It’s been two years since Saturday Night Live attempted a film based on one of their recurring characters (MacGruber). It sucked. Before that, it had been TEN years between movies (Ladies’ Man). That one REALLY sucked. In fact it’s pretty much the definition of public knowledge that, aside from Blues Brothers and the first Wayne’s World, any attempt by Lorne Michaels and company to expand five minutes of jokes into 90 has failed miserably.
But that doesn’t mean they should have stopped. Perhaps they just didn’t pick the right characters; maybe, if they do what I say and give these somewhat-famous characters a shot at the big screen, they might just strike gold, and I’ll look like a soothsayer who deserves a big blank check with Lorne’s name on the bottom.
10. Debbie Downer
For The Uninitiated: A depressed woman brings everybody around her down with tales of cat AIDS, starving children, and being infertile.
How It Could Work: Debbie finally seeks help for her crippling depression, only to receive news, mere days later, that a major agency is willing to fund a one-woman show featuring Debbie sitting on a stage and telling the crowd how much life sucks. Makes sense, since every time Debbie sits down with friends and tries to depress them, they end up laughing their stones off (literally AND figuratively, mind). Debbie is now torn between staying and bettering herself or leaving to go on the road and make the masses happy, at the expense of her health, and possibly her life.
Chances Of Success: It’d be tough. This is a rather heavy theme for a character that uses a sad trombone sound to let the audience know she’s bumming people out, and you’d need to load the cast with actors who are experts at breaking character and giggling like morons at every turn. Where’re Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, and Harvey Corman when you need ‘em?
For The Uninitiated: An exotic dancer who manages to seduce every man around him, even though he himself is totally straight (or at least he’s convinced himself he is).
How It Could Work: After a chance meeting with Bill Clinton (played by Darrel Hammond because what else does he have lined up, seriously?) almost results in a cigar enema, Mango realizes his magical butt dances are far too dangerous to go on. He embarks on a mystical world tour, attempting to discover exactly what makes his dancing so alluring to viewers (particularly the male sort). In the end, after every guru on the planet turns out to be a fraud that only pretended to help Mango because they were in love with him, Mango gives up and realizes that it is his destiny, and curse, to be Mango. Until one last idea hits him: baggy hip-hop jeans. Suddenly, no ass means no magical dances, and peace for De Mango at long last.
Chances Of Success: Pretty damn good. It’s the same joke time and again, with a wacky sight gag payoff at the end. Exactly what Dr. Michaels ordered!
8. Tales Of Ribaldry
For The Uninitiated: A Victorian-era dandy, who gets off on stories featuring subtle sexual innuendo, turns utterly disgusted as the sexuality gets more and more explicit.
How It Could Work: A wormhole opens up in the year 1750, sending Evelyn Quince (the dandy in question) into modern times, where the first thing he sees is Akon grinding with a 12-year-old girl onstage. He subsequently has a heart attack; upon recovery, he becomes a motivational speaker, attempting to persuade the youth of today to embrace decency and class, with just a hint of “saucy ribaldry” every now and then should the occasion call for it.
Chances Of Success: Pretty good, especially if the scriptwriters insert a scene or two where Quince presents, say, hardcore porno flicks reshot as saucy tales of subtle naughtiness (throwing you a freebie here, scriptwriters. You best recognize.) Also, nobody should ever attempt to explain the wormhole, ever. It will only create headaches so large even a bathtub full of Excedrin couldn’t cure them all. Just know we had to get Quince into modern times somehow, and a wormhole is the easiest explanation. After all, have YOU ever dealt with a wormhole to learn exactly how it works? Thought not.
7. The Boston Teens
For The Uninitiated: Sully and Denise, a couple of obnoxious Boston stereotypes, obsess over the Red Sox and call each other retahhhhded before making out like a pair of blind monkeys.
How It Could Work: Denise begins to mature, and yearns for a life beyond baseball and Dunkin’ Donuts, but can’t convince her boyfriend to grow up as well. She attempts to balance her new-found responsibilities with pretending to give a crap about the latest Sox collapse, all in the vain hopes that someday, he too will realize the pointlessness of a life spent worshipping athletes and staying in the same stagnant neighborhood despite opportunities abound elsewhere.
Chances Of Success: It already happened! Jimmy Fallon basically aped the Sully character, minus the obnoxious accent, for 2005’s Fever Pitch. Whether or not that movie worked depended entirely on how sick you were of the Sox by that point, plus whether or not you realized the thing was little more than a chick flick with bats and balls scattered all over the place.
6. Toonces The Driving Cat
For The Uninitiated: A cat drives a car. Off a cliff. He and his owners not only manage to survive, but he is given the keys AGAIN at the very next opportunity. He drives off another cliff. Repeat ad nauseam.
How It Could Work: The local media FINALLY gets wind of a driving cat, but any and all offers of fame and fortune are withdrawn when it’s revealed Toonces actually sucks at driving. This, far more than the constant brushes with death, is enough to convince Toonces’ owners to work overtime on improving his driving. But the pressure becomes too much, and Toonces soon drives away to escape it all. He then drives off a cliff.
Chances Of Success: As a depressing art-house flick showcasing the meaninglessness and futility of attempting to escape one’s sad, miserable lot in life, not bad. Otherwise, this could easily be a regular SNL sketch for the next time they drag Dana Carvey out of the mothballs because no celebrity anywhere has any movie or TV show to plug that week.
