December 20, 2008

Because I am still obsessed with action movies but have run out of any new ones, I tried to watch Three Kings, that David O. Russell movie that’s basically a gold heist set at the end of the first Iraq war. But…

Okay. Maybe this is really mean of me.

But… George Clooney plays this guy who’s supposedly former Special Forces. And. I like George Clooney. Who doesn’t like George Clooney?

But don’t you just get the impression that George Clooney could probably not hack it amongst a bunch of SF guys? And that in fact they would go “Nice hair” and make fun of him when he was trying to be charming? And nobody would ever want to be on his team! And they would have serious, hushed conversations with their team leader about how George Clooney just… a nice guy and all, but– and then they would fall silent and their team leader would nod seriously, and go talk to the captain, and suddenly George Clooney would find himself assigned to an embassy in Paris or something, and people would speak of him as “Fuckin’ Clooney, man, he used to carry Nivea on missions, what the fuck.” but they wouldn’t really be fond stories.

THAT IS ALL THAT I AM SAYING. I just have a hard time believing George Clooney as a Delta operator. Sorry, George Clooney.

However! Thinking about George Clooney made me think of The Peacemaker, a movie I think only I love with a feverish devotion. COME ON PEOPLE! It opens with an atomic bomb on a train! IN RUSSIA! And then some guy… there’s some plot about… the UN, something something, and then Nicole Kidman and George Clooney run around urgently and also there is a scene where George Clooney (who plays a… I don’t remember, some kind of Military Guy) actually says to the guys on his helicopter: “Lock and load, gentlemen. Let’s get ready to rock and roll.” which is so awful as to be amazing.


In response to my previous post, Chris-who-used-to-be-a-Combat-Engineer-in-the-Marines sent this video of the Miclic, a device he described as:

…basically a rope of C4 strung over a minefield by way of a rocket. It is about 1,700 pounds of explosives, so it is generally pretty sweet.


Google tells me that the military invented this because it can clear a safe lane through a minefield, but: can you imagine THE APPLICATIONS for it in action scripts?!? Ahem.

One of my favorite things about the military is that no matter what kind of stuff you think up to write into your action script, THEY ALREADY HAVE AND USE IT. Like recently I was thinking about how you’d extract a bunch of guys if you’d dropped them off to rescue hostages somewhere, but there was no time to land a helicopter, and YOU KNOW, THE MILITARY HAS ALREADY THOUGHT OF THIS EVENTUALITY AND INVENTED A RIDICULOUSLY-NAMED DEVICE AND PUBLISHED MANUALS FOR ITS USE ON THE INTERNET.


If you are a writer, you should probably read John August’s post about money.

DID YOU SEE that he got himself a dog when he Made It?!? It’s not just me, people.

Speaking of John August, recently he was talking about how he went to France on a trip hosted by their film office, and he mentioned that he kept asking things like “So… this high-speed train, what do you think would happen if you bombed the line? Just, for instance.”

Which sounds ominous! But is just how action writers think. I am generally a very nice person but, er, AND I KNOW THIS SOUNDS AWFUL, I sometimes find myself staring around really crowded areas wondering how you could turn it into an action sequence. Like my friend C- and I accidentally found ourselves at the Grove (an LA outdoor mall that replicates a faux-European high street shopping experience. There is a STREET CAR.) on the day of the Christmas tree lighting. And it was PACKED. And I turned to her and said “If you were a terrorist–” and C-, who is also a writer, said “I was thinking the SAME THING.”


Via Naomi: How to write the perfect disaster movie.

WE JUST LOST CANADA. Yeeeeessss, excellent.


Last night I went to see THE MOST AMAZING THING. EVER.

This is, to be honest, not a great website, but you should click and then look for MAGNUM OPUS on the left side.

So this theater company in LA takes the worst screenplays in the world, chops them down for time to be about an hour, but leaves them otherwise untouched, and then performs them on stage.

I went with Julie and Steve and Keith and Mat and I had always sort of suspected that Julie was exaggerating the hilarity of this event, but NO. NO!!!! I laughed so hard I felt kind of sick. It was fantastic. You should go.

No, the writer who sent this unsolicited work doesn’t know it’s being performed, yes that’s mean, yes that’s probably all kinds of illegal, yes I am a bad person for laughing so hard, yes I should feel some kind of kinship with the poor writer, BUT I DON’T. Listen man! If you live here and work here and you read a lot of scripts, this is a HEALING EVENT.


6 Responses to “Actionpocalypse”

  1. anonymousassistant Says:

    Have you seen Ultraviolet? The first half hour is just an awesome sandwich with cheese. Once they start talking, it kinda falls apart.

  2. Chris Kittinger Says:

    I am sitting here watching the usual Christmas suspects with my children, and it occurs to me that an all out action Christmas movie does not jump to mind. I know, Die Hard 2 was Christmas related, but I am talking about a film in which Santa uses a Minigun like Jesse “The Body” Ventura used in Preadtor to off numerous North Pole invading terrorists.

    Could someone put together a proposal on that please? I am thinking Jason Statham as the lead elf, Bruce Willis as a disgruntled Santa, and a Bruce Campbell as comic relief Reindeer herder.

  3. Seth Says:

    Yeah, the “Special Forces” designation in movies either means the character is going to be a cold-blooded psycho killer OR it means he’s going to know all kinds of crazy Boy Scout stuff like first aid and what handy forest herbs to use to make napalm for his arrows. And how to make arrows. The Cloon in Three Kings definitely falls on the MacGyver side of things. Do I believe he knows how to use an emergency pneumothorax valve gadget? Yes I do. Do I believe he could hold his hand over a flame indefinitely like Mr. Joshua in Lethal Weapon? No. No I do not.

    The actual SF guys I met tended to be a weird combination of nerdy smart, freakishly athletic, and curiously awkward in conversation. Sometimes it was like talking to a cobra who’s been mistakenly invited to a backyard barbeque. And the cobra’s trying to be polite and show that he has no interest in killing you at the moment, but you still get the feeling he’s thinking about how he might do it, if he were going to do it. But then the cobra realizes he shouldn’t be thinking things like that, and tries to remember what the thread of the conversation was. Like I said… awkward.

  4. Seth Says:

    @Chris — There was a bit like that in Scrooged that involved Lee Majors and Santa with an assault rifle. Sadly, it remains in the realm of satire.

  5. chaia Says:

    The first reason I was contemplating how most cinematically to blow up the Grove was professional challenge, but I have to admit that the second reason was that duo of badly-raised children playing with the water fountain.

  6. Chris Kittinger Says:

    @Seth – Thank you, I have seen most of Scrooged, but will now have to go back and review to see the Lee Majors part that I missed. Sounds tasty.

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