33 thoughts on “Next, Tic Tac Toe, The Movie”

  1. Hollywood has ideas? I thought their job was to look pretty? …and testify to congress because they once played a part?

  2. No surprise, really. Truly creative and exciting ideas require an actually free and open society to blossom.

  3. Well, we’ve had tons of movies based on modern video games, and plenty of movies about space war, which was an early video game. So why not a movie based on the very first computer video game, played on the British EDSAC, especially since the game was the highlight of “War Games”?

  4. They are running out of ideas. Or rather, the typical Hollywood ideas are running out of time. Look, if you can’t find a compelling metaphor in the times we are living through right now, then you are suffering from selective blindness. The problem is that their narratives beg the question these days. Are you really going to identify with the idealistic liberal councilman trying to get money for housing projects against the corrupt conservative in the pocket of big business? Really?

    The fact is that the studio worldview is anachronistic. In the Golden Age of Cinema, the movies (or at least, the ones that made it through) were about triumphing in the face of adversity, putting on a happy face, the common man making good of himself, or at least making good for his family. The contradictions in the narrative are too strong to overcome in a couple hours these days. Even devout liberals I know walked out of Avatar with almost comic dismissal of the story; without the stunning visuals it was silly. Compare it to E.T. – a puppet in a house in San Jose. What movie moved you more? A good salesman understands his audience first, and his product second. They’re not good salesmen anymore.

  5. Well, there was Tic Tac Toe, the game show . . . isn’t anyone here old enough to remember Hollywood Squares?

    Or the SNL parody made during the collapse of the Berlin Wall — Die Ost Berlinen Squaren?

    With such great pidgin-Deutsch lines as

    Quizmaster: “Vo is die grosse Hund . . .”

    Celebrity participant: “Mein ex-Frau!”

  6. Look, if you don’t want to see the movie, you could always go see “Aliens vs Cowboys” or “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” for something fresh…

  7. When I was touring the Missouri in Hawaii, I ran into a couple guys walking around with notebooks and measuring tape. I asked what they were up to, they told me they were setting up for filiming Battleship. I said “What’s the setting, WWII, Korea, Persian Gulf?”

    “No, it’s contemporary”

    They probably had an idea for a Navy vs. Aliens movie, and later added the name as a gimmick.

  8. Andrea,

    You should see ET. It is a classic. I really think you would enjoy it. It even made me a bit misty.

  9. So now the Navy can stand proudly among the ranks of fellow alien-fighters: the Army, Air Force, Marines, space merchants, cowboys, random hot teenage girls, etc.

    Conspicuously absent from the list: NASA. Why?

    (Waits patiently for the jokes to come in…)

  10. Is it even possible to come up with a story idea that isn’t in some way derivative?

  11. I think there are still a few original ideas out there, Ken. It’s just hard to get them made into a movie. The studio execs seem more likely to approve a project if it’s a known quantity with a built in audience.

    An example of a movie that seemed original to me was Secondhand Lions from 2003. My wife and I enjoyed it and as far as I know, it wasn’t derivative. Finding Forrester was also quite good.

  12. How about the 3rd installment of Transformers or the 8th installment of Harry Potter? They are still in theaters.

  13. There are only a handful of archetypal plots in all of storytelling, fewer than a dozen, going back all the way through to Shakespeare and Chaucer and even the epic of Gilgamesh. There’s also only a handful of archetypal characters, which is why Rosencrantz and Guildenstern keep showing up in movies in the guise of R2D2 and C3PO or Jay and Silent Bob or Merry and Pippin.

    I’ve noticed one peculiarity about Hollywood. In any given year you will find waves of movies that are all about the same thing – one year it’s big rocks hitting the earth, the next year it’s volcanoes in LA, the next year it’s vampires. I suspect one of two reasons: either emergent phenomena as occurs in all simple rule based iterative systems; or some writer is shopping a script around, being rejected by most studios, who then take the idea and make a few subtle changes, with several studios stiffing the same writer.

  14. I’ve got a unique idea for a movie. But I can’t tell you cuz it’s so unique it would blow your mind. If you considered all the other movie ideas as a proton, my idea is an anti-proton. The 2 together would just cause a catastrophic meltdown. So, I keep it to myself in the interest of keeping everybody sane.

  15. Paul,
    what did you mean by this?

    “…isn’t anyone here old enough to remember Hollywood Squares?”
    That some of us are BOUND to be old? Or that YOU and some of us are bound to be that old!? ; ) Wink, Wink.

    And in answer, I do remember not just the show, I remember Charlie Weaver in the center square, pre – Paul Lynde. I’m old, old, old, or so say my kids & grandkids!!! I prefer to think I just have a great memory for my childhood years. (I have zero idea where my car keys are right now, I might have that oldtimers disease thing)

    I was recently accused of being Christian ONLY because I personally KNEW Jesus!
    There are a thousand great movies that could be remade, outside the crap they are remaking.

