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Feb 28, 2014

2014 Movie Draft

by Tenessa Gemelke, Alicia Kirk, Joe Mulder, & Mike Wagner

Welcome, welcome, dear reader(s?), to the 2014 PoopReading.com movie draft! As we do every year, we take a fantasy football approach to the Oscars by drafting the 20 nominated actors via email, selecting some sort of made-up title, and then coming up with the best movie we can.

This year we've got PoopReading.com mainstays Joe, Mike and Tenessa, and we're welcoming Movie Draft newcomer and real life actual writer Alicia Kirk! If she's half as thrilled to be here as we are to have her, then we're twice as thrilled to have her as she is to be here (I stole that line but I don't care. I like it).

Why do we do this? I dunno – why does anybody do anything?

This year's nominated actors are:

Barkhad Abdi
Amy Adams
Christian Bale
Cate Blanchett
Sandra Bullock
Bradley Cooper
Judi Dench
Bruce Dern
Leonardo DiCaprio
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Michael Fassbender
Sally Hawkins
Jonah Hill
Jennifer Lawrence
Jared Leto
Matthew McConaughey
Lupita Nyong'o
Julia Roberts
June Squibb
Meryl Streep

This year, we got our movie titles from a list of fake movies used in various "Seinfeld" episodes over the years. Those titles were:

"Agent Zero"
"Blame It on the Rain"
"Blimp: The Hindenburg Story"
"Brown-Eyed Girl"
"CheckMate"
"Chow Fun"
"Chunnel"
"Cold Fusion"
"Cupid's Rival"
"Death Blow"
"Firestorm"
"Flaming Globes of Sigmund"
"Means to an End"
"Mountain High"
"The Muted Heart"
"The Other Side of Darkness"
"The Pain and the Yearning"
"Ponce de Leon"
"Prognosis Negative"
"Sack Lunch"

After heading over to random.org to determine our draft order, here's how everything played out:

Pick 1: Tenessa

JENNIFER LAWRENCE
JENNIFER LAWRENCE
JENNIFER LAWRENCE
JENNIFER LAWRENCE
JENNIFER LAWRENCE
, BITCHES!

Hi, Alicia. Nice to meet you. Welcome to the Poop Reading Oscar Draft.

Pick 2: Alcia

CHRISTIAN FUCKING BALE YA'LL!!!!! BOOM. IN YOUR FACE(S)

I realize that it's only the first round of the draft and that I have never done this before and only vaguely understand what is going on, but lack of information has never before prevented me from declaring confident statements as fact. My choice of Christian Bale has sealed my place as a frontrunner and there are no other actors on this list that can close the gap. Joe told me there isn't a winner here and thus no frontrunners but that notion only makes me double down on bragging about the greatness of my movie being secured in first place due to the wisdom of casting Bale, regardless of title or content of my movie. He's the consummate actor, a brilliant character actor everyone forgets is a character actor because he's so natural as a leading man. He can do ANYTHING. He can be ANYTHING. He would have done a way better Lincoln than Daniel Day Lewis (that's right, you heard me correctly) plus he wouldn't have creepily requested that everyone call him Mr. President on set. Sure, he may get frustrated when he's putting it all out there and some fucking idiot makes noise or walks through the scene and loses his shit on said disrespectful person, but I think we can all agree that his reaction was called for, perhaps should be even commended. Christian Bale is a chameleon but I'd argue he rises above that sort of common praise for actors just doing their jobs because he manages to be so completely in it that audiences are watching an existing multi-dimensional nuanced living breathing person without having the feeling that pulls one out of the movie experience by thinking "Wow, Leonardo DiCaprio is doing a really good job at acting this part." Nothing against Leo or Matthew McConaugey who do try their little hearts out, but picture either one of them in The Prestige and my point is made for me... I'll acknowledge that in my passion I lost track of what my point exactly is but charging ahead regardless, I conclude by saying that I have Christian Bale and no one else does, and that's a FACT, mostly because I guess that's just how the draft picking works, once a person has chosen someone then that actor is no longer available to anyone else.

Ahem. Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the warm greeting, Tenessa, and hello to both you and Michael, it'll be great getting to know you guys who are obviously awesome because you're dear friends of Joe and Joe is pretty much one of my favorite people ever. He's my only Republican friend and the reason that I can say things like "Hey, some of my best friends are Republican!!" I'm so excited to be a part of this game, nay, this ultimate challenge to the death. I'm actually still in shock that something this awesome has been going on and I didn't know of it or think of it myself.

