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Fantasy Casting: Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains 2

4 May

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Survivor‘s themed seasons are sometimes a mixed bag, but one concept that yielded arguably the best season of all was that of “Heroes vs. Villains”. In it, some of the most inspirational, likable players were pitted against the most notorious strategists to ever play the game. The result was crackling television, with certain players more than happy to live up to their title and others using it as a shield while they tried to subvert expectations.
We’ve had twelve seasons since the first iteration of Heroes vs. Villains, and I think we’re due for another round. So I put together my ideal cast, making sure to keep it relatively recent. Here’s what I came up with.

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Fantasy Casting: Decision 2016

27 Feb

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We’re in the midst of primary season. And with Super Tuesday coming up, I thought it only appropriate to imagine this season as a movie. It’s certainly easy to do, what with the big personalities and high drama that we’ve seen for the last several months. The palpable anger, both on the left and the right, has made this a particularly brutal election and we don’t even have candidates yet. So I figured we’d need a politically-minded director with a strong handle on tension and cynicism, with a cast of heavy-hitters to capture the insanity of Decision 2016!

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Fantasy Casting: Survivor

12 Sep

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I’m not exactly sure how one would adapt a reality TV show into a movie, but I’d love to see it happen. Survivor has provided such interesting personalities; many of them are just waiting to be played by a skilled actor. And, though this would be a movie, we would need a director with a history of hyper realism and a screenwriter with a strong sense of believable-but-punchy dialogue.

Here’s what I’ve come up with.

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Fantasy Casting: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

27 Jun

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Ever since the success of Moulin Rouge, people have been proclaiming right and left that the musical is back!  And while there have been a few notable musicals (Chicago, Dreamgirls, Les Miserables, etc.) in the last few years, I’d hardly get to the point in which I would declare the musical to be officially back.  It’s hardly a foregone conclusion that musicals will dominate the box office, and, where musicals were king of the Oscars in the 1950s and 60s, since Chicago‘s Best Picture win, they barely even register at the Academy Awards.

It’s not surprising that Hollywood is constantly trying to bring back this genre.  What does surprise me, however, is that very few musicals seem to be viable candidates as studios scramble to remake old classics.  I’m not sure why, frankly.  Many of them are based on existing stage shows, which are revived over and over on Broadway.  I think it would be interesting to see what new directors could do with old favorites like West Side Story or The Sound of Music.

Personally, though, I think The Rocky Horror Picture Show could make for a truly wonderful musical.  Since its initial release- whereupon it fizzled immediately- this film has achieved a cult status unlike any other movie.  And, while some die hard fans would cry blasphemy if anybody tried to remake the film, I think, if it were done in the right spirit, it could make for a really enjoyable time at the movies.

And here’s what I think they should do with it.

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Fantasy Casting: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

24 Feb

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When I was young, my parents showed me Stanley Kramer’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World.  I mostly enjoyed it.  Recently, the film was released on Blu Ray by Criterion.  My friend purchased it and we watched it last week.  Going in, I was a bit worried that the film- with its pratfalls and mugging- wouldn’t hold up, neither to today’s standards of comedy nor my own grown-up comic preferences.

I’m happy to say that I was wrong on both counts.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and thought it would be interesting to do a fantasy casting of it.  This proved to be particularly challenging, as I felt an obligation to mimic the original film’s conceit of having a vast ensemble of the most respected comic performers of the time.

Nonetheless, it turned out to be a lot of fun.  Here’s what I came up with.

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Fantasy Casting: Gabriel Knight

8 Jan

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Okay.  I’ll admit, this one’s pretty much just for me.  Gabriel Knight was a computer game that was released in 1993, about a low level novelist getting involved in a series of voodoo-related murders in New Orleans.  The game was incredibly well-written, with a strong sense of atmosphere and character.  I consider it one of the more formative creative works of my young life.

Incidentally, the game is being revamped for its 20th anniversary.  It will be released later this year.  I highly recommend playing it.

Gabriel Knight is inherently cinematic, so I always thought it would make a good movie.  Here’s how I think it should go:

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Fantasy Casting- It’s a Wonderful Life

25 Dec

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What’s today?  Why, it’s Christmas Day!

And in the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to re-imagine Frank Capra’s classic film It’s a Wonderful Life.  My version incorporates a few key differences that will highlight the societal vulnerability of the Baileys, while maybe illuminating some of the animus of Mr. Potter.  Enjoy!

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Fantasy Casting- Clue

24 Oct

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I’ve been a fan of the board game Clue since I was a kid.  I’m convinced that some of my love for film noir and murder mysteries stems from this game of high class suspects with exotic weapons holed up together in a mansion.  I was a huge fan of the slapstick comedy adaptation (though my love for that film has lessened a bit over the years).

I recently found myself wondering if Hollywood would ever be interested in making another adaptation of the game.  Since pretty much everything is getting an adaptation these days, it seems like a new Clue movie is inevitable.

Whoever would make the film would have to be able to lock into the sense of fun and artificiality that is inherent in the whodunnit genre, which is compounded in a board game meant to encapsulate those qualities.  After all, we’re dealing with characters with names like “Peacock” and “Mustard.”  The film could- and should- feel like we’ve been put inside the game itself, so art direction is also key.

So, where are we?  A fun and seemingly-artificial film in which we have a rich ensemble of broad characters gathered together in a fastidiously designed mansion.

I think we know exactly what we’re talking about…

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Fantasy Casting- Star Trek: The Next Generation

14 Jun

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With all the hullabaloo about J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek franchise reboot, I feel like it is just a matter of time before somebody decides to reboot The Next Generation.  It could be a fun prospect, incorporating the more modern sensibility of the show and its characters with latest cutting edge special effects could make for a very entertaining film.  The characters of the show are, in many ways, just as interesting and distinct as those from the original series, so casting them correctly is key.

Let’s see what we’ve got.

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Fantasy Casting- Superman

11 Jun

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Making Superman fresh and relevant has long been a challenge for modern writers, directors, and artists, but rather than emphasize his explosive, crazy-action-scene-ready powers, I say ground him. Literally. When Superman was first created, he couldn’t even fly, and while he was strong, he wasn’t indestructible – incorporate that into the new version! Take him back to his roots, not necessarily by telling another origin story, but just by planting him at the beginning of his superhero career in Metropolis. He’s not yet the protector of the entire planet. He’s just looking out for this town, more in line with the man-of-the-people character that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created, who took crooked landlords and wife-beaters to task as often as he battled robots and mad scientists. He’s just an earnest guy trying to do what he felt was right, who recognizes the negativity and cynicism in the world, and purposefully chooses optimism. Oh, and give the damn thing some humor.

Here’s the gang I would pick to bring it together (plus a few cast members if it goes to trilogy).

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