Can you smell that smell? It's the stink of fresh-popped corn and dirty money that signals the start of summer-blockbuster season. While the rest of civilization collapses in financial ruin, the salty pirates in charge of Hollywood are baiting their hooks, sharpening their harpoons and chumming the water. They know that in a recession-weary economy, ordinary folks are hungry for distraction and dumb entertainment. And nothing quite does the trick like paying $9.50 to watch a hairy guy with claws attack a helicopter.
My thinking is that Richmond would do well to pay attention. After all, the movie business is one of the few industries virtually guaranteed to make money in the coming months. What if the city were able to get a taste of that phenomenal earning power? What if Richmond could catch a ride on that massive wave of popularity and prosperity? What if someone came up with some most-amazing ideas for Richmond-centric summer blockbusters that no Hollywood mogul could possibly resist?
And what if that someone were me?
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Race
Hunky Brit Jason Statham stars as Patrick Henry in an explosive portrayal of the incidents following the famous St. John's Church speech. A mysterious stranger (Vin Diesel) puts Henry's conviction to the test and challenges him to a dangerous showdown using steam-powered carriages equipped with flamethrowers. First place: liberty. Second place: death!
Oscar winner Sean Penn portrays another champion for human decency as devoted rockabilly enthusiast Jake "Double Deuce" Fairlane. After enduring years of prejudice against fuzzy dice, cuffed jeans and leopard-print upholstery, Fairlane leads the fight to earn equal rights for the pomade-slicked masses who have never had a voice … until now.
Note: Ask James Franco if he'd be willing to make out with Penn again (possibly for dream sequence or DVD extras).
Eddie Poe (Shia LaBeouf) is totally bummed that he has to work at his family's museum over the summer. But when a well-organized and heavily armed terrorist group seizes control of the building, he is forced to fight back to preserve his distant relative's legacy.
Note: At some point, preferably before blowing something up, Eddie MUST say, "Nevermore, you [expletive]!" Also, can Poe Museum roof support a helicopter?
Terminator: Siege of Richmond
The totally renovated T-2000 materializes in Civil War-era Richmond with one mission: Exterminate Winnifred Connor before she can give birth to John Connor's great-great-great-grandparents. But the cyborg assassin didn't plan on plucky Jebediah Connor, a metalsmith at the Tredegar Iron Works who builds a sexy female Terminator and uses her to lead the T-2000 to a fiery demise in the foundry's smelter! Note: To ensure period accuracy, require all male characters to grow a cool beard or mutton chops.
What a Melon!
A delightful, animated family adventure from Pixar about a young watermelon that must face his fears and act quickly to save his family and friends after he learns that the farmers who picked them are headed for the Carytown Watermelon Festival. Alternate titles: "What? A Melon?" and "Watch Out for the Pitts" (voices provided by Brad, Angelina and the kids?)
Revenge of the Hollywood Zombies
A freak lightning strike reanimates the corpse of former President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, who summons his long-dead troops and orders them to recapture Richmond. What's the only thing protecting the city from a total Confederate zombie invasion? An elite paranormal military unit led by Will Smith and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (and also maybe Dan Ackroyd). Possible tagline: "The South will rise again … and again … and again!"
First Friday After Next
Ice Cube and Mike Epps star as a couple of streetwise hustlers who hatch a plan to rob the Virginia Museum and resell the art during a First Friday gallery opening. Note: Make sure to allow at least 20 minutes for John Witherspoon to rant about the merits of modern art while he sits on the toilet (trust me on this one).
Night on Monument Avenue
One night when Charlie (Ben Stiller) takes his dog for walk along the Monument Avenue median, a mysterious meteor shower brings all of the bronze statues to life. Charlie rounds up the group and takes them back to his apartment, where they interact in funny ways with cable television, flushing toilets and cans of whipped cream. Afterward, they teach him the meaning of friendship. Also stars Eddie Murphy as Arthur Ashe and Will Ferrell as Matthew Fontaine Maury. Note: Do NOT miss hilarious montage opportunity to have them all play Guitar Hero.
A Man Named Phil
Hapless, thirty-something slacker Phil Morris (Adam Sandler) gets a visit from a mysterious British businessman (Elton John or Anthony Hopkins) who gives him a chance to claim his family's multibillion-dollar tobacco fortune. As long as Phil gets elected to the General Assembly and convinces a majority to reverse the restaurant smoking ban before the stroke of midnight on his 40th birthday … the money is all his! Note: Make Phil's favorite catchphrase "Cancer schmancer! Light 'em UP!"
Plan 9 in Outer Space
Instead of whining about how digital downloads have hurt sales, a free-spirited record-store owner (Jack Black) decides to fight back by relocating his store … to the International Space Station! His motley crew of music-loving employees thwarts an invasion of Earth when it turns out that the evil aliens spontaneously combust on hearing obscure punk-rock vinyl. Note: High Fidelity + 2001: A Space Odyssey = box office gold
Shockoe Field of Dreams
A mild-mannered city employee (Jim Carrey) goes off the deep end when he hears voices telling him to build a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom.
- A James River Runs Through It: Fly fishing, sunsets and — holy snappers! That's a dead body!
- Sex in the Circuit City: A steamy story of workplace romance in the wake of bankruptcy.
- The Curious Case of Doctor Niamtu: Old women go in, and young women come out! What strange magic is this?
- There Will Be Bloodys: Good times at Godfrey's drag brunch, until — holy snappers! That's a dead body!