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Movie Ideas That Would Have Owned In The ’90s

Certain types of movies are only super successful in certain eras: westerns in the ‘60s, weird sci-fi in the ‘80s, cocaine-influenced action movies in the ‘90s (okay, the ‘80s, too). Here are a few film ideas I’ve had in my head that would have been awesome if they were released 20 years ago. They might not have a lot of market appeal now, but damn if they wouldn’t have cleaned up back then.

1. “Bill and Ted’s Righteous Pilgrimage”

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We’ve been waiting for a third Bill and Ted film for more than 20 years, and even though it’s finally (maybe) happening now, I wish my idea I’m about to share could have happened in, like, 1996. Bill and Ted, fresh off of saving the future in the awesomely insane story of Bogus Journey, are happily living with their princesses and raising their kids. Their music made a worldwide impact, but their lives as ultra-popular moral icons isn’t the dream life they thought it would be. People constantly demand their time and attention, and they rarely have time to just live their lives.

After a particularly draining tour, they both come home and flip on the TV, which is tuned into an animated Bible story. They then have their most “righteous” idea ever. Who’s the only human to have a huge, positive impact on the course of humanity other than the two of them? Jesus Christ. So what if they go back to Roman-ruled Jerusalem and bring Jesus to the future? He already wanted the responsibility of saving humanity, so if they just let him do that job again, they could move back to a small house in San Dimas with their bodacious wives and live the simple life of rock music and Fruit Loops. Over the course of the movie, we see them have hilarious run-ins with Roman guards, accidentally become gladiators, trip acid with the Jewish high priest, and be tempted by Satan himself (with Frank Welker reprising his role). And, of course, they hang out with Jesus, get some wisdom from the Christ man, and along the way, learn the true meaning of sacrifice.

That’s right, ladies and gentleman. I’m pitching a movie about how two stoners go back in time to save Jesus. Pat Robertson’s going to love me.

2. “Life After Rock”

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This is a concept that Marky Mark’s ridiculous but surprisingly entertaining film, “Rock Star,” sort of alluded to at the end. But I want to blow the concept into proportion–and not make it a sequel like every other idea on this list. What happened to all of the great ‘80s rock bands after the ‘80s ended? Well, some of them were fine. They made enough money to make it through the hair metal backlash of the ‘90s, and many of them are now touring again. But what about the middle class group?

Here’s the premise. A moderately successful hair metal group sees that its market is shrinking. They get drunk one night and lament the loss of the huge crowds and groupies, but then they also realize that none of them really wanted to be hair metal stars in the first place–they just wanted to play rock music. They grew up listening to blues, The Beatles, and Zeppelin. You know who else was influenced by that music? Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Chris Cornell. The influences haven’t changed, the skills required to write a song or shred a guitar haven’t changed, and the American thirst for rock hasn’t changed. They get rid of their hairspray, skin tight suits, and makeup. Then they change their names, the group’s name, and start a grunge band.

As they get more and more popular, they start to run the risk of being outed as phonies, and old rivalries flare up within the band. But what we learn along the way is that good music is good music, and rock and roll never dies.

3. “Back to the Future 4”

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No time travel occurs. Marty just has to live his life with all of the accidental changes he’s made to the present by going back in time on three separate occasions.

4. A “Die Hard On A ________” To Rule Them All

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Die Hard is the undisputed greatest action movie of all time. If you disagree, you’re fired. But what happens when people recognize the best? They want to cash in on it. That’s why we saw so many “Die Hard On A ____” movies for 15 years after “Die Hard” was released. Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s the list:

“Air Force One” (Die Hard on a plane)
“Executive Decision” (Also Die Hard on plane)
“Con Air” (More Die Hard on a plane)
“Passenger 57” (Die Hard on a plane with black John McClane)
“Under Siege” (Die Hard on a warship)
“Under Siege 2” (Die Hard on a train)
“Speed” (Die Hard on a bus)
“Speed 2: Cruise Control” (Die Hard on cruise ship)
“Home Alone” (Die Hard in a suburban house with 8-year-old John McClane)
“Sudden Death” (Die Hard in a hockey arena)
“The Rock” (Die Hard on Alcatraz)
“Toy Soldiers” (Die Hard in a boarding school)

Sounds like the concept was overused, right? Wrong! They never made the perfect “Die Hard” ripoff. See, after “Die Hard 2” (which, looking back, isn’t even one of the best “Die Hard” ripoffs) the series that started the concept went away from it completely. I reference the superheroization of John McClane all the time, but it bears repeating. John McClane is at his best when he’s in a confined area and has to rely on his wits rather than his physical prowess. Plus, if you’re Bruce Willis, don’t you want to make a movie that both continues the best of your character while also poking all the other movies that have copied yours in the eye? Well here’s your idea, Bruce: “Die Hard On A Die Hard.”

Confused? Good. Here’s the premise. After the events of the first two movies (pre “Die Hard With A Vengeance”) John McClane has gained national attention, and a movie studio is actually making an action movie based on his exploits at Nakatomi Plaza. John McClane is working as an advisor on the movie, and brings his son to the set at the studio one day to watch them film some action sequences. Unfortunately, that happens to be the day that Hans Gruber’s son (played by Christian Slater) decides to kidnap everyone on set and hold them hostage, demanding the studio pay him $640 million for stealing his father’s story, since that’s the amount that got him killed. Luckily, John McClane was busy taking a piss or something, and wasn’t taken hostage with the rest of the film crew and his son. It’s now up to him to once again be the man inside to save dozens of people, as well as a member of his family.

It’s literally perfect. What does a movie studio lot provide that no ordinary setting does? Everything! Weapons, explosives, vehicles, anything that involves special effects is up for grabs. And the movie won’t just take place on the “Die Hard” set, but on all of the surrounding sets. Sci-fi props, sitcom living rooms, a massive recreation of a boat. It’s all there. And John McClane will fight with all of it. It’s like the end of “Blazing Saddles,” but with Bruce Willis killing guys, and for the length of a whole movie.

By the way, this could still work as a perfectly viable idea for “Die Hard 6,” so 20th Century Fox executives, if you’re listening, I have a way to resurrect the ruins of your franchise. In fact, all of these are great ideas, and I am willing to accept a minimum of $1 million to write any of them for you. And by $1 million, I mean a year’s supply of macaroni and cheese. My Twitter handle is at the bottom. Hit me up.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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