September 5, 2007 | Comments ()

By Ranylt Richildis | Guides | September 5, 2007 |


What’s a supermovie, you ask? It’s a fantasy film that will never be made, but that makes you smile at the thought of such elusive possibility. Imagine it: your favorite director, actor(s), story, composer and cinematographer fused together into a single project. The best thing about fantasies is that time has no sway, so supermovies can benefit from the talents of the long-dead as well as the living.

We here at Pajiba find ourselves daydreaming about supermovies more and more these days, as a way to detox our tastebuds from the dreck we’re subjected to. We sit blankly in front of movie screens wishing hard that Orson Welles were still around to inject some quality into legal thrillers, that Dirk Bogarde’s intensity hadn’t been lost to us forever in 1999, that Greta Garbo hadn’t wanted to be so alone, or that Phil Hartman had exercised better marital judgement.

To this end, here’s a sampling of the Pajiba staff’s most ardent supermovie onanism, made public for your delectation or condemnation. We each plucked a favorite story/writer from the void and mashed it with the ideal director and actor(s). The truly lotus-eating among us also tossed in a soundtrack composer and cinematographer to round everything out.

After you’re through pointing and laughing at our most bared-open repositories of personal taste, feel free to throw out your own fantasies — supermovies for everyone! A Pajba T-Shirt (now with an alternate tagline) goes out to our favorite. (— Ranylt Richildis)

linda-fiorentino.jpgSeth Freilich: My supermovie is a heist flick, because I’m a sucker for a good robbery. Executive producers Doug Liman and Michael Mann wisely bring on both David Mamet and David Simon (“The Wire”) to co-write the screenplay, and David Fincher is signed to direct (you can’t go wrong with the three Davids). On the “bad guy” side of things, we’ve got Gary Oldman (present day) as the ringleader, with John Malkovich (about 5-10 years younger than present day) and Linda Fiorentino (smoldering from around the time of 1994’s The Last Seduction) as the other two main crew members. Fiorentino is not sleeping with any of them, and there are no romantic entanglements whatsoever. The film starts off with Keanu Reeves and Richard Gere appearing to be the “good guys,” but both of their characters are killed off within the first ten minutes. The true “good guys” wind up being Humphrey Bogart, as a Sam Spade-esque P.I., and Warren Beatty (c.1975), as a former stickup man hired by Bogey to help out on the case. With cinematography from long-time Coen brothers collaborator Roger Deakins (he’s been with them since Barton Fink, plus he’s done films like Mountains of the Moon, The Shawshank Redemption and Sid and Nancy) and a collaborative score by Michael Kamen and John Williams, the film will be a pleasure to watch and hear. Plus, it won’t have any CGI whatsoever, although it will have a spectacular shoot-out and car chase. In the end (*spoiler alert*), Bogey and Oldman both wind up dead, and Beatty ends up retiring to Brazil with Malkovich, Fiorentino and the stolen fortune (but note that Beatty didn’t betray Bogart). I’m unacceptably erect just thinking about this.

birdwiththecrystalplumage.jpgRanylt Richildis: What? Pick just one? It took me a few days of wishful juggling before I could decide between three contenders: (1) Polanski doing a proper, suitably moody adaptation of The Return of the Native with a cast of British unknowns; (2) Herzog helming an adaptation of the cinematically neglected Oroonoko, with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in the title role (ten years younger, at least); but ultimately I’m going to go with an irresistible third, because (3) is a film that surely might be made at some point, rendering my fantasy all the more palpable: a Tarantino tribute to the Italian giallo in its 1970s heyday form. Story itself is inconsequential, in the sense that Quentin need only pick one of many remnant vintage novels or draw up his own — story, in giallo flicks, registers somewhat lower on the scale after production design, cinematography and soundtrack (just be sure to fill it with blind alleys and sharp curves). Fortunately for my supermovie fantasy, some of my contributors are still thriving nicely — I suspect that if Tarantino were to dial Claudio Simonetti in Italy (he of the erstwhile Goblin, which scored Argento’s Deep Red, Suspiria and Tenebre), Simonetti would jump on the next flight to L.A. blinking tears of elated disbelief from his eyes. I can hear Tarantino instructing him to whip up a score more reminiscent of the ’70s sound than anything he concocted post-1983 — in fact, my supermovie’s exigencies insist on that much (if Simonetti can no longer deliver that particular aural quality, Morricone can step in and provide something along the lines of his Who Saw Her Die? score). Tarantino’s call to Simonetti would be followed by an excited-as-a-little-girl text message to cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, that magic lenser who made geometric eye-candy out of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Conformist and The Fifth Cord (God, I’m so metaphorically hard right now). This fanboy masterpiece would have to be populated by a still-fresh Frank Nero and Edwige Fenech, and of course no less than Klaus Kinski would be resurrected to play the killer (or at least the main red-herring). It’ll be style over substance, I know, but o! what style! I’ll want to wallpaper my home with the final results.

