How many times have you seen a trailer for an upcoming movie and thought to yourself, “That's the exact same plot as such-and-such movie!”? Now more than ever, it seems that movie studios would rather regurgitate the same tired story lines over and over again than try something new and original, simply because it's safer and easier. Well, we here at Brian's Thoughts (yes, we are fully staffed here) have the solution for this growing problem. Why not start out with the usual formulaic, recycled plot but then throw in a bizarre twist that no one is expecting? It's conservative enough to trick the studio into making it, and fresh enough to please critics and moviegoers who have grown weary of the same old same old. Everyone's happy! Here are some examples.

RECYCLED PLOT #1- Golden Retriever owned by a garden variety suburban family becomes star shortstop of little league baseball team. Two dimwitted, bungling thugs try to kidnap the dog, but are foiled by a bunch of 8 year old kids.
NEW TWIST- About halfway through the season, the dog tests positive for steroids and is kicked off the team, which goes on to win the championship without him. The two buffoonish thugs are actually successful in kidnapping the dog and are the lam, but no one really cares. The dog ends up with Stockholm Syndrome and the rest of the film is a road trip/buddy flick with the two thugs and the dog on a wacky cross country adventure, robbing banks, gas stations, whatever.

RECYCLED PLOT #2- Longshot, forgotten race horse (zebra?) is left for the scrap heap until a little girl discovers him, believing in him when no one else does. With the help of a crusty old trainer, the horse is miraculously transformed into a champion.
NEW TWIST- After months of exhausting, arduous training, the longshot is entered into a prestigious race. The little girl bets her entire trust fund on him. He finishes in dead last and the girl ends up in rehab for a gambling problem. For no apparent reason, the horse is put out to pasture as a stud. He eventually sires the white horse mentioned in the book of Revelations, ushering in the Apocalypse. The world comes to an end in spectacular fashion.

RECYCLED PLOT #3- Hot blond girl has a thing for hunky guy but has no idea how to talk to him, so she enlists the help of her brainy, average-looking girlfriend to provide suitable conversation into a hidden ear piece. Guy eventually finds out about the brainy girl and falls for her. The hot blond graciously steps aside and pursues her dream to become a senator.
NEW TWIST- At first the blond is getting good advice from her brainy friend, and becomes quite the conversationalist, carrying on witty repartee with ease. Then she starts hearing all sorts of strange suggestions as to how to bump off her hunky date without getting caught. As it turns out, her friend realized what a loser she was for going along with such a ridiculous idea and is no longer delivering lines to her through the ear piece. The voices are actually inside the blond's head. The hunky guy barely escapes with his life, but who will be next?

RECYCLED PLOT #4- A successful hotshot attorney, for whatever reason, gets stuck coaching a baseball team comprised of a bunch of rag-tag, smart-mouthed kids from the housing projects. Life lessons are learned on both sides, and the team overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles to go all the way from last place to competing in the championship against a bunch of trash talking, loathsome, spoiled rich kids, winning on a home run by the scrawny kid whose father just left him.
NEW TWIST- A couple of the kids make the startling discovery that the coach is actually a robot, who, as it turns out, was sent by a group of renegade machines plotting to take over the world. The robot is programmed to terminate all human life deemed to be a threat to the machines' evil plan. The team must demonstrate that they are completely incompetent, bungling idiots by losing the championship game by at least 45 runs in order to avoid being a target of the robot's mission of destruction. They accomplish this with remarkable ease, with most of the team not even aware that they are supposed to lose.

RECYCLED PLOT #5- Some really cool thieves that are very smart and good looking come up with an elaborate and highly dangerous plan to steal millions of dollars from a mafia guy, but it's okay for them to steal it because they are ultra-hip and dress stylishly, and the mafia guy is a mean, psychotic bully that nobody likes.
NEW TWIST- The thieves pull off the heist, but a day later, the money is stolen from them by the two bungling thugs and their dog from Recycled Plot #1.

RECYCLED PLOT #6- A day in the lives of firemen.
NEW TWIST- A day in the lives of firemen, who aren't really fireman, but are actually pirates disguised as firemen.

