Sunday, February 20, 2011

7 Ways to Make Hollywood A Better Place

Once again, I fail in my duty to post regularly. However, if all goes according to plan, from this post henceforward, you may expect new material every Sunday.

The time is ripe for a movie post! Oscars are on their way, and I’m sure there’s more people yapping about them than can fill a Wal-Mart. I’m adamant that Hollywood needs better storytellers. Therefore, I have some suggestions for them…

1) Put at least four of these men as stars in the same movie: Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McKellan, Christopher Lee, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. These men have been cast as butlers, wise mentors, and grand villains one time too many. They have amazing acting chops and they deserve a story that will let them use it. I will write the screenplay if I have to. In fact, I will write the screenplays for any of these if I have to!

2) Make a serious paranormal romance. Twilight is cowardly. Imagine if someone had a story where realistic happened between a human and a vampire, or werewolf, or demon, or whatever. What would happen? Is such a thing even possible? Would there be doubt in their hearts? Would they be able to have children? There are so many directions that Stephanie Meyer seems to have passed up. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve never read the books.

3) Make on old-fashioned fairy-tale. Ever seen the climax of Sleeping Beauty? Or, more importantly, the whole thing? It does get girly at times, but when it hits the grand moments… it hits the grand moments. Watch the scene where the fairies break out Prince Phillip from Maleficient’s twisted, astoundingly huge castle. Watch them flee her wrath and then face her as a dragon, and all the fireworks that follow. Watch that and then tell me with a straight face that fairy-tales are stupid.

4) Make an inspirational movie that isn’t cliché. Seriously. I lost my faith in this genre longer ago than I care to admit. A fresh angle is needed. What is it that connects us to these films? What are ways to touch that something again without miring oneself in stereotypes.

5) Make a movie where sex and violence lead to consequences. The Graduate didn’t take this all the way, but the consequences it did show made for a ton of conflict. I was hoping that No Strings Attached would give it a chance, but according to reviews, it seems I hoped in vain. As for violence, the lack of responsibility completely ruined Taken for me. So action directors take heed. Make your characters pay for the evil they do, even the end justifies it!

6) Make a horror movie that does not show a drop of blood. Psycho and Alien scared me so much that I could barely look at the screen. Psycho, especially, was good at telling without showing, and it told so well that I still look behind me in the showers sometimes. Throw morality back in, and you’re set. Morals are essential for a good horror movie. If there are none, what is there to be frightened about?

7) Adapt any one of these books to the screen…
-          The Count of Monte Cristo (because the 2002 adaption with Jim Caviezel is great, but it didn’t adequately capture the essentials of the novel)
-          Redwall (Yes. It can be done. God rest the soul of Brian Jacques, and may he find someone who can bring his works to life without the result being either cheesy or pretentious)
-          Thunderbird (Odds are you haven’t heard of this one. It’s flawed, ambitious, sinful, and deeply engaging)
-          The Brothers Karamazov (This novel is practically begging to be put on screen. It would be a pain for whoever had to write the screenplay, but it can happen)
-          Morte D’Arthur (Everyone likes a good adventure. If someone can handle Malory without Hollywoodizing him too much, we’re in business)
-          Eragon (Do not speak to me about the 2006 movie. This is another escapist movie that could immense fun if done right. Please avoid the “beat-you-over-the-head” moralizing of The Dawn Treader movie)

I believe any of these films, if done correctly, will make for better stories for the American public. My, that sounded pretentious. Let me re-phrase it. People will like these stories, and by watching them, hopefully, they will come in contact with something deeper than what tends to be successful on the screen today.

Any questions?


  1. if that is what you want to see, you should try watching Avatar:the Last Airbender series. it has morals, lessons, action, plot, dialogue, betrayal, kung fu, massive explosions, and much more. true, at the beginning of the series it seems to be geared more towards children, but if you follow the story to the very end, you can't help but think "damn," or whatever the sean equivalent of tht would be.
    (also, i am way too awesome to stay anonymous, so this comes at you from Jerry Hudson)

  2. I agree about the Count of Monte Cristo! What a great book (and long!). The movie was good, but the book would make a great mini-series.

  3. Have you seen "Red"? It's amazing, and kick ass and you will laugh your ass off. Guaranteed.

  4. @Jerry: I do concede that Avatar hits that at times. But it can also be really preachy, and always goofy. That's why I say I like to make fun of it. I do appreciate the big plots, though. I shouldn't have been as critical as my Facebook comments. The Zuko/Grandfather subplot, in particular, I enjoy deeply.

    @Roddy: Thanks for commenting! I'm glad to find a fellow fan out there. A mini-series may actually work! Didn't think about that before. It would definitely be ideal to get a richer, more detailed version. I still think one feature-length movie can successfully get the core elements of the book, more accurately and memorably than the 2002 version. But don't get me wrong. I still love that version.

    @The Ranter: I haven't, but ever since seeing the trailer, I have wanted to dearly. One of my friends has a copy. It's on my to-do list. I love the concept and I especially love the idea of Helen Mirren wielding a machine gun. RED definitely fits #1.

  5. The movie that still cannot be made yet (with apologies to Peter Jackson) Dante's "Divine Comedy".

  6. I want to read that poem before I graduate, Dad. What I know already tells me that you may well be right.

  7. Chesterton's Manalive, starring Liam Neeson and directed by Mel Gibson. Get that done and I'll buy tickets every night for a week!

  8. haha I especially love #3! Sleeping Beauty is an amazing film, I totally agree. Have you seen Tangled? I was sorely disappointed by Princess and the Frog, but I thought Tangled was awesome!

  9. @Anthony S. Layne: Interesting. Haven't read it myself, but if it's done right, it seems something that would be unique among popular movies. Why Mel Gibson and Neeson, though? Isn't Manalive about someone teaching others that life is worthwhile?

    @marychapman: Thanks for the recommendation. I saw Princess and the Frog, and thought it alright, though NO masterpiece. Pretty PC to boot. Tangled intrigues me. I've heard good things from other people as well, and I want to see it.

  10. Eragon has already been made into a great movie. It came out in 1977.

  11. Ha! Good shot, sir! I touched on the unoriginality in a post from last year (you can read that, if you like, at

    By the way... why are you titling yourself as the Pope? If you're just playing around, I beg to know why.

  12. Are you sure you wish to play with so important a title? I don't question you necessarily, but it seems important to ask.

  13. if you do read the Divine Comedy, get the translation by Anthony Esolen (sp?).