Top 10 Movie Script Ideas with Commercial Tie-ins
June 8, 2011 | Lists
It seems Hollywood will never hit bottom when digging in the cemetery of film ideas. Franchises are considered a good investment, even at the expense of the public’s mental soundness, (see the Rush Hour series). The superhero field has been thinned to the point that soon we will be left with just the dregs of the Justice League for feature films. (Take note if you’re an aspiring actor who’s been shut out of the profession because you resemble the Martian Manhunter). California boneyards too are home to the spinning graves of many from Hollywood’s golden and silver era whose films are being remade and ideas plundered to keep people from having to trouble themselves with processing a fresh story when nostalgic autopilot is an option.
Of course, we’re not the types to sneeze at lucre, however filthy, and we’d rather cash in on this trend than criticize it. Since franchises, superhero movies, classic film remakes, and books have already been heavily mined for films, we offer 10 script ideas with immediate commercial tie-ins. Each of these ideas has the potential to make so much money that the person tallying up all of the proceeds is bound to pause for a moment while doing so to wince and say, “Damn!”
We offer these in the hope, however vain, that they are discovered by a mogul with deep pockets looking for great film scripts — the kind of individual who would rather drown his own Pomeranian (in the beast’s own water bowl, no less) than thieve ideas. We could call these licenses to print money, but that sounds too much like counterfeiting unless done under a strict contract with the federal government. To help movers and shakers visualize these films, we’ve also included suggestions for directors and marquee names best suited to each project.
Kenneth Branagh stars as Keith Ague, a maintenance man at a community swimming pool whose name is regularly cross-checked against sex offender registries due to the creepy vibe he gives off. Keith is pretty lackadaisical about his job – pinkeye standard among users of the pool, with trench foot a close second – and his studio apartment below a dentist’s office is even worse, producing smells that those performing exams upstairs mistake for patients’ bad breath.
But his life takes a turn when he sees someone he thinks is drowning and, completely contrary to any impulse he has ever had jumps in. If this hasn’t caused the audience to totally emotionally disengage from the plot, they learn that the person was actually not drowning, but just some cheap guy fishing out a quarter. Keith sinks like a stone. He last swam when he was 10 and 35 years of slovenly living have caused his muscles to atrophy and somehow robbed his body of its natural buoyancy. He is pulled out of the water by some teen heartthrob in a cameo role that he or she will use as a stepping stone to greater things in cinema. While this popster is Heimliching the water out of him, Keith has a vision — a furious looking, earring-wearing bald man in a white T-shirt, played by professional wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin, arms crossed appears, cursing him out for being a slovenly pig.
Mr. Clean, as the apparition calls himself, stays with Keith even after he returns home. That first night, Mr Clean jolts Keith out of a sound sleep by bellowing from the bathroom that it “still smells like number two in here, you filthy son of a bitch, and this damn thing ain’t gonna scrub itself”. Within days every surface in Keith’s house is blindingly clean, but Mr Clean won’t let him stop and soon he’s compelled to pop over at the neighbors for surprise visits and surreptitious toilet scrubbing. Things go to far though when a demanding Mr Clean instructs Keith to break into a neighbor’s house in the middle of the night, surprising the owner who shoots Keith with a crossbow. Mr. Clean disappears while Keith is in the hospital on a morphine drip, but is he gone forever, and can Keith find a happy medium between filth and extreme clean?
Donald Sutherland stars as Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch, a Gulf of Mexico fishing boat skipper with a few short years on the tiller between him and retirement. The Captain’s dreams of gliding into his golden years are shattered, however, when the BP oil spill ravages the waters that have long sustained him, and a crooked lawyer screws him out of compensation money. Fast-forward a year and the Captain’s life is in shambles, he’s turned to the drink and aged 10 years in one; his once rich dark mane now a ghastly, stark white.
