Based on and named after the drinking game "Centurion", in which you drink one shot of beer per minute for 100 minutes. This movie takes place in real time and focuses on a group of university students who gather together in somebody's room to play the game. Each is drinking a different beverage.
The movie would be talking heads, driven by compelling Tarantino-style dialogue between interesting characters with a year or two of shared history behind them. The dialogue would probably eventually have to stop being about nothing in particular and start moving forward with some sort of actual story. Perhaps terrible revelations occur or the whole dynamic of the friends changes at this pivotal moment in some way. The drinking does not stop - some succeed in the game, some become weary or ill and drop out. The minute-by-minute pace of drinking provides a background, a rhythm, perhaps breaking up the whole movie into one hundred 60-second skits.
I never really nailed any of this down. My stories are more driven by science fiction concepts than by characters. This is not an easy thing for me to write. During NaNoWriMo 2010, due to a shortage of ideas, I visited this concept for two days: Centurion and Minutes 7 to 13. The results were, at best, mixed.
The World's End (2013) is a film revolving around a protagonist obsessed with completing a twelve-pub crawl, despite dramatic personal revelations and also a robot invasion of the world. The similarity in concept is striking enough that I think the "Centurion" pitch can be discarded either as too similar or as successfully executed.
In the movie "Deep Impact", the asteroid was discovered about three years before it was actually due to hit. In the movie "Armageddon", they had three weeks.
In "100 Minutes", they have one hour and forty minutes.
They still make it.
This, like "Centurion", is a real-time movie. Because I am obsessive about this kind of thing, this movie would have a running time of precisely 100 minutes. The title card, "100 minutes" would appear for exactly one frame at the beginning of the movie before instantly beginning to count down: "99 minutes 59.97 seconds" and so on. Earlier works of mine cannibalised for this idea are Valuable Humans In Transit, Your Radical Ideas et al. and Asteroid McAlmont.
There are two parts to the setup. Firstly, we have to establish a fictional universe in which it is both technologically feasible but still watchably challenging to actually prevent an asteroid impact, from a standing start, in less than two hours. To do this we set the movie - according to the caption - "Twenty-Five Years From Now", in a future where nanotechnology has been completely perfected. It is a historic day, the day when, according to the news, everybody in the world has been raised above the poverty line. There are still problems, sure, but everybody has unlimited free access to food, water, electricity, medicine and education, because nanotechnology can give you all of this stuff basically for free. Nanotech is used to lay cables and build buildings and repair roads and construct vehicles. All you need is a blueprint for what you want to create. Of course, creating sound blueprints is much more difficult and time-consuming, but it's no big deal.
Now, what's to prevent people from just manufacturing bombs, bullets and knives? Well, that's revealed later in the movie, but the answer is in fact that a sentient AI - which, as usual, I shall call "Tyro" - which is part of the global nanotechnology service has a clear picture of what constitutes a bomb, a bullet or a knife and deliberately steps in to prevent that from happening. Nanotechnology is an incredibly dangerous genie, and the only way to make it safe is for there to be a benevolent genie keeping it in check.
Space travel is still a thing in this future, but it's still very difficult and very dangerous. Our male protagonist - whom, for the sake of argument, I shall call "Ed" - works for NASA.
Secondly, we have the female astronomer, Ed's ex-something (I haven't worked out why they split as yet or what either of them did afterwards). Call her Jen, I guess. It is Jen who discovers the asteroid and computes its trajectory. She does this about an hour before the movie opens. Realising that the world is going to end, she re-evaluates her life, realises who it is that she wants to spend her last moments with, and drives to Ed's house in order to reconcile.
As the movie begins, Jen arrives at Ed's house and explains that the asteroid is going to kill them all in about 99 minutes' time. She goes on to explain the rest of the above, but Ed isn't listening. He is doing mental arithmetic. He decides that even with 98 minutes left on the clock, the disaster can indeed be averted, and he sets out to actually do it, with Jen in tow.
