During the Network Upfront announcements, Liz Belsky whipped up some key art in the style of NBC’s painfully awkward key art to announce the new fake John Mulaney show Think Fast:
SURPRISE! NBC has added a last-minute comedy series to its fall lineup! Think Fast follows a Chicago slacker (John Mulaney) who, after losing his license and his job after a DUI, is forced to move in with and work for his stepbrother (Rob Riggle), the head coach for the Chicago Bulls.
People were excited by the idea — including a news outlet that reported it as fact. Since we love Liz’s brain of awesome madness, we asked her for more of her brilliant, yet not quite scripted, creations. Aspiring producers — take note: Screw The Black List scripts — these are the ten movies that you NEED to make.
1. Debate and Switch
Nick Apponetta (Bill Hader) is a politics geek of the highest rank. He’s also the runaway star of GlobeWeekly, a satirical political sketch show on which he’s best known for his wildly acclaimed impersonation of sleazy, motormouthed vice-presidential candidate Senator Wes Williams (Bill Hader), whom he just happens to look exactly like. But Nick has always dreamed of getting into politics for real — and while he sticks to the show’s claim that “we just make fun of the news, we don’t make it,” he still yearns for campaign buses, VFW fundraisers, and town hall debates. So when Senator Williams appears on GlobeWeekly for a sneaker-upper sketch and jokes backstage that he and Nick should just switch places for the rest of the campaign, Nick immediately jumps on board with the idea. The plan goes off without a hitch initially: Nick uses his surprisingly deep knowledge of current affairs to actually win the VP debate, while Senator Williams isn’t too lame a hand in the GlobeWeekly writers room. They manage to fool each others’ significant others (though Williams throws a hitch into the plan when he proposes to the girl Nick had planned to break up with), and even presidential candidate Governor Bob Beaumont (Paul Giamatti) believes their ruse. But two people aren’t buying the act — GlobeWeekly head writer Janet Campbell (Parker Posey) and Willams’ speechwriter, razor-sharp Harvard grad Zooey Fareedi (Nasim Pedrad). And when their scheme begins to unravel, thanks to a nosy New York Times reporter (Elijah Wood), there’s no telling what will happen…
Five years ago, Archer Halsey (Paul Rudd) quit his thankless job at FEMA to do something less useful with his life. Rather than spending another year helping rebuild cities after natural disasters, he moved to Los Angeles and started a celebrity crisis management firm, helping stars recover after career and PR missteps. Since its inception, Halsey CCM has amassed a crack team of public relations experts, including his brash, blunt former Capitol Hill coworker Diane Baylor (Allison Janney), a well-connected, fast-talking Beverly Hills-born-and-bred celebrity publicist, Cori Griffith (Rashida Jones), and quirky, soft-spoken gay romantic Nolan Peters (Lee Pace). Together, they’ve managed to save the careers of vacant, substance-addled paparazzi princesses, overpaid, mentally ill sitcom stars, and well-liked Hollywood stars whose marriages fall apart due to audacious affairs with dozens of women. But when Chuck Finn (Jeff Bridges), a beloved American movie star with a squeaky-clean reputation, begins a self-destructive spiral of offensive comments and all-around reprehensible misbehavior, the team is faced with their most challenging case yet.
3. I Hate Your Fiancée
What do you do when your best friend gets engaged to someone you can’t stand? That’s the big problem facing Jenny (Lizzy Caplan), Ella (Mindy Kaling), and Brian (James Franco), after their longtime friend Drew (Andy Samberg) spontaneously pops the question to his new girlfriend, Parker (Levin Rambin). Drew’s determination to make finicky, privileged Parker a part of the gang drives a wedge between them — from bringing her on a disastrous road trip to attempting a double-date with Brian, a bitter child of divorce who already resents the prospect of losing his best friend to marriage. Meanwhile, Parker’s obsession with planning the perfect wedding is getting to Jenny (stuck in a dead-end relationship and still harboring unresolved feelings for Drew) and Ella (reeling from a recent breakup and ready to puke at the sight of a white dress). Consider this the anti-romantic comedy — or a movie for anyone who’s ever lost a formerly fun friend to the world of holy matrimony.
4. Alien Nation
Men in Black? Please. Agents Silver (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Bix (Stephen Colbert) don’t wipe memories, battle aliens, or have access to top-secret government files. Mostly because they aren’t actually allowed. They failed that test, and then the Will Smith movie pretty much ruined their lives. Instead, Bix and Silver are “field agents” working for the Air Force Special Activities Center — meaning that they mostly deal with crackpots and people who’ve made up UFO stories to get on the news. It’s a thankless job, they’re the laughingstock of their department, and to add insult to injury, they’re constantly embattled with a fringe ufology group, whose leader Rick (Fred Armisen) even thinks Bix and Silver are idiots. But when they meet Amanda (Karen Gillan), a terrified Scottish tourist who is convinced she witnessed an actual extraterrestrial spaceship crash in the Rocky Mountains, they can’t help believing that there may be something to her story. Unfortunately, these aliens aren’t exactly friendly — and it’s up to Bix and Silver to prove to the Air Force that not only is this a legitimate threat, but that they’re the men for the job.
