An open letter to Hollywood executives

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Dear Hollywood Executives,

I read that story in The Hollywood Reporter about how you fellas recently announced plans to reboot “The Matrix.” I just want to applaud you on the brave decision. It truly takes guts to revisit a beloved sci-fi film that’s not yet even 20 years old rather than develop something new and original. I admire the consistency with which you operate: you guys are always willing to develop projects nobody asked for or wanted.

Look, sometimes you need an outsider’s perspective on things. Right now, you guys are selling yourselves short. Fear not, executives! It is I – Bad Ideas Man – to the rescue (cue awesome theme music). Should you ever be struggling to find content, there are plenty of ways to exploit the hell out of whatever’s around. Just remember: there’s no idea that can’t be done or isn’t worth exploring. You must leave no stone unturned in your quest to keep the machine well-oiled and running along smoothly.

We’re living in the age of superheroes, remakes, reboots, expanded universes, spin-offs, remakes of spin-offs and reboots of remakes. But what happens when there’s a saturation point and you run out of superheroes and comic books to adapt? Make some up. Like Ice Cream Scoop Man. A guy who has ice cream scoops for hands (no need for an origin story; he just wakes up one morning and has ice cream scoops for hands, OK?). This is ripe for success. Kids love ice cream and will beg their parents to take them to see this movie – boom, double the revenue!

You cunning execs have also had some success adapting board games into cinema. Who could forget the action-packed thrill-ride “Battleship?” Nobody, that’s who. Remember when Columbia Pictures wanted to “adapt” Candy Land into a live-action movie starring Adam Sandler? The president at Columbia Pictures said, “Candy Land is more than just a game.” Exactly. There’s artistic merit in there somewhere. But, again, you people are severely limiting yourselves. There’s a reservoir of untapped potential in Jenga.

Picture it: there’s a world-wide Jenga tournament, a loser-type character who has to prove himself to a girl and an antagonist who says things like, “The only thing I hate more than small wooden blocks is stacking them on top of one another.” The protagonist will seek out the guidance of a reclusive Jenga sage living in the mountains. He’ll reluctantly dole out advice while the hero improves his stack-building skills in a kick-ass training montage. After the success of this movie, the Jenga sage can have his own “dark and gritty” prequel movie to explore the different parts of the Jenga universe.

Listen, we all know audiences aren’t always open to embracing new ideas or original concepts. Look at “Get Out.” It’s true – this was a film based on an original script (not something based off an existing property or franchise) and was a smashing success. Probably an anomaly. A glitch in the Matrix, if you will. It might be tempting to consider producing more original scripts, taking more chances, etc., but you must quell that urge and never speak of it again. The adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” is for chumps. Stick with what works. Just crank out a bunch of “Get Out” knock-offs and imitators. The more derivative you can make them, the better!

Art and commerce don’t have to be mutually exclusive. But I’m guessing you think it’s better if they are, don’t you? You rascals!

I’m sure you read that interview the Wachowskis did with Vanity Fair. They bemoaned the industry’s drive toward remakes. They said, among other things, that “originality has inherent in it an uncertainty.” But what the hell do they know? Don’t listen to them. Listen to what the people want.
Listen to your hearts. The sound of money is the only thing that matters. To think otherwise is stupid!

Bad Ideas Man