In a world where Hollywood has run out of ideas…

By Rory McCarty

Is it possible to have an intervention for Hollywood? The movie industry has some bad habits, as with all addicts they tend to hurt the people they love the most. Maybe “love” is too strong a word. Scratch that. Make it the people you “have manipulated into giving you money to support those bad habits.”

The first problem is an obsession with the third dimension. Making movies that seem to jump out at you is a neat technology, or I’m sure it seemed that way in the early 1950s when it was first popular.

Hollywood searched for years to find ways to immerse its audience deeper into the story, then apparently scratched their collective heads, shrugged and went back to a half century old technology.

Modern 3D movies, those made with the dubious “Real 3D” technology, achieve the 3D effect without screwing with the color and making the film look like a Technicolor nightmare.

So popular is the phenomenon that 3D televisions have been produced so even in your home you can yell, “Wow, Brandon Fraser’s not just spitting, he’s spitting ON ME!”

However, it’s also true that an estimated one tenth of the population can’t experience this effect properly. In case you’re not one of those people, let me give you a detailed account of what this would be like, from personal experience: to watch a 3D film with an incompatible brain.

0:15 You start to get a headache.

0:30 Unobtainium? Really? They’re calling it that? Why not McGuffinite? How about Space Oil?

0:45 You try to watch the film without the Drew Carey glasses for a little while. After staring at a blur for five minutes, you get a worse headache and put the glasses back on.

1:10 You learned that the blue cat people have sex using their ponytails. Coincidentally, you feel nauseous and go to the lobby.

1:15 You like the lobby because there’s no movie playing in there. You play a game of Time Crisis, get bored, and go back into the theater.

2:00 “How long is this movie?” you wonder.

2:35 After leaving the theater, you realize that James Cameron has robbed you of your depth of field. You don’t realize until you start driving, however, unable to tell whether the car in front of you is five or 20 feet away. You drive one block very slowly, pull into Walgreens, and ask someone else to drive.

I understand the line of thought. “Inception” made $60 million its opening weekend. So let’s make it 3D, charge five bucks extra per ticket, and make even more money.Artistic vision be damned.

The far more pressing issue however, is that Hollywood is simply out of artistic visions. Somehow, filmmakers are increasingly unwilling to take a chance on original ideas, relying more and more on adaptations of existing works to form the basis of a story. That’s okay when it makes sense; films have been made from books since the 1930s. But when someone tries to make a film about the Viewmaster, we, as a human race, suffer for it.

However, following the inexplicable popularity of the Transformers and G.I. Joe movies, a new formula was stumbled upon: ’80s toys + movie option = cash money. Hollywood is adaptation crazy, buying up the film rights to comic books, board games, video games, TV series, and older movies.

Now, I know a movie based on a board game sounds ridiculous, but remember “Clue?” That was a good movie and yet based on a board game. So if I can’t stop these films from being made, maybe I can give my own pitches to ensure they get made right. Let me stress that all of these film options are real. Sadly.


The Elevator Pitch: It’s “Das Boot” meets “High School Musical.”

Summary: A junior high class on a tour of one of the Navy’s newest high-tech dreadnoughts when the commander steps outside to have a smoke. Accidentally, one of the students takes the parking brake off, and they drift into North Korea, fighting for their lives.

But because no one knows how to operate the sonar, the kids fire torpedoes blindly until they hit something. In the climactic reveal, it turns out that Kim Jong Il cheated by stacking all of his ships on top of each other.

Plausiblility: Sure, it’s technically possible to make a movie about nautical warfare and have it be good; it’s been done many times before. The question is, why the hell would you want a license attached to the film ruining any chance for dramatic tension? Following Hasbro’s request, the villain must yell out, “You sunk my battleship!” in the climax of the film.


The Elevator Pitch: It’s “The Dead Zone” meets “Rear Window.” Plus Shia LeBouf.

Summary: A suspenseful thriller. LeBouf stars as a college dropout who, discovers a Viewmaster in his parents attic.

However, the Viewmaster turns out be possessed by ghosts from the future. Every time LeBouf puts one of Viewmaster discs in, instead of seeing for example, famous landmarks, he sees slideshows of how people will die.

So when he puts in the disc labeled, “Jungle Animals,” he instead sees Emily Browning getting hit by a bus. LeBouf makes it his goal to save these people from their fate in spite of the fact that everyone thinks he’s an annoying guy with red binoculars who ruined Indiana Jones.

Plausibility: Shia LeBouf can really sell a film these days. I mean, as long as he spouts his trademark Shia-isms whenever he has to rush past security guards to stop an ambassador from eating a poisoned bagel. “Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no!”


The Elevator Pitch: “Final Destination” meets mind-numbing boredom.

Summary: Horror movie. Co-eds rent a sublet house seemingly possessed by an omnipotent force. At first, the god-like presence seems to help them: new furniture appears randomly.

But when the god becomes bored, the tenants become nothing more than play toys for its sick amusement. They find themselves suddenly trapped in rooms without doors. They go swimming only to be left to drown when the ladder is taken away, and they’re driven by some malicious  force to stay away from the bathroom until they wet themselves.

Also, the whole cast speaks in nonsensical “simlish,” so subtitles translate the dialog.

Plausibility: It works right up until you get to the point where the characters would normally fight back against their oppressor, except their oppressor is a bored teenage girl from another reality that they can’t interact with. I like the idea of a movie filmed completely in gibberish, though.

The Sims is a game that simulates real life. Movies already have a pretty good ability to simulate life. Does any film executive actually think about these decisions, or are they just spraying the field of possible movie licenses with a money hose?



Here’s a list of “intellectual” properties. For each one, guess if it has been optioned to be a movie or not.

• Stretch Armstrong

• Candy Land

• Asteroids (video game)

• Lego

• Monopoly

• Good Luck Trolls

• Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots

• Ouija Board

• E-Trade Babies (commercial mascot)

• Magic 8-Ball

(SOLUTION: Wrong. They were all real. Everyone loses.)