Monday, 22 March 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #475: A Few Thoughts On A Few Things

Welcome to the show folks...


Universal/Relativity Media's sci-fi action film Repo Men died at the box office with a whimper, not unlike an alcoholic's overburdened liver. Now some folks are wondering why. Was it the gore? The violence? The not-to-subtle social commentary?

Well, the problem was the premise.

Let's look at some of the more obvious holes in the premise.

1. The scientific premise is dated. When I was in film school in the 90s, every wannabe screenwriter in Toronto had a sci-fi script involving people stealing or repossessing organs for profit. At the time it seemed edgy, now not so much. We now live in an age where we're bombarded with news about scientists getting closer every day to cloning organs for people using their own non-embryonic stem cells. No threat of rejection, and highly unlikely that the minions of a corporation are going to gut you to sell it to someone else.

2. The evil corporation's business model is really poor. Okay, so this company sells people artificial organs at exorbitant prices that hardly anyone can pay, and then cuts them out if they miss a payment. Think about that. Then think about the gangs of family and friends who lost loved ones to this corporation plotting revenge, and then getting revenge by any means necessary.

Toss in the people with moral/religious/political objections to the company, and it's a free for all with guns and home-made bombs. The company would have to employ an army of bodyguards roughly equivalent in size to the Old Soviet Union's entire military just to keep the CEO alive. The Repo Men themselves would have to travel from job to job in armoured vehicles, live in secret locations, with all the other employees, and generally live on even less borrowed time than their customers. That's expensive, and not a good business model.

3. Where's the government? Any government that allows a corporation to literally gut its citizens over unpaid bills would be out of office very quickly, either by the ballot, or the bullet. Not even the worst big-biz buddy Republicans in the wildest fever dreams of Bill Maher would allow that to happen, even if only for purely political reasons like winning votes, or avoiding open civil war. The wise Marty Feldman said that any sketch or story has to have an internal logic that makes sense, even if only inside the universe of that story. That internal logic is missing in this premise.

4. The technology is dated. Why do they have to send out people to look for the delinquent organ customers, when they could have simply installed a GPS tracker chip and a remote OFF/ON switch at corporate headquarters. Want your legs to bend again? Then you better hobble on down and give us our money! Plus it will be easier to catch them if they can't move, or breath.

There's probably more, but to find them I'd have to see the movie, and I don't have that much time to waste.


You are the gift that keeps on giving. You see the producers of Fox's
American Idol wanted Conan O'Brien to do a brief cameo on their charity show American Idol Gives Back. NBC said ixnay on the ameocay, and Conan was unable to appear on the show.

Now legally, NBC is right. According to the exit deal Conan O'Brien is technically their bitch until Fall, and can't even post a new picture of himself on the internet until then.

But we're not talking the law, what we're talking about are tactics.

Legally right,
tactically stupid.

Basically NBC just gave Conan, Fox, and
American Idol some press, while making themselves look like dicks towards charity.

I think the fact that NBC didn't see something like this coming, especially from Fox, whose executives have some sharp elbows and love to pick fights with rivals, shows that some serious trimming needs to be done of the executive fat, namely the fat at the head.

They could have given some special permission for him to appear on the charity special, in exchange for having NBC named as one of the charities.


Actor Ewan McGregor has inked a deal to play King Edward VIII who abdicated the throne to be with the "woman he loved" an American divorcee named Wallis Simpson, to be played by Vera Farmigia.

Now this sounds like any other costume drama, but here's the kicker. The movie is to mark the directorial debut of aging pop-tart Madonna.

Yes, your eyes are not lying to you.

So let's pause to think about the details of this little film.

Madonna, who has never directed a movie before, and has a box office record worse than Dane Cook, is making a period costume drama about a man who abdicated the crown for love, but then conspired with the Nazis to get it back, and failed. Living the rest of his life in a pathetic state of semi-exile, rife with alcoholism and infidelity on both sides, and only saved from being hanged for treason to keep the scandal from tainting the rest of the royal family.

Who gave this the green-light?

Seriously, put up your hand. Because you need some medical treatment.

Maybe you can get a new brain from the company the Repo Men work for.


  1. "The movie is to mark the directorial debut of aging pop-tart Madonna."

    Remember Filth and Wisdom? Neither do I.

  2. Repo Men also has to deal with two other works that are in people's minds - first, there's the old 'Repo Man' cult movie, which has absolutely nothing to do with organs. I'm sure there were a lot of people who saw the new thing and thought it was a remake, and that kind of confusion couldn't help. Then, there's Repo the Genetic Opera, which is some internet thing (like Dr. Horrible) that geeks have been talking up to high heaven - which is why I assume it's bad. It's pretty much the same premise as Repo Men, which I originally thought meant that somebody was ripping off somebody else, but hearing D mention there being a horde of scripts based off the premise, it probably just means that neither team has had an original idea since college.

  3. ILDC-- Maybe I should have clarified by saying it was the "feature film directorial debut", because wasn't Filth & Wisdom some sort of concert film?

    Striker Z-- In my screenwriting class at Ryerson in the 90s every second script was about organ stealing, repo'ing, or some other shenanigans. All the others were about dysfunctional families and video cameras.

  4. You know that the idea of a moron leaving his throne for tail, starting to miss it and conspires to reclaim it by having Nazis help out, fall into a mess of drunken disorder to slowly fade out of history with a typical sorta happy ending in tragedy...

    Royalty.. Mistress cum sorta wife.. NAZIs.. Ruin......

    Is perfect golden dildo clam chowder for everyone in it! Expect this to pop up this winter to stay fresh in the filthy minds of hollyweird~

    Coming soon to Bomb in your nearest bijou.

  5. "wasn't Filth & Wisdom some sort of concert film?"


  6. Really?

    Well, well. I guess we've finally found a gap in my knowledge. Though it's not like anyone saw it, so I can get away with my ignorance. ;)

  7. You do realize that I was also taking a jab at the movie in my first comment, right?

  8. I know, I'm a bastard. ;)