Tag Archives: Adventureland

When Boob Tube Meets Silver Screen – 5 films that could probably “cut it” on the small screen

This past Friday, IGN Entertainment released THIS trailer, to promote an upcoming television series, based on the popular, and EXTREMELY profitable, Harry Potter book and film franchise . . .

Of course, if you recall, this past Friday was also April Fools’ Day.  And the above – trailer for the new FX series, The Aurors, set to premiere this summer, ended up being a FAKE (not to mention a Big Fat F-YOU to Wizard Lovers, EVERYWHERE)!

And yet, you have to admit, if a series like this actually DID air on FX, there’s a good chance it would be fairly successful.  After all, The Aurors, has all the ingredients for a television ratings darling, including:

(1) an allegiance to the Harry Potter brand, and the massive geek-chic cult following that comes along with it;

“When I wave my magic wand, millions of dollars in advertising revenue will appear, right before your VERY EYES!”

(2) a savvy nod to the world’s current obsession with All Things Supernatural;

(3) action adventure; and

Might I suggest some prune juice, Harry.  I hear it helps with your . . . condition.

(4) that Crime Procedural Mumbo Jumbo, which tends to bore the STUFFING out of me, but seems to be genuinely popular among most of the American viewing public (as evidenced by the success of the 85,000 versions of Law and Order and CSI currently clogging our television sets).

Don’t shoot!  I swear, I didn’t mean it!

This got me to thinking about other popular films that have the potential to make the transition from the Big Screen to Your Screen.   And so, without further adieu, here are my top five picks (in no particular order) for movies I’d like to see take that oh-so-dangerous small-screen leap  .  . .

1) Inception

I don’t think I’ve ever had as many in-depth, and complicated, conversations about a film, as I have had about this psychological action thriller.  The idea of being able to enter people’s dreams, and by doing so, altering their perception of reality, is just so inherently intriguing and ripe for discussion.  And for a television show revolving around a crack team of insanely attractive and ridiculously well-dressed, “dream engineers” — hired to basically control people’s minds from the inside-out — the possibilities are literally endless.  

Episodes can revolve around a different “dream hijacking” each week, or can slowly unravel an extensive “dream heist” throughout the course of the season.  Of course, at the show’s core would be the brilliant, but deeply troubled, Dream Makers, each of whom has their own extensive backstory, as well as specific, but complicated, rationalizations for choosing this, admittedly morally ambiguous, career path.

Speaking of morally ambiguous career paths . . .

2) The Town

Back in September, I fell in love with a film about a small town called Charlestown, Massachusetts, where children were raised to be bank robbers, con artists, and criminals, with the same intensity and efficiency that other towns invest in growing bankers, doctors, and lawyers.  Everybody loves a “brooding bad boy with a good heart” (especially when he takes his shirt off often).  And The Town had a whole cast of both Brooding Bad Boys and Hard-Nosed, but still hot, Cops to love.  Most notably, it had THIS GUY . . .

Oh, yeah!  That’s Ben Affleck!  And, upon seeing this picture, I totally took back, all those jokes I made about that awful Gigli movie.  Because THIS guy could ABSOLUTELY kick my ass!  Let’s find  a “kinder, gentler” picture.   Shall we?

That’s better!

And THIS guy . . .

A television series based on The Town would boast an extremely unique location, the likes of which has never before been depicted on television.  It would also undoubtedly feature a cast of scorching hot twenty and early-thirty somethings, each with their own idiosyncrasies, family dramas, romantic subplots etc.  And of course, the crime capers depicted in each episode would put the ones in those Ocean’s Eleven movies to SHAME!

Speaking of Ocean’s Eleven (and one of it’s stars, i.e. Matt Damon) . . .

3) The Adjustment Bureau

Ever wonder if the Universe has a specific plan in store for you?  The Adjustment Bureau was a romantic drama / action flick that dealt with the question of “fate” and “circumstance” in a way that  absolutely caters to the self-absorbed and egocentric world in which we live. 

Yes, Joe and Jane Average Citizen, SOMEONE “up there” has BIG PLANS for YOU . .  . and for your life.  In fact, you can find those plans in a BOOK, filled with multi-colored SQUIGGLY LINES that resemble those mazes they put on the back of Happy Meals at McDonalds.  (Those of you who saw the movie, know what I mean by this . . .)

Not only that, the world is crawling with Cute Men in Funny Little Hats who’s LIFE’S MISSION is to make sure that YOU reach your destiny . . .

And there’s a good chance that one of those “Cute Men in Funny Little Hats” probably looks a lot like Roger Sterling from Mad Men.

Because all of us like to believe we were put on this earth for a “reason,” and because we all find the idea of Cute Men in Funny Little Hats chasing us around the City all day, monitoring our every move, oddly appealing (or mildly creepy, whichever you prefer), a television series revolving around the titular Adjustment Bureau would likely be a fun-filled hour of escapist fantasy for the masses.

