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The 5 Dumbest Scripts I Ever Sold to Hollywood

By       Message John Blumenthal     Permalink

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For about four years, I made my living as a screenwriter. I sold a lot of scripts. These 5 are the worst of the lot:

Crackers: The premise: A timid, neurotic, Woody Allen-type psychiatrist is arrested for a minor offense. Because of a bureaucratic error,he ends up handcuffed to a guy named Vito, a mobster with OCD. When Vito escapes, the cuffs are still on so theshrinkis forcedto go with him.

I know, I know, it's a rip-off of The Defiant Ones, but ours (I had a writing partner) was a comedy (I think) involving two white guys, and had absolutely no redeeming social value.

It was mainly a road picture, but I've forgotten what the desitination was and why they were going there. Makes no difference anyway - road pictures are basically all the same. Point A to Point B. Yawn.

Along the way, the shrink (predictably) analyzes the mob guy and helps to relieve his OCD, resulting in hilarity and hijinks. Optioned by a moron with family money, and about as much Hollywood clout as a radish.


Chumps: The premise: Two guys find out they're married to the same woman. One is Arnold Schwarzenegger, the other is Dudley Moore. (Yes, I know that sounds like Twins, but that was the point. The studio was looking for another vehicle - no matter how moronic -- to get a big guy and a little guy to do something idiotic together. Needless to say, they smelled money in it.)

Predictably, the two male protagonists decide to find out why the woman married both of them. Hilarity and hijinks ensue during their fun-filled quest to solve the mystery.

But the script didn't work because we couldn't come up with a convincing reason why the woman married both of them, which was kind of the main plot point. The script probably ended up as a Yule log. Pitched and bought by Sony/Columbia. There's no accounting for taste.

Kickov: This was a Cold War-era comedy, written circa 1977, although the word comedy might have been a stretch. The plot was about as dumb as they get - the Russians suddenly have a football team (no explanation as to why or how) and challenge an American amateur team to a game. Hilarity and hijinks ensue.

The Americans get drunk on vodka, show up late for the match, break some bones, yadda, yadda, yadda, but guess who comes from behind and wins? Not worth the brads that held the script together. Optioned by a cheap wannabe producer.

Breakfast with Spaulding: This was actually a rewrite of a script purchased by Warner Bros. The premise: A dysfunctional family becomes functional again via the wisdom of a canine (Spaulding) that speaks. (Actually, no one could really decide whether the dog spoke or if the audience just heard his thoughts. Either way, it was doggie poop.)

It had its moments though - looking at life through the eyes of a dog was kind of interesting.My writing partner and I tried to imagine what it would be like towander the streets on all fours, licking our genitals, eating sidewalk rubbish and sniffing asses. (Actually, it was Hollywood, so we were mainly kissing asses.)

But this dog didn't hunt. The producer let his flunkies know he hated it -- but in a subtle way. We were told he urinated on it, but I have my doubts.

Iranoff and Kopalski Are Lost. Another Cold War-era comedy, this piece of drivel was about two comical Soviet cosmonauts who accidentally land in the Gulf of Mexico instead of their target point -- the Bering Sea -- and must pose as tourists in order to travel unnoticed across the U.S. to Alaska where they hope to be rescued by the KGB.

In the meantime, the FBI gets wind of them and gives chase. A big part of the "humor" came from their mangling of the English language. Hilarity and hijinks ensue as the two bumbling Ruskies try to comprehend American culture, if such an animal exists.

Interestingly, my agent wanted to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger (his client) and Dudley Moore (not his client) as the two cosmonauts, and he didn't seem to care about Arnold's thick Austrian accent or Dudley's effete British one. "An accent is an accent," he told me. "Who's gonna know the difference?"

But this was 1979 and Arnold wasn't famous yet, so the studios said nyet. Optioned by a producer who kept forgetting how to pronounce the title.

PS: I'm leaving out the two scripts that actually got made because the money far outweighed the shame.


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John Blumenthal has been a professional comedy writer for 25 years. A former associate editor and columnist at Playboy Magazine (following a short stint at Esquire), he's written 8 books and 2 produced movies. His films include "Short Time," (major (more...)

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