dirty-0611.jpgConstance Howes: One of my favorite things to do before bed, other than brush my teeth and chug Diet Coke (my dentist loves me) is to play let’s pretend with the details of make-believe movies. My besotted made-up movie contributions in college centered mostly around the artists I spent thousands of dollars either learning about or trying to rip-off. So, say Sofia Coppola were to direct a movie about O’Keeffe and Steiglitz during the height of the 291 gallery? Who would perfectly play the passionate pair? Easy peasy. A young Colleen Dewhurst and Bruce Dern. Wondering who would direct a film version of Anselm Kiefer’s widely ignored autobiography? Well, simple pimple. Director Jane Campion would be the best choice to cinematographically obsess over both the luscious landscape of Barjac and Kiefer’s Nazi shame pathos. Lately, however, I spend my semi-conscious, sheep-counting seconds dreaming up acting casts for works of fiction I’ve recently read. According to Wiki, 1492 Productions (Chris Columbus) purchased the rights to A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore in 2006. I find this — and the octopus — very scary. So, let’s definitely disregard reality by handing the movie rights and reigns to director Michael Gondry. In terms of musical accompaniment, it seems only appropriate that Angelo Badalamenti sound-out this story about death. I mean, the man has Secretary, Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive on his resume. Also, since this is the stuff of even posthumous dreams, I’d like to include Vince Guaraldi on the score action. Vince would break up any long-winded weirdness with some twinkly jazz riffs for Minty’s subway scene, Charlie’s sojourns through early morning Chinatown, and the march of the squirrel people. Cast is key, of course and I think I can queue one up without having to resurrect the acting dead; Charlie Asher’s character would be played by beta boy, Edward Norton; Lance Reddick would kill as Minty Fresh and look fan-freaking-tastic in a mint green seersucker suit; Clea Duvall with a blonde, David Bowie ‘do would be Charlie’s sister Jane; his wife, Rachel, would appear only in flashbacks as a thankfully silent, sweet-faced Ginnifer Goodwin; Thora “Why in bloody Hollywood hell is she not more famous than Scarlett Johansson?” Birch would play cheeky, goth girl Lily; ex-cop Ray Macy would be hilariously loserfied by Brian Posehn; Tully’s Julianne Nicholson could convincingly capture Audrey; and David Zayas would reprise the meat of his role on Dexter as Inspector Alphonse Rivera. Sophie could be played by any cute, little girl actor who doesn’t completely suck, while the Morrigan trio would be voiced by Judy Davis, Helen Mirren and Helena Bonham Carter in a Where Angels Fear to Tread twist but with less hard-to-undo buttons and prudishness. The only other absolute call I’d make is that even with all the mythological plot points, no animators should be harmed in the making of the movie. The budget can be large enough to ensure oodles of creative breathing room but small enough so that nobody decides to go Gollum all over everything.

aHR0cDovL2ltYWdlcy5hbHBoYS1iZWRzLmNvbS9kZXN0aW5hdGlvbnMvUHJhZ3VlLVRyYW0tSU1BR0UwMS5qcGc%3D.jpgPhillip Stephens: Man, did I waffle on this one. A supermovie with no chronological restrictions on cast and crew? For reals? Which bed-wetting fanboy fantasy should I ultimately indulge? A sci-fi odyssey with a resurrected Kubrick to finally make good the promise of digital artistry? It’s been done enough. A new Jean-Pierre Melville/Alain Delon caper with collaborative input from his best imitators (Tarantino, Woo, Jarmusch)? Bah…noir and crime drama have had their day. Hell, I feel haughty for it, but if I had my way this supermovie would probably be the Most Pretentious Film Ever Made. And unfortunately for you, it would be a sheer ode to artistry — an attempt to marry the American experience with European art. This film would be a soporific journey light on the dialogue and heavy on the long edits and steadicam shots. The story: an American Everyman wanders endlessly through a particularly alien-looking eastern European city (take your pick — something approximating Prague or Budapest) doing…nothing in particular, just looking and wandering, perhaps in postgrad ennui, but something that suggests endless metaphorical questing without implying what exactly it might be about. Who would helm this weighty fare? Who could artfully render this (admittedly boring) story with the appropriate lyrical pathos? Ultimately, the best choices - Tarkovsky, Kiarostami, Herzog, Wenders, Antonioni - would be a little too ironic for something ostensibly about the American experience, so my choice for director would be our own cinematic lyricist, Terrence Malick, working with his The Thin Red Line cinematographer, John Toll, which I guess would mean throwing some broody voiceovers into the mix. And just to make sure you were really saturated with profundity — the whole thing’s scored by Sigur Rós. The final half hour would be one gigantic, unedited take/musical interlude of the protagonist (the cast, incidentally, would be unknowns or non-professionals) walking through the sepia of old streets and ascending a hill as a sheer masturbatory ode to Sokurov. Overbearing? Certainly. But lucky for you, the Most Pretentious Movie Ever Made could also be the most beautiful.

