Officially, Red — a shoot-’em-up comedy starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich as retired CIA agents lured back into killing people, in theaters today — was inspired by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner’s comic-book mini-series of the same name. But unofficially, Red is the product of an inevitability. After years of shoot-’em-ups starring strong people and funny people and beautiful people and regular people and married people and foreign people and one black person and one white person, we have arrived here: the shoot-’em-up starring old people. What took so long? In tribute to the occasion, Vulture stayed up all night drinking green tea and eating Cookie Crisp and dreamed up pitches for eight other movie subgenres overdue for their old-people movies.
Clint Eastwood says he’s retired from acting, but would he be able to turn down a role as a gruff, embittered world-saver? It’d basically be Old, Dirty Harry, only instead of breaking all the rules while chasing down a serial killer, he’d be breaking all the rules while chasing down an asteroid or something. We’re also thinking: Helen Mirren as the love interest, possibly in Natalie Portman in Attack of the Clones–style bare-midriff; Patrick Stewart as the evil government bureaucrat.
An Apatow-style old-dude bromance would be appreciated, but that ground has more or less been covered by Grumpy Old Men, Grumpier Old Men, My Fellow Americans, and the woefully underrated Out to Sea (and coming up:
Set in an over-60 corporate tag-football league, with Robert Duvall, Harrison Ford, and James Caan as the core of a perennially crappy team scrapping together into a contender, and William Shatner the smarmy captain of the five-time reigning champs. Hip replacement, back spasm, and “I forgot the play!” senility jokes by the boatload, plus a dramatic game-winning comically weak but successful field-goal attempt. Seriously, how has this movie not been made?
It is a little-known Hollywood mandate that at no point can Halloween not be in some stage of reboot, sequel-ization, or spinoff. How about the next time, we jump ahead a few decades? Jamie Lee Curtis can be replaced by Angela Lansbury, and already insane-seeming John Malkovich can take on Michael Myers.
Imagine an elderly man already struggling with basic tasks in his own time and place, England, 1328 … now magically transport him to modern times and see how he copes! Might the preternaturally befuddled Mickey Rooney be interested?
Danny Glover and Richard Gere star as law-abiding citizens in a futuristic society where (with huge debts to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Logan’s Run) people are born elderly and age backwards, until they are terminated at 60 to avoid overpopulation. Law abiding, that is, until — with our heroes’ fate fast approaching — they are recruited in an epic battle against the requisite old evil dictator (Sean Connery). Ruby Dee can play someone wise.
The next installment in the Spider-Man franchise will travel back to Peter Parker’s high-school days. Maybe the next reboot after that should move to Parker’s twilight years? Jerry Stiller can play the insecure web-slinger, with real-life sweetheart Anne Meara his Mary Jane.
Painfully obvious, but has to be said. (And yeah, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson were just in Last Chance Harvey, but we’re talking old old.) How about Cloris Leachman and Eli Wallach as the initially resistant but ultimately blissfully happy couple? If, like us, you inexplicably sat through all of New York, I Love You, you know the segment where Leachman and Wallach bicker their way through Coney Island was the only good part.
George Clooney’s Danny Ocean wants to pull off one last job, but his old crew has all gotten married and domesticated. So why not recruit a new team who, after years of going straight, now wants to get back into the robbery game? Morgan Freeman is the safe-cracking expert; Michael Caine the master of disguise; Donald Sutherland the wisecracking getaway driver; Nick Nolte the crazed bad guy; and Judi Dench the love interest. In a subversive nod to ageism, the big heist can turn on an ingeniously simple deception involving Depends adult diapers.