"What were they thinking?"
How many times have you asked yourself that as you walked out of a movie theater?
The mind reels when you try to figure out the Hollywood brain trust. You have to wonder sometimes whether these guys are all nuts. What are their thought processes? What are their motivations? What factors, if any, do they use in determining which movies get made?
Well, I think I may have an answer for you.
It's not often that we get to be a fly on the wall at one of these studio meetings, but the crack investigative team at Radio Free Barrywood has come into possession (that's a legal expression that means stole) of a transcript of the minutes from a meeting at which two high-ranking studio executives came up with the idea for what would become last week's No. 1 movie.
We have withheld the names of the executives to protect us from frivolous lawsuits, but we felt that even with unnamed sources, this was too important a document to ignore. The following conversation not only reveals how Hollywood thinks, but it also … well, I guess that's all it does. But that's important.
EXECUTIVE NO. 1: I have an idea for a movie.
EXECUTIVE NO. 2: Great. What's it called?
NO. 1: "Four Amigos."
NO. 2: It's a sequel to that stupid Chevy Chase movie?
NO. 1: No, it's a stupid movie all by itself. But it's the same basic idea as "Three Amigos," with a group of poseurs played by well-known actors who ride off on an adventure, get into a fight with a gang of bad guys and save a small town.
NO. 2: You know how much I love movies that are the same basic idea as other movies?
NO. 1: I know. I know.
NO. 2: But why "Four Amigos"?
NO. 1: I thought we could sucker people into theaters if they thought it was a sequel. You know how much people love sequels? They'll even go to see bad sequels.
NO. 2: Hey, you don't have to tell me. I put three kids through college on the money I made from bad sequels.
NO. 1: Listen, I'm not wedded to "Four Amigos." I could be persuaded to change the title. You could call it "Wild Hogs" and I wouldn't care.
NO. 2: Hmmm. "Wild Hogs?" I like it, but we'd have to use that name somewhere in the movie.
NO. 2: The gang could be called the Wild Hogs.
NO. 1: No, that's too dark. Why don't we call the heroes the Wild Hogs, so it'll be like a joke name so it won't scare parents?
NO. 2: You're a genius.
NO. 1: I know.
NO. 2: What else do we put in this movie?
NO. 1: All the things that make people laugh.
NO. 2: This is Disney, mind you. I don't want another "Borat."
NO. 1: Don't be silly. The grossest thing in this movie will be Tim Allen's bare chest.
NO. 2: I like the sound of that. What else do you have?
NO. 1: All the usual suspects - gay jokes, flatulence jokes, sex-organ jokes, kicks in the groin, a nagging mother-in-law, a midlife crisis and, of course, girls in bikinis.
NO. 2: I hope you have a lot of gay jokes.
NO. 1: One right after the other.
NO. 2: This is why they pay you the big bucks. Anything else?
NO. 1: Are you kidding? I have a surprise guest that will blow the baby boomers' minds.
NO. 2: Why do I care about baby boomers? I only care about the teen audience.
NO. 1: This is a movie that appeals to baby boomers. They're starved for comedies.
NO. 2: I'll trust your judgment. Any other surprises?
NO. 1: Get this. As the final credits roll, I've got a blatant commercial tie-in to a TV show that we own.
NO. 2: You should be nominated for a Nobel Prize. What about casting?
NO. 1: As you know, Tim will do anything we say. But John Travolta in on board, and so is Martin Lawrence.
NO. 2: This is starting to sound like "Oceans 11."
NO. 1: I know. I've got goose bumps, too.
NO. 2: Who's the fourth guy?
NO. 1: William H. Macy.
NO. 2: Who?
NO. 1: William H. Macy.
NO. 2: Isn't he a real actor?
NO. 1: One of the best.
NO. 2: Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of a dumb comedy?
NO. 1: No, it's called deceptive casting. It worked great in "Airplane!" Who would have thought that Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges and Peter Graves would be so funny?
NO. 2: I suppose it could work.
NO. 1: Trust me, It'll do almost $40 million its first weekend.
NO. 2: I'm calling the Nobel committee right now.
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© 2007, The Orange County Register; Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.