New Movie WishList for 2004 (note on movie studio trademarks)
Note: I have just learned about a new project concerning the military ban against gays, "Half Life," screenplay by Catherine Crouch, based on a novel by Tracy Baim. This issue has become known publicly as "don't ask don't tell" since the Clinton Administration. There are public screenplay readings at least in the LA area. I do not know yet when it will be produced and available, but the details are at this link.
Imajica. This fantasy epic book (1991) by Clive Barker would make a great two-part successor franchise for New Line Cinema to The Lord of the Rings. The imagery in this fantasy is even more stunning. The question is whether the controversial religious ideas (man beats God) are just too much for mainstream Hollywood investors (and many sexually explicit passages make this R rather than PG-13 material), but of all front-line studios New Line, at least, is known to take big risks for AOL/TimeWarner shareholders. Nothing official, but Iíd like to start a rumor. One could imagine Peter Jackson directing it, or perhaps Ang Lee; the plot bears some parallels to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
Sacrament. This mid 90ís novel by Barker is another one that has it all. If this gets made, it just must start the film with an on-location rendition of the polar bear mauling of its hero (a wildlife photographer) near the shore of the Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba. This would not be too much to ask from the Directorsí Guild of Canada. The novel ventures into so many areas all over the world and across time in its relatively compact text that the homosexuality of the major wildlife photographer character will be accepted in matter-of-course manner by mainstream audiences (assuming an R rating).
The Thief of Always. Barker's children's book that compresses the seasons into one day in the name of "having fun." Maybe a good target for animation.
Childhoodís End, the short masterpiece by Arthur C. Clarke. The conclusion of this novel is stunning to imagine, if disturbing in its implications, and on the surface much darker than the 2001 and 2010 books. (I havenít reach 3001 and would expect that is good material, too.) Has a movie project for this book ever been laid out?
Walter M. Millerís A Canticle for Leibowitz, again perhaps a three-part franchise.
Roswell (I mean a big budget version that answers all the Air Force explanations about crash dummies and gives us all the facts. There was a Cable movie from Paramount in 1994). In fact, you could also make Snowflake, about the 1975 abduction of Travis Walton (I think that was done once, but not very well). Whitley Streiberís Communion was made in 1989 but could stand a more professional remake.
Finally, at some point I think TheWB will owe us theater films for
Smallville (what happens when Clark goes to college? How does he become a journalist? What really happened on his home planet, and what happens when his secret gets out? Tom Welling, like it or not, has become the nationís #1 role model actor, red kryptonite notwithstanding. Once Clark finishes high school, we need the movie. And it is an interpretation of the ďdonít ask, donít tellĒ problem, for extraterrestrials. And, by the way, make the movie really on location, in Kansas. Lawrence and the KU campus could make a great backdrop for Smallville itself, and KCMO is much preferable to Vancouver for "Metropolis.: Here is more discussion of my proposal. (There will be a film from Warner Brothers, Superman Returns, in 2006, with different cast from Smallville.
One Tree Hill. (Chad Michael Murray will dominate this one.)
Seventh Heaven (you could really make a feature film on Simonís home video). An episode in early 2004 really did show an application of the "do ask do tell" philosophy, when a girl is chided for not telling her parents that new neighbors (to be invited to a block party) are Muslims.
And eventually UPN will face the same issue with
Jake 2.0. Christopher Gorham makes Jake one of the most likeable characters in contemporary science fiction, with his hesitating, gaunt style of humor.
I have heard that Ayn Randís Atlas Shrugged is in production, but I have not confirmed.
Joseph Steffan's Honor Bound
Oliver Stone's Roswell
Robert Cassler's The Trial of Peter Zenger
Larry Kramer's play about dealing with AIDS, The Normal Heart. It's hard to see that we don't have this on film yet (as of the end of 2005). We do have the musical Rent now.
Arthur C Clarke's Childhood's End
When will we see another screenplay by Matt Damon/Ben Affleck? Maybe the Good Will Hunting story as originally planned, in novel form. Apparently Gone Baby Gone is almost done.
Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (now being made by Lions Gate)
Calypso's Cave (for more about the writer: http://www.neverstopthinking.org/articles_blatt.php )
Allan Eckart's Crossbreed, 1968, recently republished by Author's Guild, would make a groundbreaking film about life from the point of view of a feral cat (a cross between domestic and bobcat), interacting with human's as it crosses country to survive. There would be the opportunity to show the world as a cat really sees it. Try to do it with a real cat (maybe some Pixar backgrounds.) Maybe Disney would take up this project. It couldn't miss as a hit if it were done well.
"Durham". I've made up a fictitious name for a film that will surely be made about the Duke Lacrosse case, now that charges are dropped and that prosecutorial abuse has been exposed. The book and movie offers will clearly flow quickly. My choice for a studio would be The Weinstein Company, probably with MGM. Also logical would be Dreamworks, or Participant in conjunction with Warner Brothers.
Aquaman, with Justin Hartley, a pilot made but no broadcast, an offshoot of Smallville. How about a theater release from WIP?
This particular wishlist does not include all unpublished efforts or other private projects that I know about and that would make groundbreaking films.
I suspect that we see "Let's Roll" and a movie about Lance Armstrong.
My own activity in this area (that is, with my own material) is documented at this link.
You can read about the "Dream Out Loud" films documentary on "Don't Ask Don't Tell" at http://www.dolfilms.org/current.html
I'd like to also make a note about the movie studio trademarks. (Comments from the old dadt site are in blue)
20th Century Fox has the best mark--they always play the Alfred Newman fanfare.
