"It's called The Ticket."
I sail into the studio executive's office, top of the pitch. You don't want to crowd one extra second of the mighty mogul's pressing schedule. "I'm listening," the exec will say, fiddling with his hydrosonic superphone.
"It's a cross between Toxic Avenger and the Incredible Hulk."
"Toxic Avenger?" He will inquire without looking up. Any reference to past weekends' box office is old B.O.
"Okay." I'll counter. "How about Iron Man meets Thor?"
"Thor?" He'll mumble. "Refresh me." Don't go there, I say to myself. Downshift and floor it.
"Just kidding. It's a cross between Batman vs. Superman and Dr. Strange v. Captain America."
"Got it!," he says. Now I've hooked his attenuated attention. The movie executive I'm pitching has offered me deals, very good deals, on movie ideas I come up with. We get along just fine if I can keep the ball rolling. If I'm able to pierce the skin with this pitch in ten minutes, I could be out of his office with the promise of $250K.
There's no Superman vs. to my pitch, that's just a sound bite, but now I need to hang the ornaments on the tree. "These two outsiders, one of them is a has-been and has to be sought out and rehabbed by the Doc, the avenger, who is a no-shit badass that knows how to kick a lot of Beaner and A-Rab butt -- to clean this rundown country up."
"What's at stake?"
"Well, the title, The Ticket, works two ways. One: the one who always wins, who's never not won at anything he takes on, Dr. Strange -- and now, he's won again, but this time in the biggest sweepstakes of all..."
"Like who? Who do you see?" He checks his watch. Hits the intercom. "Giles, tea time, por favor."
Now the mogul looks up and pretends to think the way cartoon characters do it, cocking his head and miming thought with an index finger to the dimple in his cheek. "I see Christian Bale," he concludes.
"Bingo!" I'll say. But wait. He is still seeing things.
"How about Jon Hamm, he's beefy, or that other one -- the bald black guy..."
"Love them both," I'll enthuse. Move it, move it, move it!
"Tell me more," he says as his boyish Brit assistant with Peewee Herman hair brings in the Tibetan diet tea. Everybody's always doing the latest weight-loss fad in Hollywood. The tea may trip off a way to work in Michael Caine as the butler if I can think fast and talk fast at the same time.
"All Dr. Strange does is go from state to state getting dyspeptic Americans even more upset. Rabble rouse, you know? And he's damn good at it. But not quite good enough to stir them up to overthrow the Evil Powers That Be. The dastardly Establishment. So that's when he's got to resurrect the only other superhero who can help him complete the overthrow of these namby-pamby panderers with their strangehold over the forces of global antidisestablishmentarianism."
"Too many bloodsuckers and bottom feeders -- GET RID OF 'EM!" The exec pounds his desk. "And then what?"
If the executive says, "and then what?" This is how I know I've made it to the final round. If I can finish off with one slam dunk and get out before his personal manicurist arrives, then -- you go, girl! The mogul is thoughtfully spooning agave syrup into his tea. He swivels around to gaze out a bank of windows to take in his vast backlot domain.
"And then, the two of them blast from coast to coast in all kinds of supersonic conveyances with big-bosom sexercisers on board only to come up against their most dangerous arch rivals, the bleeding-heart nannystate crybabies."
"But in the second act," the exec adds dreamily with his back still turned, "we get to see a motherlode of headbanging and gut-busting. Round 'em up and rout 'em back to where they come from!" He spins around. I can now see his restless leg kick in under the plate glass desk which signals that he's seeing stratospheric opening weekend B.O. "What happens in the end?"
"In the end, there's a twist. A problem with the partner, the guy who's come out of retirement to help him turn the thing around. Just when it looks like they've got it made..."
"Who plays second banana," he asks.
Me: Remember the Terminator?"
The mogul: "OMG! Bring him back! Buff him up! AHNOLD! But wait. I see a problem. The Terminator. He's not fully U.S., is he? He's... he's -- what was it again? Canadian?"
Me: "Doesn't matter. Dr. Strange is so much bigger than real life, so superstrong, so -- fully packed, if you follow. He doesn't need any so-called co-star -- he's The Great Obliterator! That's the denouement. He's gonna have to whack the whole planet because of this dirty nasty mess. He'll have his finger on the button!"
Him: (Miming a phone call with his fingers) "Agent to business affairs! What's the title again?"
Me: The Ticket, as in -- that's the ticket!"