Don’t Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One

Hollywood writers, and those who aspire to be Hollywood writers, are fond of saying there are only so many plots in the world. The number varies depending on when the speaker went to film school, but it’s usually low and the message is always the same: cannibalizing old plots is perfectly fine and “recycling” is inevitable. Usually followed by the line: “Shakespeare did it!”

The latest installment in this game (sure to be on film school reading lists this fall) is Christopher Booker’s “The Seven Basic Plots,” a rather generous number compared to what I was once told by a screenwriter: There are only two. Plot A) Someone leaves home (“Star Wars,” “The Odyssey”). Plot B) A stranger comes to town. (“Beverly Hills Cop,” “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”)

I‘m just waiting for the 30-second pitch: “My Mother the Car” meets “Pimp My Ride” as the ultimate in recycling.

Hey, it’s Hollywood. Anything could happen. (Is Cedric the Entertainer available? And how about Tina Turner as “Mom”?). Special note to development: Lots of opportunities for product placement, like when Mom shows up on the extra-large plasma screen TV in the back of the Escalade.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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