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October 28, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Guides | October 28, 2008 |

As you know, every week, the Hollywood publicity machine requires a new shitty movie to talk about after spending so much time talking about the shitty movie that came out the week before. And part of that machine includes the venerable periodical Entertainment Weekly, which has spent the past 18 years retrofitting the exact same feature story onto whatever new movie happens to be out that week.

Are you a struggling journalist looking to duplicate EW’s winning formula? Never fear, for here now is a detailed template on what you need to do. Just follow these easy steps.

Use the universal EW feature story theme. The first thing you need to know about your EW feature is that it will center on this basic premise: “You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to get this film made!” It’s true. If you’ve ever read EW, you know that no movie in history has ever been completed without enduring a string of hardships that would make your average pyramid-builder shit his pants.

Start off by depicting the director as working day and night right up until the day of release to put all the finishing touches on his picture. “Brian Levant is worried. He’s been working feverishly for the past 27 months to finish his magnum opus, Snow Dogs 2. It could be his defining masterwork as a director of inane lowbrow kiddie fare. But right now, all Levant wants is the right kind of bark. A bark his sound editors simply cannot produce for him.”

Tell the back story of the film’s source material, likely a comic book, a book, a TV show, a film made fifteen years ago, a toy, a cereal box mascot, or an advertisement. Stress to the reader just how “unfilmable” the source material was. I suggest getting a quote from the studio head here, such as: “As far back as 1985, people in town have been trying to make a My Buddy movie. We knew people out there still loved those dolls. And we knew that if, we could just figure out a way to crack the character of the Buddy, that we might have something special.”

Oh, fuck! Lawyers! Be sure to depict the mountain of copyright entanglements blocking the film. “Martin Scorsese had long wanted to do a She-Ra movie. But there was just one problem: he didn’t own the rights to the story. Hasbro did. And so did Warner Brothers. And so did Viacom. And so did the estate of Marlon Brando. And so did a man in Guyana named Tito.” Criminy! It looks like this week’s shitty movie will never get out of development hell!

Find the project’s “champion”. Use this opportunity to introduce someone, usually an actor, who shepherded the shitty film out of turnaround through sheer force of will. Be sure to get a quote from one of their close friends. “There’s no way this movie would have gotten made without Mena Suvari. She put everything she had into this.”

Mention all the difficulties involved in casting. “First Meg Ryan was attached to the role. Then Susan Sarandon. Then Julia Roberts. Then Sheena Easton. Then Coco the Monkey.”

Mention all the difficulties posed by the film’s genre. “Disney executives were skeptical. After all, gay Civil War musicals have long had a losing track record at the box office.”

Mention all the difficulties involved in getting the script finalized. No shitty movie is ever the product of a first screenplay draft. No, a shitty movie like Indy 4 requires a whole fucking ARMY of script doctors hired to retool the original script until it has no coherent plot or well-drawn characters. Be sure to single out the one writer who managed to crack the script by having some sort of idiotic epiphany. “And then screenwriter David Koepp had a key breakthrough. Why not take the buried spaceships from War of the Worlds and put them into THIS movie?”

Oh, fuck! What if fanboys don’t like it? There’s no chance the film you’re writing about was the product of an original idea. Chances are, it came from some pop culture source material that still, bafflingly, has a passionate following. Be sure to note how hard it was to please these retard fanboys in order to get them on board with the choice of script, director, and casting. “Fans of the original Scarecrow and Mrs. King expressed outrage at the casting of Josh Brolin. That is, until producers unveiled 10 minutes of footage at ShoWest. Just one look was enough to convince Crowphiles that they had their Lee Stetson.”

Note the budget. ZOMG! This movie cost a SHITLOAD!

Finally, be sure to note that EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE WITH THIS FILM. Treat the prospects for this movie with all the seriousness of a Newsweek reporter doing a story on Ivory Coast AIDS babies. The future of an entire studio hangs in the balance. Reputations are at risk. Careers could be ruined. Oscars could be lost. Civilization as you know it will fucking cease to exist if this film doesn’t get at least $50 million on opening weekend.

This movie could mean everything.

Until next week’s shitty movie.

Drew Magary is an author, blogger, and serial frotteur. His new book, Men With Balls, hits stores today.

Guides | October 28, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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