Pick 3: Joe

Alicia's going to be good at this, you guys.

It's a little early and there are still some pretty huge movie stars on the board, but I'm extremely tempted to take Jonah Hill just so I can do a sequel to The Sitter. I love The Sitter unapologetically. I just watched it again for about the 15th time the other night. Well, it was late so I just fast-forwarded to all of my favorite parts. It still took more than a half hour.

Where were we? Right; the movie draft. I do have a plan, but it's a very loose plan and it could kind of fit with any five actors, technically, as long as I get the title I need. So the obvious move here would be to just take one of the remaining gigantic movie stars – preferably somebody who's done comedy and drama, and can be dropped into just about any kind of movie – and then build my movie around him or her.

So that's what I'll do. I pick Bradley Cooper.

Mike is on the clock, ladies and gentleman (not a typo, as I am addressing two ladies and one gentleman).

Pick 4 and Pick 5: Mike

I must have invented the piano key necktie because I feel like I have been taking crazy pills – three people have been drafted and MERYL FUCKING STREEP and LEONARDO GOOD GOD DAMN DICAPRIO are still on the board? Am I dying and you all are just letting me win so my last few months on earth can be brightened by the knowledge that Cupid's Rival or Agent Zero bested your silly little movies with Catniss, the former Mr. Jennifer Esposito, and a guy who was in Captain Corelli's Mandolin? At least make it look like you are trying or you are just insulting the cancer or whatever it is that I have that is slowly taking my life and filling you with guilt.

Welcome to Alicia! (though Mandras from Captain Corelli's Mandolin would be better at Lincoln than Daniel Plainview and Bill the Butcher? I don't think so, though I would pay to see a "creepy off" between Day-Lewis and Bale). Kudos to Joe, you seem to have picked someone from the tribe for our weird little yearly sojourn. I wonder how many of us use Joe as their "some of my best friends are Republican."

Bruce Dern better be there at pick 12.

Pick 6: Joe

Well so far I've got Bradley Cooper and the tiniest sliver of an idea as far as what I'm going to do with him, so in the absence of a well-defined plan I think the most prudent thing to do would be to choose somebody who pairs well with him romantically just in case I decide I want to do something with that.

And since we're talking about Hollywood which means older women are gross, that rules out Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock. And since I'm a Republican (I've surprised nobody's brought that up yet) I can rule out Sally Hawkins and Lupita Nyong'o because I'm not about to pick a damn furrner. So that leaves Amy Adams.

What's that you say? Amy Adams was born in Italy? Well, that's true. She certainly was. And do you know why? Because her dad was a U.S. goddamn serviceman, over there in Europe protecting the freedoms that you tree-huggers take for granted! You'd all be speaking Korean right now if it wasn't for Amy Adam's dad! Actually it wouldn't kill you to learn Korean, or indeed any second language; being multi-lingual is good for you, I don't care who you are. Wait, where was I?

Oh yeah: Amy Adams.

Pick 7: Alicia

Hmmm. Okay. I was so preoccupied with bravado and in-your-facing my genius Christian Bale pick that I forgot to prepare for my next move or prepare any sort of end game strategy, which pretty much is my life story in a nutshell.

The challenge I'm facing is that whoever I pick will define my movie and put me on a very specific path that later on when we're at the bottom of the barrel I could end up with someone who tonally doesn't fit. Christian Bale can do anything, I still hold strong to that statement, but he's not a comedic actor. He can even be buffoonish in a serious movie but the movie will have to be pretty serious. I love Jonah Hill so much and he was great in Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street but I think he naturally comes with a wink.....There's some great actors here that I'm sure will be snatched up before my next choice probably would be but in order to form a strategy I need to just commit and cover my bases....

My official choice is Lupita Nyong'o.

Maybe this choice doesn't make sense to you, maybe you're perplexed and wondering WTF I'm doing, but don't worry your pretty little heads about it because I've got you right where I want you, most likely. At least, I definitely will when I'm further along in understanding my own strategy which right now is really complex and coded.

Mike

One day I hope to be referred to as someone who "naturally comes with a wink."

Joe

The night is young...

[three days go by]

Pick 8 and Pick 9: Tenessa

Oh, shit. Am I fired from the Poop Reading Oscar Draft? I'm totally fired, right? I'm really sorry I've let three days go by. I was launching a new conference and then stuck at a water park. I think we can all agree that those excuses are too stupid to be made up.