    Almost any of the Frank Capra movies could be re-shot using the original scripts with updated dates, places, references to Americana and the news.

    BUT Hollywood does NOT want that feeling spread among the people. You can’t promote self-reliance, family, God, belief in the Founders and the rule of law, the Constitution as THE most important document in our hands, knowledge of non-re-written history, hell, they’d rather go hungry in LaLa Land and give up their limos and life style than have THAT on the screen.

    All those things would mean we don’t NEED to be Obamanized, or Sorosized, or any other ‘ized’ beside re-Americanized!.

    That’s why they HATED the first part of “Atlas Shrugged” trilogy so much! Too much self reliance and gub’ment bashing for the lefty loopys in Hollyweird.

  16. Just saw Cowboys & Aliens btw. Don’t believe the critics, they did a good job with it. I’m not going to give any spoilers. It left me wanting more.

  17. I can think of quite a lot of SF books that would make excellent films, especially with modern CGI, but they would all fail the Hollywood test for one reason or another. Ringworld? Eek – nuclear-powered spaceships and deviant sex (rishasthra?) Footfall? Ditto the spaceships – and engineers and scientists as heroes? Can’t have that.

    Personally, I think one of the worst things about Hollywood SF is the rubber-forehead aliens. Oddly enough, George Lucas is the only one I can think of who didn’t use that trope too much – cue the cantina scene.

  18. Even though it’s part of the eternal “struggle between good and evil”, there is a LOT of good story-telling and production quality going into video games lately. Sure, there’s all of the running around shooting people in a sandbox environment that takes place, too, but the story lines, cut scenes, plot twists, etc. of a number of modern video games is on par with, if not better than, some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters.

    As far as recent movies, I enjoyed Battle: Los Angeles, even if the end, where they say, “we’re getting the word out across the globe on how to take those things down” was pretty cheesy, and almost a word-for-word ripoff of the same line in Independence Day. Some movies are plenty of fun and just good “popcorn flicks” for the sake of being popcorn flicks, but I certainly do agree with the sentiment that some of the recent remakes just don’t need to happen.

  19. Alan, they already did “Ouija Board: The Movie,” starring Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst in “Jumanji.”

  20. It’s easy to risk $60 million of someone else’s money on “original” ideas while you’re playing armchair-director in blog comments. It’s a lot tricker in real life. I will agree that many studios are risk-averse. Still there are many original movies in release; you just have to look for them. One personal favorite Interstate 60. Written by Bob Gale, it stars Gary Oldman as a half-breed (leprechaun/Cheyenne Indian), and includes a ton of cameos, including Christopher Lloyd, Chris Cooper, Kurt Russell, and Ann-Margaret. Recommended if you enjoy whimsical fantasy.

    The Battleship trailer looked interesting, until I saw the transformers/aliens. I would have been more interesting to see a high-tech/low-tech slugging match, as long as the aliens didn’t have nukes.

    I have an idea even better than Blockbuster: The Movie; Block-BUSTED: The parody. They could even spin that into a bunch of sequels like they did with the Scary Movie series.

    @Titus: one name is not proof, especially considering the divergence between her series and the movie. I’ve seen this before; Terry Pratchett has been accused of ripping off Rowling by people who (obviously) don’t know he was writing about Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork before Harry Potter was ever published.

    We could go back even further; I recall a story about a lonely young man who discovered he had hidden powers, and was destined one day to meet a powerful & evil sorcerer. Anyone want to claim Harry Potter was a ripoff of the first three Star Wars movies, or that Dobby was Yoda? They do look suspiciously similar… 😉

  21. @Titus: one name is not proof, especially considering the divergence between her series and the movie.

    Really?! OMG! Thanks for letting me know. ‘preciate it.

    Anyone want to claim Harry Potter was a ripoff of the first three Star Wars movies

    No, Star Wars was a rip-off of a different film.

  22. I knew Harry was a Jap! That is a great link Titus. How do you come up with them? Of course, the best film of all time was John Wayne as Genghis Kahn. Eh… perhaps not.

    I liked Darkstar, Silent Running and Raising Arizona. That pretty well describes my dementia right there.

  23. This is why intellectual property is another example of juvenile elitism. The noble goal of IP was so some poor soul could benefit from creativity and benefit humanity. That’s not what IP does. IP is a club used by those that have to prevent others from having. The arguments for it are all mental masterbation and lies.

    Plagiarism should be universally condemned which is all that is needed to deal with it.

    Ideas can be protected by trade secret until protection is no longer needed. IP if it exists at all can be protected by contract between the poor originator and the rich developer.

    IP is a false construct that should never have been created. It doesn’t work as intended.

    Of course, my view could be corrupted if ya’ll just let me have the alphabet and everyone pay me to license the idea out to everybody else in the universe (included vowels, consonants, numbers and any other ideograph.) A penny a letter seems reasonable to me. Pay up suckas!!!

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