What follows isn't so clear. They travel to NASA or something? Early on, Ed deduces the existence of Tyro and secures its assistance. Once they have this incredibly powerful AI on their side, Ed has Tyro build some incredibly cool huge humanoid mechanoid robots. Since Tyro can solve incredibly advanced (previously unsolved) physics problems from scratch in relatively short time, Ed has Tyro invent some sort of instantaneous-transit hyperdrive and send some mechs to rendezvous and match velocities with the asteroid to get a good look at it and come up with further plans. (Remember, an asteroid moving that fast is essentially impossible to catch by normal means.) At this point it's discovered that the asteroid has engines built on it - it has been pushed towards Earth as a deliberate attack. But the engines are human-built! Aliens aren't involved. The asteroid defends itself; some mech ends up using up part of its pilot as reaction mass; the situation gets more desperate; various measures fail. Ed is angry that today, the day when humanity finally made it, is the day it might be exterminated. They come up with an "inverse tractor beam" thing which involves building huge green lasers as big as aircraft carries in countries all over the hemisphere facing the asteroid - even with these cranked up to maximum, the thing keeps falling at the same rate. They even come up with a "momentum cannon" which should be able to stop the asteroid dead, but it doesn't work! As time passes, a continuous score becomes more intense and increases in pace, racking up the tension and the heart rate. The clock is almost always visible in shot, and mentioned very frequently in dialogue. The clock creates a rhythm to the movie.
Eventually, with about fifteen minutes to go, Ed runs out of options. He orders Tyro to go to plan B (or C, or F): "Begin the evacuation of Earth." Every human being on Earth is swallowed up inside some kind of bubble and the cities are swallowed up in bigger bubbles and the whole population starts lifting off into space. This is the last resort. The humans will survive; the planet won't. Ed insists on staying behind to the last moment and Jen stays behind with him.
The action is deliberately left incomplete and the clock is deliberately left still running down while the credits roll. Just to keep you in your seat and drive you crazy and also to make sure the running time works out to exactly 100 minutes including the credits. Ed and Jen end up on a mountain, facing the asteroid down with a baseball bat. Oho!
I haven't worked out what they say to one another in the last moments when Jen finally has Ed's attention. The idea I do have, which I know isn't very good, is this: it turns out that the asteroid was launched at Earth specifically to make Jen go and reconcile with Ed by some third party, either Tyro or somebody who gained control of Tyro. In the very last split second before the asteroid hits, they do in fact reconcile properly. Then-- if you understand what was happening-- with the reason for the asteroid to fall gone, the asteroid stops falling and just hangs there, suspended by whatever technology was previously aimed at it. Either the final frame has the asteroid stopped, or the movie cuts out at the frame before impact and you have to guess what happened next. I don't know??
But I don't think that's the best concept, and I don't really have anything else to replace it.
"One Hour Fight Scene"
This is a movie with the special effects budget of Transformers but with all of the story removed, for approximately half the running time.
As in, completely removed. This movie is a single gigantic continuous action set piece. Any dialogue (minimal) occurs during the action. Any story (minimal) is advanced directly through the action.
Basically, an unnamed hero character is dropped off by some sort of nondescript van or Jeep on the outskirts of the suburbs of a gigantic totalitarian futuristic city state. He then fights his way through all of it. This guy beats up literally a million people one at a time. The battle escalates from hand-to-hand combat to fighting infantry to slightly prolonged battles against skilled one-off opponents. Knives and swords to guns and rifles and rocket launchers. As time goes on the guy gathers powers somehow and becomes able to do insane martial arts moves and kick holes in tanks. He deflects shells, he throws people through walls. He catches and defuses incoming nukes in mid-air.
