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What Were They Thinking?

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Mike Cohen
What Were They Thinking?
on Oct 19, 2011 at 9:46:37 pm

This thread is about movies that should never have been made, despite the best intentions of the cast and crew. We've all seen these movies. Anything where Harrison Ford is playing a regular shmoe for example, like "Extraordinary Measures." Yes it was a somewhat inspiring story, but the filmmakers could have saved $30 million and gone with a non-Harrison Ford actor and gotten the same result. That being said, the movie was pretty unwatchable. Brendan Fraser also not so good without guns or special effects.

Speaking of H. Ford, a recent Entertainment Weekly interview with Brad Pitt indicated that "The Devil's Own" was another Ford vehicle that was a disaster in the making and rather unmemorable.

A-List actors sometimes seem to take movies solely to keep up with their multiple mortgage and car payments and multiple alimony payments. During the filming of "Castaway", while waiting for Tom Hanks to lose 100 pounds, Bob Zemeckis went and filmed "What Lies Beneath" oddly also starring H. Ford. Another example of a movie that the world really didn't need.

In trying to get away from Mr Ford, the mind comes to Mr Spielberg. Jurassic Park II in my opinion was a waste of film along with The Terminal (a few fun moments but pretty boring overall). I know Spielberg and Hanks are buds but surely they could have come up with something more compelling.

Movies like both Hulks had good intentions but you wonder if the directors were even involved in the filming.

Am I having a low blood sugar day here or does the group agree that some movies should never be greenlit?

Mike Cohen


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Jason Jenkins
Re: What Were They Thinking?
on Oct 19, 2011 at 11:48:44 pm

[Mike Cohen] "Am I having a low blood sugar day here or does the group agree that some movies should never be greenlit?"

Yes, like 90% of them.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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Scott Roberts
Re: What Were They Thinking?
on Oct 20, 2011 at 7:29:21 pm

Just off the top of my head, from this year: Battleship.

In a way, I even think Battleship is a worse film to be greenlit than something like Sucker Punch. And I HATED Sucker Punch.

Now, I never saw Battleship (and don't plan to, even as a late night TBS movie in a few years), but I would rather have 5 awful, awful original film ideas like Sucker Punch than 1 painfully bad unoriginal idea. A bad idea along the lines of making a thinly plotted, loosely based on a plastic board game movie that EVERYBODY knows is going to be terrible. And everybody knows it not from the trailer, but from the press release from the studio saying "Yeah, we'll be making Battleship next year".

At least the original films have potential to be something, where as Battleship (I'm gonna go for the crappy pun) was a sinking idea from the start.


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Mike Cohen
Re: What Were They Thinking?
on Oct 20, 2011 at 8:29:47 pm

Ok let's take Battleship. It appears the film is not out yet but the trailer looks worse than GI Joe which was just awful.

So some producer in Hollywood gets the rights (this assumes the rights for a movie adaptation of a board game even exist - or more likely a big time producer calls the VP of marketing at Milton Bradley who gets very excited after thinking of the highly lucrative points he received for Clue, Connect Four and Hungry Hungry Hippo, and the project came alive). Total spent so far about $1million.

Next the producer gets Peter Berg involved to direct and be a co-producer. Berg is of course a playa having directed Hancock, The Kingdom and both the film and tv show Friday Night Lights. They take the president of Universal out for an Entourage-style night of debauchery, acquire some incriminating photos in their phones of him in some compromising and unusually acrobatic poses, and they get a check for $200million delivered by courier the next day.

Next they throw a dart at the WGA directory and pick the writers - brothers who wrote Red, the Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich vehicle from 2011 which was actually pretty sharply written and acted.

For some reason however the script is delivered with a plot involving Battleships vs Aliens. Now it could simply be a coincidence that a movie about Cowboys vs Aliens was released in 2011. Perhps the writers, director and producers have never actually played the game Battleship, which is about ships vs SSSSHHHIIIPPPSSS.

I understand that ship to ship combat fell out of favor after a little known world war taking place in the 1940's, and that everyone knows movies about any sub-group of people vs Aliens is a guaranteed winner (by the way, Cowboys and Aliens made $167million in its worldwide theatrical release on a budget of $163million - not really very impressive - it is the 14th least money-making movie ever based upon loss on worldwide gross).

So pretending that Battle Los Angeles, Alien vs Predator 2, I am Number Four, Skyline and Cowboys and Aliens were wildly successful (probably good gigs for the writers and directors anyway) we're in business.

Next get an A-List star. Liam Neeson is available for only $5 million - a bargain, giving us more money for alien effects in a movie influenced by WWII - super awesome!). We can fill in supporting roles with Rhianna, Alexander Skarsgard, and a collection of character actors working for scale and we have not yet broken $10 million. These aliens are gonna be off the hook. Hey, have we paid the writers yet? Not sure we need that script after all.

