Taking A Chance On Monopoly: The Movie
The other day, we had a conversation with Hollywood. It went like this:
Us- “So Hollywood, congratulations on effectively squeezing every single bit of usable content out of books, historical events and video games from the last hundred years.”
Hollywood- “Ow! Thanks daddio! Oh yeah! Though I aint too sure there were many video games a hundred years ago.”
Us- ‘It’s a figure of speech.”
Hollywood- “No it’s not,”
Us- “Look, shut up, you’re ruining this elaborate setup.”
Hollywood- “Sorry there big daddy.”
Us- “Why do you sound like one of the racist crows from Dumbo?”
Hollywood: “I gots to say I aint too sure, ow!”
Us. “Right. well, Now that there is no book, TV series or historical fact that you haven’t mashed into a mega-hit like money making Play-Doh, you’re going to have to think of your own ideas, I suppose?”
Hollywood- “whoa whoa whoa there buster! Our own ideas? I don’t think so! ”
Hollywood- “Buddy please, chill on out. Sit down, have a cigar.”
Us- “No thanks. We don’t- oh alright then.”
Hollywood- “Don’t you go worrying about us, yeah, we’ve got a whole new franchise ready to go, go go!”
Us- “Cigars are freakin awesome.”
Hollywood- “The plan is-you ready for this my brother?- to invent an entirely new genre, unstoppable, beautiful in its glory.”
Us- “Hell yeah! Give it to us! Also more cigars!”
Hollywood- “Films… based… on board games.”
Us- “……………Board games. Like. Like Kerplunk? Kerplunk the Movie?”
Hollywood- “PICTURE THE SCENE! A world made of sticks, all living together in harmony, all programmed by tiny wise-cracking blue balls, keeping life’s balance in check. Then one day. An Intruder enters. A Hand from the Outside. He begins messing with the natural order of sticks and balls. And suddenly, the world turns upside down. Hell yeah! We’ve already got Will Smith signed to play ‘human’s fingers’.”
Us- *Sounds of horror, laughter, mixed with cigar-based coughing*
Maybe not the Kerplunk bit (we think that’s more suited to a TV series than a film), but the rest of it is true. Last year, Universal signed a deal with game-maker Hasbro for the rights to make films based on its most famous games, including Cluedo, Battleship, Magic: the Gathering, Stretch Armstrong and Monopoly. Now, we don’t know about you, but we’re certainly not surprised they chose Monopoly: The Movie as one of their first ventures. It’s packed full of cinematic potential! The endless property buying! The hilarity of a moving thimble! The despair as one or more family members screams ‘Stop cheating!” at your dad! What isn’t to love?
Maybe we’re being overly sceptical. It’s only fair to give this film a chance, right? And when we heard Ridley Scott was on board to direct, we were willing to let this project pass go and collect £200. (You think you’re sick of this joke now, we can promise you, you’ll be hearing it a lot from now on). However, we then read a recent interview in the Los Angeles Times with the writer, Frank Beddor, and…well… we’ll let you make up your own mind.
Talking about the story of the upcoming film, he writes-
“I created a comedic, lovable loser who lives in Manhattan and works at a real estate company and he’s not very good at his job but he’s great at playing Monopoly. And the world record for playing is 70 straight days – over 1,600 hours – and he wanted to try to convince his friends to help him break that world record. They think he is crazy. They kid him about this girl and they’re playing the game and there’s this big fight. And he’s holding a Chance card and after they’ve left he says, ‘Damn, I wanted to use that Chance card,’ and he throws it down. He falls asleep and then he wakes up in the morning and he’s holding the Chance card, and he thinks, ‘That’s odd.’”
That is odd Frank. That is very odd indeed. Mainly because we can’t think of a single person who enjoys watching people play Monopoly. It’s a game that’s aggravating to play after about 7 minutes, never mind watch. No wonder his friends have “this big fight”. It’s probably something to do to alleviate the frustration of being friends with the world’s dullest man.
Still, what happens next?
“He’s all groggy and he goes down to buy some coffee and he reaches into his pocket and all he has is Monopoly money. All this Monopoly money pours out. He’s confused and embarrassed and the girl reaches across the counter and says, ‘That’s OK.’ And she gives him change in Monopoly money. He walks outside and he’s in this very vibrant place, Monopoly City, and he’s just come out of a Chance Shop.”
No, really. A Chance Shop. Like ‘down the rabbit hole’, but ‘down the convenient plot hole’.
Confused and embarrassed? Yes, so are we.
“As it goes on, he takes on the evil Parker Brothers in the game of Monopoly. He has to defeat them.”
Talk about a battle worth fighting. Never in all our years of film loving can we imagine a more exciting battle than watching people on screen playing Monopoly with faces so stressed they look like they’re going to poo. Still, there must be more to it than just that, right?
“It tries to incorporate all the iconic imageries — a sports car pulls up, there’s someone on a horse, someone pushing a wheelbarrow — and rich Uncle Pennybags, you’re going to see him as the maître d’ at the restaurant and he’s the buggy driver and the local eccentric and the doorman at the opera. There’s all these sight gags.”
‘Someone on a horse’. You have to admit, that sounds pretty hilarious. Look! A tiny metal dog being walked by man who just got out of jail for free! Wait a second, did that girl just come second in a beauty contest, or has she just got a great community chest?
So there you have it. A deep and terrifying insight into the future of film. God only knows what the next few years will bring. Seeing as it’s pretty obvious Ridley is fighting an uphill battle with the story of Monopoly, we’ve taken the liberty of sketching out a couple of sure-fire hits for the remaining games.
Battleship– a film about two opposing armies, forced to see out their differences in a taut “no peeking” game of tactics and graphwork.
Magic; The Gathering– Two geeks are trapped in a house with nothing but a card game for those with excessive elven masturbation inclinations. They eventually kill and eat each other out of shame.
Cluedo– Basically a lot of people with bizarre professions drinking wine and losing tiny bits of paper. Someone dies at some point, but everyone is too pissed off about none of the pens working to care.
Come on now. What are you complaining about? Don’t worry, we’ll put in a couple of people on horses, alright? They’ll be rolling in the aisles-dice and all.
Actually, you’ve given me an idea: a film called GO TO JAIL, which would be very much like the one described above, but darker. Give Tim Burton a call.