Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dog Day Afternoon

Remember the old Al Pacino movie about two lovers, only they're gay, who can't pay the rent on their apartment, get desperate and decide to rob a bank? That's right, it was the Oscar-winning thriller Dog Day Afternoon. Well, they're doing a re-make, only the desperate starving lovers are now being played by Korea, the United States Government is playing the SWAT team, China is playing the hostage negotiator, South Korea is playing the bank employees, and the world is playing the city of New York. Oh, and the part of the guns are played by nuclear missiles.

But apparently the Bush Administration, well-known for being a hard talent to work with, insists on changing the script. Geez, when has THAT ever happened before? We've all watched bank heist movies. Everybody knows that when you have a hostage situation in a bank, you start off by getting the robbers talking. They're already strung out and nervous as hell. They want to talk. They're robbing the bank because no one wants to listen to their problems and hear how badly they've screwed up their lives. They don't really want to kill people, they're just obsessing over the thought that money is going to solve everything. And guess what? It probably will for awhile, until their self-defeating behaviors burn through it again.

Once you get them talking, then you start saying, ok, we'll line up a helicopter ride for you if you just let the women go. You don't need all those hostages anyway, and you're going to need to handle all the money you'll be getting away with. Then you move on from there until they surrendur, you shoot them, or you let them get away because you like a good hostage crisis now and then. I'm sorry, but you do not tell the bank tellers to just "gang up" on the robbers. And I've yet to see a movie successfully employ a "starve them out" plotline. Befriend them, yes. Seduce them, maybe. But don't have the tellers beat them up and don't try starving everybody. The audience won't buy the first story, and the second one will make them walk out of the theater. Yet that's what the Bush-Brain wants.

If anybody tells you why the Bush Administration should still be in this movie because they're the greatest actor since Bette Davis, take a pass. Get rid of them now. Why? They rile up the rest of the cast. Projects don't get finished. They start threatening the producers. And the director? The entire reason they live is to piss off directors. I mean, look at the last production they were in, "Bullets Over Baghdad." Blockbuster budget. Great costumes. All-star cast. The marketing numbers were out-of-sight-great. Bankable direction. It was going to be the biggest thing since Gone With The Wind, but it got to be such a mess they couldn't wrap the picture! It's been stuck in editing and re-shooting for, what, two years now? I personally doubt it'll ever get released. Probably take the whole studio down. That's what happens when you let a tantrum-throwing prima donna change proven formulas in your script. In this business, you've gotta go with what works. A plot twist here, a fresh face there, and then in act three you go with the happy ending, the shoot-out, or both.

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