Weekend Roundtable: Board Now…

Adapting a movie out of a children’s board game may seem like a ridiculous proposition, but this week’s release of ‘Battleship’ is not the first such production (remember ‘Clue’), and it probably won’t be the last. In today’s Roundtable, we deliver our own suggestions to Hollywood for the next big board-game-based feature film franchises.

Tom Landy

Making movies about things like board games is a pet peeve of mine. I don’t get why anybody would try to adapt something that likely uses dice or spin-wheels into a major motion picture. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. But if I’m being forced to play this stupid game, then I’m going to have to pick Quicksand. Remember that game? The only catch is that I would have to direct, real quicksand would be used, and I would cast all of the actors that I absolutely despise for my movie. See ya, Danny McBride! Don’t forget to write, Ken Jeong! Hope you can swim, Adam Sandler! Jump in head first please, Marlon Wayans! The Academy would then have to invent the Folk Hero Award just for me. Now, don’t send me hate mail. I’m allowed to daydream.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

Twenty years later, I can still belt out the jingle from the commercials for The Grape Escape, and I can’t think of a whole lot in this great, big world that would make me happier than a feature-film adaptation. Think of the way that ‘The Seven Samurai’ was remolded into ‘The Magnificent Seven’. Maybe Hasbro could pull off that same sort of magic here. Instead of a group of P.O.W.s escaping from a German gulag as they did in ‘The Great Escape’, they’d be purple Claymation grapes trying desperately to flee from a work camp. They wouldn’t be mowed down by enemy soldiers; these Play-Doh warriors would be systematically sliced in half with a pair of oversized scissors or stomped flat with a giant boot. (I’m sure the right screenwriter could find a way to make cartoonishly large scissors and boots fit organically into the Axis’ literal war machine.) Just picture audiences cheering as Steve McGrape and Charles Raisin successfully make it to safety across the border. It’s a story that needs to be told.

Luke Hickman

Since ‘Battleship’ is being adapted to revolve around something completely unrelated to the original game, I figure that it would be just as ridonkulous (and fitting) to see the same happen to another game that you’d least expect it from. Anyone remember Thin Ice? It’s that game where you drop wet marbles on a paper towel stretched over large hole, and the person who tears the tissue and makes all the marbles fall through is a loser? The movie could be set on a glacier, where a team of scientists (played by popular musicians who have never acted before, such as Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Fergie) are researching the glacial defrost. When a large ice quake awakens a group of aliens frozen for tens of thousands of years, these pop stars must save the world. Directed by Oliver Stone, this movie’s moral could be a slug in the gut about Al Gore’s global warming killing human life in more ways than one.

Mike Attebery

I’m actually appalled by the existence of ‘Battleship’. I just can’t believe it was made, that it was made to look like ‘Transformers’, and that (no doubt) people will go to see it in droves. I’m still holding out hope that ‘Battleship’ will be an unprecedented bomb, and the whole board game to movie concept will go down the tubes when it fails. That being said… I suppose if it was done right, with quality talent and high grade CGI, Monopoly could make for an interesting movie, especially with the roller coaster economy we’ve been living through the last few years. It would have to be a sort of through-the-looking-glass film, where someone (perhaps a Donald Trump-type a-hole) gets pulled into the world of Monopoly, and gets his ass handed to him by a bunch of former tenants he abused out in the real world. I’d kinda like to see Darrell Hammond play a flat-out Trump stand-in, Tom Arnold as the head of one of the households he treated so badly in the real world, and a top notch CGI version of Rich “Uncle” Pennybags. Side note: Given his penchant for tackling fairly shaky projects (this could be a terrible idea) and his history with Arnold (‘The Stupids’), John Landis must NOT be allowed to bring his pedestrian/clueless direction to this project.

[Ed.: Ridley Scott has been attached to produce and possibly direct a Monopoly movie for a few years now. No joke. -JZ]

Josh Zyber

The most obvious candidate that I see for this topic is Cootie, that game where you (or your very young children) have to assemble insect creatures from various colorful body parts. The plot practically writes itself… In the near future, the Earth is invaded by a race of insectoid aliens from the planet Cootan 756. These “Cooties,” as they’re known, vaguely resemble gigantic versions of common Earth bugs, but have evolved over the millennia to disengage and mix-and-match body parts with other members of their species. Thus, even if a human soldier manages to blow one to bits, its limbs can be re-assembled into another drone warrior. The swarm is unstoppable and never stops coming!… Sure, this is basically a blatant rip-off of ‘Starship Troopers’, but inasmuch as ‘Battleship’ is a blatant rip-off of ‘Transformers’, who the hell cares? Teenage audiences have microscopic attention spans and will never remember some ancient movie from before they were even born (the olden days of 1997) anyway. Get some hack like Stephen Sommers on this right away!

