Writing Switch: Half-baked flicks, fully baked minds | AspenTimes.com

Writing Switch: Half-baked flicks, fully baked minds

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith

We’ve been using the quarantine opportunity to write our manuscripts and screenplays that are gonna finally get us outta this dump. It’s hard to overcome the fear of failure and just sit down and pound at the keys, especially when after 20 minutes you’re like “Well, this sucks, nevermind.” This week we pitch two topics — apocalyptic westerns and comedies about twins, for whatever reason — to directors and studios who may want to contact us for pre-pre-pre-pre-production.


SB: So the elevator pitch for the next global franchise is part “Unforgiven,” part “Book of Eli,” part “California Love” music video with a badass history behind it a la “Game of Thrones” but not quite as encyclopedic.

You’ve got the prevailing groups that praise the sun and despise all non-solar technology because it led to the “outbreak.” They vie to control some McGuffin-esque object that justifies mass slaughter but it’s vague enough that we just accept it; just like we accept that a large part of population rides horses again because we’ve rekindled our love of nature.

But then there’s the Edward Money/blind Denzel character (he’s not blind though) who has killed everything that’s breathed on this godforsaken planet but also has the key to restoring civility and ending needless anti-technology killings. He’s bitter and angry, even at one point pondering getting rid of humanity’s salvation.

But before he can throw this vital cog into the Grand Canyon, which is now overrun with the mysterious River Rats, a gang of savages started by the last people who tried to float the canyon but instead were marooned and have turned to cannibalism, EMJ gets captured.

It’s in the canyon that we meet the Gene Hackman character who is unaware that the elite guard of Sun Worshippers are seeking EMJ because they know what he possesses.

What ensues is a bloody battle between Worshippers and Rats, affording EMJ a chance to escape and use the key to restore humanity … but will he?


BW: The snow had melted off Aspen Mountain, all of it by only March 16. It was a bluebird day — blue in the sense that it was the color of the enormous tarp that stretched from the Highland Bowl across Shadow Mountain. Thanks to daylight savings, the sun shone harder than ever and the greenhouse effect cooked us french dip-style, acrid sweat pooling under our Adam’s apples like burly bowls of au jus. Climate change wasn’t supposed to take our winters for another 100 years, the data claimed, so nobody worried too much because we’d be dead by then.

Ah, to have just 100 days, let alone years!

When the pituitary glands of a chupacabra weren’t thoroughly cooked during a banquet at the Hotel WhenInRome, a little bacteria leapt off a dinner plate like Plankton from “Spongebob Squarepants” and infected the denizens of our hamlet. It spread quickly, and drinking water from fish tanks and the pedestrian mall fountains proved not to be the solution.

If you’re reading this in the annals of history, you already know Aspen was ground zero for the Perspirous Virus Crisis. It was a strain of infection so potent not even chugging pints of magical CBD oil could cure it!

Only a few people screeching on Facebook were concerned about the spread at first, while the rest of us kept hooking up with random Australian tourists and testing the limits of the First Amendment by yelling “Perspirous Virus!” in crowded theaters.

But we should have listened. We should have stocked up on Lysol wipes, cans of anchovies and toilet paper. Thankfully, nobody had thought to scavenge the phonebooks and coffee filters yet … well, it appeared one prior customer had: The Covid Kid.

The world’s greatest brains — Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Skippy Mesirow — had been holed up at The Aspen Institute, trying to develop an inoculation before Independence Pass was scheduled to open. And this time, we as a constituency were finally grateful enough.

But one percolating mind remained untapped, like a leftover keg from a small party that was unceremoniously raided during martial law months ago. And so The Covid Kid dons steampunk goggles leftover from Halloween, applies a mask — inhaling his own carbon monoxide and ham sandwich breath — and braves the snarling hordes outside to deliver a vaccine nobody had yet considered: a hydroxychloroquine enema. But where will he hide it?


SB: When someone pitches you an idea that already exists like Pete Campbell coming to the conclusion that marketing to all ethnicities is smart, do you grant that validation? Or do you inform them that “Twins” has already been made and it wasn’t that great to begin with?

But, to ask if I want to reboot a classic piece of American cinema featuring Danny DeVito and the Governator is like asking me if I’d like to take a shot at remaking “Road House.” Of course I do.

So here’s the setup, replace DeVito with Kevin Hart and Schwarzenegger with The Rock. It’s a pretty simple plug-and-play formula that’s earned hundreds of thousands of middling reviews.

Honestly, I can’t even remember what happened in the actual “Twins.”

How about a prequel to “Road House”? A youngish Sam Elliott played by Nick Offerman and an extremely young P Swayz played by Tom Holland.

We’ll get to see what happened a couple stops before the Double Deuce when Dalton was freewheeling and throat snatching. Shit, maybe even throw in a side villain origin story for Brad Wesley with Charlie Kelly showing us how he brought the J.C. Penney to Jasper.

Basically, this is like “Lethal Weapon 5” — from “It’s Always Sunny”— but with a slightly higher level of production and no penetration.


BW: In a world where everyone looks the same, nobody can tell the difference between you and the proverbial Adam. *boinggg!*

And when everyone looks the same, how will justice be served? *bullet ricochet*

From the creators of “The Inlaws at Josey, Wales” and “Three Car Seats Outside Rockford, Illinois” comes “TWINNING,” starring Jack Black and Charlie Sheen!

“How does the defense plea?”

“Not guilty by reason of plausible deniability, your honor.” *gavel pounding*

To bear false witness is a sin, but when everyone looks like either Jack Black or Charlie Sheen, for example, who’s to say which witnesses are false?

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“This is Chronic Halitosis, someone stole all our weed!”

“Was it a Jack Black or a Charlie Sheen?”

“One of each!” *egg cracking*

sbeckwith@aspentimes.com bwelch@aspentimes.com

Aspen Times Weekly

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