Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Based on Actual Events

Some future movie blockbusters that may or may not make it.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 6:02 PM

This is the season when blockbuster movies are released, and movies based on actual events are among the most popular.

There's The Sessions, about a man in an iron lung's encounters with a sex therapist. Watching other people have therapeutic sex in this film is not to be confused with watching other people have sex for prurient reasons.

There's Argo, about Hollywood's semi-comic caper to get some Americans out of Iran right under the noses of the bamboozled Iranians, who were holding 52 other Americans hostage for 444 days. I knew nothing about this historical footnote until I saw the movie, although CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite ended each broadcast in 1980-1981 with "And that's the way it is, the [whatever] day of captivity for Americans in Iran."

click to enlarge lincoln_2-001_s640x427.jpg

And there's Lincoln, by director Steven Spielberg, which raised my appreciation for the 1990 Ken Burns documentary, The Civil War, and the helpful commentary of historian Shelby Foote. Lincoln deserves an "R" rating for "Restricted: Under 17 not allowed without parent, tutor, and copy of the U.S. Constitution."

Actual quote from a review in The Boston Globe: "It's possible you may think Lincoln is too talky — too full of characters and ideas, too taxing to our Twitter-pated attention spans. Consider, then, that it may not be the movie that's unworthy of your time. You may not be worthy of it."

Well, excuse me for feeling confused and clueless.

Here are some other movie concepts "based on actual events" that should soon be in production.

The Moviegoer: a fresh take on the 1961 Walker Percy novel of the same title. This one's about a man with no discernible talent, training, or aptitude for, like, actual work, who finds employment going to movies and writing about them.

The Secessions: historical docu-drama, filled with political intrigue, about suburbanites in a Southern town who take matters into their own hands when a lame-duck school board surrenders its charter and consolidates school systems.

Denial: a political consultant, trailed by reporters and camera crews from Fox News, storms state capitals on December 17th, the day the Electoral College ratifies the results of the 2012 presidential election, and urges electors to go rogue. He insists that the results from Florida are not conclusive, Phythagoras only had a theory, math is suspect, and the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line.

The Good Husband: a spinoff from the television series The Good Wife, this one's about a man married to a politician who has affairs with David Petraeus, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, Bill Clinton, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Dallas Cowboys. Kim Kardashian stars as a Tampa socialite.

Requiem for a Heavyweight, II: The 1962 original starred Anthony Quinn as an aging and overweight boxer who takes up wrestling. The remake is about an aging and overweight football coach in a Southern state who is forced to resign, then rehired after the two pretty boys who succeed him flop. Filmed in Knoxville.

Black Like Me, Too: Reporter John Howard Griffin wrote the original in 1959 about his adventures as a white man disguised to look like a black man. This adaptation, heavy on cutting-edge medical advancements and neurology, features a Southern congressman who one-ups Griffin and undergoes the first-ever racial transplant to become an African-American.

Bovina: Taking its cue from head-scratching one-word titles such as Avatar, this surefire smash is about a perky actress and the hardships she suffers as a flying nun, union organizer, wife of cross-dressing comedian, and neurotic first lady to find fulfillment as television spokeswoman for the poor, put-upon, and misunderstood pharmaceuticals industry.

The Hangover Four: A straight-arrow college basketball coach goes a little crazy and indulges in a super-sized Coke and an order of fries after winning the national championship over his former mentor, the evil Coach Caligula, and cannot remember a gosh darn thing the next day.

Cupcake: a nostalgic musical about America through the eyes of a worker at a bakery that makes sugary treats. When evil bosses threaten to close the factory, a divided town finds something everyone loves and rallies around the Twinkies.

Elvis, the Golden Years: Based on a 2007 Flyer story by Greg Akers and Chris Herrington, a cheeky look at the King and what might have been if he had survived to his 77th birthday this year.

The Club From Hell: I am not making this up. Ten squash players, including me, team up to write a group novel. Sex, athletes, athletic sex, exotic locations, and more loose ends than a cheap mohair sweater. You may not be worthy of it.

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