The 2013 Black List was announced Monday. No, it has nothing to do with communism (we think). Instead it is a collection of the top unproduced screenplays in Hollywood, according to various studio executive and readers who make up the judges. Making the Black List is a big deal! Loads of Oscar winners and box office triumphs have begun there. In two years, you’ll probably be seeing many of these scripts in theaters. We thought we’d give you a preview of those films. However, since we know nothing about these screenplays except for their titles, we had to get creative.
Here are the imagined plots of the 72 screenplays on the 2013 Black List:
1. Time and Temperature, Nick Santora
“All it takes is a little time and temperature,” Helena’s grandmother always said as they waited for their victims to roast in the cauldron.
2. Pure O, Kate Trefry
College sophomore Annie reads a New York Times article that says women aren’t having as many orgasms as men. Outraged, she sets about teaching every man, lesbian, and bi-curious woman at Oberlin how to give oral sex. Written with Evan Rachel Wood in mind.
3. The Company Man, Andrew Cypiot
Corporate lawyer gets subpoenaed by the SEC to testify against his shady company, refuses to rat, goes to prison for 18 months, is rewarded by the CEO with a secret Cayman account worth millions, lives a long and happy life, dies serenely with his family by his side, and burns in hell for all eternity.
4. Burn Site, Doug Simon
It’s 1997 and a Tower Records is haunted by the ghost of a witch who was burned at the stake in that very same location 300 years earlier. “Napster is coming,” she howls nightly.
5. Capsule, Ian Shorr
Sad 40-year-old man finds a time capsule from 30 years ago containing his hopes and dreams, goes looking for his best friends who also dreamed big. Surprise! None of them made it, so they band together to finally make their dreams come true.
6. Extinction, Spenser Cohen
The human race is basically extinct. All that is left are one man and one woman…and boy they can’t stand each other!
7. Bury the Lead, Justin Kremer
A newspaper staff facing big cuts gets together one night and kills the belt-tightening owner, burying him in coverage from Syria. No one notices.
8. Line of Duty, Cory Miller
Three unpopular undergraduates are dispatched by jocks to hold their place in line at the coolest club in Ohio. Over the course of a “wild and crazy night” they learn self-worth.
9. A Boy and His Tiger, Dan Dollar
Based loosely on the Allen Ginsburg poem “The Lion for Real”, this is the harrowing tale of a boy dealing with the shame of masturbation.
10. Inquest, Josh Simon
Who took the cookie from the cookie jar? A child’s introduction to the judiciary system (looking for a home at Pixar; would accept PBS).
11. Sweetheart, Jack Stanley
Man and woman in love are driving through the French Riviera. “Sweetheart,” they say to each other. Car crashes off a cliff and both die instantly. Their respective spouses come to retrieve the bodies, fall in love. Tagline: Sometimes it takes death to find your true sweetheart.
12. Shovel Buddies, Jason Mark Hellerman
“Usually, I can’t stand to look at your ugly face, but out here, in the quiet? Digging graves? You’re like the only person who understands me.” Two competitive hitmen exchange ribald barbs in this quirky buddy flick about killing people who don’t deserve it for money.
13. Fully Wrecked, Jake Morse, Scott Wolman
You’ve seen snowboarding movies. You’ve seen Jackass. You’ve seen the cat dressed as a shark riding a Roomba. But have you seen a man high on marijuana cigarettes, dressed as a vacuum, and holding a cat, wipe out on a black diamond while riding an unwaxed snowboard? And then find the strength of character to do it again? Not until now.
14. The End of the Tour, Donald Margulies
In this unauthorized sequel to Almost Famous, Henry goes to New York to make it as a journalist…just as the newspaper industry is imploding. Watch the sad decline of one of America’s most important institutions through the eyes of a boy who once held so much promise. Bonus: killer soundtrack (rights pending).
15. The Mayor of Shark City, Nick Creature, Michael Sweeney
Child prodigy Ethan Klein could have been anything and gone anywhere, but did he want a PhD at Oxford or the presidency of the United States? No. He wanted to run the drug trade in San Jose. And he’s doing an incredible job, an incredibly bloody job.
16. Spotlight, Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy
Good Samaritan saves old lady from oncoming subway train, becomes a hero, is given the key to the city, goes on the Today show, where his past DUIs are revealed. He later loses his government job. Moral: Never do anything for anybody.
17. Gay Kid and Fat Chick, Bo Burnham
We’re not touching this one.
18. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Alexis C. Jolly
A stirring portrait of Mr. Rogers’ clinical depression.
19. Ink and Bone, Zak Olkewicz
Oh, so you want to open an “artifacts shoppe” in San Francisco’s uber-hip Mission District? Welcome to the club. The real-life story of hipsters applying for building permits.
20. Dogfight, Nicole Riegel
Man who owns pit bulls that fight other pit bulls falls in love with woman who owns another pit bull his pit bull is supposed to fight.
21. Sovereign, Geoff Tock, Greg Weidman
Do you have ownership over your own thoughts, or is some unknown entity ruling your soul? I mean, like, when you really think about it, man, like think think? This movie follows four Sarah Lawrence undergraduates on a metaphysical journey.