Basically you get something we learned in Communication 101 called "groupthink." There is no Devil's advocate and you get a bunch of people agreeing with each other, patting each other on the back, buying each other dinner at Morton's and Jeff Goldblum is never invited because if he was he would have asked "while you were figuring out if you COULD make a movie about ships vs aliens did anyone ever ask if you SHOULD?"

So things have moved along. The script is accepted because a quick search in Final Draft shows that the words "battleship" and "aliens" are both included. The writers are asked to simply add some more dialogue and perhaps a nude scene for Rhianna and we're in business.

Filming is set to begin in Australia, but due to a change in the tax incentives, at the last minute the production moves to Hawaii. Water is water after all.

Filming takes about 2 weeks on location followed by a bunch of green screen work in Culver City, followed by a full 3 months of CGI and we have a movie. The production accountant cannot account for about $140 million but he's sure it was spent on something important. No worries, they have a tent pole for 2012 about ships and aliens. Hooray.

_____________

I did not see Sucker Punch but I would imagine there was a lot of alcohol involved at the front end, and based upon the box office (worldwide $89 million against budget of $89 million and generally awful reviews across the board), also at the back end. And they are letting Zack Snyder take on Superman next. He must have made the Superman deal before Sucker Punch wrapped. Zod help us.

I see how this works.

Next....

Mike Cohen


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Scott Roberts
Re: What Were They Thinking?
on Oct 20, 2011 at 8:47:31 pm

[Mike Cohen] "Ok let's take Battleship. It appears the film is not out yet but the trailer looks worse than GI Joe which was just awful."

I am 100% serious here, I thought Battleship came out already, haha. That's how little I planned on seeing it. Wow.


[Mike Cohen] "The script is accepted because a quick search in Final Draft shows that the words "battleship" and "aliens" are both included."

Hahaha, nice.



Here's one for you from today:

http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=32269

A live-action, big-budget remake of Akira. A landmark Japanese anime that was famous for being a really good CARTOON. You know they are going to cast white dudes in like 75% of the roles. You just know they will. This can't be a good idea, can it? I smell a Speed Racer level of mediocre disappointment.


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Stephen Smith
Re: What Were They Thinking?
on Oct 21, 2011 at 3:20:19 pm

Sorry, but here comes the party pooper. I think it is harsh to say that a "movie should have never been made". Extraordinary Measures, a film I have not seen got a 55% audience rating and a 27% movie critic rating. My point is, although you hated it some one else enjoyed it. I watched What Lies Beneath back when it came out and remember liking it. It has a 61% audience rating and a 45% critic rating.

I think the Beatles where an amazing band and the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album rocked. Yet on Amazon 78 customers out of 1,332 gave it a 1 star review. Click here for review.

All of us have different tastes and different likes.

PS, some how Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull got a 77% rotten tomatoes critic rating...What!

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Motion Tutorials


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Jeff Breuer
Re: What Were They Thinking?
on Oct 21, 2011 at 3:20:37 pm

[Mike Cohen] "Ok let's take Battleship. It appears the film is not out yet but the trailer looks worse than GI Joe which was just awful."

I agree. The first time I saw the trailer I was hoping, deep down inside, that at the end I would find out it is just another Funny Or Die gag. I would not be surprised if a lot of your story about how it came to life is actually true as well. But there are some talented people involved (You mentioned Berg and the brothers who wrote Red) and even though licensing a toy or a ride often ends in disaster, there are some great exceptions (I thought the first Pirates and TMNT movies were great, as was Clue).

I do think it is sad that a lot of these blind licensing deals are made, especially because I certainly don't believe there is a shortage of original ideas out there. So should the moral of your story be, we should all be mad at the hand that feeds? And who is that? Producers are afraid of losing their jobs to kids with better hair cuts, studio bosses get axed every other day. Who should be taking the blame "Battleship", "Haunted House", "Super Mario Brothers" and "Country Bears"?


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Mark Suszko
Re: What Were They Thinking?
on Oct 24, 2011 at 4:28:35 pm

I was one of those few that LIKED "TheTErmonal", though I agree it was flawed. We often recycle a line from that film, my wife and I:
(In Tom Hanks fake Eastern Euro accent)"I am....UNacceptable..."


I'll give you a scarier notion:

For every piece of crap film that got greenlit, there are many, MANY more scripts that WEREN'T EVEN AS GOOD AS THE CRAP ONES.

Because film making is a collborative process, with so many competing people all contributing something, frankly, I find any half-good movie these days to be a miracle, just for that.


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