Sometimes Hollywood screenwriters have to come up with some new, imaginative approach in writing scenarios; the public soon gets jaded with reprises on the same theme! After all, you can make only so many sequels and still drag the audiences in.
Now and then, they come up with something different: Recently, it was Silver Linings Playbook. It happened that they had two edgy, yet appealing, main characters, plus a strong supporting cast. But these successes emerge amid a lot of deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would have said.
Allenby, one such screenwriter, came up with an interesting quote from an American pragmatist philosopher and psychologist, William James:
And he went, like, "Oh my god! I got an idea that would sell! Make the bitch-goddess success into a movie character -- a super heroine!" In his thoughts he reflected that audiences like to see bitchiness and edginess. The tarter the manifestation, the better audiences like it. [In both senses of that word.] Consider Lindsay Lohan's best movie, Mean Girls. Or the typical teen-oriented fare. And what is more American than our obsession with success? After all, who dies with the most toys, wins!
He raised the matter with his co-writer, J.R., suggesting a conferral to flesh out the idea.
J.R.: Think you got something, Bay-bee!
Allenby: Thanks, J.R. But all we're working with now is the quote. What kind of movie should it be?
J.R.: Well, sci-fi or zombie movies draw in the audiences; sometimes for repeat screenings! [It's a fact that part of the successes of some movies is that a portion of the audience pays to view it a second time, or will watch it through streaming, like Bridesmaids.] Let's set it in a futuristic setting and throw in the usual hardware and a romantic interest.
Allenby: Yes, we can make our Bitch-Goddess Success super sexy and seductive! Have her wear daring costumes, and use sex, financial manipulation, and politics to accomplish her ends. We can name her Donalette, or Sophia. Make her a sexpot; that will draw in the yokels. Let's go for some serious sideboob and underboob! And have her wear some bright color, like orange!
J.R.: Hmmm.......Let's have her write mortgages for sleazy banks, or deal in real estate speculation! We're now tapping the sleazy side of life! And, whether the audience will admit it or not, they like seeing people acting badly.
Allenby: I hope you mean bad.
J.R.: Sorry. My bad.
Allenby: I thought that the sleazy side of life would involve police work in squalid inner cities?
J.R.: So, give 'em a new kind of sleaze. Light on the politics, though; corporate wrong-doing is so 2013! Don't bite the Hollywood hand, you know. Just don't work Tinseltown in the story; we'll never sell the idea or it get backing if it bites Hollywood on the fanny! No, set our Bitch-Goddess Success's activities somewhere in Flyover Country. Who would you cast in the role?
Allenby: How about one of the performers on the recent Video Music Awards program on MTV? Now we'd really be showing the dark side of the American Experience then! But make it as surreal as possible: Americans have long lost their appetite for film noir.
J.R.: How about her stealing half on the corporate assets and putting them in Swiss Islands bank accounts?
Allenby: I wonder if we could put a little politics in,kind of like on the House of Cards side. Or maybe have Donalette be in some competition with other bitch-goddesses acting wicked.
J.R.: People would identify with that. That sounds very much like a typical high school or church.
|The Bitch-Goddess Success|
|Hurricane Katrine, August 29, 2005|