As much as we all respect the quality and originality of work emerging from that bastion of down to earth sensibility Hollywood, we must admit that the geniuses that live there are prone to latch on to easy to reach fads and rinse them for all they’re worth (and beyond). Recent examples of this are Parkour (Die Hard 4, Casino Royale), Cyber-terrorism (Die Hard 4, Eagle Eye), Patriotism (Die Hard 4, Spiderman) and Hacking (included as a plot device in every film featuring computers since the dawn of time, and Die Hard 4).
Despite their apparent enthusiasm for such popular crazes, film producers rarely get the opportunity to fully understand the theme they’re shamelessly raping for profit. It’s not really their fault. Their minds are so fucked up through a dangerous cocktail of cocaine, casting couch blowjobs and listening to Michael Bay talk shit all the time, they’re totally adrift in an ocean of opulence and ignorance. Poor buggers.
Nevertheless, it’s a symbol of acceptance to have your passion (cyber-terrorism?) exploited by big white guys in suits. Which makes it strange that social media has yet to be substantially misconceived by any big budget Hollywood shitefest. Fuck, even the Nintendo Power Glove got turned into a film starring kids with freakily big heads!
Possibly, Hollywood’s reluctant to turn the spotlight on something that frequently tears their shitty business practices to pieces (other than making the internet in some way responsible for almost destroying the world – Die Hard 4). Alternatively, they may be simply unaware that social media even exists (coke, head, bay, remember?).
To make it easy for them, I’ve taken five popular uses of social media and built plots based around them using some of the industry’s favourite storylines. Evil Hollywood producer, I’d like my royalties paid for in casting couch head and hard drugs please. Keep Bay at bay.
1 – eBay
Title - Best Match
(That’s an obscure eBay reference picked up on the eBay glossary)
Tagline - “This Fall, make a bid for love”
The Plot - Seth Grogan (playing a lovable loser who’s recently broken up with his girlfriend) winds up getting put up for sale on eBay by his hilariously whacky housemate to make some weed money. At first reluctant, Grogan agrees thinking he has nothing to lose. As a bidding war erupts between a hottie and an older woman (who keeps asking questions that cause Grogan to do that facial expression he knows), the audience know who’s gonna win in the end (they’ve seen the trailer). Long story short, our hero winds up as the love bitch of some sugar momma (possibly played by silver vixen Helen Mirren) while his ex-girlfriend (umm…Katherine Heigl?) tries to win him back.
The Twist - Seeing how he’s making his girlfriend jealous, Grogan starts playing up to Mirren only to realise (after much comedy) that she’s really the one for him. Chicks love this shit.
Best line - Grogan after being told about the eBay offer:
Grogan – (Angrily) I can’t believe this! (Pause) (Asks timidly) So how much is the minimum bid?
Housemate – Five bucks.
Grogan – Five bucks!! Five bucks!! You’re selling my body to desperate, lonely women and all you’re asking for is five lousy bucks!?
Housemate – Dude, this is eBay! People don’t buy any old crap!
(Yep, that’s the best line…)
Best scene - Easter Egg during the credits: Mirren and Grogan kissing and cheering after succesfully bidding for a child on eBay.
Why it’s ridiculously Hollywood – Selling people on eBay is strictly off limits sadly.
Title – Runaway911
Tagline - “What are YOU doing?”
The Plot – Six Twitterers are simultaneously contacted by a mysterious user (Runaway911) pleading for their help. At first most of the Twitter people ignore the messages but soon they are drawn in by the frequent tweets that describe brutal and frequent torture. Led by a widower social worker (Jodie Foster) the six tweeters have to find out who this person is, where they are and why they are the ones who’ve been contacted. As the story unfolds, they start to find themselves picked off one by one by an unknown killer…
The Twist - The contacted Twitter users ARE connected! Unknown to them, they were all together a year ago on the 9th November and ignored the pleas of a desperate and rough-looking street-walker who cried for their help. They didn’t care and that woman ended up tortured and killed that very night. Runaway911 (911 – 9th November, get it?) is the sister of that woman exacting a brutal and ironic revenge on the people who refused to help her sister because of her appearance (Runaway – double meaning alert! Not only does it relate to the streetwalker who ran away from home and ended up murdered but it also could be read as Run Away… a hidden warning to the tweeterers! Wow! Layered!). Jodie Foster finds out too late and the movie ends with a new tweet popping up on her account simply echoing the supposed torture victimes first message: ‘help me’.
The Deep Message - Blah blah blah it’s all about how we judge appearances in real life and how the relative anonymity offered by social media blah blah blah. Can we get closer to people we’ve never met? That’s a shitty tagline in waiting.
Best Scene – Probably the thrilling trailer (the film will, of course, be a disappointment). Though the epic montage/flashback scene when Foster figures everything out will be pretty ace. Mix in a couple of slanty, zoomed-in shots on Twitter messages while echoy voices repeat some of the more obvious clues over a crescendo-reaching soundtrack.
Why it’s ridiculously Hollywood - Who the fuck would use Twitter to ask for help!? And how did the sister ever find out who was on that street? Why do they all use Twitter? Ridiculous. Would/could never happen. Perfect film fodder.
