Back when I was in college, I had tons of free time to fill with odd activities and hobbies. One was refining screenplays I had conjured up during my insomnia nights, late night talk sessions with friends and random intimate idea sharing moments. I recall an awesome Time column on the college experience that joked that if universities went out of business, the amount of semi-autobiographical books that end with snow turning into rain would plummet. I had a great coming of age movie set during the first winter break frosh year. That is a unique time in the circles of high school friends where shit really blows up. My favorite screenplay, which I had actually completed second semester sophomore year in the depths of depression with most of my friends kicked out of school, centered around a frame story of someone confessing to a revenge murder, but it never is established if he is confessing to anyone or just remembering it out loud. A great friendship that had a split, and one friend reacts in an inhuman calculating way. The smallest detail would be that the killer would have married his friend/victim's sister.
An intriguing idea I have is of a counterterrorism movie based on a young American who was a relig studies/arabic major who, through the CIA's direction, infiltrates an 'al qaeda' type organization as an operative/translator to help bring them down over the course of a couple years. You might think this is ridiculous, but think again. An overweight California boy did become an al qaeda operative high up enough to appear in videos and do translation work. This would be like that wonderful TV show Wiseguy, but condensed into a 2 hour movie. Wiseguy was a show that was 10 years ahead of its time and should have been on HBO. Hollywood would dig this, because if successful, it could spawn a franchise. They would have a problem with it: the US would be portrayed as good. This would have terrorists being bad guys and Americans being good guys. I may have mentioned this before, but I think audiences would eat this up. Americans want to see terrorists blown up. Because it's got those mole and terrorism puzzle piece aspects to it, I'd work in some "thinking" into the movie and have some of the tense action scenes be how the protagonist gets messages back to the CIA undetected by both his organization and by other intelligence orgs... instead of just explosions, guns and bodies hitting the floor. No love interest. None. I would fight this tooth and nail. We don't need a love interest to sell a movie when terrorists are getting blown the shit up. Women will come if we have the protagonist get half naked. There'd be two training montages because you need the CIA training montage and then the infiltration terror camp training montage (monkeybars included). Exotic locations would be used. Not just non-descript city scene and non-descript desert training scene. I'm thinking desert, then London, with a wrap up in DC. If you're an action fan, you like this idea already.
A second idea, I haven't yet tied down the reason for the depopulation of the world, would be a journey/road trip movie. Ultimately, some virus, I don't know maybe Bird Flu, wipes out lots of people, like it truly could. A couple survives, but decides to high tail it back home to where they are originally from. I haven't decided if leaving NYC for some Midwest town, leaving southern California for Washington State/Colorado, or leaving Chicago for some small New England town is best. I'm leaning on the NYC exodus, but Chicago to New England sounds tempting. It's about the spots and people they meet on the way to the destination that matter. Really showcase the country. They can't drive, because shit hit the fan that much. Flesh out lots of conversations. Investigate the fear of danger lurking around every corner or a beautiful, solitary joyful event in each town. I think I just described the road trip section of the Stand, but if Stephen King hadn't made it all about a battle of good vs. evil, each centered in major cities in neighboring states. I'm a talentless hack.
My third idea is a crusades movie. There are not many of them. Magnificant battle scenes could be produced depicting the lighter clad Muslim warriors versus the heavy armor Christian soldiers. Have the backdrop be based on some English or Scottish dude. That way we can find a Brit actor to play the guy so somoene isn't trying to do a bad French, Spanish or German accent. It would be one of those classic hero's tales. Young man rejects call to Crusades, talked into it by priest brother, learns techniques from older knight, gets in Crusades battles, older knight dies leaving young guy to grow and fight, makes it home to his lady to retire to the estate or whatever they did (research needed), and roll credits. This time I would allow for the love interest to be there, and you'd need the obligatory flashback/dream sequences where he pictures himself with his lady. One twist. While the hero is early in doing his Crusades thing and protecting pilgrims journeying to the holy land, there is a raid on the pilgrims. The hero and his buddies do battle with these raiders. Of course, there is one raider he recognizes. This raider would resurface in the movie once the hero has gone home. There would be this obnoxious new lord in the area. The protagonist would recognize the raider as the new lord at a bountiful feast of meats & cheeses and realize he has his wealth from raiding pilgrims. This would result in a final sword fight between the two men at night with torches lighting the courtyard. Is that cliche and cool enough?
I'm still working on my 4th idea, which is a modern love story. As movies teach you, love conquers all, but not real love like between a 20 year married couple. Only that freaky 2 month love affair love. See Cracked's brilliant rip of Hollywood's life lessons. I have not fleshed it out enough. The protagonist has to be one of those 'manchild' stereotypes, that social commentators like to rip on, in a terrible, going nowhere, cohabitation relationship with a power attorney in training girlfriend. This would fairly describe some friends. I do not know if I would have the guy meet someone new at the gym, work, a bar, a party, a karaoke night? A more normal place than the odd places people meet each other in chick flicks now: rock climbing center????? I'd be preying upon that phenomenom where two people seem to be a perfect match but they never get it together. I have seen 50+ instances of this in my short life; I will no doubt see 50 more. In this movie, they get together for a brief moment. Reality would set in and choices would be made. I do know I will have the new lady end the love affair, but it is part of the overall growth of the protagonist. Where the female viewed it as a playful adventure more than the male, inverting movie norms. The female lead would be the older of the two. I would do this out of my extreme hatred of how all of Hollywood is full of youg females that can't act and usually look like pre-teens. I won't get into how there are few if any good male leads under 40. I digress. A love story where it doesn't work out???? Female audience members would absolutely love this, as they do with other love stories that have stood the test of time like Casablanca, From Here to Eternity, The Thornbirds, An Affair to Remember, or The Way We Were. It is money in the bank.