I Wrote That Crap (For America!)

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

I never asked for this
Sep 8, 2011
Dude, work on Icebreaker. Just get rid of the terrorist plot for something simpler and more personal. It doesn't make a lot of sense to create that kind of story behind what and why the main character does what he does only to push that aside for a terrorist plot. Hell, I can even see Bradley Cooper play the main character.

Sleeper also sounds great. Don't give up on that idea.

The Rogue Wolf

Stealthy Carnivore
Nov 25, 2007
Stalking the Digital Tundra
What's funny about this to me is that I've had a screenplay bouncing around in my head for the past year that bears quite a significant resemblance to "Sleeper".

The movie starts with a fairly stereotypical plot featuring a terrorist action on American soil- specifically, a fairly large airport, where hostages are taken by a group of Middle Eastern men whose stated goal is to bring attention to American atrocities in their homelands. The story focuses on an urban professional (Denzel Washington) whose wife (Vivica Fox) is trapped in the section of the airport the terrorists have taken, but managed to evade capture; he finds himself working with a pair of FBI agents in a gambit to have her work as a scout of sorts, reporting on the terrorists' actions via her cell phone. But the FBI agents themselves are in conflict- the younger partner (Dwayne Johnson) is idealistic and by-the-book, while the older (Colm Meaney) is more of a "cowboy cop" and unapologetically bigoted, doubting the wife's ability to help.

As negotiations progress, one of the terrorists (Faran Tahir), who joined the group in hopes of forcing America to reassess its foreign policy and military interventions, learns that the leader of the group isn't who he claims to be- and furthermore, instead of a campaign to focus attention on American policy, the leader's real goal is to employ a chemical weapon that would claim hundreds of thousands of lives. Disturbed by the leader's fanaticism and second-guessing his own associations, the terrorist begins attempting to contact American authorities to give them a way to stop the attack, without revealing his change-of-heart to the rest of the group.

By chance, the terrorist contacts the two FBI agents, who are forced to weigh the likelihood of a false lead against the opportunity of a break in the situation. The agents want the wife to tail the terrorist to verify his stated aims, to the increasing objections of the husband, while the agents argue with each other about who can be trusted and what should be done- even as they realize that the situation is growing beyond their ability to control.
And that's about as far as I got with it! Good thing I never claimed to be a screenplay writer.

Also, if you dropped the "action hero" third act and angled it more to be a satire on the modern dating scene, "Icebreaker" could be a reasonable hit.


New member
Dec 5, 2008
Honestly, I think any of these might be salvageable... Up until about the third or fourth paragraph when they turn into bog-standard action fare. (And yeah, "women with their quirky mixed signals who really need to be rescued by a good guy just so they know what they really want" has probably gotta go.)

The first one in particular, though its time-frame and/or setting would have to be altered, has potential. But I'd do it as a thriller rather than an action flick. If the hero wasn't some kind of quiet superhero, but more of an everyman who found himself on the wrong side of the fence with all sides against him? That could be interesting. And even sympathy-enducing.

Let's face it, most actual terrorists aren't the equivalent of special-forces supermen. They have a narrow skill set that makes the possibility of their accomplishing their given tasks seem like it falls on the side of possibility (ability to blend in with a crowd, language skills, and in some cases knowledge of explosives, weapons, or vehicles), fanatical devotion to their cause and/or a credible threat hanging over their heads, and a high degree of expendability.


New member
Apr 17, 2011
Its funny, you seemed to have forced action scenes in those last two when they were entirely unnecessary. Though I would Like to point out: the first two pitches definitely seemed better than the average slodge put out in theaters.


New member
Feb 17, 2008
Spelling the word magic "Magick", especially with that casing, is a capital offense in most southern states.

Yes, I can see why these ideas wouldn't work. That is unless Ewe Boll is attached to direct and then they're just right.