But now? Now I'm ready to DESTROY YOU PEOPLE. The rest of you may have "plans" or "fancy film school degrees," but I've got something better: I've got Jennifer Lawrence AND Sandra Bullock AND June Squibb.

Will they represent three generations of a family? Will they be colleagues at a school for dancers? Will they be three strangers thrown into a crazy mixup by chance? Whatever they are, they'll be fucking hilarious and full of heart.

If I'm being honest, this is really just my best effort to insulate against the dire prospect of being left with the Matthew McConaughey. I figure if there are enough comedically lovable women in the movie, maybe nobody will notice he's there.

Joe

I think we all know what needs to happen. All three of them need to work at a multi-generational cathouse, and McConaughey needs to walk into the main lobby of the place, take a look at Squibb, Bullock and Lawrence, and say "All right all right all right!"

Sorry to reveal what will obviously be your final product this early in the process, Tenessa.

Mike

Sounds like Cupid's Rival is 3/4 written.

Pick 10: Alicia

I can't believe he's still available but luckily my plan hasn't been knocked off track yet. I'm grabbing Michael Fassbender and his penis, I assume it's a package deal type of thing.

Pick 11: Joe

Heh. "Package deal." I see what you did there. And I shan't forgive it. You're dead to me. Do you hear me, Alicia? DEAD TO ME!!!

For three months.

(Classic "Simpsons" ref, Joe. Classic "Simpsons" ref)

At this point I've had some time to let my idea coalesce, so my remaining picks will be in service of that idea. I have sort of a dream cast in my head, and the thing is, I might actually get them all if you guys don't stop me. And then as long as I get the one title that I need, I'll be golden.

So I'm taking a bit of a risk here, because there's one nominee who would really, really "next level" my idea, but I think this person will be around when I make my next pick. So I'm taking Jonah Hill.

"Next level" can so be a verb.

Pick 12 and Pick 13: Mike

So, Joe has a pick that he won't yet make even though it will next level his movie (yeah, I'm not even using quotes for next level, I'm just doing it, because that's how we roll here in Wisconsin, where it was one hundred degrees colder outside than it was in our freezer a few weeks back). It's that kind of intestinal fortitude that we've come to expect from Joe – almost as much as we've come to expect that he'll never draft a black person.

I have no ideas. I'm a play with the hand your dealt kind of guy even when you choose the hand. But the idea of Dad Bruce Dern, Mom Meryl Streep and boys Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McAlrightAlrightAlright is too good to pass up, especially since my movie is a shot for shot remake of Step Brothers.

So, Dern and McConaughey, bitches.

You can Dench me and I've got grandma. You can Abdi, Ejiofor, Hawkins, or Leto me and I have wise barista/love interest, or you can Blanchett or Roberts me and I will have all the popcorn. God speed, suckers.

Pick 14: Joe

Bruce Dern was going to play Jimmy Carter. That would have next-leveled it. Now it exists on no level, next or otherwise.

But you know what, though? Julia Roberts is still around at this late stage in the draft, and that's patently insane, so I'm taking her. I can work her into my idea, too, now that I think about it. Not in the same part, of course; but maybe she'll do a sort of showy, cross-gender, Oscar-grab role as an aging drag queen burlesque dancer called "Shimmy Carter." You guys don't know.

Alicia, the ball is in your court. Metaphorically speaking, of course; we are all sitting here on a weekend doing a pretend Oscar draft for no particular reason, so it's a safe bet none of us actually play any ball sports.

Pick 15: Alicia

Fuck!! I knew I waited too long to grab Jonah Hill! Curse you, Michael Fassbender's penis, that's the second time you've messed up my judgment, the first being when I thought Shame was a good movie.

It's panic time. JARED LETO. Final answer.

Joe

I just imagine Jared Leto bringing his Oscar to the annual "My So-Called Life" reunion (which is a thing that had better exist, or else I don't even...), looking over at Claire Danes's giant pile of Emmys, and being like "Hm. Those are adorable."

Pick 16: Tenessa

I cannot contain my elation at NOT having Matthew McHorriblepileofpuke. This is like not having jury duty, or not having hemorrhoids. God bless you, Mike Wagner.

I'm going with Chiwetel Ejiofor, because I liked the cut of his jib on "The Daily Show." Joe, that's the show NObama uses to promote Kenyan death panels. I'm sure you've never seen it.

