Tuesday, May 30, 2006


From the Archive: 6/30/2004

Suppose for a moment that you're a big Hollywood producer. Your job is to ensure that your studio takes in about $500 million this year. You're looking for huge blockbusters, with big names, to invest the studio's money. Somebody (initials TM) comes to pitch you his movie idea. The conversation goes something like this:

TM: I've written a screenplay. I think it'll make a great movie.
YOU: So, tell me about this movie. You've got exactly (you look at your watch) 83 seconds. Go.
TM: A midget, with a fetish for trains, inherits an abandoned train station out in the sticks. Along the way he meets up with a latino hot dog vendor and a middle-aged woman.
YOU: .....and
TM: well, you see, they're all lonely in their own way, and they lean on each other for support.
YOU: So, it's a love/sex triangle?
TM: No. They develop a deep friendship that helps them cope with their underlying problems.
YOU: Do any of these underlying problems involve a secret government plot to take over the world?
TM: No.
YOU: One of them is a serial murderer?
TM: No.
YOU: Do things get blown up? A volcano under the train station, maybe? Giant rats? bugs? something?
TM: NO. NO. None of that. It's a character study. It's dramatic and funny and uplifting all at the same time. A feel-good movie.
YOU: (glance at your watch again) OK, tell me about the midget. Can we make him a secret agent and get, say, Tom Cruise to play him? Can we make the middle-aged woman 20-something, and get Jessica Alba as a Russian operative. Now, the hot dog vendor, (you think for a moment) Jim Carey, you know, for comedy relief. We'll call it, "The Station Double Agent". How soon can you have the rewrites?
TM: No. I want it keep it just as it is.
YOU: But ....... who would go to see it? Sorry, you're 58 seconds are up.
TM: But .... you said I had 83 seconds.
YOU: Time is faster here in Hollywood. Next!


Thank goodness for the brave people who are willing to put up their own money on a risky venture like this. Otherwise we wouldn't have had such an interesting and memorable movie. The Station Agent, not much action, but a film you'll remember for a long time.



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