April 30, 1995 in Features

On Your Mark, Get Set…Action! We’ve Got A Few Can’t-Miss Scripts For Hollywood Based On The True-Life Events Of The First Sunday In May

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Memo

To: Hollywood

From: a moviegoer

Re: Bloomsday, the motion picture

Want to talk blockbuster?

Want to talk sure thing?

Well, it’s time to green-light a movie based on America’s strangest obsessive love affair. It’s time to tell a story audiences flat out won’t believe - until they see it on the big screen.

We’re talking 50,000 sweaty people in shorts.

We’re talking mega-throngs background footage that’s out of this world.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll learn how to pronounce “Spokane.”

And here’s the beauty part. You’ll be able to say, almost with a straight face, “Based on a true story.”

Because Bloomsday, the race, is shockingly real.

Bloomsday, the movie, can be whatever you want.

The script? No problem. This baby will write itself.

Local cooperation? No sweat. The Inland Northwest loves a little national attention now and then.

Casting? Why, the talent is already camped in our back yard. Four words: Montana is next door.

But I know you’re busy working on “Gump” sequels and O.J. projects. So I’ve taken the liberty of working up a few brief treatments.

See what you think. Call me. We’ll do lunch.

Title: “Mr. Everybody”

Genre: Drama

Story: A Spokane auto parts manager comes out of nowhere to stun everyone by winning Bloomsday in a record time. Then, abandoning his training regimen to celebrate his new-found celebrity status, he quickly puts on 100 pounds and the city turns against him. But supported by his anchorwoman girlfriend, he cleans up his act and vows to defend his title by winning again. His quest captures the nation’s imagination.

Cast: John Goodman, Sandra Bullock and Paul Newman as Spokane Chief of Police Terry Mangan.

Title: “Kardong Colony”

Genre: Sci-Fi

Story: Space aliens kidnap everyone on the race course and transport them to a distant planet where they populate a replica of the Spokane area. But the aliens decide to send everyone back to Earth after some of the colonists begin burning grass fields.

Cast: Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart and Jim Carrey as Spokane County Commissioner Steve Hasson.

Title: “Love on the Run”

Genre: Romance

Story: Two Bloomies, both with diseases mistakenly diagnosed as fatal, meet cute during pre-race training downtown. They start to fall for each other. But a misunderstanding having to do with the Spokane Valley incorporation effort turns them into bitter enemies. Until, that is, she collapses near the finish line near the end of the race. He sees her, scoops her up and continues ahead as thousands cheer.

Cast: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Madonna as Q-6’s Debra Wilde.

Title: “Spike Lee’s Do the White Thing.”

Genre: Documentary

Story: Self-explanatory take on Bloomsday by the ground-breaking director.

Cast: Area residents. Lots of area residents.

Title: “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”

Genre: Action/Thriller

Story: He’s a good-looking rebel who plays by his own rules. She’s a repressed South Hill single mom with a show-stopping figure. Together they unravel a diabolical plot to turn the first Sunday of May into terrorism and carnage.

Cast: Brad Pitt, Uma Thurman and John Travolta as WSU football coach Mike Price.

Title: “Escape to Marmot Mountain”

Genre: Family

Story: The Olsens had planned to leave their cabin at Priest Lake Saturday night and be downtown for the start of the race in plenty of time. But that was before they befriended a grizzly bear named Skippy who had been wounded in a gunfight between rhetoric-spouting environmental radicals and beer-swilling loggers. (Ends happily with Skippy receiving the first XXXXXXL Bloomsday T-shirt and Mr. and Mrs. Olsen deciding not to get a divorce after all.)

Cast: Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones and Winona Ryder as a helpful Nordstrom clerk with veterinary training.

Title: “Espresso Steps”

Genre: Art House

Story: Set mostly in a dark unnamed city in the former Soviet Union. Pointlessly alienated American Generation Xers smoke cigarettes, drink coffee and mispronounce the names of philosophers. They start out as Bloomsday bashers but come to realize how the experience of going up Doomsday Hill can help clarify, if only momentarily, troubling questions about inherited wealth and sexual orientation.

Cast: Nobody you’ve ever heard of.

