Judging from the enthusiastic reception it received at a Saturday screening, Jump! seems destined to be among this year’s Film Fest fan favorites. Which comes as no surprise—it’s a documentary about competitive jump-roping, and for whatever reason, if it’s a weird, obsessive, competitive subculture, you know the movie about it is going to do well. ...
It now seems inevitable that every obsessive fringe competition will eventually have a movie made about it. The only question is what genre. It seems to us that obsessive fringe competition movies usually end up in one of three categories: documentary (Spellbound, Wordplay, Air Guitar Nation, Word Wars, King of Kong), the man-child comedy (Blades of Glory, Balls of Steel, Dodgeball, Kingpin), or the urban-teen drama (Drumline, Roll Bounce, 8 Mile, Mad Hot Ballroom, You Got Served, Step Up).
Well, we have a few million-dollar ideas of our own. And while we really don’t have time to make any of these, we figured if we get them out in print now, we might luck into some royalties later.
Obsessive Fringe Activity: Thumb Wrestling
Genre: Manchild Comedy
Title: Up Yours
Synopsis: Todd is a down-on-his-luck Milwaukee carpenter, played by John C. Reilly, whose table-making business is on the verge of being foreclosed after a freakish accident involving a hammer, a ladder, and a fish tank, which left his thumb swelled to the size of a peach. That’s when a flyer flutters through his window, advertising the 1st Annual Thumb-Wrestling Championship, with a grand prize of the exact dollar amount that he needs to keep his business open. After a training montage that culminates in Todd bench-pressing a fridge with his thumb, and then using it to nimbly dial a phone-sex number on a rotary phone, he rises up the ranks to the championship match. But just before he faces final opponent, Lazer Griffin (Will Arnett), who happens to be the carpentry magnate with plans to buy Todd’s business from the bank, Todd unknowingly eats an ancient Chinese herb that eases his thumb’s swelling. Watch as Todd channels inner strength to defeat Lazer with a regular-sized thumb -- and get the chick in the process.
Obsessive Fringe Activity: Yo-Yoing
Genre: Urban Teen Drama
Title: Toyin’ Wit’ Cha 3
Synopsis: In the final installment of the trilogy before this gritty series about the newest street phenomenon starts going straight-to-DVD, A-Yo, played by Omar Epps, now lives in Beverly Hills, and has all but forgotten his roots on the streets of South Central LA. But when high-school dropout Bulldog, played by a surprisingly eloquent Souljah Boy, starts establishing himself as the next great by destroying some of LA’s meanest yo-yo crews (including the Yakuza gang), A-Yo is forced to take his iced-out yo-yo out of retirement to show that he’s still king. In the climactic alleyway showdown, Bulldog completes the always-thought-impossible Triple Dip Finger Shoop and defeats A-Yo, who instantly becomes his father figure and convinces him to enroll back in high school. Bulldog gets the chick. A-Yo gets Bulldog's mom.
Obsessive Fringe Activity: Obsessive Documentary Film-making
Synopsis: We follow Sarah, a young, broke filmmaker with no experience or industry connections, as she struggles to direct Soar!, a documentary on obsessive kite-flying. Watch as Sarah maxes out seven credit cards and mortgages her parents’ home in order to pay for film equipment, crew meals, and tickets to Shanghai for the International Kite-stravaganza Championship Olympics Tournament. When Sarah's life partner leaves her for the auteur behind last year’s Sundance hit, Spelunk!, it seems our hero has sacrificed everything for a project that might end up as a straight-to-DVD short. But when one of the kite-flyers is exposed as using illegal titanium piping, Sarah stumbles upon the plotline that will project Soar! to the top. In the DVD extras, watch as Soar! is narrowly edged out for a Best Documentary Feature Oscar by Shoot!, which is really confusing for Sarah. But it's all good, because she still gets the chick.
-- Gus Garcia-Roberts