  Like the Inception series suggested above, The Adjustment Bureau series would work well as either a serial drama, in which a different “guest star’s” fate was adjusted each week, or a long-running storyline, in which the future of a particularly Important Person (like the politician Matt Damon played in the film) is systematically modified in every episode to achieve a specific goal. 

High concept mind benders, philosophical discussions, and crime capers aren’t your thing?  Fear not!  I have two more prospective television series ideas that might be more to your liking . . .

4) Adventureland

This past summer, I rented this fun coming-of-adulthood “period piece” (The film took place in 1987.)  about a recent-college grad, (played by The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg) who, without any immediate prospects for his future, was forced to take a summer job at a small-town amusement park.  Working the “ring toss” with Jesse, was none other than Twilight’s Kristen Stewart (playing a character who kind of, but not exactly, resembled Bella Swan), and 2010’s Sexiest Man Alive, himself, Ryan Reynolds . . .

Yes, I DO find every excuse to put pictures of hot, half-naked men in my blog.  Thank you for noticing!

In addition to having an all-star cast of up-and-coming actors, intriguing characters, and some stellar script writing to its credit, Adventureland boasted a refreshingly fun sense of time and place. 

As an 80’s baby, who spent most of the decade clad in Care Bears underwear, I’ve always been a bit jealous of those folks who actually got to experience this admittedly awesome decade as teenagers, and early 20-somethings.  From the killer music, to the amazing made-for-teen movies (John Hughes anyone?), to the care free days spent making out and getting high behind the Tilt-a-Whirl at your local theme park, the 80’s just seems like it was a great time to “come of age.”

An Adventureland television series would allow us to do just that!  Along with its “youngish” (and indubitably attractive), cast of characters, viewers could “travel back in time” each week, and experience the slings and arrows of early adulthood, all while enjoying a kickass soundtrack, drinking some cheap beer, and riding that old broken down Ferris Wheel for the 25,000th time . . .

5) Scream

At first blush, this one might seem like an odd choice for a television series.  After all, half of the fun of watching horror movies, like Scream, is seeing the characters get killed off, one-by-one, in increasingly gruesome (not to mention, patently ridiculous) ways, while trying to figure out who the killer is, right?  So, how does that translate to an entire season of small screen viewing, you ask?   And I say, how does it NOT?

“Do you like SCARY movies television shows?”

Think about it.  What is the BIGGEST, MOST SHOCKING, thing that can ever happen to your favorite television drama?  The one thing that’s CERTAIN to get ratings buzz for your favorite program, and ensure that EVERYBODY will be talking about what they saw the next day . . .  Of course, I’m referring to the DEATH OF A MAIN CHARACTER.  On most shows, this Major Television Viewing Event only happens about once or twice every season (typically, around sweeps week). 

But imagine the fun and excitement of MAIN CHARACTER DEATHS (along with “fun” Celebrity Guest Star Cameo Deaths”) occurring EVERY SINGLE WEEK!  Nobody is safe!  Everyone is a suspect!  And everyone is at risk! 

The “killer’s identity” would presumably be revealed in the Season Finale.   Or, perhaps, the mystery could be carried over into subsequent seasons, with new cast members regularly replacing the “old dead” onces.  Sure, it’s a gimic!  But look how long they’ve taken to reveal that darn MOTHER on How I Met Your Mother? 

OK . . . just keep smiling and pretend you actually know who “The Mother” is . . .

 If they can do it, so can WE!

So, there you have it folks, five sure-fire television success stories, based on five popular films.  So, which movies would YOU most like to see transition to the small screen?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under movies, Television Show Ideas

Anatomy of a Trailer: The Social Network

Of all the films set to be released this coming fall, NONE has so precisely embodied the recipe for box office glory and Academy Award recognition as The Social Network.  Heck, even its moody, unabashedly emo film trailer could win awards for its strangely captivating portrait of fame and financial success, derived from nerdy college angst.  Check it out . . .

For those of you curious about the song in this trailer, it’s a cover of the popular Radiohead song “Creep,” as performed by a Belgium girls choir named Scala & Kolacny Brothers.  Both the original version of the song and this version are currently available for download online.

So, now that you’ve seen the trailer, let’s take a few moments to break down what’s makes it “tick.”

The Idea – Facebook

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past six years, you’ve probably at least heard of Facebook.  The online social networking website, launched back in February of 2004, has, for better or worse, become practically ubiquitous in modern culture, with over 500 million users to date, and counting.

The Players

The idea for Facebook was developed on the campus of Harvard University back in 2003 by college roommates Mark Zuckerberg,

Eduardo Zaverin,

Dustin Moskovitz,

and Chris Hughes (who eventually went on to become the online campaign coordinator for now-President Obama during the 2008 elections).

