' ' Cinema Romantico: Pitching Possible New MGM Content (Sorry)

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Pitching Possible New MGM Content (Sorry)

You probably heard the news. Amazon acquired Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), founded in 1924, for 8.45 billion. There is something profoundly cruel in MGM, the house of Hepburn, Tracy, Gable, and Harlow, her eminence, the starriest of the Star Machines, being annexed by the chief fire-breathing monolith of the Intellectual Property (IP) age. The official Amazon statement might’ve made some noise about preserving “MGM’s heritage and catalog of films” but Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios gave away the game, citing “The real financial value” as “the treasure trove of [intellectual property] in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team.” It mirrored a statement made by Amazon founder and chairman Jeff Bezos, who also talked of reimagining and developing “IP for the 21st century”, as if the hard work and stone cold classics of movie studios past are now just precious resources in some corporate entertainment war. Say all that you want about the old studio system, especially about its labor practices, but even Irving Thalberg, boy wonder who essentially built MGM while consulting test audiences and adhering to formulas, was at least, in his way, manufacturing creativity. These modern-day clowns don’t have a creative bone in their body. In the 21st century, even the motion pictures, height of American artistic imagination, if I might be so bold, have been reduced to asset management. 

Honestly, I shouldn’t turn around and try to have fun with this. Really, the whole thing is depressing. But if the last 5 years of my beloved Nebraska Football have taught me anything, each season a doomed ocean liner destined to crash and go under, it’s that comic deprecation is the best medicine. And pitching new MGM movies – excuse me, content – for our Amazon overlords is the only way I can cheer myself up. Besides, if we can find comfort here, it’s that the pre-1986 MGM catalog belongs to the Turner Entertainment Co. Bezos and his minions can’t touch the Harlow oeuvre, “The Wizard of Oz” or “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Rather than screening “A Christmas Story” 24 hours straight on Christmas Day, they can’t air 12 different remakes of “A Christmas Story” for 24 hours straight. They can’t even touch “The Ice Pirates”! That was released in 1984! That ain’t yours, Jeff! 

Not yours, Bezos!

On the other hand, when you go through MGM’s catalog, you begin to realize that especially in the last century, they had already become dependent upon their own IP. It’s harder to find something original than something based off pre-existing material. I thought for sure I could pitch bringing MGM’s “The Cutting Edge” (1992) back to life! A Synchronized Swimming “Cutting Edge”; a Doubles Luge “Cutting Edge”; a Mixed Doubles Curling “Cutting Edge.” Little did I know there had already been three “Cutting Edge” sequels: in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Still, I’m the master of the fake pitch meeting for a reason. And that’s why even as the obvious MGM material is bandied about, like James Bond and Rocky Balboa and Inspector Closeau, Cinema Romantico is here to digger deeper in the MGM crates. If the ship is sinking, let’s at least go out with some style...

Toy Soldiers

Honestly, I’ve always wanted a sequel to this one, in which the boys from Regis Prep, having grown up to be disillusioned, depressed finance bros or corporate lawyers get that pep back in their step when the firm they have all inexplicably wound up working for is taken hostage.


Rather than a soap writer’s typewriter controlling events, what if an influencer’s Instagram account started controlling events? Vanlife is just a hashtag...until you wake up inside the van.

Cutthroat Island

If Bezos really thinks he is fate’s master, then let’s see him remake this one. 

Hope Springs

Could we get a WandaVision thing with Elisabeth Shue’s bartender?


I’m already on record as wanting an NC-17 Willow spinoff called Madmartigan & Sorsha. Here’s our chance. Or is Bezos a prude?


A Lone Star origin story. How did he get that name anyway?

Undercover Blues / Agent Cody Banks

Serious crossover potential here. What if the kid Jane and Jefferson Blue raised...turned out to be Agent Cody Banks? I’m picturing a miniseries. 

The Mighty Quinn

Dang. Maybe this exercise isn’t such a good idea. If the Amazonians don’t know this one exists, I wouldn’t want them to find out.

A Fish Called Wanda

Uh oh. 


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