Thursday, November 12, 2009

A highly depressing idea for a movie

According to io9.com, Ridley Scott is making a movie based on the board game Monopoly. This is going to get ugly. Here's the movie in a nutshell:
So here's the set up. The story stars a loser type fella in Manhattan who sucks at selling real estate, but he's great at Monopoly. Irony! When he tries to beat the world Monopoly playing record, 70 days straight, his friends tell him he's an idiot and tease him. Words are exchanged and he throws down a chance card and goes to bed. The next day he wakes up and . . . he's in Monopoly City, where everyone pays for things in Monopoly money, and there are buckets and sports cars and everyone stands around waiting for this tiresome game of life to end but it never will, it never will. Because like the game Monopoly, Monopoly City is a tedious city where you're forced to watch one idiot spend all their colorful money buying up Park Place and Boardwalk which never works. Meanwhile the rest of the town just prays for it to be over. But forget it Jake, it's Monopoly City.

Alright I made that last part up, but the main character does wake up in Monopoly City and is forced to fight the EVIL Parker Brothers because if he beats them he wins. We don't know why and we don't really know how, but there you have it. Let's just accept that they are evil and invented a neverending game where you're forced to use a small amount of math.
Knowledgable readers will recognize this as one of Hollywood's basic anti-nerd movie plots. In metafictional terms, the basic plot goes like this:
  1. X is a highly socially stigmatizing activity that nerds engage in

  2. The main male character is so obsessed with X that it prevents him from achieving socially acceptable personal goal Y.

  3. The main male character becomes so obsessed with X that X magically becomes real.

  4. It turns out that the planet Earth was about to be conquered and/or destroyed by evil bad guys, and that X just happens to be the only way to save civilization as we know it.

  5. The main male character uses X to defeat the bad guys, incidentally achieving Y along the way.
Previous instances of this metaplot are "The Last Starfighter" (X = coin-op video games; Y = overcoming anomie), "WarGames" (X = computer hacking; Y = overcoming 80s teen nerd alienation), 2007's film "Transformers" (X = transforming robots; Y = scoring with hot babe), "Galaxy Quest" (X = Trekkies; Y = authentic self-esteem), and even "The Matrix" (X = virtual reality; Y = scoring with hot babe).

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