52 Episodes, yo. We got a year under our belts.
The title of the last episode of The B-Movies Podcast (which is, by the way, the single most intelligent and insightful commentary on art in the history of human civilization) was “SEAL Team 6 vs. Sharks.” William “Bibbs” Bibbiani threw off the title in a fit of intellectual pique, and idly wished for a time when he could see such a film.
Well, why keep the idle wishes in the realm of the academic, when we can actually invent such a thing? Rather than sit back and hope that Hollywood picks up our psychic vibrations, why not just arrange a pitch for such a thing? Hollywood will only make films based on previous successes, and rarely try anything risky or new. So if you want something risky and new, well, you either have to look to other countries, to the independent circuit, or, and this is the most practical, make the dang thing yourself. One of the most practical pieces of advice I heard from a filmmaker came from, of all people, Kevin Smith. He said (to a group of aspiring screenwriters, mind you) that if you’re stuck on what kind of film to write, and you’re concerned with what will sell, merely write the movie you yourself want to see. The passion you put into the project will, he argued, translate into quality.
This may not always work, but if you stick to screenplays you’re nuts about, you will – at the very least – have a good time writing it.
So let’s write that screenplay. Let’s write a synopsis of SEAL Team 6 vs. Sharks. I’m fond of movies with “vs.” in the title (well, in an abstract way; I didn’t much want to see Monsters vs. Aliens), so it’s likely I would see this one. Would you see the following film?
SEAL Team 6 vs. Sharks (2013)
Running time: 93 minutes.
Directed by: An ambitious and talented first-time director.
Release Date: Probably early-to-mid August.
Budget: Pretty cheap.
Notable Actors: A recognizable TV actor who was in a mildly hot show about ten years ago. Maybe James Patrick Stuart from Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Supernatural. The ingénue is some insanely hot Latina actress who hasn’t done much acting in the U.S. Let’s say Mexican actress Ivonne Montero. The bad guy is Gary Busey, and the bad guy’s underling is played by Kevin J. O’Connor.
SEAL Team 6 is the single most elite fighting force in all of the American military. You haven’t heard of them because they are always on top-secret missions, killing super-criminals and would-be despots outside of the public eye. Each of the SEAL members is well-trained in martial arts, electronic engineering, mechanics, and hundreds of special weapons. Despite this, they are humble and efficient. They still make wisecracks at the appropriate moments. In an opening sequence, we see SEAL Team 6 infiltrating an aircraft carrier just lousy with nuclear bombs. The tough guy beats up the bad guy. The brain cripples their tracking computers. The joker and the babe (Montero) deal with all the muscly bad guys on the aircraft carrier, and the leader (Stuart) defuses a bomb that’s already been activated. He defuses it with only two seconds to go.
This will be SEAL’s final mission before a well-earned vacation to the beaches of Cancun. They like to travel together, and all plan on going to Mexico. Their vacation will only last six days, so they have planned everything out to the last hour. They make fun of one another in a playful fashion. The joker hits on the babe, and he is rebuffed.
The bad guy from the opening, though, has a thug who escapes, and instigates leg two of his evil plan. The bad guy (and for some reason I picture him as Gary Busey) has instructed his underling (Kevin J. O’Connor) to release a bunch of sharks into the ocean off the coast of Cancun. The sharks will act as cover, while the underling sneaks into a disused off-shore oil platform where a second nuclear bomb has been stored. No one could possibly make it through an ocean of sharks to stop him. Just to make it safe, the oil platform has also been armed with a giant anti-aircraft gun.
SEAL Team 6 arrives in Cancun. They immediately go about the business of having fun, as they previously discussed. The camaraderie is warm, and the vacation is joyous. One of them even begins a tentative romance with a local girl. Let’s say it’s the tough guy.
The next morning, someone is eaten on the beach. Then a second. There’s blood in the water. Hundreds of sharks begins flooding the beach. They are so hungry and fierce, some of them are leaping far out of the ocean to grab people, killing themselves in the process. One shark crashes through a car windshield, and dies eating the driver. Another knocks a Tiki torch into a beach bar, setting all the alcohol on fire and blowing it up. One dives at the tough guy, but he manages to catch the shark in mid-air and kill it with his bare hands. The other SEALs all begin taking out the flying sharks.
The SEALs know that sharks don’t often behave this way, and decide to contact an eccentric scientist they know who conveniently lives in the area. The scientist (played by a celebrity cameo. Jeff Goldblum, I’m looking at you) indicates that these sharks have been given a super-steroid that makes them extra aggressive, and that they are not typically found in this ocean. The SEALs do some investigating, lamenting that they can’t have their vacation.
Their investigation leads them to an old map of the ocean made in the 1970s when a now-defunct oil company built a platform off the coast of Cancun (which was abandoned after the company found less oil than expected). The SEALs also hear from their superiors that a naval plane was shot down near their location, and that there’s something worth investigating off the coast.
The SEALs then have to assemble a tricked-out shark-proof boat, and trek through the dangerous shark-infested waters to the oil platform. The scenes leading to the climax are long and action packed, and many, many sharks jump out of the water at our heroes. One character has a hand eaten off. Probably the joker. He was giving the finger to a shark, and a shark bit him. They jury-rig harpoon guns made from scuba tanks. The sharks eat through their motor and rudder, so they have to build some new ones with stuff they find around the boat. When the sharks eat those too, the SEALs jury-rig a sail out of the boat’s linens. They all have to strip down to their skivvies, as well.
