5 Upcoming Movie Plots That Sound Suspiciously Familiar
In a world where we're constantly bombarded with reboots, sequels, recalibrations, crossovers, spinoffs, pre-boots, and re-re-boots, it's refreshing that there are still original movies coming out every now and then. At least they seem to be original, until you dig deeper and realize everything on Earth has already been done before.
For example ...
The New Adam Sandler Movie Is an Episode of Futurama
Looking forward to a new Adam Sandler movie is like looking forward to a punch in the face -- sure, he wrote a funny song about Hanukkah one time, but that doesn't mean you want to watch him almost get fucked by Al Pacino. Still, his new movie, Pixels, seems promising -- it was directed by Home Alone and First Harry Potter's Chris Columbus, co-stars Tyrion Lannister, and was filmed in Toronto rather than some inexplicable tropical location where Adam Sandler's family wants to vacation, which seems to be a major determining factor in his other movies.
This particular vacation/movie finds Sandler as a video game expert (presumably with a hilariously grating voice) called upon by the military to save New York (*cough* Toronto) from an attack by '80s video game characters, kind of like if Wreck-It Ralph was a 9/11 allegory. It's an exciting, fresh premise -- unless you happen to have seen that episode of Futurama where Fry is called upon by the military to fight video game characters in New York.
In the episode "Anthology of Interest II," Fry is shown a world where video game villains like Donkey Kong run amok and war-room video screens look like a Pac-Man board, and Super Mario and Space Invaders are invoked in hilarious and prescient ways.
One big difference: In Pixels, Kevin James plays the president of the United States -- so maybe they should let the video games win and just end humanity already.
The New Pixar Movie Is a '90s Sitcom
After a slew of sequels in which we got to see their beloved characters partying in college, living through a terrifying Holocaust allegory, and doing whatever the hell the characters in Cars 2 do, Pixar has an exciting new original film coming out this year: Inside Out.
Inside Out has a crazy premise: What if different components of a young girl's psyche were manifested as wacky characters: Joy, Fear, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and (presumably) an emotion that can only be represented by a BuzzFeed GIF.
The funny thing is that exact show was already made 24 years ago, when it was a sitcom called Herman's Head. Only Herman wasn't a little girl -- he was a man with the '90s-est hair possible, and his internal voices looked like what happens when middle-schoolers are asked to "improvise" adult characters at theater camp. The nerd represented his intellect, the frat-boy slob represented his lust and animal instinct, the wimp represented his anxiety, and the woman represented his humanity. Obviously.
Let's hope Pixar retains Herman's Head's super-awkward sitcom intro.
"Gross, dad's not wearing underwear."
The Goosebumps Movie Is an Obscure John Carpenter Movie
The latest franchise to crack the formula for transforming your childhood nostalgia into several million dollars of box office revenue is the upcoming Goosebumps movie, based on the R.L. Stine horror series for kids too dumb to read literature but too smart to just stare blankly at the wall.
The plot of the Goosebumps film finds a teenage boy moving to a small town and befriending the pretty girl next door, who turns out to be author R.L. Stine's daughter. While this setup seems like more of a horror scenario for R.L. Stine than the audience, things soon get scary when it's revealed that Stine's monsters are real, and his books are keeping them from escaping into our world. Oh, and Stine is played by Jack Black, so we get the extra layer of horror after realizing Jack Black plays middle-aged dads now.
This meta "horror author in a small town" movie was done once before, twice if you count Misery. In John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness Sam Neill plays an insurance investigator trying to figure out what happened to a missing popular horror novelist. His research leads him to a town where the fictional characters have come to life and all of humanity is at the mercy of a writer's imagination. (Spoiler: The missing writer's mouth is a portal for real monsters! Get it? In the Mouth of Madness! Get it????)
Predestination Is a Fancier Timecop
Predestination is a new time-travel thriller starring Ethan Hawke in his follow-up to Boyhood, a movie that was filmed over 12 years and stupidly wasn't a time-travel thriller. So Predestination is clearly Hawke's attempt to make amends.
Hawke stars as a temporal agent pursuing a criminal through time -- of course, "temporal agent" is just fancy talk for "timecop," meaning this movie is basically a souped-up version of the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic Timecop. Need proof? Check out the posters -- both feature their respective timecops holding guns above magic glowing time tunnels.
We've talked before about how ridiculously awesome Timecop is, although Predestination looks pretty good too, and is seemingly a more cerebral, paradox-heavy film. But, hey, can Ethan Hawke do this?
Though, in all fairness, Jean-Claude Van Damme probably couldn't spend 90 minutes walking around Paris discussing life and philosophy with some French lady. Three times.
M. Night Shyamalan's "New" TV Show Is Lost Set in Twin Peaks Starring Mulder and Scully
In a shocking twist, M. Night Shyamalan is out of ideas. The new limited-run Fox TV series Wayward Pines, for which Shyamalan is one of the directors and executive producers, takes place in an eerie small town that looks suspiciously like Twin Peaks.
While originally acknowledging the influence of David Lynch's classic show, Shyamalan later publicly stated that Wayward Pines has "nothing to do with" Twin Peaks, probably in the same way RC Cola has nothing to do with Coke. Though, in all fairness to M., the show doesn't seem to be just a ripoff of Twin Peaks -- it's also a huge ripoff of Lost. Wayward Pines begins with the main character waking up in a suit in the middle of the woods, beginning with a close-up of his eye. Hopefully Disc 1 of Season 1 of Lost is given an associate producer credit.
Turns out that's Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke (Juliet Burke and Ethan, both characters from Lost, by the way) who later swings by the local sheriff's office -- here the sheriff is played by Terrence Howard, not the guy from Twin Peaks. Different!
In search of two missing agents, Burke stumbles on a happy, seemingly perfect community where people have been apparently brainwashed into submission, again like Lost.
One of which is the tall, handsome agent's partner, Kate (also a main character's name from Lost), who -- you guessed it -- is a redheaded white woman.
At which point it becomes alarmingly clear why Fox greenlit this show.
J.M. McNab co-hosts the pop-culture nostalgia podcast Rewatchability, which can also be found on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @Rewatchability.
While we're on the topic, also check out 5 Huge Upcoming Movies That Are Completely Doomed and 5 Historically Bad Movie Franchises We Keep Forgiving.