22. I’m Proud of You, Noah Harpster, Micah Fitzerman-Blue
Two estranged, emotionally stunted brothers reunite to drive across the country, dig up their recently deceased father’s corpse, and “get some closure.”
23. The Special Program, Debora Cahn
Area special snowflake applies for MacArthur Fellowship, waits patiently to hear back while his life passes him by.
24. Faults, Riley Stearns
Who’s to blame for the Westing family’s hard luck? Jack the alcoholic dad, Gemma the cheating mom, Bertie the psychopathic son, or Joan, the daughter who cooks dinner every night and cries into her teddy bear. OK, clearly not Joan.
25. The Independent, Evan Parter
In a world gone mad, where depravity and sin fill the streets, only one man is brave enough to make unnecessary cuts to social security.
26. The Shark Is Not Working, Richard Cordiner
Behind-the-scenes look at “fish slavery” at SeaWorld, brought to you by the Defenders of Wildlife. “When you think about it, no one asked that shark to delight that horde of children, you know?” says co-creator Angela Sim.
27. Autopsy of Jane Doe, Richard Naing, Ian Goldberg
When it’s discovered that Jane Doe is in fact the beloved film actress Gwnyeth Paltrow—thought to be at a yoga retreat lo these many weeks—the vegan food lobby funds a massive manhunt to find the poor, pitiful, murderous soul who couldn’t stand seeing perfection exist in the world.
28. The Civilian, Rachel Long, Brian Pittman
Internet detective with no particular expertise investigates crime with no particular significance. First of a trilogy.
29. The Crown, Max Hurwitz
Dentist with a drug problem is cash poor but crown rich. Tries to unload $800,000 in dental prosthetics in Costa Rica.
30. Revelation, Hernany Perla
Man has a revelation: Buy gold.
31. The Killing Floor, Bac Delorme, Stephen Clarke
A young girl is traumatized when she wanders into a meat factory after a bouncy ball. The pools of blood haunt her dreams. She tries vegetarianism. She tries activism. But only revenge makes her feel better. The story of how sometimes murder is the only option.
32. Elsewhere, Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
In this claustrophobic tale of obese twins working in a laundromat in Wyoming, we finally understand the meaning of hell.
33. Clarity, Ryan Belenzon, Jeffrey Gelber
Everyone starts taking Adderall all the time, and it’s really great for a while—until people lose too much weight and stop making sense.
34. 1969: A Space Odyssey or How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon, Stephany Folsom
Two people sit on a bench and talk about Stanley Kubrick movies with their mouths…but their eyes are saying, “Kiss me.” Will they or won’t they? Tensions run high in this talky. Run time: 2:26. (Mother Jones’ Asawin Suebsaeng spoke to Stephany Folsom about what her script is actually about. That interview is here.)
35. From Here to Albion, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani
American importer/exporter Henry Roth works hard to bring blue jeans to Britain.
36. Nicholas, Leo Sardarian
Nicholas is handsome, young, and has his whole life ahead of him, but when he impregnates Mrs. Claus, his future is set in stone. Adorable elf children make this a must-see.
37. The Golden Record, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell
Everything in Scott Willard’s life comes easy to him—grades, girls, money—but one day at Harvard he takes mushrooms and realizes that despite his sterling credentials, his life is meaningless. He sets out to make it right. Conveniently, he’s rich, so he can do whatever he likes.
38. Man of Sorrow, Neville Kiser
The biography of Joe, who felt like a fraud even though really he worked pretty hard.
39. Dig, Adam Barker
One man’s journey of self-discovery while digging a hole, a really deep hole (based on the real-life blog).
40. Free Byrd, Jon Boyer
Unjustly convicted inmates escape from prison, are illiterate.
41. Reminiscence, Lisa Joy Nolan
A 27-year-old moves to the big city to pursue his dreams, gets an internship, has awkward sex with a lady in his office, lands a full-time gig at an art gallery, but can’t stop thinking of this one summer when he had sex with men back in Nevada.
42. Beauty Queen, Annie Neal
At 33, Miss America 1994 goes back to small-town Nebraska and opens a dry-goods store, dates a local contractor, gets pregnant, married, divorced, then makes her daughter enter pageants.
43. The Politician, Matthew Bass, Theodore Bressman
The President is forced to shoot down a hijacked transatlantic flight headed towards Washington, killing 211 Americans. Impeached by the House, he begins lobbying for support in the Senate. In the end, he is acquitted after agreeing to support increased ethanol subsidies in the farm bill.
44. American Sniper, Jason Dean Hall
We’re pretty sure this is based on the book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History.
45. Tchaikovsky’s Requiem, Jonathan Stokes
It’s about hockey.
46. The Remains, Meaghan Oppenheimer
Elizabeth has a secret she’s never told anyone. But when a book is discovered on a park bench full of codes and high-level math, Berlin’s top code-breaker starts solving a riddle that leads straight to her.