The Fanfare really makes you feel you're at the movies, especially the continuation that Fox introduced in 1954 to announce "A CinemaScope Picture." But will Fox's Trademark be Y2K compliant? Come'on: let's bring back the CinemaScope process (was used for Anastasia).
Warner Brothers -- you should always play your Casablanca theme when you show the studio lot. (for TV it's "the frog")
WB has just spruced up its trademark with a piano-and-orchestra musical signature that starts with Casablanca and explodes into a fanfare. Works great to introduce The Green Mile. By the way, the affiliated Castle Rock Entertainment (Stephen King) has a great logo with a Maine lighthouse (used in Hamlet, but with Columbia). Morgan Creek ought to spiff itself up.
New Line Cinema -- that descending musical figure is effective, but you rarely use it. PictureHouse has a rollicking musical signature and an interesting visual marque.
Columbia -- (Sony Pictures, also TriStar, Screen Gems, Classics) always play that rising theme that accompanies the statute of liberty. You really left it out with "Spider Man 2." You used it with "Hamlet."
A wide screen opening upon the Statute of Liberty with the rising musical scales is a libertarian's favorite. But Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics needs a fanfare, too. What happened to TriStar (Starship Troopers)? It seems to be back, with the same fanfare.
Picture This!, which distributes GLBT films, has an upward-rising musical signature resembling Columbia's.
Universal -- my favorite fanfare after Fox. Sounds like Wagner. But you don't always use it. Remember Universal International in the days of "Magnificent Obsession"?
Thumbs up for the new fanfare (accompanying our planetary globe) that sounds like a mixture of Wagner and Zemlinsky. I associate the globe logo with Universal-International and "Magnificent Obsession". But now it looks like planet-earth is on fire after an asteroid hit, and extinction event.
MGM -- I love cats, but this also applies to Lions Gate, and to Mandalay (the tiger). Actually the international bank/insurance company ING uses a rather similar looking lion, orange in this case-- the European lion seems to mean something.
I like cats, so the Lion really does roar. United Artists, though, is supposed to be colorless; it was associated with more esoteric films back in the 50's (and then the Bond films).
Dreamworks -- your musical signature is too quiet and dreamy (that figures).
This was the studio formed privately so that its owners could do what they wanted, creatively, without watching the Wall Street analysts every quarter. I live the blueness of the logo, the nuages, but the trademark music is too soft, dreamy, and inconclusvie (like Debussy). I expect more great things, after Saving Private Ryan, from this outfit.
Paramount -- you start out like Dreamworks but have no music.
The Mountain, so effective in VistaVision, needs a fanfare. (Vertigo is the greatest movie ever made!) British affiliate Lions Gate/Mandalay (Dogma, God and Monsters) has an effective fanfare (Mandalay also uses a tiger), and has been aggressive with gay/lesbian material.
LionsGate has a new animated trademark that starts with titanium machinework like what you would see in "Metropolis" and opens out on a sunset (over the real "Lions Gate" in Greece), with a triumphant fanfare. This is now one of the most effective corporate movie trademarks. It is gaining recognition as a major studio. (I believe that Artisan was bought out by LionsGate.) The opening music does resembled the musical trademark of PictureHouse. Note. there is Lions Gate Films as a distributor, and Lionsgate as a production company. Recently, Roadside Attractions has been used to distribute at least one of Lionsgate's edgier films ("Right at your Door"). Another related company seems to be "Freestyle Releasing." My impression is that Lions Gate took over Artisan Entertainment as a brand. It also has connections to Lifetime cable (women's television) that shows many original films with women's interest.
TLA Releasing, which does a lot of GLBT non-profit. has a highly animated skit followed by a camera itself.
Walt Disney/Buena Vista/Touchstone/Miramax. Walt Disney proper introduced a great Man-in-Space trademark for Toy Story 2. Touchstone (The Insider) and Miramax (The English Patient) both need fanfares. What ever happened to Hollywood Pictures?
In 2006 Walt Disney Pictures introduced a visual trademark of the Magic Kingdom, with a display of the four "kingdoms" (or "dominions") and even a model railroad approaching the castle.
On March 6, 2005 Laura Holson provided a story to The New York Times, "How the tumultuous marriage of Miramax and Disney failed." According to the story, Miramax may be spun off from Disney, possibly go "private," in Sept. 2005, but it will no longer have the Miramax name. I wonder what the new name might be. Miramax is run by brother Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and has distributed the pictures developed by Project Greenlight (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris Moore, and others).
The current Miramax trademark shows the skyline of Manhattan (I think from the East River). Strand Releasing (which distributes a lot of GLBT films) also shows the Manhattan skyline, but from an old 1940s era b-w photo that looks like it would belong in a film of Atlas Shrugged, if it ever got made. (Dagney Taggart, where are you?)
I thought all these companies would be jealous of their brands. Then use them. Play your musical signature in every single film. I would think you would want to, to fully protect your mark. (Use it of lose it, maybe.)
Touchstone has started using a musical trademark on its home videos and DVDs but not yet (to my knowledge) in theaters. I'm surprised that the lawyers don't make them use the music mark for every single release.
General Cinema: starts out with concession puppets and then explodes into a booming fanfare, with the deepest bass while the searchlights gleam. (Now AMC).
Carmike: Snazzy, but music needs to come to a conclusion.
Bill's List of the Best Films of all time: (to be added to)
Vertigo (1958); Body Heat (1980); Seven (1995); The Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003)
A couple of terms: A line producer is responsible for managing all the people in making a film, and usually for raising the money or arranging the financing. The executive producer deals with business and legal issues.
You can email me with comments at JBoushka@aol.com Needless to say, if studios and investors know that the public wants to see something made, they will listen, out of self-interest.