For The Uninitiated: A woman with a compulsive need to one-up everybody in sight. If you have ten dollars, she has a hundred. If you just saw a movie, she just won an Oscar. If you went on a Jamaican cruise, she travelled to Saturn. You get the idea.
How It Could Work: Penelope, finally realizing that nobody likes her and her unending histrionics, drifts toward the one place where you can brag about ridiculous BS that never happened and get away with it: battle rap. Almost overnight, her knack for doing everything better than her opponent makes her a hip-hop superstar. Until the haters come out with reports claiming everything she says is purest fiction, a mortal sin in rap, where everything needs to be kept real, yo. Now Penelope must find a way to actually DO all the crap she’s been bragging about, or else be laughed out of a career and forced back to the small town that hates her and her braggart mouth.
Chances Of Success: It all depends on what they have her try to do. If she claimed to be a world champion pro wrestler, or that she that could play all of Beethoven’s symphonies with her eyes closed, this could actually be a fine film. But if her claims are totally asinine, like going to the Sun and surviving, then forget about it. Also, that thing she constantly does with her hair? End it. That crap’s like Mary Catherine Gallagher’s sweaty armpits, and we all know how that film turned out.
4. Drunk Girl
For The Uninitiated: It’s a girl who’s drunk. But she’s played by a really tall guy, which is just wacky!
How It Could Work: Drunk Girl actually IS a guy! Somehow, nobody notices this, and it has allowed him to both indulge his alcoholism and get close to pretty girls without getting slapped or arrested. The problems begin when an extremely rich guy falls for him/her, leaving Drunk Girl to decide whether to continue the façade and live the high life, or expose himself and risk being murdered by every girl whose chest he’s “drunkenly” stumbled over. Also, what to do when the rich guy actually wants a little somethin’ somethin’?
Chances Of Success: Quite good. The movie would feature a ton of pretty women acting drunk, which would attract a ton of shallow moviegoers with a sophomoric sense of humor and money they didn’t really want in the first place. And the rich-guy-falls-for-drag-queen story is totally stolen from Marliyn Monroe’s opus Some Like It Hot, which all but guarantees this movie would get greenlit. After all, if there’s one thing Hollywood loves, it’s a blatant and unoriginal rip-off.
3. The Spartan Cheerleaders
For The Uninitiated: Two wannabe-cheerleaders who can never make the actual squad creep around town cheering on anything and everything, from swim meets to chess matches to baby deliveries.
How It Could Work: The Spartans finally go one step too far, attempting their “Perfect Cheer” at a Presidential inauguration. They are promptly captured by Secret Service and thrown into custody. Intense questioning by the CIA reveals nothing, but also suggests that nobody would miss these two bozos if they were detained indefinitely while the government’s investigation continues. They are forced to do their cheers while suspected terrorists are tortured, and the subsequent mental anguish makes their attempts to escape all the more difficult.
Chances Of Success: Well, Michael Moore and the rest of the extreme left would love it. Otherwise, it’s a fairly dark idea, especially the parts where they cheer during waterboarding, sun overexposure, and forced sleep deprivation. But dark or no, it’s a Hell of a lot better than what would’ve become of the film in Real Life: the Spartans go on various talents shows and fail miserably but become ironic viral sensations, blah de blah de blah zzzzzzzzzzz.
2. Nick Burns The Computer Guy
For The Uninitiated: An office IT guy constantly solves minor computer issues, all while making absolutely sure the users know how pathetically stupid they are for even daring to call him on such tiny issues.
How It Could Work: Nick quits IT after one too many moronic problems, and embarks upon his life’s mission: to build The Perfect Computer. This computer would have ten terabytes of disc space, 900 GB of RAM, and would be built to automatically solve the Top 200 Pointless Problems that every idiot user seems to have. Automatic turn-on, multiple screen-savers deleted, immediate elimination of malware-infested “games” that a baby wouldn’t see as entertaining; it will be glorious!
Until (FAKE SPOILER ALERT) he unveils the prototype and a teenager ruins it by spilling soda all over it, a problem that Nick did not include on his Top 200 list. Distraught, Nick returns to IT a failure, doomed to be endlessly mocked for his failed Ultra Computer every time he dares insult somebody for downloading and installing two similar copies of Angry Birds.
Chances Of Success: If marketed as an office Space-style revenge fantasy for anybody sick of their jerky office IT guy, then it might actually be successful. Plus, this is one of the few sketches Jimmy Fallon DIDN’T giggle all the way though, so the film’s director actually might not have to kill him.
1. The Continental
For The Uninitiated: A creepy old guy lives in a swank penthouse suite and constantly scares his dates away by engaging in increasingly blatant bouts of perversion, voyeurism, and sexual stalking.
How It Could Work: The Continental Guy is forced to get a job, after several dozen sexual harassment lawsuits drain his trust fund to almost nothing and his landlords threaten to evict him. His first few attempts to find work in the sex or lingerie industries go nowhere, as every person who interviews him turns out to be a girl he scared away during one of his ill-fated “dates.” His attempt to work at a vinery that makes fine champagne similarly fails, as he is caught drinking from the barrels within half a day. Can he find that elusive career that both suits his skill level (which appears to be very, very low) and that dissuades him from being a perverted lush?
Chances Of Success: High. C’mon, it’d be Christopher Walken acting creepy for 90 minutes! When has that ever been a disappointment?
Well played, me. Well played.
Jason Iannone is the main article editor of TopTenz. Please do not tell him if any of his own articles have a typo; his ego could not handle it. Send him writing offers, marriage proposals, and tons of money via [email protected]