Moving Pictures
Jul 25, 2023, 06:29AM

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Hollywood Blockbuster

Want to make the big bucks? Give the people the insipid fare you think they want!

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If you've been keeping up with the latest trends related to the next Great Recession, you'll know there's only one job still available in the tri-state area—regardless of which tri-state area that might be, as there are several such three-state spots in the United States. As soon as that single position gets filled, it'll be nothing but depression, unemployment, and mom’s basement from here on out. What's a still-youthful late thirtysomething “kid” to do during such hard times? Find true love? Ha! Good luck with that, all you Romeos and Juliets.

I've got a better solution: Fall back on the skills you honed in your freshman composition course and write a summer blockbuster. These can't-miss entertainments run for weeks—sometimes even months—at the local multiplex, raking in trillions of dollars in the process. According to some dubious "science," there's no quicker way to start living the American dream of empty consumerism and passionless hedonism than to invent a story where the clash of robots produces loud explosions.

Don't believe you have an imagination? That the last good idea you had was when you convinced your bestie Patrick to get a "Patruck" personalized license plate for his Ford F-150? Well, prepare yourself for lifesaving tips from “ya boi,” as I guide you through the creation of the ultimate summer blockbuster.

Let's start by developing the main characters. A summer blockbuster without a plucky, relatable protagonist is like a football team without star players: duller than C-SPAN3. Given that teenagers are the primary audience, this protagonist should be approaching their 18th birthday. They should also be a virgin, but horny as heck and desperate to pop their cherries before some big school dance. For the sake of verisimilitude, that means they should be played by young up-and-comers like Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds.

Alright, we've got our star. Since they'll be a late thirtysomething actor playing a teenager, they'll need a believable love interest. This means we're in the market for an actress who appears to be 25 and can therefore realistically portray a 16-year-old girl. How about someone like snaggle-toothed leading lady Kirsten Dunst? She's a mere 41, after all.

Anyway, these two will have some sort of love-hate relationship that consists of a bunch of mild wisecracks. Don't waste time coming up with original banter, though. Instead, watch a few hours of [Insert Popular Contemporary TV Show], jot down some of the subtle-as-a-shotgun jokes, and incorporate those—by "incorporate," I mean insert verbatim—into the screenplay. Make the thirtysomething teenager's struggles to ask the twentysomething teenager to the prom/winter formal/queen of hearts ball (or possibly even get asked to the Sadie Hawkins dance) a central element of the story.

Just as our hero is about to pop the big question or have the big question popped to them, write a sequence where aliens or super villains attack (this will depend on whatever cinematic “universe” you’re writing for, be it Marvel, DC, Star Wars, or one of those other creatively bankrupt collections of ancient intellectual property that normies supposedly can’t get enough of). Set the assault to an R&B single by a popular entertainer who will either appear in that sequence or incorporate footage from it into their tie-in music video. Add some topical stuff about whatever else is hot right now—perhaps cryptocurrency, Elon Musk, climate change, Darfur, Joseph Kony, Donald Trump, COVID-19, TikTok NPCs, or the latest internet challenge. That time-sensitive material will ensure the film is about as fresh as a dirty diaper mere weeks after its release.

Once you've got aliens or super villains on the screen, you're going to need robots—thousands of robots, in fact, each one larger and more impressive than the last. One of these robots will rescue our protagonist from certain death and, for reasons that defy logic and needn't ever be explained, start serving as a kind of surrogate father or grandfather to them. While opposing the aliens or super villains in a series of colorful battles, the father/grandfather robot will teach the protagonist to believe in themselves, and in return, the protagonist will teach the father/grandfather robot what it means to be human.

Between the fight scenes, you'll want to integrate as many cameo appearances and catchphrases as possible. [Insert Name of Current Reality TV or YouTube Celebrity Trending on Social Media] is the talk of the town, so put them in there and maybe even let them shoot an alien in the face with a laser. The public can't get enough of viral sensations, so convince your director—who will likely be some out-of-touch filmmaker trying to stay relevant with a group they refer to as "the kids" that includes anyone younger than 55—to shoehorn this person into as many scenes as possible, perhaps even the end credits.

As for catchphrases, write all of the in-fight dialogue so that it's potentially quotable for months to come. Create a robot character that looks like a lawnmower and have them announce that they're ready to "kick some grass." Have a gruff, bazooka-wielding military guy say something about "illegal aliens" and how "maybe we should’ve built that wall—in the stratosphere!" as he blasts these spacemen into submission while scoring cheap laughs from the crowd. And if this masterpiece gets an "R" rating for some reason—and it never should, because anything short of excessive violence or bare bosoms deserves the “PG-13” label that’s needed to maximize box office revenue—make the protagonist joke about how the surrogate father/grandfather robot taught them the "importance of lubricant" prior to a romantic encounter.

Now, let's talk about the diverse cast. Studios love to tout their commitment to diversity, but in reality, it often feels like tokenism with no real impact on the production. So, throw in a diverse group of characters to check that studio mandate box, but don't waste even one half of a split second giving them depth and authenticity. Instead, let them wander around in the background wearing lab coats and spouting expository dialogue amidst all the robots, explosions, and hilariously cheesy catchphrases the crowds are here to see.

This idea’s pure gold, and if I weren't so modest, I'd make it myself. However, I'm just a humble freelance writer, and America needs as many movies like this as its money-hungry filmmakers and screenwriters can produce. CGI explosions must happen, and you can bet your life there will be robots, aliens, and super villains. Go forth and create the summer blockbuster of the century, kids. I sure as heck won’t watch—this stuff is garbage, after all—but I love seeing you folks “get yours before you get got,” in the words of the immortal Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch.


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