Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Space Jam 2: Friendship is Magic


The rumors are flying that Space Jam 2 is happening. Since there is no reason why not, and Hollywood continues to milk the nostalgia cow, I'd say it's inevitable.

How can Space Jam 2 best capture the spirit of the original? The first Space Jam was a time capsule of everything that was popular in the 90's, so the new one should be a time capsule of everything that's popular in 2015. To wit, here is my speculative script treatment for how the new movie should go down.




"Space Jam 2: Friendship is Magic"
By James L. Steele

The Loony Tunes are not cool anymore. Instead, I recommend replacing all Loony Tunes with MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC characters.

(You're humming the theme song right now. Just admit it.)


ACT 1

We open on the same ALIEN PLANET featured in the original film. Reality TV is all the rage. (Show WALL OF MONITORS broadcasting every reality TV series ever made to all corners of the galaxy.) These aliens created the genre to conquer the galaxy, and they have succeeded.

Ratings are good, profits are through the roof, but it's not enough for the executives and investors. To get even more viewers, MR. SWACKHAMMER (the boss alien from the first film) decides to capture this generation's most popular cartoon characters and force them to star in a reality TV series.

Cut to EQUESTRIA, daytime.

TWILIGHT SPARKLE, RARITY, APPLEJACK, PINKIE PIE, RAINBOW DASH, and FLUTTERSHY are doing their usual pony activities. Alien HENCHMEN secretly land, observe, and then capture our main characters. (SPIKE is optional.)

The ponies are transported back to the alien planet and dumped into the office, where Swackhammer pitches the new reality TV series to them, for which they have been cast: a camera crew is to follow them around as they try to win places on other reality TV shows.

Having no choice, the ponies go along with it, trying out for several shows in multiple animated worlds, frequently doing interview cutaways. They are forced to bicker and backstab each other for the hungry TV audience (show the HUNGRY TV AUDIENCE craving DRAMA and CONFLICT).

They are also told to be as bad as possible. Any attempts at being good at any of the shows they try out for are met with outrage from their aliens captors, saying it looks better for the cameras if they suck at everything they try. The girls have to oblige.

Meanwhile, in the real world, LEBRON JAMES has just begun a reality series of his own. (Possible titles include: NBA SHOWDOWN; THE RECRUITS; NBA ULTIMATE DREAM CHALLENGE.) The NBA recruits new players through a reality TV series now. Every season, they hold open tryouts, and then the contestants have to achieve ordinary basketball-related challenges in ridiculously small time limits with outrageously bizarre restrictions on equipment and location; and must please judges and survive vote-offs and sabotages on top of all that. All the while, the prospective pro-basketball players are compelled to backstab and bicker with one another during the contests as well as between. (Show the HUNGRY TV AUDIENCE craving DRAMA and CONFLICT again.)


ACT 2

Twilight Sparkle hears one of the alien producers talking with his superior about their plan to keep the series going for 10 years: they want the ponies to perpetually try out for reality TV shows, but never actually earn a place on one. Twilight sees a way to use this to escape. She tells the girls they must actually win a place on a show. She persuades the camera crew into letting the ponies try out for Lebron's reality TV series in the real world, figuring basketball should be easy for them.

They actually secure a place on the show. The aliens did not expect this--the contract they made the ponies sign does not have any provisions for what happens in this case, so the aliens scramble to come up with a solution. The ponies use the opportunity. Hearing of their plight, Lebron convinces his lawyer (can we get WAYNE KNIGHT again?) to write it in their contract that if the ponies win, they sign an NBA player's contract and are released from the alien's contract at the same time.


ACT 3

It is up to Lebron to coach them through the difficult challenges and win a place in the NBA. However, now there are two different TV series producers trying to turn the ponies against one another, and disharmony threatens to tear their friendship apart. (Show the various INTERVIEWS and dramatic BEHIND THE SCENES BICKERING. Also show the HUNGRY TV AUDIENCE feeding off it.)

Meanwhile, the aliens send the henchmen down to possess some of the other contestants, boosting their basketball skills to make it harder for the ponies to win. By the time the trick is revealed, it's too late. The girls will need all the help they can get if they hope to compete with these new, supertalented players and go home again. Lebron James is just the person.

Along the way, they learn the true meaning of friendship (show the MAGIC of FRIENDSHIP) and teamwork. Together, they overcome the obstacles, win the contest, survive the sabotages, please the judges, survive the FINAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT (with Lebron himself playing on their side), make it through the DRAMATIC VOTING ROUND, and are released from their alien contract. The ponies return home, friends once again.


EPILOGUE
When the episodes for Lebron's show air, the ratings shatter records, and the producers want the ponies back. In Equestria, the ponies realize they are now contracted NBA players, and must report for season games soon. They are eager to start. It sounds like fun! (Sequel cliffhanger!)

CREDITS MUSIC: a rap/dubstep/boyband version of the MLP:FiM theme that will never be dated.


Creative notes:

All characters should say "literally" at least once per three lines. "Seriously" should be used at least once per five lines.

Starbucks should sponsor the whole film. Nothing but Starbucks ads all over the place.

John de Lancie should have a cameo in this film, either as Discord, or as a human character.

The entire voice cast from MLP:FiM should also have cameos as humans to give the film rewatch value.

For the stadium scenes where an audience is present, all spectators should be playing on their phones.

When the contestants are talking to each other, they should be texting on their phones while bickering and arguing and backstabbing one another. Likewise for the interview sections.

Keep Michael Jordan as far away from this movie as possible. Only CURRENTLY popular icons of awesomeness are allowed here.

Consider using the real-life Lebron James to play himself. Using a computer animated double might look more realistic, and the performance might be better, but we must strive for authenticity. That's why the first movie did not animate Jordan, so we should not animate Lebron.


Conclusion:

I would love to write this story, but due to the subject matter being so current, it will be outdated before I can finish it. Unless I write it in less than a week, which is presumably about as long as it took the screenwriters to complete the first movie.


ATTENTION HOLLYWOOD: if you like this idea, feel free to use it, but remember this spec is © 2015 James L. Steele. All rights are reserved. If you want to use this treatment, I only ask for a small fortune in return.

#SpaceJam2Plots

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Begging for a Job: the New American Way

Recently I was at the service desk and someone just happened to come up to the desk and ask to speak to the hiring manager. Our Human Resources person just happened to be standing right there, and she talked to him.

The guy (young adult; I don't want to call him a kid yet!) wanted to talk to the hiring manager directly to tell her just how much he wanted to work at Starbucks and that he thought he would be great for the opening.

I've seen this kind of thing happen over and over for years. It hasn't stopped. Is that what we've come to in America? Outright begging for employment? The only advice we can give our kids these days is to make personal appeals everywhere we apply? Only problem is that everyone else has given their kids the same advice, so it is pointless.

The hiring manager still has a dozen or so applications to choose from, and the only thing you have that sets you apart from everyone else is how much you really want to work, and how much you feel you would be good for the job?

Employment advice articles outright admit the best way to get a job to "network," which is code for "know people and get them to do you favors." Your skills don't matter--lots of people went to college to get the same skills you have. Employment history doesn't matter--people with that are shunned because experience means they'll want more money. The problem is so basic we don't want to admit it: too many people, not enough jobs for them.

Begging is part of the job-hunting process now. What an abysmal state we've fallen into.