Wednesday, August 10, 2011

THE ITCH TO PITCH (Part Two): "Rain Man 2: Dark Storm"

Breaking into Hollywood in this day and age is a daunting task for any aspiring screenwriter -- especially those who aspire to originality. Remakes, reboots, reimaginings and sequels continue to dominate the yearly output of every major studio. Well, I'm broke. Screw originality! Sign me up for the goddamn job! Here are snippets, pitches, story outlines and casting suggestions for the ridiculous Hollywood sequels I'm ready to write NOW.


The original 'Rain Man' is a wonderful, infinitely quotable film about rediscovering familial roots. Arguably the finest work in both Cruise and Hoffman's long and illustrious careers. Hoffman brought home the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Raymond Babbitt. The screenwriters, director, and picture also brought home golden statuettes. The characters are well-drawn, the story is engrossing, and the non-Hollywood ending is just short of brutal.

From IMDB trivia: On "Oprah", Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman said the "farting in the phone booth" bit was improvised when Hoffman actually passed gas while the scene was being filmed. Hoffman said it was his favorite scene ever.

'Rain Man' would have one hell of a time getting made today. Remade? I'm sure some industry folks are itching to have it happen. Count me out if that's the case. They'd probably cast James Franco as Charlie and Phillip Seymore Hoffman as Raymond (actually, on second thought, these choices aren't all that bad). However, if this movie is going to be sequelized, give me a call. I have a few ideas which might not stray too far from today's movie-exec mentality. 

Now, I am almost always of the mindset to bring back the original cast whenever continuations are concerned, but with Cruise being insanely expensive - and insanely cuckoo - we can cut him out for now. There is an easy way to shoehorn him in if necessary. More on that later. First, here's my initial idea for Rain Man 2...


That's right! Up the ante a hundredfold from the original movie by switching genres. No longer a dramatic comedy, it'll be an action thriller!!! I say we inject the character of Raymond Babbitt into a world of super spies, car chases (finally proving he's an excellent driver), femme fatales, and villainous organizations hell-bent on world domination. Why? Because there is absolutely no way to match the emotional impact and surprises from the original film. Nope, no way whatsoever. Instead, make Raymond an autistic "Man Who Knew Too Much". We as an audience will root for Raymond because we already know and love the character. The action sequences and CG-eye-candy will bring in the asshole teenagers. Not to mention, Hans Zimmer could score the shit out of this thing!

Raymond is a savant specializing in numbers, right? So he'll simply overhear a numerical code for an atomic bomb while shopping for underwear at K-mart: 400 Oak Street. From there on in it will be a rapid succession of twists, turns, crosses, and double-crosses.

Here's a sample scene:


BALD THUG, clad in a dark suit, pummels Raymond with smacks and slaps, then corners him next to a gas stove.

             Definitely hurt... Definitely hurt...

Raymond trembles in fear, guarding his face with his arms and hands. He notices a pot of boiling water on the nearby stovetop.

            Uh oh... Very bad....

                        BALD THUG
            Give me the code, retard!

            Hot water burn baby...

                        BALD THUG

            Hot water burn baby...

                        BALD THUG
            Okay! You want to play games?

Bald Thug reaches for a gun holstered inside his suit jacket.

            Hot water burn YOU!

Raymond grabs the pot, throws it, and drenches the Bald Thug with boiling water. 

Bald Thug falls to the floor, SCREAMING in agony.

Raymond escapes through the back door.

            Charlie Babbitt! Charlie Babbitt!

Cruise could be included as a 'damsel in distress' of sorts, if absolutely necessary. 

PICTURE THIS: The villains would capture Charlie Babbitt and torture him as a way to get to 'The Rain Man' (an alias the bad guys overhear for what they believe to be a cunning, code-hacking menace). Eventually, Raymond will give himself up in order to save his brother, but only if the evildoers agree to fly Charlie to safety on Quantas. But seriously, I'm not married to this subplot, so it can be excised in future drafts.

I believe "Rain Man 2: Dark Storm" could be a huge box office success. Would it do the original movie justice? Fuck no! But that's the day and age we live in. Nothing is safe or sacred. Just don't screw this classic with another remake. Sequelize it! Do it nuts, balls out, crazy, insane, etc. Push the character of Raymond Babbitt forward through ESPIONAGE! Or just let him exist as is. Your call, Hollywood.

Rain Man

part one

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