Title: “Ecoute Repeter”

Genre: Foreign

Story: A married businessman from Paris arrives in Spokane with plans to buy vacant downtown buildings for a winery venture. He quickly becomes involved with several troubled local women. Bloomsday is the backdrop as he tries to be in three places at one time on race day. (In French with subtitles.)

Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve and Jean-Louis Trintignant as Spokane Mayor Jacques Geraghty.

Title: “T-Shirts of the Living Dead”

Genre: Horror

Story: An accident at Hanford turns thousands of Bloomies into mean-spirited mutants who suck the eyeballs out of any homeowner along the race course who complains about water-cup litter. Ex-Californians blamed.

Cast: Dennis Hopper, Kato Kaelin and Denzel Washington as U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt.

Title: “Coyote Spirit”

Genre: Costume/Period Drama

Story: The thrilling untold story of Bloomsday’s 19th Century Native American roots.

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Graham Greene and Janine Turner as Walks With Nikes.

Title: “That Callahan Dame”

Genre: Noir

Story: Dark detective tale about a rich widow with inside information regarding a secret plan to euthanize the KXLY-TV race-coverage team hours before Bloomsday.

Cast: Ann-Margret, David Hasselhoff and NBA great John Stockton as himself.

Title: “Rhapsody in Lilac”

Genre: Made for TV

Story: Two Gonzaga University professors make a bet. If she finishes with the better Bloomsday time, he’ll have to mow her lawn all summer and shovel her driveway all winter. If he finishes with the better time, she’ll have to fix him a pasta salad once a week for the rest of the year and pretend to be his wife whenever his ex comes back to Spokane. Sparks fly. (And, yes, you guessed it … his former wife decides to come back from Seattle for Bloomsday and hilarity ensues.)

Cast: Valerie Bertinelli, Craig T. Nelson, and Jack Elam as a besotted reporter from The Spokesman-Review.

Title: “Got These Feelings”

Genre: Teen Date Flick

Story: A Shadle Park High School couple decides that as a final gesture before breaking up, they’ll run Bloomsday together. As a songjammed soundtrack throbs, they fall in and out of love 47 times before arriving at the finish and the surprise ending. (It was all a dream! Turns out they are actually happily married fortysomethings with 2.3 kids living in Liberty Lake.)

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Juliette Lewis, Steve Martin, Jamie Lee Curtis and James Earl Jones as the haunting voice of the Davenport Hotel (conscience of Spokane).

Title: “Have We Met?”

Genre: Comedy

Story: All three of Sarah McGonigle’s children have been born on previous Bloomsdays. And as the first Sunday in May approaches, she is once again pregnant and due to deliver. But she talks architect husband Fred into going ahead and running the race. Naturally, she goes into labor. And all of Spokane begins its search for Fred McGonigle, who is somewhere out on the course suffering from temporary amnesia after a nasty spill near the merge point.

Cast: Robin Williams, Michelle Pfeiffer and George Wendt as the STA driver committed to finding the man everyone’s trying to track down.

Title: “The Missing Mile”

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Story: Through a bizarre case of mistaken identity, a shy mildmannered Cyrus O’Leary’s waitress finds herself in the middle of a plot to abscond with all the Bloomsday T-shirts on the eve of the race. Her first tentative steps to outwit the bad guys eventually lead her on a bold journey of self-discovery.

Cast: Bridget Fonda, Clint Eastwood and Val Kilmer as the handsome young Century 21 agent with a helicopter.

OK, well that’s a start.

Some tempting titles already have been used for other film stories. “A Face in the Crowd,” “Ruthless People” and “Inherit the Wind” come to mind.

And slightly changing a few actual movie names to fit the bill has a certain appeal: “Seven Hours in May,” “Thousands and Thousands of Clowns,” “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Perspiration,” et cetera.

But really, Bloomsday is an original. If a movie is to be made about it, the story ought to be special. So how about this:

Title: “Bloomsday”

Genre: True life

Story: Year after year, Inland Northwesterners and their guests get up early on a springtime Sunday, assemble peacefully shoulder to shoulder and then run, walk and wheel their way through Spokane for a shirt and to celebrate a sense of community.

Cast: 50,000 friends.

Nah, nobody would believe it. Way too Hollywood.


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