murray1.jpgAgent Bedhead: Supermovies are, by definition, totally overrated and would attract a limited audience willing to overdose on certain elements of the absurd, but cinematic laundry lists can help us avoid complacently settling for the crap constantly brought into theaters. So, let’s start out with an escapist, dark comedy directed by Spike Jonze with a score by Angelo Badalamenti, who will stay more in tune with his ravishing score in Secretary than his spookier work on several David Lynch films because, after all, we don’t want to scare the hell out of ourselves. Cinematography will be picked up by Dion Beebe, who is an excellent visual storyteller in many contexts and can certainly transform my vision of nothingness into a rhythmic jazziness. The film shall include actors who actually possess talent yet don’t spend their press ops bitching about fame’s burdens while continuing to accept oversized paychecks. This limits the choices for major roles to Kate Winslet, Robert Downey Jr., and Samantha Morton. For supporting roles, James Spader will ring in his usual variant of a sexual fiend, and Matt Dillon will make a cameo appearance as variant of himself — a total douche. The plot itself will be irrelevant but must not be overtly political, since I am still rather deluded about the compartmentalization of everything. Most importantly, the film must include Bill Murray in all his smirky, understated, lounge-singing glory.

maxboard1.jpgDaniel Carlson: Do I have a supermovie? Indeed I do. I’m a sucker for stories that aren’t afraid to mix genres, e.g., a dark comedy with plenty of pathos, or an action movie with an intelligent, character-driven plot. So I’d probably go with a comedic drama, the kind of witty, sharp film that has moments of broad physical humor as well as subtle, asburdist punchlines. But the comedy wouldn’t be the purpose of the film, just the backdrop against which I would play out a coming-of-age tale about a young boy in love with an older woman. He’d be 15 or so, old enough to know that his eventual manhood will be no picnic, but young enough to somehow blindly become wrapped up in the woman — a teacher at his school — and to almost believe they could wind up together. Yet it wouldn’t be some kind of obsession-based drama; the kid would be genuinely likable, and even harmless, more driven by the idea of the woman and his desire to do something great with his young life than any real malicious intent. I’d probably recruit Wes Anderson to direct, knowing his skill with actors in settings that could be described as a little quirky. I’d also have Anderson co-write the script with Owen Wilson, whose bright comedic voice meshes perfectly with Anderson’s, especially if they were to put their minds to creating a story about wistful young love. I’d have Anderson work with cinematographer Robert D. Yeoman, with whom he collaborated on Bottle Rocket, and I’d also have Anderson reunite with composer Mark Mothersbaugh to produce a breezy original pop score, which would in turn be complemented by a series of 1960s British Invasion B-sides. Speaking of songs, I’d cap the whole thing off with “Ooh La La” by The Faces as a perfect way to send the boy off into a rocky but still hopeful youth. It would be short, and sweet, and transcendent in the way it would mix love and life and pain and growing up to create the kind of story that none of us has lived through but to which we can all relate. It would be unstoppable, and untoppable. If I could make that movie, I’d be happy. Yeah, that’d be my ultimate supermovie.

DavidBowie.jpgStacey Nosek: I don’t fancy myself an “inventor of ideas” so much as an “appreciator” of them, and so I had some trouble with this assignment. But ultimately, I came up with what I’d like to think is a real humdinger. Since I loves me a good fairy tale, I’d like to bring Jim Henson back from the dead to direct and co-write a fantasy epic with Ricky Gervais. Gervais — who has proven himself to be quite an imaginative guy, channeling his creative energy into his Flanimals children’s book series — would add just the right amount of whimsical humor to this project. I’d like this film to take place in the early 1980s and be your typical “Hero with mundane life discovers a secret universe and goes on a quest to save said universe and/or princess” or some such nonsense. Really, the plot itself is secondary, seeing as the sharp writing and finely-tuned characters will really carry the film. In the starring “hero” role will be Bud Cort, circa 1970 — mostly because of my naughty, naughty Harold and Maude crush. Additionally, I could definitely see Maggie Gyllenhaal in the Princess/Queen role (again: see naughty crushes.) Ricky Gervais will have to play the villain since he is naturally a “vile little goblin man” (according to Alex the Odd) and if David Bowie would make a cameo as the Goblin King and somehow manage to belittle Gervais it would be the most ass-kicking meta thing ever. Although (and no offense to Mr. Bowie), I have decided that I’d like “The Jam” to do the soundtrack, mostly because “Town Called Malice” came on my iPod as I was envisioning the film, and I thought it fit very nicely.

