Way back in May 2012, when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes seemed inseparable and Taylor Kitsch’s career seemed bright, Overthinking It announced our 4th annual summer movie cliche contest. The challenge: fill in the blanks to create taglines for 11 different genres. The prize: nothing. The judging criteria: unclear. Dozens of you participated for some reason.
Some of you have noticed that it’s been seven months, and we still haven’t announced the winners.
Well, that’s because of something else that happened in May 2012: G.I. Joe: Retaliation was pushed back from a June release to a March 2013 release, which is a hell of a delay for a $185 million movie with an expensive marketing campaign already underway. The reason? They wanted to convert the thing to 3D, and also to shoehorn in more Channing Tatum.
This is such a good idea it makes me want to punch myself in the face.
There is nothing in this world that cannot be improved by making it 3D and adding Channing Tatum. Do you like ice cream sundaes? How about Channing Tatum flinging an ice cream sundae right at your face? Was the birth of your child a miraculous event? What if your child was Channing Tatum, and he was flying out of your wife’s birth canal at 48 frames per second? You got a nice refund on your income taxes? What if you got that return in $1 bills, presented to you tucked into Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike g-string?
So we’ve spent the last seven months negotiating with his team of agents, managers, and waxers, and we’re now pleased to bring to Clichemageddon 4: The Victors, now with 27% more Tatum and a hasty conversion to 3D.
KINDLY PUT ON YOUR 3D GLASSES
Category #1: Superhero Movie
First off, this entry by Chris gave me a sad: “He’s the hero we are stuck with. Not the hero we fell in love with and married all those years ago.” It’s like The Incredibles meets Revolutionary Road.
Because I was born before 1995, I heartily endorse this one by DFFF: “He’s the hero we thought was played by Tobey Maguire. Not the hero we saw in The Social Network.”
For its sheer plausibility as an actual tagline for an offbeat superhero comedy, I liked this one by Cat: “He’s the hero we settled for. Not the hero we tried to contact first.”
But for the winner, I think it has to be this one by Mark: “He’s the hero we will have deserved. Not the hero we had been going to need. James Franco is The Conjugator.” I can pretty much see James Franco starring in this Funny Or Die sketch. “Help us Conjugator, the bomb is going to explode in 10 seconds!” “Don’t you mean the bomb was going to explode in 10 seconds?” They look at the bomb. “Hooray!”
Category #2: Aliens Attack the Earth
Runner up goes to Chris: “Here’s the projection for 24 hours. This is 48. And within 72 hours, we will be drowned in Mountain Dew. Mr. President, I suggest we go to Code Red.”
And once again, because of its plausibility as an actual line in a Zuckeresque comedy, Runner Up goes to John H: “Here’s the projection for 24 hours. This is 48. And within 72 hours, all of the major U.S. cities will be destroyed. Mr. President, I suggest we go to Code Yellow, because I already have.”
But the winner is definitely Rob: “Here’s the projection for 24 hours. This is 48. And within 72 hours, I won’t love myself anymore. Mr. President, I suggest we go to Codependency.” It’s not only clever, but it conjures up some American President-style plotline about a White House analyst who falls in love with the President, and can only express herself via Powerpoint presentations.
Category #3: Heist Movie
Second runner up is S: “If we’re going to pull this off, we’re going to need grit, determination, and most importantly, a whole lotta lube.” Who doesn’t want to see this movie? In all seriousness, I had flashbacks to the episode of The Simpsons where Santa’s Little Helper gets stuck in the air ducts and Groundkeeper Willie has to grease himself up to go in there.
First runner up is Cat: “If we’re going to pull this off, we’re going to need heart, determination, and most importantly, a team of highly skilled professionals with an arsenal of advanced technology.”
And the winner is Rob: “If we’re going to pull this off, we’re going to need a deus, an ex, and most importantly, a machina.” I’m imagining a Greek God, a disgruntled-looking girl, and a tricked-out Lamborghini.
Category #4: Nicholas Sparks Adaptation
So guys, which is more disturbing? This one by Chris: “I’ve loved you ever since the day you let me pay for my heroin with sex.” Or this one by Stratton: “I’ve loved you ever since the day you killed my wife and put on her skin, hoping I wouldn’t notice.” Both of you should be writing for SVU – bravo.
But the winner is Timothy Swann, who took the Nicholas Sparks thing very seriously. “I’ve loved you ever since the day you jumped off that boat chasing the love letter you wrote to remind me of that time we kissed in the rain even though I told you we were too different to fall in love after I nursed you back to health when your fall from your horse gave you temporary amnesia. Want to go walk along the beach?”
Category #5: Happy Madison Comedy
I like this one by Marc a lot: “Al Pacino had life all figured out. That’s when he was cast in a movie where Adam Sandler played a woman and Al had to pretend to find her attractive. [RECORD SCRATCH!] [Cut to picture of Adam Sandler wearing a dress and a wig playing Jill.]” I’m imagining a meta Adaptation-style comedy about what it’s like to be caught in the soulless Adam Sandler hit machine. Wait, that was Funny People, right?
Because I’ve been known to waste a few hours as a Medic, just to feel needed, this one by Stratton gets Runner Up: “Heavy Weapons Guy had life all figured out. That’s when Scout decided to hit him with a bat. [RECORD SCRATCH!] [Cut to picture of Adam Sandler wearing a baseball cap, dog tags, and finger gloves.]”
And in honor of Overthinker and biochemist Dr. David Shechner, this one by Rob gets top honors: “Rosalind Franklin had life all figured out. That’s when Jim Watson decided to deny her authorship. [Record scratch!] [Cut to picture of Adam Sandler wearing a Nobel medal.]” Not only did you do something cute with the “had life all figured out” part, but I can imagine a movie where Rosalind and Jim use their amazing biochemistry skills to play hilarious and mutagenic pranks on each other.