These are all pretty scary thoughts, aren’t they? Which board games do you see on Hollywood’s horizon next?

19 comments

  1. Alex

    I am shocked that there isn’t a Candy Land movie already. I’m thinking Tim Burton could have a field day with it. Maybe even cast Johnny Depp as Lord Licorice.

    And then they could make a second one at the same time. Call it Princess Lolly & the Huntsmen.

    How could it possibly go wrong??!!

  2. Zaserov

    I guess none of the contributors here have nerd qualifications in board-gaming. The most widely known game I can think of for this is Settlers of Catan: a movie about colonization, with trade, bandits, and armies. There’s also no real time setting, so it could be a period piece. There’s even some potential for sequels as Catan changes over time, or using the game’s expansions.

    Another possibility would be Dominion, which is technically a card game, but has a lot of back-stabbing and medieval development. It might be hard to differentiate it from something like The Tudors, though.

    Also, to be pedantic, Fergie was in Planet Terror.

  3. JM

    Michael Bay’s ‘Ouija’ is being developed by the ‘Paranormal Activity’ guy, with a $5M budget.

    Gore Verbinski is still working on ‘Clue.’

    Spike Lee’s next film after ‘Oldboy’ is an adaption of ‘Go.’

    Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller are currently scripting ‘Apples To Apples.’

    Wolfgang Petersen is considering ‘Ticket to Ride.’

    Martin Scorsese leads the short list for ‘Ca$h ‘n Gun$’

    Ang Lee is bringing his sensibility to ‘American Girl 300 Wishes.’

    Ridley Scott’s ‘Monopoly’ is scripted by the writers of ‘People vs Larry Flynt.’

    Terrence Malick is in pre-production for ‘The Settlers of Catan.’

  4. HuskerGuy

    Hungry, Hungry Hippos deserves some movie love. It’ll be set it remote Africa and it’ll center around a pack(?) of wild hippos that were exposed to a nuclear test. Before they exhibit any symptoms they are packed up and sent to the San Diego zoo.

    The effects of the radiation eventually set in and results in an insatiable appetitie that sends the mutated and now giant hippos on a path of destruction across the coast line. It ends when they ingest a trap involving a staggering amount of apple’s and thus, poisonous apple seeds.

  5. ‘Fireball Island’ could be a great disaster movie in the tradition of yesteryear. Plenty of opportunities with risqué tagline too. “Fire them balls!”, “No balls, no glory” etc. The cast should include a number of forgotten, though talented actors: Haley Joel Osment, Matthew Modine, Corey Feldman, Louis Gossett, Jr., Molly Ringwald, Lea Thompson etc.

  6. Random Commenter

    Snakes and Ladders adapted into an Indiana Jones type film sounds plausible. An archaeologist trapped inside a maze-like cave while searching for a long lost artifact must find his way out and avoid falling into traps or being attacked by the creatures that dwell within the cave.

    • EM

      Of course, to be true to the game, the protagonist’s progress and pitfalls should depend in no way on the protagonist’s skills or decisions.

  7. CK

    Checkers!!! Red or Black: Whichever wins, we all lose. Two warring packs of aliens, the noble Kangaroo race and the evil Frogs, come to Earth and hop a path of destruction.

    Or, Chess, a Medieval epic about two warring Kings with broken legs, their superhuman Queens and knights on flying horses.

  8. With the recent rise and fall of “Draw Something,” now is the perfect time to bring Pictionary to unsuspecting audiences everywhere. In the imitative vein of cinematic classics such as the Seventh Seal, and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, a group of young no-name actors are taught an occult-esque master course in Pictionary by a slightly eccentric John Cusack(no doubt, he will be available). Under the direction of Joss Whedon, Pictionary in the Woods, takes equal turns fun and grave as the rascal-like youths dabble in a game whose consequences may herald the end of all games. “Jackal! Jackal!- It’s a jackal!”

  9. William Henley

    Risk may make for an interesting movie, but to stay true to the game, it should be about 4-5 hours long.

    I was thinking of Munchkin, but then I remember the Dungeon and Dragons movies.

    Monopoly could make for an interesting movie. The acquisition of wealth, set in the 1930s, followed by unexpected bankruptcy, buyouts, and then you see the little guy end up on top.

  10. Pit – done like a prequel to Wall Street
    Don’t Wake Daddy – By Darren Aronofsky
    Rock Paper Scissors – Jeff Goldblum is an amateur kite enthusiast who must save the Earth from an asteroid

  11. EM

    Sooner or later we will be seeing movies based on board games that are based on movies—perhaps we’ll even see movies based on cross-pollinated board games, like Star Wars: Monopoly. And then of course those movies will have spinoff board games…