By “fictional movie” I mean a movie that does not actually exist. They are often seen in the background of a film or TV show as a poster, trailer, billboard, or theater marquee. Sometimes they exist solely as a conversation between the in-universe characters. Or, like ‘The Dueling Cavalier’ in Singin’ in the Rain, they can exist as a film-in-a-film. A good real-life example is the Coen brothers’ film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which took its title from the fictional movie project in Sullivan’s Travels. Despite the fact that the real and fictional versions differ in plot, they share similar settings and themes. On the special edition DVD, the Coen brothers mention their film is almost what Sullivan would have ended up making after Sullivan’s Travels ends.
Below is a list of those fictional movies that I believe Hollywood should make, whether just to satisfy my inner fanboy or because I think they will turn out to be something worth watching.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to the realization that a lot of the things I enjoyed as a kid were pretty terrible. Bazooka gum, Big Macs, Monopoly… and Thundercats. I loved the show as a kid, but was thoroughly unimpressed upon watching it again in college. I’m still not convinced the movie would be all that good because the basic story is a bit too ridiculous and nonsensical. ‘Thundercats’ makes the list based solely on the incredible quality of the fake trailer. However, I don’t mind a brainless action adventure movie every so often, à la The Mummy. Combined with my lowered expectations and powerful nostalgia, I think I could easily enjoy this movie when it comes out on DVD.
Remember that scene where Macaulay Culkin’s character uses a movie to trick the pizza delivery guy? This is that movie. For the longest time I thought this was an actual movie. ‘Angels’ was meant to emulate classic gangster movies in the film noir style. You can’t go wrong with characters named Acey and Snakes and dialogue like, “I’m gonna give ya till the count of ten to get yer ugly, yella, no good keister off my property before I pump yer guts fulla lead!” It isn’t so much that I want somebody to make this movie, as I wish it actually existed. There was, of course, a sequel in Home Alone 2 called ‘Angels With Even Filthier Souls’.
‘See You Next Wednesday’ is a recurring gag found in many of the works of John Landis. Landis is the director of such personal favorites as National Lampoon’s Animal House, Blues Brothers, ¡Three Amigos!, and Spies Like Us. SYNW is often mentioned by the film’s characters or seen in the background in posters and billboards. The problem here is that the plot, and even the genre, of SYNW changes from film to film. It has been a war movie, a melodrama, a porno, and a horror flick to name a few. Since there is no consistent plot or theme, what it means is that Landis would have free reign to do whatever he wanted, though it’d almost certainly turn out to be a comedy. However it ends up, Landis has proven that he possesses a deft comedy touch and I imagine it could be a lot like The Kentucky Fried Movie, but with a focus on spoofing Hollywood.
Most of the examples on this list exist as a parody or homage to a particular genre or a specific movie. Seinfeld is chock full of these types of fictional movies, including ‘The Flaming Globes of Sigmund’, ‘Prognosis Negative’, ‘Chunnel’, and ‘Blimp: The Hindenburg Story’ to name just a few. ‘Firestorm’ sounds like a parody of action movies and is mentioned during several different episodes, but is never actually seen, just talked about. It stars Harrison Ford, who at one point, “jumped out of the plane and was shooting back up at them while he was falling.” There’s also an “underwater escape” and a “helicopter lands on a car” at one point. It is supposed to be a huge blockbuster film in the show, as I believe it would be in real-life. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a truly senseless, over-the-top, summer action popcorn movie and ‘Firestorm’ ought to be just the ticket. In fact, how come they haven’t made this film yet? (and no, the 1998 Howie Long movie of the same name does not count – I want falling plane shooting!)
The Simpsons loves to use jokes featuring these types of fictional movies. Like most of the fictional movies out there, a lot of these gags are either a ridiculously numbered sequel or a pornographic pun. Some of personal favorites from the show include ‘Star Trek XII: So Very Tired’ and ‘Das Butt’. However, “The Itchy and Scratchy Show” has been a recurring element since the earliest episodes and was made into a movie in the sixth season. They’ve already made a Simpsons movie, so now Itchy and Scratchy deserve a turn.
In this day and age, it’s time for animated movies to move into more adult territory. As much as I love the films of Pixar and DreamWorks Animation, the genre needs to start to grow. An Itchy and Scratchy movie would undoubtedly be excessively violent, but that’s okay. The “Spy vs Spy” segments from MadTV were always my favorite parts. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was a start, but there needs to be more and better. Masterpieces from Japan such as Grave of the Fireflies and Princess Mononoke have proven that there is a lot of potential here. ‘Itchy and Scratchy’ may not be as high-brow, but it would be a move in the right direction and might provide that kick in the pants needed to get the industry interested. Utilizing all the powerful creative forces at the beck and call of Matt Groening, an ‘Itchy and Scratchy’ movie might be a lot better than some of you think.
This faux trailer, written and directed by Rob Zombie, for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s film Grindhouse, introduces itself as, “A brilliant achievement in motion picture history. Finally, the truth about Hitler’s diabolical plans to create a race of superwomen can be told…” Ultimately, five faux trailers were made including ‘Machete’, ‘Hobo With A Shotgun’, ‘Don’t!’, and ‘Thanksgiving’. Apparently, ‘Machete’ and ‘Hobo with a Shotgun’ are being made into actual features, but are currently trapped in development hell. ‘Werewolf Women of the SS’ follows the themes of the other trailers as a homage to the exploitation films of the 70s. Its got werewolves, Nazi’s, mad scientists, half-naked women and camp galore, not to mention Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu!