151351__clerks_l.jpgDustin Rowles: Long-time readers of the site know of my fondness for Kevin Smith. I know he’s created some backlash and alienated a few in my generation and others, but — though he’ll never get credit for it — his movies, in some part, paved the way for Judd Apatow’s recent success. Smith was one of the, if not the first, to introduce geek rants and conversational dialogue that spoke our language into popular cinema, which is now what makes movies like Knocked Up and Superbad so goddamn appealing. The problem with Smith, unfortunately, is that — for all his relatable dialogue — he’s not that great a director. And, as much as I love Clerks, there’s always been a part of me that would’ve like to have seen Smith’s script done right, with not only a better director but a decent-sized budget. That’s why, in my supermovie fantasy, I wouldn’t remake Clerks exactly — I’d strike the first effort from existence (hey — it’s my fantasy, I can do whatever I want) and produce it anew with a $35 million budget. This time around, I’d use Smith’s script as the basis, and allow Seth Rogen to do a minor rewrite and, appropriately, have him play Silent Bob (and for that reason alone, I might prolong the “Bob Speaks” soliloquy). Dante Hicks would be played by an actual actor, Jason Lee circa Mallrats (before the Scientologists got to him), while Randal Graves would be portrayed by Matt Damon (who Mrs. Pajiba hyphenate assures me would be a better choice than Ryan Reynolds — I’m not so sure.). Jay would still be played by Jason Mewes, because no one else in the history of mankind could do that role justice. But, the worst part of all of Clerks was the dreadful performance from Marilyn Ghiglioti as Veronica Loughran — it’s still hard to watch scenes with her in them. It’s also hardest to find a suitable replacement, though I think I’m going to go with Amy Adams (“37! My girlfriend’s sucked 37 dicks!” / “In a row?”). Kristen Bell would round out the cast as Caitlin Bree (am I the only one who finds it hilarious that Veronica Mars ends up sleeping with the dead guy?). Bruce Campbell would do a cameo as one of the customers. I’m setting the movie in 1992, so Cameron Crowe can provide a Singles-worthy grunge soundtrack and the hockey game will feature cameos by members of Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth (Andrew Wood, now alive, will officiate). Finally, I’d get Judd Apatow to direct the whole damn thing. It’d be hands-down the best comedy of the ’90s.

ruffalo_brown.jpgJohn Williams: On the one hand, I’m hesitant to divulge the details of my supermovie, because I still fantasize about eventually going to film school and then putting this sucker together myself. On the other hand, I’m trying to be better about not allowing delusions to hinder my day-to-day living. So, here we go. As much as I love different types of movies, I’m the biggest sucker for a sweeping human-scale story, which is not an oxymoron but is very rare. My supermovie would be a multi-hour epic (think The Best of Youth) that followed the lives of a family in upstate New York. It would be written by Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count On Me), directed by James L. Brooks right after he finished doing Broadcast News (one of my favorite movies for grown-ups), and it would feature the following cast: Paul Newman (circa the mid-’90s) as the family’s grandfather; Gene Hackman (circa 1974) as his son; and Mark Ruffalo as Hackman’s son. (I don’t care if those three don’t seem like they would be related — it’s a damn supermovie, people.) Their various friends and love interests would be played by Laura Linney, Holly Hunter, Winona Ryder, John Malkovich, and Joaquin Phoenix, among others. The cinematography would be naturalistic, the screenplay would be novelistic (much more than I can get into here), and the soundtrack would be tasteful and more or less unobtrusive (thus even more powerful the few times it was used for emphasis). I’m sure my fellow Pajibans have wowed you with tales of planets exploding and surprise endings and Jessica Biel joining a lesbian biker gang headed by Angelina Jolie. I apologize if my vision is boring in comparison, but my imaginary movie will beat their imaginary movies when it comes imaginary Oscar time. Trust me.

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Guides | September 5, 2007 | Comments ()



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