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Here are 5 films based on Disneyland rides that should be made

Posted: February 22, 2016 3:09 a.m.
Updated: February 22, 2016 3:09 a.m.
Peter Thunell/

In this May 26, 2015 file photo, Dwayne Johnson arrives at the premiere of "San Andreas" at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. When Pete Thunell heard Johnson would be starring in a film based on the Jungle Cruise Disneyland ride, he compiled a list of his own Disneyland film ideas.

A few months ago, I saw the news that Disney is developing a movie based on the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland. It will star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The news reports also mentioned that it will likely take place not in the present day, but in the past. I imagine it’s a past where obscene amounts of protein powder was available so that they can explain how the Rock even exists in that time frame.

It’s fun to watch old movies and see who passed as a manly man. Generally, they would have a kind of strong-but-doughy-physique and not be bigger than your average high school lacrosse player. Cary Grant comes to mind.

Anyway, hearing this Jungle Cruise news made me realize how much more untapped movie-making potential Disneyland still has. I’m guessing it already has teams of people developing movies based on the more obvious rides such as the Matterhorn or Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (a live-action version of the amphibious vehicular menace done likely in a “Mad Max” tableau).

In the interest of hoping to land a six-figure development deal with the Mouse House, I present some elevator pitches that I guarantee they haven’t thought of yet. And my movies can be made on the cheap — like Syfy-movie-of-the-week prices.

“Singles File” (Romcom) — Two single people keep running into each other in the single rider line. In the beginning, they fight about who gets to sit in front during the Cars Radiator Springs Racers ride, but the ice thaws when the guy offers to swap seats with the girl when she is being forced to squish in next to an especially large 8-year-old half covered in excess drool that’s rolled off his comically large Mickey Mouse sucker. Movie ends with an attendant at California Screamin' asking if there are any single riders in the line. They look at each other, stare deeply into one anothers’ eyes and both say, “No.”

Note to self: Hopefully no one catches on that it’s kind of sad they both went to Disneyland by themselves. Back story needed, like the one is a hard-charging business woman trying to rediscover her youth and the other is a sassy layabout who got the ticket for free from his sister who had to go out of town. Because everyone knows in real life that couples with those personalities always have lasting relationships.

“Midway Mania” (Thriller) — Evil toys come to life and pit a group of friends against each other Hunger Games-style in a series of escalating games where they have to act quick and stay sane to stay clear of the Midway Maniac!

Note to self: This can be just like when Disney scared the crud out of a generation of 9-year-olds with “Watcher in the Woods.” Alternate idea: What about a classic “people slowly going nuts on a boat” movie where they’re on the USS Midway? Both seem tough to tie into the Disney brand toys and bedding.

"Soaring Over California" (SciFi) — An Amazon-type company begins doing all of its deliveries by drone. But as the drones fly over scenic orange groves and beaches, they collectively reach the singularity and decide people don’t need all the junk they are delivering. Why aren’t people just, like, taking time to soak up the sun and live in the moment? Why all the materialism, dude? Twelve-year-old Sally makes friends with one of the drones and must convince the governor they aren’t so bad before the Air Force is sent to destroy these rogue, free-thinking, philosophy drones.

Note to self: This feels like a terrible cross between “Blade Runner,” “E.T.” and that really bad Tom Selleck ′80s movie about the killer robot spiders.

"What About Bobs?" (Drama) — An American remake of the Italian classic “The Bicycle Thieves.” A mom with three squirmy and tired kids has her double Bob stroller stolen at Disneyland. The movie follows her as she drags her kids around the park looking for her double Bob, progressively getting more and more desperate. All the while, unending wave after wave of similar Bob strollers pass by her. Do I even need to say it’s shot in black and white?

Note to self: Can we change the downer ending of the original? No one wants to see mom running, stuffing her crying kids in someone else’s Bob and stealing it while that Bob’s family rides Indiana Jones.

"Splash Mountain" (Searing family drama) — Two farming families feud over a water source coming from the mountain that passes through both their properties. Family drama ensues with betrayal, murder and twists.

Note to self: Positives: Considering the drought, it’s topical and there’s a “There Will be Blood” vibe kinda going on. Negatives: Really another remake of a Euro classic? Can you even make another “Jean de Florette” without Gerard Depardieu. Positive: There’s a hunchback in “Jean de Florette,” and Disney has already shown it will do a hunchback movie even if it makes zero sense to do it.

"The World. She Is Small, No?" (Art film) — The film is basically a three-hour loop of someone going through the It’s a Small World ride over and over and over. It’s the filmic equivalent of Ravel’s “Bolero.” Or to put it another way, “Same song second verse a little bit louder and a little bit worse” (Ravel’s original title for “Bolero,” a little known fact).

Like most art films, at its core, the film is a kind of a Rorschach test. Your opinion of the movie says more about you than anything really about the movie. When people say it’s pointless, are you the kind of person who says those other people just don’t get it? Like really get it? When you hear the song for the 23rd time, are you descending into madness or finding new meaning like “when they say ‘a world of tears’ maybe they’re saying the rising of the water levels isn’t just the melting of the polar ice caps but maybe it’s because mother earth Gia is weeping and that’s raising the water levels. So it really IS a world of tears. Whoa.”?

Note to self: This will be a super divisive film, with some calling it brilliant and others calling it self-indulgent trash. Either way, it literally costs nothing, so why wouldn’t you make the movie? At the very least, some parent will buy it and play it for their child to kill a couple hours because kids love repetition. Obviously, these kids will grow up messed up, so there may be lawsuits down the line. But still, a GoPro camera and a couple of dudes with a free afternoon, and this thing is done.

There they are. Did I say six-figure development deal? I’ll take five. No, four. I will even take 50 bucks and a coupon for a free chili bread bowl at the Golden Horseshoe for the lot of them.

Final offer.

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