Title – ineedyourhelp.com
(That is an offensively awful title – quick post a booby pic to make people forget it…)
A bittersweet tale of a beautiful American girl (played by Scarlett Johansson – seriously, someone that hot should have a name I can spell in search engines) who moved to London with the dreams of becoming a model. One year later she’s a drug addicted prostitute (noticing a worrying theme in my material here) who’s beaten, abused and ignored by polite society. Online however, she’s the most respected and beloved figure on a crowdsourcing site (ineedyourhelp.com) offering help, advice and support to others in need. We follow her misery in the real world while catching glimpses of the joy she gives to others as her life intersects with her better off helpees across the city.
The Tragic Ending - She dies after a savage beating and nobody cares or notices except other users of that terribly named website. The nurse who describes her as “just another roughed up junkie whore” when they wheel her dead body away is revealed to be a woman Scarlett has spent much of the movie helping.
The Ambiguity - Our heroine died with a smile on her face. Was that because someone had finally helped her (by ending her persistently miserable existence) or was the joy she gave others enough to make her feel her life was worth living? We’ll never know. Well, I know. Maybe.
The Best Scene - To be honest, I’m getting really depressed just thinking about this film so I think I’ll forget which wrist-slittingly depressing scene is best and move onto the next plot which stars Megan Fox and no dead hookers.
Title – Stream2Scream
The Plot – Jamie Bell is an just an ordinary American teenager. He’s got a ridiculously hot girlfriend (played by Megan Fox) and a bunch of stereotypical friends (these come as standard in the suburbs). They start to watch this YouTube meme of an apparent serial killer posting videos of him threatening murder and then posting the videos of the deed being committed. The killer (Stream2Scream – yes, another username title but that is how a cliche becomes tired) wears a gas mask with a mohawk made from forks and speaks in iambic pentameter. The channel receives comments and video messages of people cheering him on or criticising him (in that inane video response way). Bell and buddies join in the fun until one of them is targeted! His own girlfriend! Now it’s a race against time for him to find and stop the killer before his girlfriend becomes just another viral vid.
The Best Scene – Megan Fox dancing around in her underwear to The Divinyls I Touch Myself. I did write a pretty good justification for that scene but I figured it’s not really necessary.
The Twist - Bell races to save her but she’s already been killed – the video is pre-recorded! (Fuck, Saw II beat me to that). The killer was Bell all along! (Fuck, done to death). Megan Fox is the killer! (Not bad – to a relative standard of bad). Umm…aliens?
Why it’ll be cool and cause controversy - Copycat videos on YouTube of people imitating the killer.
Why it is ridiculously Hollywood - Obviously, YouTube wouldn’t let anyone post videos of them murdering people. And they could be tracked easily via IP and arrested so it isn’t the most intelligent form of serial killering gimmickry. Also, to make this film even remotely entertaining and “chilling”, most of the killers actions would be mostly impossible – unless you take into account the twist ending. Which is ridiculous in itself. Still, Hollywood would love this. Activists will be screaming for YouTube to be shutdown following the premiere.
Title – Blogged
– (Obvious title, but that fits – it’ll use a digitalish font and probably be green though, which is COOL – Unlike this weird picture below)
Tagline - “Free speech never cost so much”
Bah. This is so painfully unoriginal I’m throwing up on myself whilst writing it. Seriously.
The Plot - Shia LeBeouf (who else, really?) plays the same character he always does but this time is a blogger. He’s a big name in the blogosphere and enjoys his edgy rep. Note that this movie puts blogging as the new hacking, so LeBeouf goes to trendy underground clubs filled with models and dresses like he has something against living cows. Regardless, he’s happy and trying to hit on the love interest (another blogger, played by Mila Kunis) until (da-dum) he somehow gets access to something that could bring down someone. Ahem. Seriously, that shit just writes itself after that point. He’s now in a race for his life against some shadowy agency (with a duo of semi-useless agents who offer light comedic relief) while being helped by an anonymous blog legend: DNQ/DNP (pronounced Dink-Donp).
Cue some overcool scenes of him updating his blog, uploading pics (“come on! come on!”), and generally being a social media sorcerer. Stuff happens until he gets the girl and saves the day. Yawn. Highlights below:
Agency hacks his online life and ruins everything (“Dude, this is serious. Your secondlife avatar washed up dead this morning. They made it look like virtual suicide”).
There’s one shot when you think Mila Kunis might be more than just quite cute, but then it passes.
Stuff blows up and there’s a nail-biting snowmobile chase through New York (don’t ask me how or why) that is followed by bloggers using Google Maps (artistic license!)
Beoufo eventually eludes them long enough to post the full account of what happened (after the edge-of-your-seat drama of trying to find free wireless). Nailbiting scene of him trying to finish typing as the bad guys run up the stairs. They destroy the computer. “Too late, this shit isn’t on my computer man! This is in the blogosphere now! Half the world’s already seen it!”
The Twist - Underground blog legend, DNQ/DNP is 13 years old. But he’s mean with a pair of nunchucks.
Geek Money Shot - Shia LeBuff has been captured by the bad guys but was first able to post his account online. Epic montage scene of bloggers across the world reading the post and passing it on. Within minutes the FBI arrive and rescue our hero. The power of the blogosphere! Seconds later Shia’s blogging buddy phones him: “Dude, your story is on the front page of Digg!”
Why it is ridiculously Hollywood - Because it’s the worst idea for a film ever. To be honest, I probably didn’t misrepresent bloggers enough with this one to make it suitable for the suits. Anyway, Hollywood will probably go with a “true story” about some blogger going to prison. Then the tagline I came up with would work better. Did you notice it didn’t make much sense? Bah, pay attention.