New member
Feb 24, 2010
Movie Bob said:
"This builds to a finale wherein the two friends-turned-enemies finally having it out one-on-one right in the middle of the Battle For Kabul, with "highlights" including hand grenades being deflected with roundhouse kicks, a knife-obsessed terrorist lackey getting his hands on an "Ancient Ceremonial Scimitar," multiple motorcycle chases and a guy getting punched into the blades of a helicopter.
guy getting punched into the blades of a helicopter.
guy getting punched into the blades of a helicopter.
Bob, I didn't know how badly I needed to see this done until I read it. It's physically painful, Chipman! TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND MAKE IT HAPPEN, DAMMIT!


New member
Apr 6, 2010
LadyRhian said:
#3 sounded interesting. But...having been Pagan/Wiccan at one point, DON'T call the movie "WarlocK." A male witch is still a witch. Warlock comes from Scottish Gaelic and means "Oathbreaker". Not the kind of thing you want to imply...
Ooh! Nifty! I will take this knowledge towards writing my own novel with a Dresden Files -esque occult setting. Is warlock still as masculine in Gaelic as it is in English? I could just use Oathbreaker instead...

ANYWAYS, Bob, my man, have you ever gone back and... Cleaned up... any of your writings? They seem like they have a lot of potential, but also seem like they're trying to bring together too many disparate parts (I'm looking at you, Icebreaker. You could have been a WATCHABLE romantic comedy!)


New member
Mar 9, 2008
Wow. Well, I can tell you what your problem is right now: you made the mistake of trying to make it *interesting!* You can't pander to Joe Six-Pack while also doing something novel or interesting! You'd lose the cheap seats! (Which is ALL of the seats!) In fact, I'm pretty sure Team America: World Police was originally pitched to the Hollywood suits as a straight-laced war epic and by the time they realized their mistake, it was already too late. I mean, think about it. Picture a studio exec skimming the script, eyes glazed over as he looks forward to his next coke break. "Terrorists... nuclear weapons... helicopter blows up... tiger fight... yeah, this looks fine." He can't do that if there's witches and sitcom dating in it!

Actually, I take that back. I think Will Smith ended up with the lead in a vastly edited version of Icebreaker. They took out all the terrorist fighting and replaced it with smug one-liners. (Unless your script, being any proper action movie script, was already replete with smug one-liners, in which case they just took out the terrorist fighting and let Will Smith fill up the time just being Will Smith. I mean, why not? It always worked before.)

Seriously, we love what you do, man. Inside looks like this humanize you and make us feel good about our own lowly pathetic lives. Besides, being known for terrible writing can only be a boon in today's film industry, amirite?


New member
Apr 7, 2008
The first two were good, up until the last paragraph. The Sleeper could really be good I think... though it would never be blockbuster.

American Warlock could be so much fun, IF it does not take itself too serious.

Sergey Sund

New member
May 20, 2012
I can see why no-one would have wanted to make those movies in the environment that you produced them in, Bob.
However, it has been more than freaking 10 years since 9/11 - and we have seen movies on the firefighters, movies on the soldiers whom Osama fell victim to, etc.
We also had a sleeper agent, Muslim-American movie starring Don Cheadle (Traitor 2008), etc.
So we have basically explored all the angles on this - except the terrorist one!
Plus, sometimes you don't exactly have to deliver "great" or "awesome" screenplays - sometimes it's just about being better than all the other shit that hits cinemas in America - and I think your ideas are entertaining enough to be able to hack it in that circle.
Dude, you might be onto something here, even. Selling individual movies might not work - but what about selling a trilogy?
No, a series, even?!
You could make movies that, each, take on a different genre and make it into an action movie. One that doesn't suck at being an action movie.
Sadly, I think this would be 'new thing' in the eyes of much of today's audience :D


