The Ultimate (who knows when?)
Manormaniacs often come up to me and ask, "O, Perfect Master (as I'm known, informally)...," and before you ask, yes, they indeed do utter the phrase "as I'm known, informally." Anyway, the remainder of their query is, "...since you have seen thousands of them there newfangled talking pictures, how would you define the ultimate one--besides an around-the-clock close-up of yourself?"
Actually, the flawless flick has yet to be made, at least when we restrict the parameters to theatrical releases and exclude The Creeping Terror, an epic masterwork defying simple definition (and featured here, in the online M-O-M archive.)
To misquote Nas, "If I ruled the cinematic world," the ultimate mopic would be a fantasy film. That is, MY fantasy: a movie wherein every single part, from the central characters to each individual in a crowd scene, is played by a famous performer--preferably, in a role for which he or she is most noted. At last, a true all-star cast, where nobody's a nobody.
Imagine how many times you would sit through a spooling, playing Spot The Celeb. "Hey, behind the diner counter are Linda Lavin, salad expert Paul Newman and chef Isaac Hayes. And there's Meg Ryan sitting with Billy Crystal and Wallace Shawn (right) at the table in the background." "Look, that holding cell contains Robert Downey, Hugh Grant, Nick Nolte and Pee Wee Herman. They're waving goodbye to just-sprung Winona Ryder."
You may be thinking, "Though this concept is the sheer brilliance we have come to expect from Stately, all those hotshots are going to demand large loot, regardless of part size. How is the project economically feasible?"
It's easy. Float the rumor "The film will NOT be released on videotape," and kick everyone out of the theater after each screening. You wanna see it again, you gotta pay again. Believing they'll never have the opportunity to watch--and consequently freeze-frame to play Spot The Celeb--at home, suckers will willingly fork over the funds for further viewings.
Of course, after the strategy has been milked for every cent it can yield, we release the DVD "due to public demand" (industry code for "due to bottomless avarice.") Should anyone gripe about the supposed renege regarding home viewing, two optional responses--"Serves you right for believing a rumor" or "We said no videotapes. This is a disc."--will be available to the complainant before he's told to sod off.
Granted, a gimmick flick like the proposed could draw plenty based solely on the sheer magnitude of its cast list. Nonetheless, without at least a thread of a storyline, the film would be nothing more than a lengthy montage. So, here's what I have in mind.
San Fran detective Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood), tailing Frisco super-criminal Christopher Walken to the Big Apple, checks into the 12th Precinct HQ (manned by Leslie Neilsen, Bruce Willis and the surviving Barney Miller squad), reporting to Lt. Harvey Keitel.
Aware Walken frequently fraternizes strip clubs, police dispatcher Dick Miller suggests Callahan ask a cabbie to hip him to the hottest joints around. Taxi driver Robert DeNiro takes Harry to The Pie Shoppe and tells doorman Steve Buscemi the cop's cool to go in. Thora Birch, Heather Graham, Serena Williams, Kirsten Dunst and Sofia Vergara are all peeling at the Pie but, oddly enough, there are fewer customers (Jack Nicholson, Ric Flair, Rowan Atkinson, Sean Connery) than dancers.
<--Stunning Sofia Vergara
The completely naked Jennifer Tilly has an explanation. Walken is not killing his prey--all voluptuous females--but rather spraying them with a clothing-dissolving foam inadvertently created by nuke-plant worker Homer J. Simpson. Jen says the general public is eyeballing so much nudity on the streets (quick cut to Lisa Kudrow, Amanda Tapping and Tyra Banks shrieking as their clothes disintegrate on various Manhattan corners), the average citizen is rarely willing to pay to see bare babes.
I take it you're getting the general idea by now. At least I hope so, seeing how space limitations restrict me from laying out the entire storyline here. I will tell you that somewhere between the above and the surprise twist ending outlined below, there's a scene I flat-out love.
David Spade, Hulk Hogan, Whoopi Goldberg, Sting, Kobe Bryant and Robin Williams are lined up facing a wall and gunned down, St. Valentine's Day Massacre style. However, the arriving detectives (Mariska Hargitay and Ice T) and CSI investigators (William Petersen and MILF, er, Marg Helgenberger) take note of whom specifically was aerated and, barely suppressing their glee, agree it was "a mass suicide," high-fiving crime scene photographer Joe Pesci and still-holding-the-smoking-weapon SWManor.
Jumping forward to the final reel, Callahan has discovered the real villain is not Christopher Walken, it's Christopher Lee in full Dracula mode. Lee, summoning up all sorts of evil characters with his will, has the good-guy squad in serious jeopardy, except for Mexican masked wrestler Mil Mascaras, who is defeating a pair of Aztec mummies.
Just when it looks like Clint and company are facing defeat, a poorly dubbed Jodie Foster points skyward, shouting, "Look! Is Godzilla! He's come...to save us!"
BRAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! Godz is doing his usual burn and bash bit, which is great as far as vanquishing Lee's legion goes, but...well, Big G is not exactly the neatest reptile, is he? In fact, all the flying debris and collapsing buildings are imperiling the heroes.
"Quick, into the TARDIS," instructs Dr. Who Tom Baker, whisking the rescued back to 1941, where the Three Stooges are starting an immense pie fight. But, wait, the "cream" on the prop pies has been tainted with the clothing-dissolving foam, leaving targets Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jewel and Coral from Real World NYC in their birthday suits.
Now that's what I call entertainment!
Jennifer Love Hewitt: Gets creamed