Bateman: Want the big bucks? Make a summer blockbuster

By Oliver Bateman

If you’ve been browsing the Internet like the rest of us, you know that there’s only one job still available in the tri-state area. If you’ve been browsing the Internet like the rest of us, you know that there’s only one job still available in the tri-state area. As soon as that position gets filled, it’ll be nothing but depression and unemployment from here on out. What’s a young person to do during such hard times?

We’ve got a simple solution for you: Fall back on the skills you honed in your freshman composition course and write a summer blockbuster. These can’t-miss entertainments run for months — sometimes even years — at the local multiplex, raking in trillions of dollars in the process. According to science we’ve just made up, there’s no quicker way to start living an American dream of empty consumerism and passionless hedonism than to invent a story where the clash of robots produces loud explosions.

What? You say you don’t have an imagination? That the last good idea you had was when you convinced your friend Patrick to get a “Patruck” personalized license plate for his Ford F-150? Well, prepare yourself for lifesaving tips from the same Moustache Column that composed your grad school admission essays, helped you find love with a killer personal ad and showed you the six awesome exercises that can give you the abs of your dreams.

Let’s start by developing the main characters. A summer blockbuster without a plucky, relatable protagonist is like a football team without Michael Vick or “Pac-Man” Jones: duller than C-SPAN3. Given that teenagers are the only demographic that matters, this protagonist should be approaching his 18th birthday. He should also be a virgin, but horny as heck and desperate to lose his virginity. Finally, for the sake of verisimilitude, he should be played by Ashton Kutcher or Ryan Reynolds.

OK, we’ve got our star. Since he’s a 30-something actor playing a teenager, he’ll need a believable love interest. This means we’re in the market for an actress who appears to be 25 and can therefore realistically portray a 16-year-old girl. Kirsten Dunst, maybe? She’s a mere 29, after all.

Anyway, these two will have some sort of love-hate relationship that consists of a bunch of mild wisecracks. Don’t waste time coming up with wisecracks, though. Instead, watch a few hours of “Two and a Half Men,” write down some of the subtle-as-a-shotgun banter and incorporate that  — by “incorporate,” we mean insert verbatim — into the screenplay. Make the 30-something teenager’s struggles to ask the 20-something teenager to the prom/winter formal/queen of hearts ball (or possibly even get asked to the Sadie Hawkins dance) a central element of the story.

Just as our hero is about to pop the big question or have the big question popped to him, write a sequence where aliens attack. Set the assault to an R&B single by a popular entertainer who will either appear in that sequence or incorporate footage from it in his tie-in music video. Add some stuff about the Holy Grail, Osama bin Laden, Hogwarts, Narnia, Donald Trump, long-form birth certificates, the BTK killer, William “Refrigerator” Perry or whatever else is hot right now.

Once you’ve got aliens on the screen, you’re going to need robots — thousands of robots, in fact, each one larger and more impressive than the last. One of these robots will rescue our protagonist from certain death and, for reasons that defy logic and needn’t ever be explained, start serving as a kind of surrogate father or grandfather to him. While opposing the aliens in a series of colorful battles, the father/grandfather robot will teach the protagonist to believe in himself and, in return, the protagonist will teach the father/grandfather robot what it means to be human.

Between the fight scenes, you’ll want to integrate as many cameo appearances and catchphrases as possible. Pippa Middleton is trending high on Twitter, so put her in there and maybe even let her shoot an alien in the face with a laser. The public can’t get enough of Rebecca Black and her wretched-y et-hummable single “Friday,” so convince your director — who will likely be some fat old hack desperate to stay relevant with a group he refers to as “the kids” that includes anyone younger than 50 — to play this song throughout the movie as well as over the end credits.

As for catchphrases, write all of the in-fight dialogue so that it’s potentially quotable for years to come. Create a robot character that looks like a lawnmower and have him announce that he’s ready to “kick some grass.” Have a gruff, bazooka-wielding military guy say something about “illegal aliens” and how “maybe we should have built that fence — in the stratosphere!” as he blasts these spacemen into submission while scoring cheap laughs from the Tea Party set. And if this masterpiece gets an “R” rating for some reason — and it never should, because anything short of 500 decapitations or two side-boob shots is perfectly acceptable viewing material for middle school students — make the protagonist joke about how the surrogate father/grandfather robot taught him the “importance of lubricant” prior to deflowering his 20-something teenage girlfriend.

This is so gold that we don’t even have words. If we weren’t so given over to self-abnegation, we’d get off our high horse and make it ourselves. However, we’re already pulling down the big bucks here at The Pitt News, and America needs as many movies like this as its patriotic filmmakers and screenwriters can produce. S**t has to go boom, over and over again, and there must be robots.

Oliver Bateman is the key grip and best boy for the Moustache Film Club of America. You can watch the Club’s latest short film at and read its incessant updates at!/MoustacheClubUS.