I’ve done two really fun radio interviews in the past few days. I love going on the radio and I love talking with great hosts like Maria Sanchez of Ventura-based KVTA-AM, and Jamey and Jerry on Movie Geeks United.com. Jamey and Jerry seriously have the best radio show for hardcore movie fans anywhere on the dial, and they are positive, smart, and funny to boot. True gentlemen!
The topic in both cases was “Summer Movies” and to be honest, I prepped my little heart out to make sure I had plenty to say on the air. But time being limited like it is, I was unable to get it all out. And I’m dying to.
Summer begins today with the release of Indiana Jones 4 and I’ll be lining up with everyone else to see it. I’m going to have a great time no matter how it turns out, maybe because I go with reduced expectations. It will never live up to the first installment, and this points up the problem of any sequel. If, as I suggest, your story is about “the most important event that ever occurred in the life of your hero” then how can we see that… again? We have witnessed many examples over the years of the success and failure of the “sequel” whether it’s 2, 3, 4 or in the case of Ocean’s Eleven, 12 and 13.
This summer’s sequels include X-Files 2, The Mummy 3, Hellboy 2, Batman 2 (B), and the re-boot of The Hulk. To me, as a screenwriter, I am looking for how the writers will overcome the challenge of re-setting and re-launching “the most important event that ever occurred in the life of the hero” in each case. And I can appreciate even bad examples of this because it can inform my skills.
There are also a series of potential franchise launches that I’m curious about. Get Smart doesn’t seem to have many really great trailer moments, I wonder why? And this points up the ongoing problem of how to engage two audiences — those who grew up with the TV show the movie is based on, and those who’ve never heard of it. The ones that worked to date — Brady Bunch, for instance — captured the silliness of the attempt in a way that the ones that didn’t work — Bewitched — did not. There is also a series of original franchises like Kung Fu Panda, and Wall E from Pixar. These promise to be solid family films and I am a big fan of that difficult challenge, too. Nothing tougher than entertaining all of the 4 Quadrants. Will they?
What am I looking forward to most? I am really curious about a movie called Wanted, and director Timur Bekmambetov’s potentially Matrix-like style breakthrough. I also want to see Hancock, for as I said last night on MovieGeeks, the “Superhero” tale is about the problem of being special, and it looks like Will Smith and company have taken that dilemma into new territory. I M. also M.looking M.forward to M.The Happening. What is the “surprise” ending this time in M. Night Shaymalan’s latest? After a series of sour endings for his movies (the degree of difficulty of the logic in The Village is a 9.9 with a half-twist), I have a feeling this film may set things back on track for M. We shall M.see.
Little indies? I learned last night that American Teen has a lot of good word of mouth. I’m looking forward to both The Promotion and The Go-Getter — and Hamlet 2. This is from director Andrew Fleming, who was responsible for the Nixon-era satire Dick, starring Kirsten Dunst. In this, Waiting for Guffman-like comedy, Elizabeth Shue will play herself. What Buffy/Adventures in Babysitting gossip will spill out?
So buckle in for the kickoff of what should be not only an entertaining summer of films, but an educational one for screenwriters. And p.s. please remember to yell out “Save the Cat!” whenever you see a hero who “does something nice” when we meet him. Movie theaters owners love this!