The tide seems to shift, ever so slightly, when the captain notices a job advertisement on a page of a newspaper he had been using to insulate his coat. “Wanted: Captain for mission along Somali Coast. Pay: Low. Danger: High. Will Hire: Anyone.” Well, who the hell else is going to hire a man of the captain’s age and unpredictable disposition? It’s his last chance to salvage what is left of his deteriorating life, and carries the scent of adventure he thought he had sniffed the last of long ago. But the Somali coast is home to pirates and he’s got a mother lode of an exotic type of heavily sugared children’s cereal to deliver to a Third World drug baron who has an exacting taste in breakfast food. Can the Captain survive the perilous journey? It’s Crunch Time.
Mario e Luigi, directed by Vincent Gallo (The Brown Bunny, Buffalo 66)
Paul Giamatti and Giovanni Ribisi star as brothers Mario and Luigi, two Sicilian immigrants who run a plumbing business in Bensonhurst Brooklyn.
A film that does for plumbers, what Once Upon a Time in America did for everyone else, Mario e Luigi is the coming-of-age story of two brothers. Mario is dubbed “Super” by their mother who likes to mess with their heads by playing favorites. Luigi, constantly in the shadow of his older brother, becomes twisted and resentful, often sneaking in to loosen a pipe on a job Mario just finished.
But the two brothers are forced to put their differences aside when Bowser, a local goon, tries to shake down their nascent business in turbulent 1960s Brooklyn.
Mario e Luigi will be “the next level” in terms of video-game derived cinema, a hallmark for an already rich and varied genre, and Mr Giamatti, should he accept the role, could be quite hirsute in it.
The Secret, an adaptation of the Rhonda Byrne bestseller, directed by Ryan Murphy (Eat Pray Love, Glee, Popular)
Jason Schwartzman stars as Harold X, an enigmatic florist who discovers a copy of the eponymous book dropped at his doorstep by an indolent delivery man. The book reveals secrets to Mr. X such as “Whatever is going on in your mind is what you are attracting”. Despite this assertion being routinely contradicted by chronic masturbators, Harold considers it a revelation and it leads him to conclude that there is more to life than the lonely existence he has come to know in the small town of ____________________(insert suburban town meant to underscore the protagonist’s ennui)
In this sprawling Wes Anderson produced film, the notions of “The universe liking SPEED”, is called into question not only by the 180-minute running time, but by X’s desperate scramble to live out each of the top 100 quotes from the book.
Michelle Williams stars as Rainbow, a personal support worker who randomly picks up a copy of The Secret left at a South Bronx subway station. Though her advice, “Close your eyes and visualize having what you already want – and the feeling of having it already” falls on deaf ears to the homeless people she regularly counsels (as does her injunction that “the immune system heals itself” to clients with HIV), her enthusiasm for the titular book brings her into contact with X, who’s moved to the big city for a life change. Do they hook up and perhaps argue over whose copy of the book they should junk to save space in the tiny apartment they can afford to share? Well, that’s a Secret… for now.
Set in a dystopian hell five years from the present day, OPERATION! tells the story of Tim Trimble (Sean Penn), a percussionist and part-time collector of people’s personal holiday snaps from the 1970s, who wakes up one morning in a strange hotel room minus a kidney and with a huge room service tab. Trimble embarks on a search for his missing organ and through a series of misadventures made palatable for audiences by a co-star plucked from a highly rated reality television program, he stumbles upon the truth.
What he finds horrifies him: an underground network of amateur surgeons performing operations in pits as actual doctors shout instructions from the sidelines. The would-be doctors are hooked up to electrodes and get shocks of increasing severity every time they foul up an instruction.
This explains the bad stitching, Trimble thinks, but what does it say about humanity?
Fortuna’s Wheel (aka Wheel of Fortune — The Movie), directed by Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited)
Patton Oswalt stars as Pat Sajak and Brian Dennehy as Merv Griffin, creator of Wheel of Fortune, in this story of a man, Bobby (played by Liam Neeson) whose life spins out of control when he loses the fortune he amasses on a popular TV game show. Loosely based on a true story in that this show did exist and some contestants did cheap out on vowel-buying at the worst possible time, the film depicts Bobby’s struggle to convince the show’s producers to give him one more chance at prime time glory, and the epic fallout once that wish is granted.