RECYCLED PLOT #7- A gritty police detective is framed for the murder of his partner and must prove his innocence by finding the real killer. His investigation uncovers widespread corruption on the force.
NEW TWIST- While investigating his partner's murder, the detective is shocked to discover that half the force is being paid off by a gang run by a highly intelligent sperm whale, who is in the midst of a diabolical plan to take down the entire east coast fishing industry. The whale's henchmen are holding the detective hostage at HQ, and for reasons unexplained, if he is to make it out alive, he must defeat the whale in a game of Risk (The “Lord of the Rings” edition”).

RECYCLED PLOT #8- A 7th grader who is tired of being a kid stumbles upon a magic wishing well. He makes a wish that he could be older, and is suddenly transformed into an adult. Mirth and mayhem ensue.
NEW TWIST- The kid makes a wish that he could be older, but doesn't specify just how old and finds himself transformed into a 98 year old nursing home patient. He manages to get in a couple of games of Bingo and dies. (Yeah, that one needs some work.)

RECYCLED PLOT #9- A handsome young archaeologist and his beautiful assistant are on an expedition in the Egyptian desert and discover a tomb of a mummy, which comes with an ancient curse upon anyone who enters it. The mummy begins systematically knocking off everyone in the expedition who had set foot in the tomb. Amazingly, the two manage to stay alive for the duration of the movie, though practically no else does.
NEW TWIST- The archaeologist and his assistant, while very good looking, are not all that bright, and as it turns out, the desert they are in is not in Egypt; it's in Las Vegas, and the pyramid they “discover” is the replica at the Luxor Hotel. Strangely enough, the curse still applies and the mummy shows up out of nowhere, terrorizing casino patrons, eating all the ribs at the buffet, and being a general nuisance. After a few days of this, the management finally has had enough and ships the mummy and the archaeologists out on the first flight to Egypt. The three of them open up a casino there, but build it directly on top of another mummy's tomb, awakening yet another curse... and a sequel.

RECYCLED PLOT #10- Vampires run rampant in New York City, threatening to take over the city. The only one who can stop them is (insert name of title character here).
NEW TWIST- The vampires kill off (insert name of title character here) and do indeed take over the city, and eventually the entire country. Surprisingly, they run it quite efficiently, balancing the budget, stabilizing the economy, creating more jobs, and making peace with enemies abroad. Once a blood bank is set up to cut down on the random killing sprees, there are few complaints about the vampire administration. But the Democrats and Republicans band together and mount a comeback. By staging massively long filibusters that go well into the morning, they expose the vampires to sunlight, killing them off, and winning back majority in the senate. Mortals eventually regain control of the country and normalcy is restored. The economy immediately goes into the toilet.

RECYCLED PLOT #11- A tough no-nonsense high school teacher (Morgan Freeman) in the inner-city opens up the hearts and minds of his students by believing in them when society has all but written them off.
NEW TWIST- After 3 days, it becomes apparent that the teacher never actually teaches. He just stands around all day long making inspirational statements like “When nobody else thinks you'll ever amount to anything, you've got to believe in yourself” or “Nobody's gonna give you a break in this life; you've got to make your own breaks”. The students finally discover that he is actually a delusional out-of-work actor that thinks he is at an extremely long audition for the role of a tough no-nonsense teacher (Morgan Freeman) in the inner-city who opens up the hearts and minds of his students by believing in them when society has all but written them off. The faux-teacher is escorted out of the building by security and soon replaced by an actual teacher. Or is he?

RECYCLED PLOT #12- The young son of the President of the United States is tired of living in a fishbowl, surrounded by Secret Service agents, and decides to break out of the White House to spend a day just being a normal kid.
NEW TWIST- Once outside, he discovers that he was not living at the actual White House and he is not, in fact, the son of the president. Turns out he was part of an elaborate zoo exhibit on the planet Xantaar. He escapes back to Earth and is reunited with his real family, where he begins a new life that consists mostly of going to school, occasionally getting beat up by the class bully, and being driven around in a mini-van that smells like spoiled milk to violin lessons, soccer games and scout meetings. He wonders why he was so whiny about being the son of the president and starts planning his escape back to the zoo.

Brian Fife

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