6 Movie Formulas That Must Be Stopped
Hi, it's us! The people who spend money on your movies. Please stop making the same ones over and over again. We've seen the same recycled formulas year after year after year-and frankly, we're tired of it.
It's not that we think you're completely useless, just... you know, mostly. We'll admit, you've delivered a few gems recently. Transformers, for example, stumbled upon a refreshing formula: Namely, Giant Robots Fighting Each Other + Megan Fox Standing Around Looking Awesome:
Now that is a formula we can get behind, (if she'll let us. Pow!). You have our permission and, in fact, encouragement to exploit that particular format for a few more years. These next six formulas, however, we never want to see again.
Ultra-Masculine Action Star Gets Stuck With Small Child or Children
Who's Doing It Next: In The Game Plan, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays Joe Kingman, a successful quarterback who's whole bachelor lifestyle gets turned around when he finds out (gasp) he has a seven-year-old daughter! No professional athlete has ever balanced his career AND a family. This should get pretty wild, folks!
Who Did It Best: Kindergarten Cop. Maybe because it was one of the first of its kind, or maybe it's because Schwarzenegger, with his enormous arms, indecipherable accent and near-constant shouting, is just so naturally frightening that you better believe his little co-stars were crying in between takes. We wouldn't be surprised if some of them still have nightmares about the giant, gibberish-spewing Frankenstein that, for a few months, spent every single day screaming at them.
Who Did It Worst: The Pacifier. Our deciding factor:
The scene features Vin Diesel's sensitive and dramatic side and serves as a painful reminder as to why most of Diesel's movies focus more on his kicking-ass and blowing-things-up side. Also, the connection Mr. Diesel shares with the little girl he's sworn to protect is cause for alarm. When he holds her close, you can practically hear the wheels turning in his head as he struggles to find innovative loopholes for that pesky Megan's Law.
Why It Needs To Stop: We don't watch action movies for the subtle nuances of the heroes' performances-which is a good thing, because 10 out of 10 action stars cannot act to save their mother. This is never more apparent than when you remove the Terminator's gun and replace it with a baby.
Psychotic Little Kids Terrorize Adults
Who's Doing It Next: Joshua brings us a little boy who, when his new sister shows up, absolutely loses his shit and starts tearing apart his toys, killing his pets and possibly plotting to murder his entire family. It's almost like The Good Son, except for the fact that it's exactly like The Good Son.
Who Did It Best: The Good Son. There's just something so damn creepy about Macaulay Culkin and that, in conjunction with his complete inability to express emotions, makes the role of a cold-hearted, murderous asshole the only one he's ever been right for. Those soulless shark eyes of his...
When we watch his mom drop him off a cliff at the end of the film, we can pretend he's actually dead and finally get some sleep again.
Who Did It Worst: Village of the Damned (1995). Despite the best efforts of Luke Skywalker and Superman, this movie was painful. The people of this aforementioned village took way too long to realize there was a problem. Just about every woman was simultaneously struck with a sudden case of pregnant, and then nine months later the town is loaded with tiny, Aryan mind-readers.
Take note: If there is a town full of identical kids, they're either evil aliens or everyone's wife is having an affair with the same blond-haired, blue-eyed sex machine. Either way, drown those bastards immediately.
Why It Needs To Stop: Because there is not a single nine-year-old on the planet who could take us in hand-to-hand combat, though we welcome any and all challengers. Is a third-grader hinting at suffocating a member of your family? Uppercut that smirk right off his little face and give him some chores. It's called parenting, folks.
Young, Hip, (Read: Black) Guy Invades Typically White World
Who's Doing It Next: In Who's Your Caddy?, rapper Big Boi stars as rapper C-Note, a streetwise cat who tries to obtain membership to an elite country club that is, apparently, populated exclusively by people who would rather believe black people didn't exist.
Who Did It Best: Trading Places. Not just because it's so funny that we'll look the other way when Eddie Murphy sleeps with transvestites and makes Norbit, but because it was smarter than all of the black-meets-white comedies that came after. It didn't rely on having a bunch of monocle-sporting, white aristocrats dance poorly and awkwardly say words like "dawg" and "jiggy" to get laughs. It had things like "plot" and "character arcs," things that have been ignored by copycats trying to be hipper and edgier.
Who Did It Worst: We're calling this one early for Who's Your Caddy? Not only does it feature a tired formula that we were sick of back when Chris Rock was doing it, but it's also about fucking golf. Oh, and Jeffrey Jones (the principal from Ferris Bueller's Day Off and probably some other movies) is in it, and we're pretty sure we heard somewhere that he was a pederast.
