_ This Concept > rewrite this concept: Banal Hollywood

Show business kids making movies of themselves
You know they don't give a f*ck about anybody else.

- Steely Dan


In Me and Billy Bob and Screen Kiss, Jillian McDonald inserts herself as the heroine in Hollywood kissing scenes. She's mainly exploring fan culture, but the work also has the effect of normalizing these spectacular Hollywood moments.

Chinatown ends with the the good guy losing, just when we think he's about to win, thus subverting the Hollywood formula, disappointing lots of ordinary movie goers, and thrilling critics.

In Pulp Fiction, John Travolta's character gets killed abruptly early in the film, thus upsetting the Hollywood given that the main character won't get killed halfway through because you wouldn't pay a famous actor and give him top billing if he only appeared in half the film.

Last Action Hero puts a normal kind in the action movie world and then takes the action hero and places him in the real world. In the movie world, all the workers at the video rental store look like models. In the real world, the action hero nonchalantly punches through a car window expecting no adverse repercussions, and he cuts his hand all up.

Purple Rose of Cairo is kind of the same, just more artsy.

Steely Dan's "Show Biz Kids"


The idea is not to make an experimental, quasi-narrative film (a la Buñuel or Brakhage). Instead, take regular Hollywood films and re-edit them so that normal stuff happens to the characters half-way through which causes the film to abruptly end. The idea is to inject some real life banality into the plot in order to critique the Hollywood genre.


You're aiming for a really banal anti-climax. Hollywood films are premised on all these improbable obstacles being overcome, crescendoing into some amazingly improbably feat. Either that, or they are anti-hero movies that crescendo in some amazing defeat. Whichever, Hollywood plots always require some climactic event (good, bad, or astoundingly indifferent). But you are not going for titanic banality. You're just going for real life banality. Let the main character hurdle a few of the early improbable obstacles, and then just pick one thing to go wrong (not even the climactic obstacle), and let it go wrong and end the film. The films you choose to rewrite don't all have to be classics. They probably shouldn't be experimental films or independently produced movies. Just pick Will Ferrel or Ben Stiller or Vin Diesel movies.



In Adam Sandler's The Waterboy, The Waterboy overcomes all these obstacles to play college football, only to be accused of forging his high school graduation documents. With only a day before the big game, he has to study up and pass his high school equivalency exam. In the regular Hollywood film, he passes the exam with flying colors, and then goes on to face a series of even more challenging obstacles before showing up at halftime to win the big game.

In your rewrite, He'll get his test scores back, and it will go something like this:

TEST SCORE GUY: Sorry Waterboy, You did really well and made a 79, but you need to make an 80 to pass the test. You can retake the test in a couple of weeks if you like. I'm sure you'll pass. You're really close.

WATERBOY: But isn't there any way I can take the test any earlier? The big game is tomorrow!

TEST SCORE GUY: I'm sorry, but the county requires at least a two week period between tests. I'm afraid my hands are tied.


In Racing Stripes, a baby zebra falls off a circus truck in a rainstorm and is accidentally left behind. A farmer takes the zebra back to his daughter, and through a series of trials and tribulations, the zebra is trained by the father to race in the big thoroughbred derby, with his daughter as the jockey. In the regular Hollywood film, the zebra wins the race.

In your rewrite, the circus will send a clown back to look for the zebra. After searching years for the zebra, the clown will grow increasingly angry, bitter, and resentful. He will finally track the zebra back to the farmer and his daughter, and will show up on their front doorstep the day before the big race. He will be dressed in full clown regalia, and the dialogue will go something like this:

CLOWN: I'm here for the zebra. He fell off our truck a few years ago and I've come to take him back to the circus.

DAUGHTER: But Mr. Clown, the big race is tomorrow, and the zebra and I have grown so close!

FATHER: Isn't there anything we can do? I'd buy him from you, but we spent all our money on the entrance fee for the derby. If you hang around until after the race, I'm sure the zebra will win, and the prize money wiil be more than enough to purchase him from you.

[DAUGHTER gazes lovingly, hopefeully at her father's face. Then looks back to the clown.]

CLOWN: No. The zebra is not for sale. I've got to take him back to the circus.

DAUGHTER: But can't you just wait one more day, just until after the race? At least let him run in the race!

CLOWN: No, no, no! Enough chit chat. Hand over the damn zebra!

FATHER: Take him if you must. He's out in the barn.



Find your movies online and downlaod them via bit torrent (cf: Torrent Reactor, The Pirate Bay, Torrent Spy, etc.). Shoot your addition scenes and edit them in. Then post the entire Hollywood movie right up to and through your newly written ending. This will give the piece more context and momentum and make the outcome even more stupid and banal.

If you get sued, claim fair use and get a lot of free press.

Call your URL banalhollywood.com