Category #6: Middlebrow Rom-Com
I have no idea what is going on here in this one by Stratton, but I want to find out: “Sometimes love is in the same place you left your keys. [Cut to BEN AFFLECK frantically searching the living room of his expensive apartment. JENNIFER ANISTON pops up from under the couch cushions with a set of keys and a smug smile.] Search for loose change, and find a quirky romantic adventure, in BETWEEN THE CUSHIONS.”
But I believe the winner is by DFFF: “Sometimes love is the fireplace you liked so much when you first bought the apartment but never end up using. The Fireplace II: Rekindle The Flame.” There’s something so gloriously bland about this. Also, what was The Fireplace 1 about? We already know they haven’t used the fireplace in the apartment, so perhaps there was another fireplace earlier in their relationship, that brought them together. Come to think of it, what kind of apartment has a working fireplace?
Category #7: Apatovian Bromance
James summed up the sentiment of many entries with: “This Summer: Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan both phone it in for each other.” The thing is, I like both those guys quite a bit, but there’s no denying the idea of them in a movie together provokes a weary sigh.
I was intrigued by: “This Summer: Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen give kidneys for each other.” I’m imagining a “Gift of the Magi” type story in which both men have one failing kidney, and they both secretly arrange to donate their one working kidney to the other, knowing that it will kill them but allow their friend to live a long, full life. That would be a bromance written by Nicholas Sparks.
But the winner managed to provide a believable premise and simultaneously explain why said premise would be tiresome: “Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen are two totally distinct white, middle-aged, out of date, slightly Jewish, quirky, most-likely stoned, lovable goofball protagonists who switch places to implausibly get the girl for each other.” Yup. The problem is they tend to play the same dude, again and again. (Actually, that’s not quite fair. I liked Seth Rogen in Observe and Report, in which he went to weird unsettling places. Check it out.)
Category #8: Inevitable Bridesmaids Clone
First off, Timothy Swann captures the essence of it with “They’re funny. They’re offended that you’ll be surprised by the next sentence. And they’re ladies!”
I love me some puns (see The Spider-House Rules) so I give Runner Up to DFFF’s entry: “They’re armed and dangerous. They’re dressed for aerobics. And they’re ladies! The Spandexpendables.”
And the winner is the grandma of OTI commenters, Gab, who delivered a whole elevator pitch: “They’re high. They’re fly. And they’re ladies! The Doobie Sisters. Three female pot-heads embark on a journey of self-discovery together while trying to find a necklace that their dead companion had pawned off for some pot money a while back, the goal being putting it on her body at the open casket funeral.” This is actually a very solid pitch. Hollywood loves to make bittersweet chick flicks about old friends reunited by a weepy death. Oooh, maybe one of them can reveal that she’s pregnant in the second act, then name the baby after the dead friend! Also, somebody has sex in and/or hotboxes a coffin.
Category #9: Weekend at Bernie’s Clone
DFFF wins the coveted Golden Goatse Award for the most disturbing entry in the whole contest: “One corpse. One group of unfortunate hostages being stapled to it ass to mouth. And a whooooole lot of laughs! National Lampoon’s Human Centipede.”
As for the winner, this one by Dr. Demento was an easy call: “One corpse. One corpse. Two corpse. Three corpse. Five corpse. And a whooooole lot of laughs! The FibiNazi Sequence.” This is just awesome. It combines zombie Nazis with math.
Category #10: Twee Auteurish Unclassifiable Movie
I like this one by RebelPoet a lot: “I know we’re not the main protagonists, and essentially disposable. But I don’t care. I’m going to check out the abandoned doll factory overlooking the Indian burial ground.”
Runner up goes to Marc: “I know we’re only spoiled white twenty somethings. But I don’t care. I’m going to keep pretending everything about my life is unique, dramatic and poignant. Poignant, damn it!”
And the winner was by Cat. It was along the same lines as Marc, but more specific: “I know we’re only waifish, maladjusted, socially awkward teenagers. But I don’t care. I’m going to travel across the country cataloguing tea houses.” Can they maybe do it in a motorcycle with a sidecar?
Category #11: Every Summer Movie Ever
The Golden Well Actually Award goes to S: “Many years ago, there was a prophesy that people would learn to spell the word ‘prophecy’ correctly. Now, all the signs say it’s coming true. You have a great gift. Use it for humor, not for pedantry.” S is absolutely right. A “prophecy” is what you produce when you “prophesy.” Well done!
Runner up goes to Dr. Demento for this one: “Many years ago, there was a prophesy that one man would have the sexiest voice of all time. Now, all the signs say it’s coming true. You have a great gift. Use it for getting laid, not for narrating trailers, trust me on this one.” I like it because it could totally work as a real movie. Has there ever been a comedy about rival voiceover actors? Maybe starring Will Ferrell? Who’s a young comedian who can do silly voices?
Finally, the winner is Lexicon, who submitted this as the final entry before we closed the comments. It’s funnier if you imagine Strongbad saying it: “Many years ago, there was a prophesy that said something but we were drunk at the time. Now all the signs say it’s coming true, we think. You have a great gift or was it the other kid, never mind. Use it for… something, I think it’s to do with… fire or water, some element anyway. Not for making the bad thing happen. Again not sure what the bad thing is… maybe the bad thing is fire. Here’s an old blunt sword and this weird scroll that’s important for some reason. Now, off you go.”
Thanks to everyone who entered, and special thanks to guest commentator Channing Tatum, who is going to be a dad!