His selection of the letter “X” in the bonus round, makes him a center of a media firestorm—pitting traditionalists, those who’d pick more conventional consonants, against the show’s burgeoning youthful demographic. Bobby becomes an anti-hero, speaking at community colleges about his experiences and publishing his book, “When the Wheels Came Off”
Inspired by, and then wholly distanced from for legal reasons, the work of graphic novelist Frank Miller, here is Kool Aid Man: The Movie, a future faxed submission to the Sundance Film Festival. Throughout history, man has marveled at the vast complexity of the universe. Now, one creative art director from a big New York City ad agency has added to this, with his creation, a bizarre, inexplicably popular, fun-loving character that supplies sugary drinks to children in pitcher-form, while destroying real estate.
This is a story of boy meets girl and vice versa too (in the sense that “meet” here functions as a transitive verb). It’s a heart-warming (or at very least, cardiac-temperature neutral) tale of how a catchphrase-spouting mascot charmed its way into our homes, sometimes in a manner for which he could have been legally gunned down.
From the acclaimed director of A Dog’s Breakfast: The Spuds MacKenzie story…Jack Black stars as the eponymous hero, a congenial, fun-loving liquid repository and Ellen Page co-stars as his love interest. “You might be liquid, but to me you’re one of the most solid guys I know”.
A young widow, Bessie (Hilary Swank), discovers that her late husband, pro soccer player Phil (Matthew McConaughey), who succumbed to leg cancer after a long battle, has left her posthumous Tweets to help ease her pain and get on with her life. Before he died, because afterward would’ve been a physical impossibility, Phil wrote Bessie a series of @replies to guide her, as well as a collection of #hashtags (#thefinalcountdown #Philneedsamagicpill)
Through her grief, Bessie rediscovers herself, as well as the potential of social media. The first message arrives on Bessie’s 35th birthday in the form of a bitly link, which she suspects is spyware/malware, so she deletes it. Fearing she acted too hastily the first time around, she opens the second message, finding a link to a travel website extolling the virtues of South America.
In the weeks and months that follow, which, if filmed in real time would have taken weeks and months, more Tweets are revealed from a cyber cafe in Buenos Aires. Bessie checks one Tweet per day until finally she realizes that Twitter only saves a finite number of them. Initially devastated, she still learns a universal truth about server hardware and online storage capacity and that the wonders of Argentina do not reveal themselves from the inside of a cyber cafe, especially if the keyboard has Spanish settings.
Trix Rabbit: Frank’s Revenge, directed by Brett Ratner (X-Men 3, Money Talks)
In this prequel to the psychological thriller Donnie Darko, a depressed teen is tipped off about the pending apocalypse by a character gracing a cereal box, who convinces him to commit a series of acts that contravene pediatrician orders about proper management of Juvenile Diabetes.
Under the influence of large and potentially lethal fluctuations in blood sugar, Donnie Darko (in a role reprised by Jake Gyllenhaal, with award-winning special effects artists making him appear that much younger), campaigns to rid large supermarket chains of potentially deleterious breakfast cereals, and when this proves ineffective, he resorts to flooding the dairy section with a gardening hose. Can young Jake jettison this jarring jackalope while junking juvenile diabetes? Only a poetry slam champion can say for sure.
Fish Aplenty, directed by Nick Castle (Mr. Wrong, Major Payne, Dennis the Menace)
Based on the popular dating site, Plenty of Fish. Kate Hudson stars as “Kate” (kicking off a new trend of actors using only their own first names in films to avoid confusion), an impossibly good-looking, charming, rich, fashion magazine editor, who can’t find a date. She meets an anonymous stranger online, Brandon (Gerard Butler) who, in a startling series of increasingly sensory-deadening coincidences, turns out to be a) her boss, b) her third-cousin c) her dad and d) her gynecologist’s twin.