Hopefully, if this movie ever gets made, it manages to avoid becoming torture porn, which would suck. The whole point of ‘Werewolf Women’ is that its super cheesy. But it is extremely difficult to deliberately make a movie that is so-bad-its-good, and to get the audience to actually realize this. Most people tend to just miss the point, as I fear they would here. Recent attempts at camp films such as Snakes On A Plane and Shoot ‘Em Up haven’t exactly been box office or critical successes.
Another movie from the Seinfeld mythos makes the list and deservedly so, since it was featured so prominently on several episodes. Like ‘Firestorm’, ‘Rochelle, Rochelle’ was only ever talked about and never seen, but served as the primary plot point in the episode “The Movie.” It even got a shout out on Curb Your Enthusiasm and was referenced in an American Express print ad featuring Larry David (the show’s creator). The movie’s tagline, “A young girl’s strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk,” basically tells you all you need to know. The movie itself is apparently unbearable, but it does feature a lot of nudity (its primary appeal). Later on, the movie is even adapted into a Broadway musical starring Bette Midler. It’s difficult for me to say how exactly this movie would translate in real life, but a tongue-in-cheek (pun intended?) version could probably work. I mean, Striptease did $113 million worldwide. But, much like George and Jerry on the show, I’m not going to go see this movie for the story. As Elaine exclaims, “Men will sit through the most boring pointless movie if there’s the slightest chance a woman will take her top off.” The clip above relates to “Chunnel” as no clip could be found mentioning Rochelle, Rochelle.
‘The 3’ is a fictional spec script written by the fictional twin brother of Charlie Kaufman, Donald Kaufman. The script is a cliché psychological thriller about a cop protecting a woman from a serial killer. It’s suggested that, “the killer’s a literature professor. He cuts off little chunks from his victims’ bodies until they die. He calls himself ‘The Deconstructionist’.” At one point there’s supposed to be a chase scene where, “the killer flees on horseback with the girl, the cop’s after them on a motorcycle and it’s like a battle between motors and horses, like technology vs horse.” Bear in mind that the supposed twist of the movie (spoilers!) is that that the killer, the cop, and the girl are all the same person! I know that ‘The 3’ is meant to be a jab at the crap that is so often churned out by Hollywood, but I really want to see that chase scene. The version that plays in my head is like a bizarre mix between Identity and Memento. Considering how meta Adaptation was, how more meta (and awesome) would it be if the main protagonist(s) was played by Nicolas Cage, who also played Charlie and Donald Kaufman?
Long gone are the days when the idea of a comic book movie would make even the most hardened fanboy cringe. And with the continuous development of CGI and respect for the original source material, comic book movies are truly coming into their own. Recent successes such as The Dark Knight and Watchmen have proven that such movies can also be intellectually satisfying.
As a show about a Hollywood movie star, Entourage actually has a few decent movie ideas including ‘Medellin’, ‘Smoke Jumpers’, and a Martin Scorsese ‘Great Gatsby’. The development of ‘Aquaman’ played a major role in Seasons 2 and 3, and is the one that really stands out from all the rest on Vincent Chase’s fictional filmography. Kevin Smith has even commented that he’s been asked about ‘Aquaman 2’, despite the fact that there hasn’t been a first ‘Aquaman’.
Aquaman may be one of the lamer comic book characters out there, but the main selling point here is James Cameron. What Aquaman needs more than anything is somebody who truly understands and respects the majesty and beauty of our oceans. Cameron’s post-Titanic projects, Aliens of the Deep and Ghosts of the Abyss, as well as his new film Avatar, have proven that he knows how to capture the mystery and wonder of new worlds. He is also well known for always being at the forefront of CGI technology which would come in handy since a good part of the movie would have to take place underwater. Simply put, there isn’t anyone else out there more capable or qualified for the job. As for casting, I’m not at all sold on the idea of Adrian Grenier for the main role, but I do like Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam – just put a hook on his hand and he’s good to go.
‘The Legend of Zelda’ is a fake trailer that appeared on the IGN website in 2008 as an April Fool’s joke. I didn’t see it until a few days later and was both shocked and dismayed when I finally discovered that it wasn’t real. The original Legend of Zelda games on the NES and SNES were some of my all-time favorites. And unlike other video game franchises (I’m looking at you Mario and Luigi), the world of Hyrule is one that is deep and engrossing. Thanks to the numerous games that the franchise has produced, many of the characters, races, weapons, and worlds that can be used are already fully fleshed out. Anyone who produces a Legend of Zelda trilogy (as if one would be enough) would have a treasure trove of material to work with.
The main reason ‘The Legend of Zelda’ makes the top spot is how immensely successful it would be. A film such as ‘Thundercats’ would really only appeal to guys who watched the show when they were young. ‘Zelda’ would appeal to a much wider audience since both boys and girls play the games. And because of a consistent output of titles for the Wii and DS, Zelda continues to build a strong fan base and wouldn’t rely entirely on nostalgia. An epic fantasy adventure film along the lines of Lord of the Rings would have unlimited appeal (not to mention the possibility of the rare movie tie-in video game that is actually any good). Peter Jackson would be the natural choice to helm such an undertaking, but almost anybody could knock this one out of the park, so long as we keep that Uwe Boll guy as far away as possible from this sacred franchise. A ‘Legend of Zelda’ trilogy could finally accomplish what has eluded Hollywood so far: make a good video game movie.