New member
Jul 29, 2013
Okay Bob, I think we all agree that these three movies have the potential for interesting movies (it'd certainly be more creative than the crap that passes for "action movies" these days), but we can also all agree that the problem is that they carry interesting ideas with jarringly crappy, campy (crampy?) action shlock drudged from the worst of the 80s-90s. The only saving grace for these films, as they are written now, is that they aren't AS mindlessly political and failing at making intentional camp value as "Southland Tales". And trust me, that's a film so bad that the Agony Booth had to pull a Mega-Recap to try making sense of it all. Here's the link (don't say I didn't warn you...): http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/Southland_Tales_2006.aspx

Anyways, the core ideas are solid, but the eventual twists and overall tones probably need to be changed for a more... well, tolerable final production. I'll go through each of these proposed changes film by film:

Film 1 - Sleeper: Muslim Protagonist, yes. Has change of heart after 9/11 Attacks, yes (if done for better reasons than "America IS the best country on Earth after all! How foolish I was for ever believing that Western Imperialist crap from my former comrades in arms!"). Has a climactic showdown in the Battle of Kabul? Ehhh... That'd probably stretch the suspension of disbelief a bit thin, but it can work if given in a reasonable, pseudo-plausible explanation, like the protagonist fighting alongside the Northern Alliance (the Afghanistan group the U.S. supported in getting rid of the Taliban), or doing black-ops, counter-terrorist actions that undermined the al-Qaeda cell (or "Insert generic terrorist network here to avoid political flaming") he was part of, rather than fighting incongruously alongside U.S. Marines and Army Tanks.

But a climactic showdown involving "hand grenades being deflected with roundhouse kicks, a knife-obsessed terrorist lackey getting his hands on an "Ancient Ceremonial Scimitar," multiple motorcycle chases and a guy getting punched into the blades of a helicopter"? OK, I'd say one good motorcycle chase at max, a scimitar only being used as a desperation move of a more gritty "fight with anything you can get your hands on" sequence, and NO grenade-deflecting roundhouse kicks or guys chopped up by helicopter blades. The only movie genre I could believe seeing THAT stuff in are the "Turkish Ripoff Movies" (i.e. "Turkish Star Wars", "Turkish Batman", etc.), and even THEN that'd come off as heinously offensive rather than generally campy.

Long story short, give the former terrorist a complex and compelling reason for his change of heart, and tone down the action from 70s Grindhouse/80s-90s action to at least Jason Bourne levels. Oh, and ditch the sub-plot of him going to Afghanistan to save his girlfriend from the big bad - that'd be heinously offensive on a whole new level I don't even want to start on.

Film 2 - Icebreaker: Yeah, I think the idea of "RomCom matchmaker gets portrayed by macho, former military action movie man" would be a hilarious satire of RomComs, the way "Hancock"'s idea of "superhuman gets portrayed by drunk, anti-social bum" would have been a hilarious satire of Superhero movies. Both plots, incidentally, come crumbling down with a third act twist coming the fuck out of nowhere, and giving a tonal shift that's not only idiotic on its own, but idiotic when compared to the rest of the movie before it.

In Hancock's case, it was having a sudden melodrama with Hancock and a certain other superhuman (that I won't spoil for the people who are still interested in seeing the twist for themselves) which doesn't go into either the hilarious parody of asking "what happens if Superman is a total asshole who doesn't really want to help people?", or the grim, realistic implications of "what happens if Superman is a total asshole who doesn't really want to help people?" In fact, it undermines Hancock's character by giving an excuse for his total assholishness, and only ends up depressing for depression sake rather than satirical.

In your case, it's putting the generic Action Hero back in a plot he doesn't come the least bit interesting in: a race against time to stop some bad guys, with a misunderstanding having the law hounding after him as much as the real enemies of the story. It isn't wrong because it puts a character in a genre they don't belong, but teases us with "what if" the character's in a genre they don't belong, but then switches the climax for the stock genre they "belong" in.

Ideally, I think the third act should be removed, or at least downplayed. If you absolutely NEED the climax to have a group of bad guys coming out of thin air, have the bad guys be street criminals who kidnap the love interest, rather than a more monolithic terrorist/big government conspiracy about to do something that, in a good action movie, would have had the first two acts give substantial foreshadowing of their plot. Basically, make them a threat that COULD conceivably spawn out of thin air to meddle with the plot in the third act, and COULD be dealt with in an equally quick and snappy fashion to wrap the film up.

