you're saying is..." This is always used to introduce really obvious backstory, and it's like a slap in the face. EXAMPLE: "He's a real loner. He's complicated and keeps to himself." "So what your saying is he doesn't trust anyone?" "Yes."
D. Any dialogue where a white kid talks in a really false and overexaggerated street-slang and using overemphasised hand gestures. We get it. You're setting up this character to be the butt of some dumb joke about how he's not black, to make the dull character doing the joking more witty. The thing is, it's transparent and DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE. Also, other stereotypical bullshit.
E. Any dialogue that begins with "Think of it this way..." This is usually just an excuse to take your space-jargon or other 'technical' description and translate it into something for the audience. "Think of it this way... The air will be pulled displaced from the room and he'll suffocate." "Oh, thanks for pampering me. I was too dumb to know carbon monoxide could hurt you."
F. Any narration in a preview that includes the three words 'in the dark'.
G. "You gotta be kidding me."
H. "This could mean the end of..."
I. "I grew up in the sixties."
J. "What are those things?"

The list goes on and on... Anyone with suggestions can place them in the comments to this post.

3. No matter how much you think it's great, Man fighting CG is old. We know it's CG. How do we know? It doesn't look real. Why doesn't it look real? Because it isn't. Seeing Will Smith fight off packs of roving cannibal-mutants in 'I am Legend' would have been a lot better if the 'mutants' mouths didn't stretch like taffy to unbelievable proportions whenever they screamed (making noises no human larynx could, I'll add). Also, while I'm bitching about 'I am Legend', if your foreshadowing is really obvious and statement-oriented, you haven't done it well.

4. This one is a big one, Hollywood: ENOUGH WITH THE TRILOGIES. Pirates of the Caribbean 2 should have been called 'Men Fighting on Things that Roll Down Hills', and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 should have been called 'What the Hell is Even Going On? Johnny Depp's In It, That's All We Know."

5. It grows embarrassing for everyone when a movie spawns B-sequels that begin to have nothing to do with the original. American Pie, anyone?

6. Let Keanu Reeves and Cameron Diaz go. They've been trying really hard to do it themselves. Just... just let them go.

7. Oh, also, can you start levelling the volume in your DVD releases a little more? Please? It gets really annoying having to turn up the volume twelve notches so I can hear the dialogue, then clutch my chest in seizure when someone in the movie kicks in a door and makes my fucking windows rattle, forcing me to grab the remote and hit volume-down in a mad panic at 1 in the morning.

There's so much more... I can't focus on it there are so many weirdnesses to fix...
If anyone else has anything they'd like added to the letter, feel free to post them in the comments.


Ray Succre said...

Wow, a shitstorm of comments. Popularity this strong can only mean one thing: It's time to go cut off my own head and worship it.

daedalao said...

Actually for the most part you're right. And let's see movies that come from books that actually UTILIZE THE SOURCE MATERIAL!


Your bro-in-law the disvet

Ray Succre said...

Daedalao, my brother-in-law for sure, I agree with the source material thing. It's hugely annoying watching the epic battle and subsequent fall of Troy take place in a week, with most of the main characters dying in completely new and dumb ways that differ widely from various source texts.

Or, for that matter, seeing a 10-year-old kid in a movie die in a tragic car accident, after numerous establishing scenes creating him as heartwarming and cute, when the original book has him as a 20-year-old drunk asshole that drove his car into a tree in a hateful stupor. You have to love how Hollywood changes things to tug those heartstrings, yeah?

"I got it! Let's do a movie of Wuthering Heights, but because the teens and young adults we're aiming at might get bored with a period piece, we'll make it 'modern', giving us the right to alter it entirely. We'll bring in some allusions to the war in Iraq, and make one of the characters gay, and another one a kickboxer. We can try to see if Linkin Park will do the soundtrack. Quick, get me my book of new millenium slang and my copy of 'Cliche and Travesty for Dummies'.


Ray Succre said...

UPDATE 3-21-08: Regarding 'I Am Legend', you might notice I mentioned that the cannibal mutants made noises "no human layrnx could" in this post. Well, I just learned that a human larynx could, in fact, make these noises, and did. It was Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More. I'm a big Mike Patton fan, so now I feel like an idiot. Patton is also slated to be doing a lot of voice acting in the upcoming Bionic Commando game, a sequel to my favorite childhood NES title. Rock.

John said...

You know Mike Patton isn't a human.