In their underwear, they arrive at the oil platform. The bad guy shoots their boat, and it starts to sink. The joker allows some of his blood to drip in the water off the back of the boat so the sharks are temporarily distracted. The SEALs have to swim to the bottom of the platform, and climb up the rig themselves. The joker gets eaten to death.
There is a big ol’ confrontation, and the bad guy is subdued. The bad guy admits to giving the sharks an aggression drug that makes them want to jump out of the water. He explains that they’ll naturally calm down in a few more days. Just like in the opening, the leader character tries to defuse the nuclear bomb. Only this time it doesn’t work. The brain character manages to put the bomb in a missile casing, and they use the anti-aircraft gun to fire it way out into the ocean. Don’t worry. The brain did his calculations. The exploding bomb won’t hurt anyone.
In their underwear, weary and happy, the SEALs sit to drink beers, and lament the death of the joker. They pour some beer on the sharks below. How will they ever get off that platform? They laugh. Roll credits.
So what do you think? Is that a movie you would see? Who should direct it? Any more chances for nudity or sex? Any interesting bloody set pieces we can add? Hey, Hollywood. Let’s get on this. The title alone would sell it.
Next: Bibbs puts his producer's cap on and gives realistic studio notes like, 'Do they have to be sharks?'
From the Desk of William Bibbiani:
Since Witney did all the heavy-lifting on the SEAL Team 6 vs. Sharks treatment – I thought we were a team, man – I am left with no recourse other than to put my experience in film development to good use, and offer him the same kind of constructive criticism he’d probably experience after submitting this project to a film production company that would actually be interested in making this happen. If you’ve ever gone through the Hollywood notes process, you probably know that the process is roughly similar to preparing a gourmet meal for a respected childhood before they piss in it, make you eat it instead, and then wait patiently for you to thank them for their contributions. Let’s begin, shall we?
We took a look at your treatment marked 7-11-2009 and had came up with some notes on how to make SEAL Team 6 vs. Sharks the best movie it can be. We're pretty excited about this one, as you can tell. You won't believe what we came up with. It's pretty special.
1. Does it have to be sharks? After the failure of Shark Night it’s obvious that audiences don’t care about sharks anymore. We’ve been kicking ideas around the office and think we could make this work with wolves instead. Everyone’s going to be looking for wolf movies now that The Grey exceeded expectations. I know what you’re thinking: they can only dogpaddle. Don’t worry, we thought of that. They’re Caribbean wolves.
2. Beach bars don’t explode when a shark hits them, Tiki torch or no Tiki torch. It would make more sense if it was a fireworks stand instead. They have Fourth of July in Cancun, right? We’re thinking of a summer tent pole release, here, so we want to wrap the story around a holiday for marketing purposes.
3. Nobody wants to see female action stars, so we should make Ivonne Montero the scientist. It’ll make it easier for her to get kidnapped later, to add some real tension to the story.
4. Let’s try to avoid the oil tanker thing. Cars 2 and The Muppets didn’t fare well in the Red States because of the anti-oil sentiment, and we don’t want any potential audience members turned off by the negative association between sharks – sorry, wolves – and a symbol of American capitalism. How easy would it be to turn the oil tanker with an anti-aircraft gun into a teen party boat with an anti-aircraft gun? It’s Cancun after all.
5. Whatever happened to Gary Busey? In real life or the script? Let’s not cheap out on a villain in a big release like this. Let’s aim for Michael Fassbender or some other big foreign star, like Tony Jaa. If we write the part for Tony Jaa, we could include a scene where he beats up a bunch of wolves in a cage fight, like in that one movie he did. But we’d have wolves. We think it writes itself. Make sure you bring him back at the end. He could be escaping in a helicopter when the nuclear bomb missile hits him. That way the nuclear fallout is in the air, not in the ocean, and we don’t have to worry about any unanswered ecological ramifications.
6. We’re not seeing a sequel hook in here. Could we see the leader wolf escape at the end? It’s okay if we put it after the credits. We don’t want to mess with the narrative flow. You should probably give him a big scar over his face so we know it’s him, and not just some random wolf.
6. Robert Pattinson.
8. The funny guy dying is kind of a cliché, don’t you think? We should change that to someone unexpected, like their aging leader. Then they’d be without they’re leader at the end, giving us some real tension. We can set it up like he’s destined for a happy ending but announcing that he’s about to retire, then everyone in the audience will hope he gets out okay.
9. Stephen Sommers wants to do this, but only if we can reserve a part for Kevin J. O’Connor. Can you fit him in there somewhere?
10. We could probably drop this down to a PG-rating if the Navy SEALs were actual seals. Slappy and the Stinkers was a long time ago. We think the time has come to try again.
So yes, if you can just change the title to Seals vs. Wolves and make these changes by Monday, we’ll hit you back with another round of notes ASAP. Oh, and can you include some kind of prologue in Ancient Sparta? We’ve been talking to the people who did 300 and they said we can use their old sets for almost nothing.
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