Why It Needs To Stop: If we wanted to see a fast-talking black guy infiltrate a world that still thinks black people will eventually just disappear, we'd watch Trading Places. If we wanted to watch that same exact premise but throw in a rapper or two, we'd watch How High. If we wanted a movie with the same black-meets-white premise, plus rappers and golf, we'd watch The Legend of Bagger Vance.
Brilliant Musician Rises, Falls and Finds Redemption
Who's Doing It Next: Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez bring us El Cantante, even though we didn't ask for it, don't know who it's about and won't see it. Evidently, it's about the man who brought salsa music to America. We'll remember that when we're watching absolutely anything else we can find.
Who Did It Best: We're waiting for Judd Apatow's biopic send-off Walk Hard starring John C. Reilly, due out later this year. Paul Rudd plays John Lennon. Jack Black plays Paul McCartney. We're not too worried about any of the other details of this film.
Who Did It Worst: Ray. He played piano and did a whole lot of drugs. We get it. This movie would have been perfect if it hadn't been needlessly dragged out for almost three goddamn hours. Also, this movie has made it increasingly difficult to sell our script, Blind Fury 4: The Stevie Wonder Story.
Why It Needs To Stop: Ambitious star makes big, finds coke, hits rock bottom, climbs back to the top. Is there one musician who didn't follow this format? There's got to be at least one. Let's make that movie and break up the monotony a little bit.
Father Is Wronged by Gang; Kills Entire Planet
Who's Doing It Next: Before the summer ends, look for Kevin Bacon in Death Sentence, the story of a man who loses his son to a murderous gang and spends the remaining 85 minutes of the movie murdering every single gang member, reminding us that enough wrongs will eventually make a right. Spoiler Alert: John Goodman is in this movie. As a matter of fact, he's the underground crime boss, so you have to figure that this entire film is just leading up to a riveting final fight scene that pits Kevin Bacon against John Goodman. That is the exciting conclusion. Footloose vs. Roseanne. No matter who wins, we all lose.
Hopefully we've saved you some time and money.
Who Did It Best: It was a tough call between Man on Fire and Death Wish, but we're giving it to the latter for it's slightly more totally insane approach. Sure, Denzel was undeniably badass and efficient with his killing spree, but he only brought justice to those who directly wronged him. Death Wish, however, has Charles Bronson killing the rapists who killed his wife, criminals who want to mug him and, finally, other jerks that just look like they some day might think about mugging someone. For blurring the line between vengeance and genocide, (venocide), Death Wish takes this one home.
Who Did It Worst: Surprisingly enough, Death Wish III. Bronson is pretty deep into his 60s and clearly can't even remember why he started murdering nameless carjackers to begin with. Sure, there's an assload of chasing and bloodshed, but his heart's just not in it anymore.
Why It Needs To Stop: Two weeks after Death Sentence disappoints you at the box office, Jodie Foster comes out with The Brave One, the story of a woman who-you guessed it-sets out on a revenge-focused murder buffet after her husband is killed. Two movies. Two weeks. One plot. Oh, except this time it's a woman. So it's different.
Put Robin Williams in a Comedy, Sit Back and Let Him Work His Magic
Who's Doing It Next: Old Dogs, starring Robin Williams and John Travolta, presumably as the titular "old dogs" who find themselves taking care of twin seven-year-olds, probably having to learn some "new tricks" along the way. We can only hope that the seven-year-olds are played by the Wayans brothers, leading to whacky hi-jinks that amuse the audience until a violent gang murders the children, sending Williams and Travolta on a murderous rampage. With Williams being a real-life coke addicted parody of himself, we're pretty sure Old Dogs would have all of the bases covered.
Who Did It Best: Death to Smoochy. The rest of the ensemble more than makes up for Williams' unsettling hamming. Also, Williams has never been more at home than with the role of a pathetic, washed-up actor that everyone pities.
Who Did It Worst: Our toughest call on this entire list. Here, there are just so many awful movies. Well, License to Wed is currently fizzling at your local theater. According to the previews, and the previews are as much of this movie as anyone we know will see, Williams screams and does bad impressions but, this time, wears a Priest costume. Beyond that, there's Flubber, and we don't want to forget Man of the Year or Patch 'Motherfucking' Adams. In the end, we feel pretty good about RV because it featured both Robin Williams and a car full of annoying kids.
Why It Needs To Stop: We're at a total loss for the best Robin Williams comedy. Mrs. Doubtfire maybe? He threw a piece of fruit at Pierce Brosnan in that one. That's gotta stand for something, right? Aladdin gets points because we don't ever actually have to see Williams once, though the same five or six impressions he's been doing his entire career are everywhere. Without a standout winner, it is reasonable to conclude, then, that this formula has never once worked, which is astounding considering it's been used for close to 30 years and shows no signs of stopping.