Review This – Book/Movie Idea (72/365)

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I’ve had this idea for a book and or screenplay for a while, but I’ve never really put it all down.

Working Title: Review This (Comedy)

Tagline: Don’t Cross Your Russian Mobster Boss

Elevator Pitch: A financially strapped teacher writes online reviews for household products for extra cash.  His employer, a Russian mobster, asks him to review strange and racy products as well as asks the teacher for his wife to be in the video reviews.  He and his wife agrees, but when the Russian mobster asks for too much, will the teacher be able to say no, or does he no longer have a choice on what he can or can’t review.

Premise: A teacher, we’ll name him James, basically has given up controlling his class (I’m thinking like Kevin Hart or Will Farrell as the lead role).  James is looking for a different job or any other way to earn money.  He’s too proud to tell his wife, we’ll name the wife Sue, about his failings as a teacher, but he knows he’s probably going to get fired.  James breaks the vacuum while trying to help out at home and Sue tells him to buy a new one.  He doesn’t have any money to buy a new one, but he finds a unique add on the internet where he could get his vacuum for free if he writes a 2000 word review about the vacuum he buys.  James does this.  The company pays him for the vacuum, and in turn asks him to review five more.  James agrees and does the vacuum reviews and gets paid well for each one.

Soon thereafter, James is asked by a representative from the company, an eccentric Russian man, to start adding video reviews to his written review.  James is camera shy, so he asks his wife to appear in the video reviews.  Sue agrees, and they earn even more money for their vacuum reviews.  The Russian man then starts asking James to review other products like juicers, dishwashers, mattresses.  He agrees.  The money is rolling in, except James gets fired from his teaching job.  James reaches out to the Russian to see if he has any other products that he can review for him.

The Russian asks him to use his wife to review dominatrix type products.  Sue surprisingly agrees to help out and they end up making more and more money.  Unfortunately, a rival reviewing group notices what James is doing, and starts stealing his reviews and posting them on a different website.  The Russian mobster thinks James is double crossing him and tries to kill James and Sue.

Example section of dialogue.  The Russian is telling James that he has to review and make videos about dominatrix clothing and gear.

JAMES

You want my wife to do what?

RUSSIAN

To model these clothes.  You don’t like these clothes?

JAMES

I don’t know?

RUSSIAN

You don’t know?  You either like them or you like man.  Ha.  That was quite funny.  Funny unless you like man.  Do you like man?  You probably shouldn’t be married to a woman if you like man?

JAMES

It’s men.  You should say men, as in the plural form of man.

RUSSIAN

So you like a lot of man.  You like men?

JAMES

No.  No I like my wife.

RUSSIAN

So it’s settled then.  She will model the clothes.  Don’t worry.  You can be the won she ties up for the videos.  I don’t want to introduce other men into your life.  Should I say man there?  I’m confused.

This idea actually comes from some of my real life experience, and a fun conversation I had with my friend Art.  I used to do vacuum reviews, and juicer reviews for a guy from Slovenia.  That is the truth.  My wife would be in some of the videos, because it was easier for me to film her and such because I have a little more experience using a video camera.  Here’s an example of one of our video efforts.

Art asked me if the guy I was working for was petting a Siberian Tiger while I spoke to him.  Then our conversation went off the rails.  Ta da!  A movie idea was born.  I think it would be fun to watch something like this occurring.

 

 

Drugs Make Good People Bad and Bad People Worse (51/365)

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Drugs are bad.  I think we’ve all heard that message over and over.  My motto about drugs is this:  “Drugs make good people bad, and bad people worse.”

I live in a fairly affluent suburban/rural area about 30 miles outside of the city of Milwaukee.  Over the past five years, there has been a spike in the use of heroin.  My wife, who’s a teacher in a high school recently had a speaker visit her high school to talk about the dangers of drugs, specifically opiates.  Here’s a video she shared with me about what is going on in our county.

Now, I don’t have my head in the sand.  I know people use and abuse drugs often.  I had good friends in high school that used drugs often, and our friendships dissolved because I didn’t feel comfortable around them anymore.  Thankfully, there wasn’t a tragic ending, but those people aren’t the same people I once knew.  Drugs changed them.

Sometimes, I don’t think the media really portrays drug culture correctly.  I just came up with a movie idea that would be excellent as far as highlighting WHAT happens.  Take any teen comedy where there is a big party at the end.  The main character gets the girl in the end or the girl gets the guy.  It doesn’t matter exactly who, but at the party everyone gets what they wanted, and all is super happy.  The only added element is people are popping prescription pills and drinking.

The next morning, the main character doesn’t wake up.  He or she died because of a drug overdose.  The End.

Just imagine the movie Super Bad.  The two main characters, (the actors were Michael Cera and Jonah Hill), have this raging party, and then they go home.  They go to sleep in the basement, and the next morning, one of them doesn’t wake up.

That would be a punch in the teeth for the viewer.   I think this would work because it shows the shock of what a drug overdose or something like that really is.  The typical Hollywood plot involves this terrible downward spiral.  That happens, no doubt, but I’d really like to give the viewers that “high” where all is well.  Everything is great.  Then they get hit with reality.  No preaching. No nothing.  Just a sudden turn of events.  It probably would be awful to watch if the audience really connects with the character that dies, but that’s the point.

The Sandlot meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid (42/365)

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During the summer, I spent my writing time turning my first book (which isn’t published yet) into a movie script (which hasn’t been filmed yet, nor is it even close to that level).  One thing that was fun about it though was speaking with a film maker named Dan Dobi.  Just as a point of reference, I met him through our love of YouTube.  He made a great documentary about YouTube called Please Subscribe, and I applied but failed to get a role in it.  Don’t worry.  It didn’t ruin my relationship with him.  I’m not a serious, full time YouTuber, so I knew I wasn’t going to be cast in the film (That movie is on NetFlix by the way).  Here’s my audition tape, if you’re wondering.

I’m off task again.  Anyways, one thing we were looking for when we were putting together the pitch for my screenplay to producers was a comparison.  Apparently, the people with the money want to know what the movie will be like by comparing it to other movies.  That’s how we came up with “The Sandlot meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid”.

It’s simple, and, for my book at least, it’s fairly accurate.

My book, “O.K. is Great” involves a 12 year old kid who’s main goal is to break the mile record for gym class.  His full name is Otis Kowalewskee, but his initials are O.K. and everyone calls him that.  Otis thinks he’s cursed to be O.K. forever, but his dad convinces him to actually try hard at something instead of just accepting mediocrity.  It’s like the Sandlot because there are a lot of sporty scenes in the story like playing football, wrestling, and of course, running.  There’s also the whole angle like Diary of a Wimpy Kid about this kid being small and not fitting in at his middle school.

Here’s a picture from the book.  The bigger kid is Stu, and O.K. is the kid in the headlock.  It’s an illustrated book, and I drew the pictures.  The book is written in the first person perspective of O.K., so the comments by the picture are his thoughts.

OKGheadlock

Now, only if some publisher would show interest in the book, or a producer would show some interest in the movie!