ROLL OVER, Charlie Kaufman, and tell Roman Polanski the news: Weekend's readers are full of creative summer-movie ideas. During the course of our "Be a Movie Mogul and Win" contest, we received 177 original, witty, moving and shocking movie proposals from around the area. Contestants' ages ranged from 12 to 78, and their ideas varied widely, from medieval fantasy epics to timely political satires.
Our readers were inspired by almost everything under the sun, including a range of media: 25 entries were book adaptations; two dozen were sequels or remakes of movies; 13 had ripped-from-the-headlines plots; and 13 adapted comic books, video games or TV shows (especially "The Simpsons"). Reflecting the hot topics of 2004, three contestants wrote about cicadas, six about World War II, and, this being Washington, 13 proposals centered around politics or current international events. Natural disasters and aliens, those perennial summer-flick scourges, were plentiful as well.
After reading and rereading entries, the Weekend staff selected 10 winning proposals, each noteworthy in its own way. The winners will receive admission for two to an advance screening of "Spider-Man 2," plus a fetching Weekend T-shirt. To see the full text of each film pitch, visit www.washingtonpost.com/moviecontest. Here are highlights from the winning entries:
"32 Candles," by Carol Johnson, 33, Washington:
In the long-awaited sequel to "Sixteen Candles," Samantha and Jake find their marriage crumbling. Sam has sought the counsel of Farmer Ted, who devises a scheme that helps put Jake's business on its feet, keeps the couple together and features a Thompson Twins reunion show at the high-school gym.
"Dr. Seuss' 'The Lorax,' " by Jonathan Roth, 36, and Matt Roth, 33, Rockville:
The best thing about this concept is the potential for lucrative product tie-ins with major name brands: Truffalas by Godiva, Thneeds from Old Navy ("Need Thneeds?"), Whisper-Ma-Phone by Sprint wireless. . .
"A Dream Upon Waking," by Tim Sellon, 17, McLean:
This is the story of a teenager named Andrew, a victim of a drunk-driving accident. Andrew falls in love with Allison, a figment of his imagination. During the final moments of the movie a young woman named Amanda comes to Andrew's front door and confesses that she was the drunk driver. Andrew and the audience realize Amanda is Allison.
"Audit Bound," by Larry Lasday, 44, North Potomac:
Set in the fast-paced retail environment of Jim's House of Toys, the rollicking musical "Audit Bound" follows the classic story line of auditor meets girl, auditor loses girl, auditor gets girl.
"AMNIARIX," by Marcy Denmark Manning, 54, Sterling:
AMNIARIX is the code name of Jeannie Rousseau, the puckish real-life World War II spy with a photographic memory. She spied on the Germans, gave valuable information to the Allies and eventually was honored with an award from the CIA. She said of her work: "It wasn't a choice. It was what you did. How could I not do it?"
"The Cicadas: Gus Van Sant's Almost Literal Remake of 'The Birds' by Alfred Hitchcock," by Mark Southerland, 49, Columbia:
Gus Van Sant reprises his meticulous remake of Hitchcock's "Psycho" with a minute-by-minute re-creation of "The Birds" with the single change of substituting cicadas for the birds of the original.
"Rocky vs. Rambo," by Mike Havill, 58, Reston:
The two brawny battlers team up in Afghanistan to search for and destroy the ultimate evil doer, Osama bin Laden. The mission is soon accomplished, but the muscle-bound duo argue over who should get President Bush's $25 million reward. The result is a 15-round punch-out outdoors at the Kabul soccer stadium with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a cameo role as the referee.
"Sunset Boulevard," by Steven Buhneing, 33, Arlington:
Starring Madonna, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliott. . . . In the end, Madonna shoots Justin, and when the police and reporters arrive she begins singing and dancing, thinking the cameras are shooting a music video.
"Wacky Wayside School," by Melissa Vandenberg, 13, Arlington:
Based on books written by Louis Sachar, "Wacky Wayside School" is a nutty story about the wild antics of a class of kids. When Mrs. Jewls, a teacher on the 13th floor, is not at school, there are substitutes like Mrs. Gorf, who turns the students into apples when they get on her nerves.
"Smarty," by Howard Walderman, 66, Columbia:
Two lonely horses manage to find romance despite their own insecurities. Smarty and Butterscotch trot off together to a financially secure future, although relationship issues portend when Smarty begins his stud career.