Profile: Two immigrants videotape their crimes and sell them to sleazy media types while exploiting screwed-up criminal-justice system. Think Scarface meets Dirty Harry, nails King of Comedy, and is mad as hell at Network.
Symptoms: A terrific idea for a movie about the exploitive devices of hack media that gets completely screwed-up by the exploitive devices of hack filmmaking. You think this movie would be content examining the hydra that is media, however 15 Minutes not only makes time for buddy-movie hijinks and romance but also shows us what's wrong with America—which, as you might expect, ends up being Eastern Europeans, the media, the damn "system" and It's a Wonderful Life (How many more must die to sate Frank Capra's bloodlust?!). Hence, a movie with a great premise ends up being like every other angry-white-guy flick that argues that this country would be a lot better off without the Constitution and people who talk funny. "Americans are pussies," says the villain in reference to our pansy-ass criminal-justice system. The day 15 Minutes opened, a 14-year-old was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of a 6-year-old girl. But if he had been 16, under Florida law, he could have gotten the death penalty. Damn system!
Diagnosis: Exploitive media type, heal thyself!
Prescription: Actually do a movie about criminals who tailor their crimes for TV. There are already several shows that showcase crime in action; why not have the criminals actually scripting their crimes for TV? Bidding wars, TV executives offering notes and suggestions, criminal complaints of being artistically hamstrung—it could make for great satire. Don't waste time with love interests, buddies or immigrants—especially immigrants. It takes 15 Minutesan hour to educate the evil foreigners on how to exploit the damn system. Make the crooks Americans who already understand the damn system. Any kid raised on Cops and When the LAPD Attacks knows what sells.
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Prognosis: If you can't sell it as a movie, you can no doubt package it as a reality show and make a killing in syndication.