Also involved in the inception of Facebook was Sean Parker, who you may remember as one of the dudes who founded a certain music file-sharing site, which USED to be awesome (until you actually started having to pay for it), Napster.

(Parker went on to become the president of Facebook, Inc.)

Litigation

A sizeable amount of litigation arose out of the founding of Facebook, and the manner in which the company was managed.  Most notably, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, along with their  friend Divya Narendra, claimed that Facebook infringed upon their copyright for the social networking site ConnectU, which was also started at Harvard University. 

Eventually, this lawsuit was settled out-of-court to the tune of $65 million (although the exact about of the settlement itself is still subject to additional litigation).  The Winklevoss twins, who are also nationally acclaimed rowers, eventually went on to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Nice abs, newly rich dudes!

Eduardo Saverin also sued Facebook, alleging misappropriation of company funds on the part of Mark Zuckerberg.  He also petitioned for the right to be listed on the website as one of the company’s founders (which he now is).  Both lawsuits were settled shortly before the publication of Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires, on which The Social Network is based.

Source Material:  The Accidental Billionaires

The Accidental Billionaires, a purportedly nonfiction account of the founding of Facebook, Inc., was published in 2009, and debuted at #4 on the New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller List.  It’s author, Ben Mezrich . . .

 . . . is perhaps best known for his other nonfiction book, Bringing Down the House, about a bunch of MIT students who took the casino world by storm, by developing an ingenious card-counting scheme for the game of Blackjack.  The book was eventually made into a movie called 21, which starred Kate Bosworth, among others.  Mark Zuckerberg took no part in the writing of this book.  And Eduardo Saverin, who was one of its main primary sources, backed away from it significantly, once his lawsuit was settled.  (Shocker.)  The book received mainly mixed reviews.

The Men BEHIND the Curtain

The pedigree of this film has been measurably increased by the big names responsible for its screenplay and direction, respectively.  On the screenplay side, we have Aaron Sorkin . . .

 . . . who you may remember as head writer for the fabulous Emmy award-winning television drama, The West Wing.

I love you, Josh Lyman!

As far as directors go, David Fincher, is pretty much as awesome as they come!

Kind of cute too!

His resume includes critically acclaimed and award-winning films such as . . .

Fight Club,

Seven,

and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The Cast

In terms of its cast, this film’s IMDB page reads like a Who’s Who in twenty-something Hollywood.  For the lead role of Mark Zuckerberg, we have the immensely talented and charmingly geeky, Jesse Eisenberg . . .

 . . . who you might remember from that homage to all things ’80’s film, Adventureland, in which Eisenberg starred alongside Bella Swan herself, Kristen Stewart . . .

the Academy Award Winning film, The Squid and the Whale, and /or Zombieland .   . .

Playing the role of Eduardo Saverin is Andrew Garfield . . .

 . . . who has recently been vetted to play Pete Parker, in the upcoming Spiderman prequel / reboot . . .

Napster Guy, Sean Parker, is being played by none-other-than Justin Timberlake!  (How much do you want to bet that one of his songs will be featured in the movie as an INSIDE joke?  After all, it’s not like the “product placement” wouldn’t make sense, in context.  Find me ONE person who WASN’T listening to Justin Timberlake in 2003, and I’ll find you a LIAR!)

And yet, what we sometimes forget about Justin, is that he’s not only a successful singer / songwriter, he’s also a pretty talented actor, having shined in both dramatic films . . .

 . . . like the critically acclaimed (and highly awesome) Alpha Dog, and comedic ones, like Shrek 3.  And let’s not forget, Dick in a Box?

Other stars in this film include Rooney Mara . . .

 . . . who just recently landed the role of Lisbeth Salander in the U.S. adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s almost annoyingly successful (You can’t walk two feet without seeing SOMEONE reading the damn thing) novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo;

Malese Jow . . .

. . . who fans of The Vampire Diaries television series (like me) will instantly recognize as the way-too-soon departed Vampire Anna . . .

And Brenda Song .  . .

 . . . who is perhaps best known for playing the ditsy Paris Hilton-esque heiress, London Tipton, on the Disney Channel’s The Suite Life series . . .

So, there you have it:  a hot young cast, a brilliant director, an Emmy-award winning screenwriter, a bestselling book by a critically acclaimed author as source material, a controversial story, a hip trailer, and a groundbreaking idea that changed the way our world socializes on a daily basis.  When it comes to Hollywood films, they just don’t get much more “Alpha Male” then this!

And, of course, with every successful film idea and trailer comes the inevitable barrage of spoofs and copycats.  The Social Network is no exception.  I particularly enjoyed THIS ONE about ANOTHER social networking site that some might deem equally filmworthy . . .

The Social Network requests to be your “Friend” on October 1, 2010.  Confirm or Deny?

[www.juliekushner.com]

6 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Movie Trailer Recaplets, The Social Network