47. Beast, Zach Dean
Sexy male underwear model Junot Grant has everything he’s ever wanted—his penis 50-feet tall on a billboard in Times Square, a gorgeous girlfriend—but he leaves the glamorous life behind to journey to his home village in Brazil and confront is oldest foe, Dad.
48. The Line, Sang Kyu Kim
Old dying theater director blames his failing heart on stress from years of being unable to mount a successful version of Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy. With only days to live, he resolves to hunt down and kill every former cast member who ever uttered the word “Macbeth” backstage.
49. Half Heard in the Stillness, David Weil
The pretentious love story for the holidays. Poetry is whispered, sex is hinted at, and professors get tenure in “Half Heard in the Stillness.”
50. The Fixer, Bill Kennedy
The long-awaited sequel to Pulp Fiction starring an aging Harvey Keitel, a ranch house in the valley, and old cars. And brain pieces, of course.
51. Pox Americana, Frank John Hughes
This searing, multi-story Crash-like drama tells the tale of 17 interwoven lives over the course of 36 hours. The thesis: chicken pox parties are gross.
52. Broken Cove, Declan O’Dwyer
It was July and everyone was beautiful—Jacquelin, Janey, James, and Ralph. They frolicked when they wanted to frolic, they drank when they wanted to drink, they swam when the water was warm. Then summer ended and they lost touch and got jobs and their hair thinned, and now, when the light is just right, they think of that night they had that orgy in the cove, and they smile.
53. Last Minute Maids, Leo Nichols
When down-on-their luck duchesses are forced to be their own housekeepers, high jinks and mistaken identity ensue. Can the elder duchess catch a rich man before their mansion is seized?
54. Section 6, Aaron Berg
A soccer team that sucks and shouldn’t win somehow wins and the people who live in its vicinity are happy for a while.
55. Sugar in My Veins, Barbara Stepansky
From the flophouse to the boardroom: meet the heroin addict who taught Big Soda how to hook a nation on sugar.
56. Where Angels Die, Alexander Felix
Anaheim. It’s Anaheim. That’s where they die. This is about Anaheim.
57. Frisco, Simon Stephenson
Beautiful, smart Jessica is from New Jersey, but she really wants to fit in here in her new home of San Francisco so she calls it Frisco all the time. The mystery at the heart of this film: why can’t Jessica make friends?
58. Sea of Trees, Chris Sparling
This is a movie about a bunch of really pretentious people who live in a forest but insist on calling it a sea of trees.
59. Diablo Run, Shea Mirzai, Evan Mirzai
It’s about dogs.
60. Cake, Patrick Tobin
A man is addicted to cake, dies.
61. Seed, Christina Hodson
Jane and Jane were married in one of San Francisco’s first same-sex marriages at City Hall. Now they are ready to be parents. Join them on a journey of finding the right progenitor for their child, as they go from sperm bank to friend to sperm bank, and fall more in love along the way.
62. Superbrat, Eric Slovin, Leo Allen
The story of a former child reality TV star who learns to be a real person in middle age.
63. Pan, Jason Fuchs
A mysterious film critic who looks a bit like a goat teaches Hollywood to value art over profit but also, separately, and due to personal problems, hits a bunch of people in the face with frying pans.
64. Dude, Olivia Milch
“I warned you not to call me that. You knew I was capable of this,” opens this bro-tastic movie that starts at the end with a heinous crime and works its way backward.
65. Hot Summer Nights, Elijah Bynum
Seven friends think they’re going on a sun-filled summer vacation to Brazil. Little do they know that July is actually winter in the southern hemisphere. Four die immediately. The other 3 must make it through brutal terrain. A story of survival.
66. Holland, Michigan, Andrew Sodroski
Elon Musk creates a brilliant space colony on the moon, a one way ticket to which costs $500,000. Jealous, Richard Branson invades. The 99 percent watch the bloodshed from a small town in Michigan.
67. Mississippi Mud, Elijah Bynum
The artisanal Brooklyn-distilled moonshine one grad student turned into a household name.
68. A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness
“Hi. My name’s Jeff. I’m an ad rep from Monster.com…”
69. Randle is Benign, Damien Ober
What if you thought you were dying of cancer, so you spent your savings, cheated on your wife, quit your job, and did everything on your bucket list you ever wanted to do—then found out the lump was benign? This is the story of Randle putting his life back together after cancer takes it away and then gives it back, broken in pieces.
70. Make a Wish, Zach Frankel
Sophie is about to turn 30 but she swears she isn’t freaking out that much. It’s normal to cry on the subway every night and booty-call her ex-boyfriend. He may be horrible, but he’s better than being alone, right? But then a funny thing happens: She makes a wish, blows out the candles, and her life begins to change. Coincidence?
71. Patient Z, Michael Le
Everyone on Earth has been turned into a zombie except Janet. She’s the last one left. She kills a bunch of them, but then they catch her and there are a lot of moral questions about who is in the right here. Also: Gore and explosions. Have you seen the Walking Dead?
72. Queen of Hearts, Stephanie Shannon
Callooh! Callay! O frabjous day! Lewis Carroll was probably a child rapist.
See you at the movies!