MEMO TO: Hollywood liberals
FROM: The Studio
RE: “Stupid, Evil President Destroys the World” script
Though we continue to love the premise, and especially the title, of this project, the current draft will require some basic fixes before we greenlight it. Here are some problem areas:
* The antagonist isn’t stupid: Although the president occasionally flubs a word or two, he seems quite adept at other things, such as midterm elections and legislative initiatives. If we’re going to make him a moron, let’s see some real boneheaded blunders. Maybe have him light his pants on fire in front of the British prime minister, who throws brandy on him and, well, you get the idea. By the way, some big laughs would go a long way in putting kids in the seats.
* He needs to be more evil: In the current draft, the president sends food rations to the Afghans during a bombing campaign and allocates billions of dollars to the African AIDS crisis. Where’s the “Willem Dafoe” in that?
Suggestion: Let’s have the humanitarian relief packages contain Styrofoam sandwiches and plastic fruit. Now that’s evil. And pretty darn funny, don’t you think?
* The protagonist is unsympathetic: Does the Iraqi dictator have to torture people, invade other countries and scare everybody with anthrax? What’s to like?
Let’s either soften him up with some romantic scenes or make the American president the one who tortures his people and have the Iraqi dictator liberate them. Our audience has to know which side to root for!
* He has nerve gas: Joe Moviegoer may have a problem liking a character who uses nerve gas.
Suggestion: Instead of his nerve gas paralyzing people, can’t we make his nerve gas, say, calm the nerves? And maybe his biological weapons only condition hair, leaving it shinier and more manageable. That way he’ll seem less like a maniacal mass murderer.
* The kids in the streets: We absolutely love the war protest scenes. Young, sexy kids in their tie-dyed hippie clothes, parading around Europe, punching police horses and vandalizing McDonald’s. Great set pieces. Don’t change a thing.
* It’s all about oil: Perhaps we should make this war about something a little less popular and functional, like, say, chewing tobacco.
Just a thought.
Mike Armstrong is a screen and TV writer in Los Angeles.