By Ken Napzok
The Napzok Files…
How to make it in Hollywood, part six.
First off, you’re an idiot. Why? Just ‘cause. Anyone who has the opportunity to write their opinions and have them published on the Internet has to be stupid. Second, I live in the Mid-West and ever since watching The Rocketeer on VHS as a child I’ve wanted to win an Oscar Globe in Hollywood. So, since you live there and think you’re so big, tell me, how do you make it in Hollywood?
City College Film Student
Well, I always want to help a future Hollywood mogul, so let’s continue our series on how to make it in Hollywood with today’s lesson…
Reboot the Past
Hollywood runs on fear. Fear that the next best thing has slipped by. Fear that the next new acting, writing, or directing star is going to take your place. Fear that the movie you staked your producing life on is going to fail. That is why you need to create something that has a low risk, high reward factor going for it. You need to give ‘em something familiar yet different. In other words… it’s reboot time!!!
1.) Find the right property.
In order to find the right property to reboot, you should look for something that has been ruined by one, some, or all of the following: bad director, bad third film, or bad spin off. Now the property should not be so damaged that Hollywood suits will wretch upon hearing you mention it during a meeting, but it should have enough luster worn off that dollar signs will appear in the eyes of the greenlighters. Something like…
2.) Make it gritty.
Since the franchise you’re trying to revive probably lost its way when it got too corny and was filled with a lot of superfluous characters dressed in primary colors, you’re going to need to pitch this as something “more real, more gritty.” This means the main character is going to need to have a drinking problem, broken heart, or goatee. The world he inhabits should have a lot of shades of gray… literally and figuratively.
The antagonist is not going to be a straight out bad guy. He (or she… ooooooo, how ‘bout that twist?!?!) will be a villain that is as equally troubled as our hero. The audience should partially understand why they got so bad, but just to make sure we don’t lose support for our hero we’ll put the villain in some weird make-up that will frighten your Grandmother.
3.) Make the characters younger (i.e. sexier).
You want to sell this thing, right? Well, then take those characters that we all knew and loved the first time we saw it in the theatre and make them younger by at least ten years. Maybe twenty. Maybe even thirty years younger from the last time we paid to watch them on screen.
As an added bonus, make sure you reveal a love story previously not told in the franchise’s history books.
4.) Pitch it as a franchise, but don’t pander for sequels with your ending.
The Hollywood suit you’re pitching to absolutely wants this reboot to spawn an entire new trilogy. How else can he assure his job safety for the next few years? But you don’t want to end your movie with an ending that comes across as an out and out plea for sequel money. So, give your first film a nice, self contained story. It will save you the embarrassment when your film only pulls in 60 million during its opening weekend and you’re kicked out of Hollywood, branded a failure.
So, there you go. Follow those four simple steps and you’ll be on your way to big pay days, award show after parties, and a third marriage that would make everyone in your hometown shake their collective heads in judgment.
1.) Blake Lively, Amateur iPhone user- I don’t care if it’s her or not, when even my Grandma is asking the question you have become the most talk about person in Hollywood… for this week.
2.) Hugh Jackman, Wolverine- A top five movie cameo. Stole the rather good X-Men: First Class with one line.
3.) Large Military Grade Ships- Speaking of X-Men: First Class, it would appear that if you have a large CGI budget the first thing you want to do is destroy an aircraft carrier, submarine, or battleship. It’s the official trend of the last five years, replacing the trend of destroying the White House.
4.) Orlando Bloom, Elvish Stud- It’s been close to a decade since women got to swoon over Orlando Bloom’s Legolas character. Now, thanks to Peter Jackson’s tinkering with The Hobbit they’ll get the chance again in 2012.
5.) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Brauma Bull of Film- It appears that the Most Electricfying Man in ALL of Entertainment has muscled his way into the G.I. Joe film franchise as Roadblock, the rhyming, machine gunning cook. Wait. They’re still going to make a second G.I. Joe film?
The “They Should Remake This” Award of the Month
But this time… let’s make it 3D!!!!
I know, I know. This is one of the greatest and deepest films ever made. How can we possibly remake it? The better question is… how can we NOT remake it. This movie was made in the dark ages… the 1990’s… come on! Back then people still used phone books and stopped to ask for directions. They might as well have lived in caves and rode donkeys to work. It is time to give Titanic the treatment it deserves. And that treatment is three dimensions.
When that ship hits that pesky ice berg I want to feel it in my Goobers. When people start falling off the deck and into the icy water I want second hand shrinkage. When Leo sketches Kate nude I want to have to apologize to my girlfriend. Three separate dimensions, all of them racing for my face. That’s how the world views movies now: Sensory overload. The audience deserves the chance to ignore all weak plots, flat characters, and clear references to FernGully. A chance they were denied in 1997.