As for the character, I'd change him around to be a Vietnam SOG vet, giving a quickly identifiable "burnt-out, world-weary, traumatized cynic", and have him act like a general dating coach guy... who acts like a "drill sergeant out of hell". So basically, "Hitch" with Will Smith being replaced by a mixture of Sergeant Hartman from "Full Metal Jacket", and Richard "Dick" Marcinko from "Rogue Warrior" (preferably the "So Bad, He's Good" Mickey Rourke version from the video game adaptation.)

Film 3 - Warlock: This does have a good idea of trying to meld conservative militarism with pagan spiritualism, but it definitely seemed clunky at points, particularly the fact that the male, soldier protagonist, and the female, cute goth/nature girl would result in a little backlash of invoking the "men are strong, women are pretty" stereotype, even if the female protagonist was strong in her own right. And that whole final battle against an onslaught of insurgent forces using magic would definitely raise eyebrows, least of all from actual Pagans/Wicans probably not willing to condone their magic for war, since their philosophy is more or less peace and harmony with the earth as it is. The whole subplot of one of the protagonist's friends being a "born-again Christian who confuses any non-Christian religion for Satanism" would only make the stereotypes of the movie even worse.

It took me a while to figure out how to change this around to take the concept of "blend secular/pseudo-Christian militarism mixed with Pagan/Wiccan spiritualism", while keeping the film somewhat tasteful instead of being walking stereotypes. Then I saw a post that not only made the story click, but also gave the opportunity for a story with the potential to transcend base action movie "gawk at stuff blowing up" themes:

LadyRhian said:
#3 sounded interesting. But...having been Pagan/Wiccan at one point, DON'T call the movie "Warlock." A male witch is still a witch. Warlock comes from Scottish Gaelic and means "Oathbreaker". Not the kind of thing you want to imply...
And like that, I just thought of a new plot hook. It'll take a slight rewording of the initial plot summary to convey, but I'd think you may find this twist at least worth a try:

Essentially, the movie starts off as a sorta-goofy, almost Twilight-esque RomCom of a person of mundane reality finding a love interest in the hidden, magical realms just beneath everyday life. The initial hook will be of the mundane person being a wide-eyed, idealistic military recruit, and the love interest actually follows most of the philosophy of Neopaganism/Wiccanism to a semi-accurate degree, with the only real differences being the things justifying the actual magical powers.

The story starts off with the 1999/2000 period, where the Cold War has ended, and it didn't seem that America would be entrenched in an overseas conflict: soldiers overseas would've been taken glorified vacations stationed on base in countries like Germany and Japan, or tropical islands in the Caribbean and South Pacific. Most of the military work would basically serve the same purpose as the United Nations, by providing humanitarian efforts in diseased, impoverished, war-wracked countries in Africa, Asia, etc. The protagonist has joined the military in this sweet, peaceful time of American history, and is currently stationed on a base close to Salem, Massachusetts. If you wanted to keep the "anti-pagan, born-again Christian" best friend, I would downplay him to simply being skeptical of the alleged powers of the Pagans/Wiccans getting media attention, the way most normal people tend to write off New Age stuff - not blind, irrational hatred of it being the work of the Devil because it isn't Christian, but incredulity of the idea special rocks could help with fortune-telling, seances, and all that hocus-pocus.

Anyways, the protagonist eventually meets the Pagan/Wiccan practitioner girl on one of his base leaves, who is interested in him based on his great, potential power. He decides to join one of her spiritual gatherings out of a "why the heck not?" attitude, but is surprised to see some actual magic be used at the gathering. Although he doesn't completely freak out, he definitely wants an explanation over how it's possible for the Pagans/Wiccans to pull this stuff off.