5. Me Again
Bride-to-be Jane (Emily Blunt), suddenly stricken with cold feet on the eve of her wedding to ordinary guy Joe (Ed Helms), fakes her own death — and then claims to have been revived and reincarnated with a completely new soul. Now she can’t possibly be pushed into marrying this “complete stranger,” no? The plot thickens, however, when The Case of the Reincarnated Bride makes national headlines and Simon (Ewan McGregor) comes forward, hoping that she’s carrying the soul of his late girlfriend, who died in a car crash on the night of Jane’s wedding hoax. She goes along with it, but inevitably starts falling for him… as herself. Complications ensue!
6. They Travel By Night
Something is happening in Kings Cove, Maine. A mysterious illness is spreading through the town, affecting only teenagers and rendering most of them bedridden, with hacking coughs, rattled breathing, and skin that reacts violently when exposed to light. Local doctors think it’s an outbreak of mono. Rachael Denberg (Chloe Moretz) knows otherwise. She’s not sure what’s causing her classmates’ severe symptoms, but she’s sure it has to do with Holly (Maisie Williams), a strange and quiet European exchange student who arrived at their high school just before the outbreak started. But when Rachael starts seeing mysterious figures wandering the town late at night, no one believes her — and it’s up to her to save her own life, as well as the ones of those around her.
Jakova Radovánov (Tilda Swinton) wakes up in a New York City hospital with 24 hours until she is set to be deported her native Hungary for a slew of murders she has no memory of committing. The problem? She’s not Hungarian, and her name isn’t Jakova Radovánov — it’s Ellen Mitchell, and she’s an American academic married to a wealthy doctor (Paul Giamatti). After escaping from the hospital room, Ellen enters into a frantic, terrifying game of cat-and-mouse between herself, her C.I.A. handler (Sharlto Copley), and the real Jakova (Diane Kruger), an Eastern European assassin who isn’t quite “right” mentally, and in the process uncovers a terrifying government conspiracy headed by a famously eccentric billionaire (Christopher Walken).
8. The Split
Jon and Carolyn Kirkman (Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey) have the perfect marriage: a beautiful Brooklyn house, a gifted son (Kodi Smit-McPhee), tons of disposable income, you name it. And yet they can’t stand each other. So when they cheerfully announce their impending divorce at a yacht party meant to celebrate their anniversary, their acquaintances are stunned and stricken to lose the joint rocks at the center of their social circle — all but their happily divorced best friends, Peter and Jillian Randall (Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler). The ex-Randalls become wrapped up in the Kirkmans’ divorce while trying to help their friends through this difficult time in their lives, and when sparks fly between two unexpected people, the result is a delicious farce.
9. No Children
Kevin Moylan (Charlie Day) and Laurie Stewart-Moylan (Ellie Kemper) are the perfect couple. He’s a writer; she’s a greeting card designer. They share a gorgeous apartment in the West Village, travel the world, sleep late, and buy whatever they want while still living comfortably within their means. Their French bulldogs, Sullivan and Miss Piggy, are their most beloved companions. And by no means do they want children. This, of course, hardly sits well with their families. After all, Kevin’s younger sister Gabby (Zooey Deschanel) is an earthy Park Slope supermom, living in happily-married vegan, unvaccinated paradise with husband Jensen (Jake Gyllenhaal) and their twins, while Laurie’s eldest sister Lila (Isla Fisher), a seemingly ageless Upper East Side mom-of-three, sings the praises of parenthood while a cavalry of nannies and au pairs keep her kids from realizing Mommy and dad Bradford (John Slattery) are on the verge of a nasty divorce. After three years of marriage and seven years of cohabitation, the question their relatives have been asking all along — “So, when are you two having kids?” — has hit a deafening fever pitch. But in a world full of baby showers, celebrity bump watches, and obnoxious family members, how long can a couple really postpone the inevitable?
10. Charlie and Em
Charlie Burroughs (Jason Bateman) is your typical suburban New Jersey dad: one wife (Anna Gunn), two kids (Kiernan Shipka and Maxwell Cotton), two cars, finance job in the city, and a 22-year-old mistress waiting in the wings. When he runs into Emily Grant (Elizabeth Olsen) at the train station, he can hardly believe it’s the same girl who used to babysit his children as a high schooler: now a Cornell grad in the psychology, she’s back home to take a year off before applying to grad school to become a marriage counselor. Charlie confides that his own marriage is dangerously close to falling apart, and it’s not long before Charlie and Em enter a relationship — a relationship that eventually threatens to destroy both of their lives as they know them.