The action is constant and insane and constantly increasing in ridiculousness and scale. He takes on a hundred thousand guys in a sports stadium. He wrecks trains, downs aircraft, topples buildings, redirects rivers. Land and air vehicles, robots the size of aircraft carriers. It is fun to watch at first and exhilarating, but inexplicable. Long before 15 minutes have passed, it becomes harrowing. After 30 minutes you are going out of your mind. You have had enough. You want it to end but it won't. By the end of the movie you are baffled, incredulous, exhausted, shocked, maddened and delirious at what has transpired on the screen. The only reason it's a one hour fight scene is because the budget probably wouldn't stretch to two solid hours.
Eventually he reaches, penetrates and scales a colossal citadel at the centre of a city and fights a big bad guy in a climactic showdown which shatters continents or something. He wins, the end.
The purpose of this movie is to give you too much action. This is intended to represent the logical extreme of the action movie concept, the maximum amount of action in a single movie. It abandons all pretence of plot in order to show you why plot is necessary. The desired reaction is for you to stand up and walk out early, having had enough.
Hitch-Hiker movie concept
A serial killer who picks up hitch-hikers and kills them inadvertently picks up a serial killer who hitches rides with people and kills them.
It's a romantic comedy.
Okay, I'm not entirely positive that this is my idea. Something in the back of my head says that I stole this from somewhere. If anybody can cite precedent I'd be pleased to retract it. That said, here we go.
This is a dark comedy driven by coincidence. The characters in question are known to different jurisdictions of the US - the first serial killer is perhaps driving to a neighbouring state in order to evade local law enforcement or something. Both killers happen to be known as "the Hitch-Hiker Killer", leading to confusion. A hilarious cat-and-mouse sort of slapstick scene plays out at a motel when both killers are attempting to get the drop on the other and somehow not realising what is actually going on. Then they fall in love. Coincidentally, one of the cops leading the investigation has the same name as one of the killers, and gets caught by the other jurisdiction's police force in a case of mistaken identity. The two killers fall in love, and bond over killing and breakfast. They compare notes, and finish each other's sentences (kills). Et cetera.
A solid fantasy chess-based screenplay could seriously rock summer 2014. See.
The toy licence. James Bond/Spy Kids sort of plot. All of the weapons are Nerf-based; nobody ever comments on this. Like the splurge guns in Bugsy Malone, anybody hit with a Nerf pellet or whatever is dead, even though they are blatantly alive. Probably all the characters would be adults, though, in a kid-appealing Star Wars sort of way.
The doomsday weapon is an intercontinental ballistic Nerf gun, firing a column of sponge the size of a 747's fuselage across 10,000 miles. Everything is okay because it eventually bounces harmlessly off Washington, DC.
This would be essentially the movie "Apollo 13", but set in the future instead of the past. It would be a detailed, hard science fiction movie (except for the FTL drive bit). The ship would not be magical and fancy, it would be a working piece of equipment.
The first scene is a man at a whiteboard scribbling equations, which eventually lead to a "> c" terms at the very bottom right. As the camera pushes slowly in on this term, more people gather around and the term is reproduced on screens and projectors and televisions as it comes under greater and greater scrutiny until it's finally accepted that FTL travel has just been proven possible. Then you get the title card.
This movie would fall into a category that I like to call Big Project movies, where everybody in the cast has to work together in order to make a single thing work properly. Most heist movies fall into this category, as do Apollo 13, Contact, Back To The Future Parts I and III, and any episode of Thunderbirds.
Conflict would be driven by mechanical failure, not character clashes. Conflict would be resolved through smart engineering and detailed, intelligent problem solving. In the end, they may or may not actually make it to Alpha Centauri; or they may make it, but not make it back.
The film The Martian is almost exactly what I was describing here and I was really pleased to see how well-executed the concept was. Vindication, maybe!
"Rocket Launcher Squad"
Essentially a police procedural focusing on the exploits of a special division of the New York police department whose members exclusively carry rocket launchers instead of hand guns. Loose cannons, 48 hours before you're off the case, turn in your badge and sidearm (<clatter>, <KER-CLANGG>), et cetera, with lots more explosions.