The “Gem of a Moment” Scene of the Month
Outside of the Cheaper by the Dozen “franchise,” working opposite Queen Latifah, or trying to invoke the legendary Peter Sellers, Steve Martin remains one of the world’s greatest comic treasures. His brand of intelligent absurdity has been hitting the mark for decades now. In his promotional appearances on Letterman or Saturday Night Live guest spots, he has perfected the “Steve Martin character;” an ego driven megastar who can’t be bothered with the little people while remaining clueless to his own shortcomings. But one of the all-time best Steve Martin moments remains his mental breakdown in the 1991 remake of Father of the Bride.
With the pressures of planning his daughter’s wedding combined with the realization that he has no control over the wedding and can’t stop the eventual “loss” of his little girl to her new life, Martin’s George Banks tries to catch a relaxing breath of fresh air. His wife, though, sends him to the grocery store. While it includes such memorable moments as Martin ripping hot dog buns out of the packages to even them up with the amount of hot dogs he’s purchasing, explaining that it takes two for a “we” to calm down, and a low speed foot pursuit through a grocery store, the scene is made in the simple and weighted pause that Steve Martin takes before blowing up at the box boy.
In that moment, all that is wrong with his life and the world is embodied in the box boy’s dutiful indifference to Martin’s plight. For once, the “Steve Martin character” is actually the only self-aware one in the room. When he explodes, he’s exploding for all of Mankind.
Indiana Solo and the Fellowship of the Ewoks memory of the month
A lot of huh-bub has recently been made about the reopening of the Star Tours ride at Disneyland.
I haven’t had the chance to wait three hours in line for two minutes of mild entertainment yet, but, trust me, I’ll get there. With a renewed focus on Star Tours, I could not help but reflect on the first time I got the chance to take that fateful first ride sometime in the late eighties. (Ah, the late eighties… when a trip to Disneyland didn’t cost the same price as a small European country.)
After getting up early at the nearby Travelodge and dressing myself in corduroy pants and a very much not matching green Return of the Jedi T-shirt, I pulled out a map of Disneyland and calculated the quickest route from my families blue Subaru station wagon to the front of the Star Tours line. (I’m still bitter that my parents made us stop to rent a locker for the day. Like I couldn’t hold my Members Only jacket. Whatever!) Finally. After only a few delays and a relatively short line, we were strapped into our Star Tours spaceship and a droid with the voice of Pee-Wee Herman was explaining to us that this was his “first time” flying.
The ride was pretty cool and I remember feeling slightly sick to my stomach while Pee-Wee took us into the heart of an asteroid. Taking part in a space battle and flying down the Death Star trench was just like I always dreamed it should be. Seeing Chewbacca in the “how to attach your seatbelt” video was hilarious to a kid my age. But something wasn’t sitting right with me. Something about this little space adventure was eating at me. At that young age I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I couldn’t explain it.
Then… one day… I understood.
I stood up and yelled, “Star Tours isn’t cannon.”
I pounded my fist on the table, “The attack on the first Death Star combined with adds for Endor. The Rebels offering Hoth as a vacation spot after the Empire found them there. Episode IV-era TIE Fighters yet no Episode VI-era TIE Interceptors. Star Tours isn’t cannon!”
So, that date didn’t end well.
Let’s all go to the lobby…
… and ask the manager to turn down the air conditioning.
I totally understand the idea of keeping things cool, especially in a packed movie house on a warm weekend night, but a Wednesday afternoon at eleven am?!?!? I recently watched X-Men: First Class with mittens on. There were about ten people in the audience (See… the Box Office totals were right!!!) and we were all treated to a man made Arctic breeze that chilled our Junior Mints.
Perhaps someone can start selling Snuggies with promotional movie tie-ins.
Game of Thrones awkward sex scene count:
20… approximately. To be honest, though, I kinda stopped counting after the Lannister incest scene to close episode one. Game of Thrones remains the only show to include sex scenes that give you the queasy hot spits.
Little Known Movie Trivia
It is a well known fact that Die Hard with a Vengeance, the third film in the Die Hard franchise, was originally conceived as a Brandon Lee vehicle before being considered as the fourth Lethal Weapon film. But, did you know, that the first Die Hard film was originally conceived as a sitcom pilot for Bruce Willis? In it he would play a former New York cop who moved to Los Angeles to become a singing bartender who worked corporate Christmas parties.
Ken Napzok is a writer, comedian, and pro wrestling manager living in Los Angeles. He always thought Magneto was an amazing, life changing kitchen appliance sold on late night infomercials. He can followed at http://www.twitter.com/kozpan or subtly threatened at email@example.com.The Napzok Files: "Reboot the Past" (6-15-11),