Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How to REALLY knock off the Bellagio

OCEAN'S THIRTEEN is doing well at the boxoffice. Audiences love glitzy caper movies even if the capers are completely ridiculous. A couple of years ago my writing partner David and I wrote a pilot for Fox called ODDS about an all-night diner just off the Vegas strip that catered exclusively to the locals. One of our running bits was that they were always cooking up schemes to knock off the Bellagio themselves. Here’s an example. And no, the pilot didn’t get made, and yes, it should have. You're welcome to try any of these capers. Let me know how it went.

INT. DINER AT THE COUNTER, TARA (A BRITTNEY SPEARS IMPERSONATOR), DAVE (A BLACKJACK DEALER WHO ALSO MARRIES COUPLES) AND JEFF (A BAD COMIC) ARE IN MID-CONVERSATION.

JEFF
Y’know, I was on stage tonight and it hit me how we could knock over the Bellagio. We break into the surveillance system, then send subliminal messages to the guards. We hypnotize them. And here’s the genius of it – the GUARDS then take out the money. We wait at the side entrance in a Brinks truck and then off we go.

DAVE
So you need an electronics expert to break into the system, a Brinks truck and a hypnotist?

JEFF
There’s one at the Stardust who’s great. He can get people down to their underwear.

DAVE
What about when they’re not drunk?

JEFF
Oooh, problem.

TARA
Come on, you gotta get real. Here’s what we do: We get an impersonator to pose as a rich Arab Sheik. He lands in a helicopter on the roof of the hotel. They put him up in the Presidential suite. We have somebody go through the ventilation system with sleeping gas, knock everybody out. Then we bring the money up and hide it in the room. While everybody’s running around town looking for it, we just check out, carry it into the helicopter and away we go.

DAVE
Where we gonna get a helicopter?

TARA
Maybe we can just talk a pilot into doing us a favor.

DAVE
Or…you hypnotize him.

ROSIE (AN AFRO BORN AGAIN WAITRESS-BOXER WANNA BE) HAS OVERHEARD.

ROSIE
Every night I listen to these nitwit schemes. As if getting all that money would actually make you happy.

TARA
You’ve taken a few blows to the head, haven’t you, Rosie?

ROSIE
I’m just saying, there are more meaningful ways of finding satisfaction and happiness in this world.

DAVE
Let me guess. Jesus?

ROSIE
Yes, “minister”. Jesus.

DAVE
(indignant) Hey, don’t use that tone. I’m licensed.

ROSIE
You need to believe in something that’s bigger and more powerful than you that will show you the path to the true meaning of life.

DAV
You say “Jesus”. I say “The Bellagio”.

23 comments:

Anna Nemuz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Nemuz said...

Haha! That was good!

Anonymous said...

A comedy using a born again Christian for comedy fodder and yet no network would do it? Shocking.

I say wait until George Dubyah leaves town and try it again.

Victor said...

I thought Dubyah _was_ born-again Christian comedy fodder.

DodgerGirl said...

That was funny! I wish you'd retry getting that one made.

Mid-western 007 said...

If the world needs anything, it is more comedy based on normal people trying to take on extraordinary covert operations in a quirky, common man fashion.

I, for one, would be a huge fan.

Mary Stella said...

Hell, Ken, they wouldn't even make the pilot, but somebody aired a show about a group of people who robbed Mick Jagger?

By the way, somebody at www.mingle2.com/blog-rating with too much time on their hands made a program that rates blogs like movies. I apparently also have too much time on my hands this morning, so after I checked my blog's rating (R!) I checked others on my blog roll. Yours was rated PG.

RAC said...

That scene of yours prompted me to create a scenario that (I think) is a good take on your premise. No, I'm not sharing it here, but it was a fun little morning doodle. I am, however, starting to wonder if your "writing partner David" is mythological. Thanks Ken!

Ken Levine said...

My partner not only exists, he exists in this blog. Just look back to last weekend's posts -- Mr. Special Effects. That was written by David.

He's a funny guy.

kcorner89 said...

hilarious. i like the show, it should've gotten picked up... it sounds better than the caveman show.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Funny characters.

Was that before or after that cable comedy Lucky by Robb and Mark Cullen? I quite liked that, too. They had a great character played by Billy Cardell, who threw himself in front of cars to collect pay-offs so he wouldn't go to the police. After that he was in Heist as well (another failed Cullen project). Funny guy. And in Veags in an episode written by (surprise, surprise) Marc Cullen. Hey, maybe you can turn your pilot into a Vegas script.

song's webdesign said...

LOL, It was good.
I blog it.

Anonymous said...

>>My partner not only exists, he exists in this blog. Just look back to last weekend's posts -- Mr. Special Effects. That was written by David.

He's a funny guy.<<

I've known Ken for many many years and I just to assure everyone reading his blog that Ken truely believes that David exists.

Alaskaray

fisherking said...

funny stuff. I wonder if you'd check out my page at popculturemess.blogspot.com. Thanks

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Mary Stella said...
By the way, somebody at www.mingle2.com/blog-rating with too much time on their hands made a program that rates blogs like movies. I apparently also have too much time on my hands this morning, so after I checked my blog's rating (R!) I checked others on my blog roll. Yours was rated PG."

Mary darling, thank you. Without your post, I would never have learned that I'm a pornographer. I checked my flog's rating, and it came back NC-17! The reasoning given was based on the recurrence of the following words: dead (8x) sex (7x) death (6x) gay (5x) hurt (2x) kill (1x)

I know I've used the F-word once or twice, but that's apparently okay. It's all the violence my flog is filled with.

Now do I have to check IDs from readers?

So filth fans, come on over!

Cheers darlings.

Tallulah Morehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Stella said...

Tallulah, my pleasure. The blog raters appear obsessed with sex and death. Unfortunately, it has little to do with la petit mort.

Cheers!

Will Teullive said...

DAVE
You say “Jesus”. I say “The Bellagio”.

ROSIE
OH NO YOU DIDN'T. I know you just didn't say The Bellagio is bigger and more powerful than Jesus

DAVE
You do realize I'm Jewish right? Historically we have some issues with your guy.

ROSIE
Oh? My bad. That explains why I never got your Christmas card.

Special Sam said...

Well at least we have "Age of Love" on NBC.

Anonymous said...

Tallulah Morehead:
The reasoning given was based on the recurrence of the following words: dead, sex, death, gay, hurt, kill...


Sounds to me like a typical night out in West Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

Will Teullive: Really? 'Dave', who we just learned is a minister, is Jewish?

Do you want that sort of mis-continuity already... in a pilot??

And, Ken, about this:

"(AN AFRO BORN AGAIN WAITRESS-BOXER WANNA BE) "

While I understand that such 'parenthetical characterization' is inherently necessary in a pilot... I can't believe you would use "Afro" as 'short-hand' for either 'black' or the only-slightly-longer 'african-american', especially since the pilot was obviously written recently enough to include the Bellaggio.

Its casually offensive. And while it certainly might not leap off the page to the target audience of likely-white network execs who would be reading it, its also the sort of easily-overlooked 'signifier' that makes black writers cringe and feel marinalized. "Afro" as solo adjective grates like "Jewey" would.

Paul said...

If Ken got offended by something like "Jewey", then he wouldn't be a comedy writer.

Dating said...

Haha! That was good!