Thursday, 10 May 2012

Hollywood Babble On & On #897: Let's Help Universal

In the past I've offered my advice to MGM about remakes they can do that wouldn't offend movie fans and curse the movies to failure and ignominy. Today I decided that I should offer the resources of my infinite egocentric narcissism wisdom to Universal Pictures, which really needs my help.

Let's look at their plan to remake The Rockford Files with Vince Vaughn in the title role of Files. I've already explained why it is doomed to fail, so let's come up with a pitch in a similar vein that could succeed.

THE PITCH:  Vince Vaughn is a former Chicago cop whose once high flying police career was sidelined when he was framed for murder and spent five years in prison. He was eventually cleared by DNA evidence and released. Once free took his settlement money to the sunny shores of southern California. But the money didn't last long, and now he's stuck owning a little storefront building in Venice Beach, renting out half the store to a surf shop, and using the other half as his office where he works as a P.I. to make ends meet.

Most of his cases are small time, but he gets a chance for the big time when the boss of Hollywood's top PI firm offers him a gig filling in for a guy on a big divorce case involving a sexy starlet.  Naturally, it's all a big fat set-up that leads to murder, blackmail, sex, violence, a nice car chase or two, and our lead dropping all sorts of snappy quips. Put all that together and you've got a mystery/comedy that can be done for relatively small money that doesn't have the baggage of a character that's built around another actor, that's beloved by fans, and forgotten by non-fans.  If it's a hit, he can then do sequels well into his old age, and the films themselves can replay on TV into infinity.

Now let's look at Universals plan to reboot the reboot & rip-off of horror turned action/adventure franchises The Mummy and Van Helsing, which I vigorously poo-pooed in an earlier post.

THE PITCH: Try making something scary.

Universal made its bones in the golden age of movies by making horror movies that are still fondly remembered today.  

The secret of good horror movies is the fact that you don't need big budgets, you don't need big stars, and you don't need to throw in legions of elaborately rendered CGI monsters. 

Do a scary movie featuring a mummy rising from the tomb and terrorizing people. Set it on a college campus and you can have some sexy coeds running around. It's not rocket science, it's movie-making.

If you have any other ideas for ways Universal can get itself out of its own pit of creative stagnation leave them in the comments so I can steal them and sell them for millions. BWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!!


BTW- If you have a question about pop culture and the business behind it, CLICK HERE and leave them in the comments. Ask me anything about anything and I will either answer it correctly, or fake my way through it.


  1. I've been saying it for some time, but nobody listens to me. If you must remake The Rockford Files, there's only one guy to do it. Bruce Campbell.

    Yes, I'm a genius.

  2. Lars, I thought they did that. Only it was called "Burn Notice".