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I Want To Write For TV Guide

So I’m cruising through the program guide on Comcast yesterday and I stumble upon Prince of Darkness. It was one of my favorite pseudo-horror movies when I was a kid, so I was psyched. I clicked the info option to make sure it was the same flick and this was the description:

A priest (Donald Pleasence) summons a professor (Victor Wong) to an old church to see a canister of liquid Satan.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recognize that the description is technically accurate, but fails to capture the real essence of the film. A better description might have been:

Trapped in an old church, a priest (Donald Pleasance) and a professor (Jameson Parker) try to prevent Satan’s return to Earth.

Not much longer, and yet it sells the story better. But I don’t get the sense that the TV Guide writers are trying to be accurate or sell the movie. They’re just cranking out copy.

Anyway, this got me thinking about TV Guide and whether it may actually be challenging to sum up a movie that badly in one short sentence. So I figured I’d give it a try. Consider this my audition to write for TV guide. (Feel free to leave a comment with your own movie summaries.)

  • The Bourne Identity – A man with memory trouble (Matt Damon) kills people.
  • Top Gun – A pilot with daddy issues (Tom Cruise) flies Naval aircraft recklessly.
  • Jaws – Three men (Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider) who need a bigger boat go fishing.
  • Titanic – Two young lovers (Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet) experience extreme moisture.
  • American Beauty – A man (Kevin Spacey) and his wife (Annette Bening) have marital problems.
  • Jurassic Park – A team of scientists led by Sam Neill visit an amusement park accompanied by a lawyer.
  • The Day After Tomorrow – The adventures of a climatologist (Dennis Quaid) studying weather.
  • Rocky – A boxer (Sylvester Stallone) who may be mentally disadvantaged and has an aging coach (Burgess Meredith) tries dating.
  • Forrest Gump – A mentally challenged man (Tom Hanks) waits for a bus and tells stories.
  • The Silence of the Lambs – FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jody Foster) deals with a difficult inmate (Anthony Hopkins).

Written by Michael Turk