Alicia, I want you to know that the panic pick is a time-tested Poop Reading Oscar Draft experience. Jared Leto may prove to be your secret weapon. Or your whole movie may be utterly ruined. Either way, how fun is this crazy bullshit?

Joe

Well, obviously I haven't had much use for "The Daily Show" since they got rid of that blue-eyed blonde guy and hired the Jew.

No but seriously, you can't out-Chiwetel Ejiofor me because I've watched Serenity like seven times.

By the way, the line "how fun is this crazy bullshit?" basically led to me trying to retweet an email, so, congrats on that.

Pick 17: Mike

I was all set to Blanchett it up but then I feared bad chemistry with my young gentlemen. Long story short, I'm Reaganing over here. I take Barkhad Abdi.

Pick 18: Joe

Goddammit.

I really needed Barkhad Abdi, I really did. Oh well. Back to the drawing board. I guess if you're going to have to retool your entire plan, you may as well do it with the greatest actress in the entire world. I take Cate Blanchett, and Mike can go straight to hell. You ruined a masterpiece. You ruin everything, ruiner!

(Classic second "Simpsons" ref, Joe. Classic second "Simpsons" ref)

OK, fine, the world deserves to know what it's missing: in CheckMate, set in cold-war 1979, Bradley Cooper is a former chess prodigy who's become a total mess. Blame alcohol or mental illness or whatever you want, but he's barely hanging on. Jonah Hill is a Russian grand master whom the CIA has discovered is spying for the Russians. They can't get close to him. So they enlist Amy Adams, Cooper's old flame, to shape him up to try to score a match with Jonah. Complicating things is beautiful but deadly KGB operative Julia Roberts. And at the end of Act II, Cooper has to defeat Ethiopian chess prodigy Barkhad Abdi, ranked #2 in the world, or else the World Chess Federation won't even think of granting him a match with Jonah Hill.

I suppose Blanchett could be the prodigy instead of Barkhad Abdi, but... not really.

Goddammit.

But you know what? How awesome will it be when I crush your puny movie ideas with my second best concept?

Mike

Why not have Blanchett reprise her role as Bob Dylan, who has become good friends with Cooper's character and chronicled his fall in Desolation Row?

Joe

Damn; Blanchett-as-Dylan could have turned out to have been a spy for the U.S. government. That would have worked. And it's not that much more farfetched than him becoming a Chrysler pitchman.

Pick 19: Alicia

Sally Hawkins! I have no idea what I'll do with her in my movie idea but I had more no idea what to do with Judi Dench even though she's an incredible actress and much better than my pick. Which to be clear is:

Sally Hawkins.

Pick 20: Tenessa

Judi Dench? My consolation prize is JUDI DENCH? I was prepared for Sally Hawkins. I was prepared for Barkhad Abdi. I cannot for the life of me imagine how I've ended up with Judi Dench. BEST OSCAR DRAFT EVER.

Alrightalrightalright.

Although part of me reeeeeeeeally wants to do a Milli Vanilli biopic called Blame It on the Rain with Ejiofor starring as both Rob and Fab via split screen, I'm going to use better judgment and choose Flaming Globes of Sigmund. I have zero ideas about plot or characters, but that title feels right for the amazing shit that's about to go down.

Mike

In what world is eschewing Blame it on the Rain "better judgement?"

Joe

So we've got Flaming Gobs of Sigmund, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Sandra Bullock, June Squibb, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Judi Dench. Can Chiwetel Ejiofor be a space ninja again, like in Serenity? Please please please, can he?

Alicia

Is it my turn? If so then I'm snapping up The Other Side of Darkness which could be a movie adaptation of a play of the same name starring a serious cast taking themselves super seriously.

Joe

Sorry guys, the Mulder family is on a roll...

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/10/us-olympics-speedskating-men-idUKBREA191PJ20140210

...so there's really no stopping me now.

I'm taking Ponce de Leon, because I Googled it (I mean, I know who Ponce de Leon was, but I wanted to see if anything particular was named after him that I might be able to use, and something was), and an idea popped into my head, not fully formed yet, but I'm in love with it. And we all know that no spark of an idea that a person has fallen in love with has ever failed to produce a dynamite finished product, so I'm invincible! INVINCIBLE, I tells ya!

Unless I do a little research and find that my idea is fundamentally unworkable. We'll see.

Mike

I will take Agent Zero, mostly because I love how Kramer said it when he was serving as Movie Phone.

*    *    *

And there you have it, folks. That's the movie draft. Be sure to check out our movie ideas, as well; some are available now, some others will be up soon.

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