This leads to the major exposition dump of the movie, which gives the philosophy of Neopaganism as using magic to maintain natural balance and order, and all practitioners of Pagan magic to take an "Oath" to use their powers to maintain this order without interfering in the non-magic world. However, it also leads to why the movie is called "Warlock" - when the protagonist asks why all practitioners of magic are called witches (rather than his understanding of witch being female magic users, and warlocks being male magic users), the witches in question explain by stating that Warlock translates to "Oathbreaker", which is when a Pagan practitioner "breaks" his "Oath", and uses his powers to radically alter human affairs: the one Warlock in question would have caused the Dark Ages and Bubonic Plague, and the witch hunts in Europe were a backlash against the Pagan community for the damage caused by the Warlock.

This leads to the love interest witch asking the protagonist to take his "Oath", vowing he would not use his powers in a way that would be visible to the mortal world. The protagonist, confident that he wouldn't feel the need to use those powers in his profession, agrees to the Oath.

Cue September 11, 2001. Then cue the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. One redeployment to the frontlines later, and its suddenly become a LOT harder for the Protagonist not to be pressured to using his powers, especially when the wars bog down to try and contain insurgent attacks. He's technically allowed to fight as a soldier if he doesn't use his powers, so he can serve as an infantryman, but the increasing futility of the situation is making him desperate to use his powers in SOME conceivable form. First, he tries to use them to prevent his squad from being killed by IEDs and ambushes (trying to brush it off as a "sixth sense" thing), but then has to use his powers to heal a mortally wounded squadmate. But he's caught in the act by another squadmate, and his Pagan powers are brought to the attention of the highest members of the military brass.

Needless to say, the military wants to duplicate the powers of the protagonist, or at the very least have him use his magic for more "productive" purposes as a front-line soldier. Rather than be stereotypical "evil government men who want absolute power for themselves", they raise the legitimate point that they are fighting terrorist groups who, in their mind, ARE seeking to disrupt the natural order of the world to create chaos, and that stopping the terrorists as soon as possible with anything they have would be better for the order of the world than using the same tactics that have proven fruitless in defeating the terrorists. The protagonist again tries to restrain his powers for ways that would benefit the American forces in ways that wouldn't conflict with his "Oath", like using psychic powers to prevent collateral damage from drone strikes, but only leads to more chaos when the few legitimate targets become martyrs for terrorist causes. In fact, they are able to rally enough popular support that a key American strong-point is in danger of being overrun, which would result in a massacre of the military personal, and likely of the civilians under protection of the base.

This leads to the protagonist truly becoming a Warlock, by using his powers in a manner clearly and irreversibly against the "Oath". The last-stand action scene with magic powers becomes a terrifying slaughter of the insurgent forces, and if the protagonist doesn't go mad with his powers halfway through the battle, massacring the soldiers and civilians he was trying to save, he is still traumatized by all the death and destruction he himself had personally caused, and the international panic of the destructive power of Pagan magic has the world on the brink of another en-masse witch hunt.

Whether the protagonist has to commit a heroic sacrifice to re-balance the world from the damage he caused as a Warlock, or is able to re-balance the world with the help of his Pagan allies in a way that doesn't result in his sacrifice, the overall moral of the story can be summarized as such: "Order should be maintained in the world. But trying to maintain order with violence only leads to more death, destruction, and disorder." It'd kind of be an anti-War film, but in a way that criticizes the post-war restructuring of Afghanistan and Iraq more than the actual conflict, showing that all the death and destruction is for naught if measures aren't done to address the political concerns of terrorist groups fighting the US, or properly rebuild the infrastructure that has been shattered by the initial invasion of the countries.

(Phew!) Okay, that's my huge proposal dump. I'm not gonna try and pretend that these suggestions are infallible, but I definitely think they should be good starts in the right direction. If any other commentators (or indeed, if Movie Bob himself) wants to add their own suggestions and criticisms, be my guest. I'm gonna tune out any trolls that show up, but anybody else that wants to make a legitimate, coherent statement can go ahead.