The new adventures of Tom and Huck had been a failure thanks to Alan’s mom’s irrational fears of our contracting malaria from a local pond.
Was that the end of our filmmaking? Oh no. Our lofty and unreachable goals would not be set aside so easily. We were still in possession of the 8mm camera and we still had the drive to be famous, so we decided to begin our second first feature film.
This newest piece of cinematic artistry was to be titled Danger Boys of the Lost City.
Now, similarities could be made between Danger Boys and an iconic film about an adventurous archaeologist, but we, self-deluded and seemingly impervious to reality, had persuaded ourselves that our story was totally unique and would receive waves of awe from moviegoers and industry people alike.
So, what was Danger Boys of the Lost City about? How much adventure could be crammed into one film about two boys?
A small charter plane flies over the jungles of Africa for no reason whatsoever.
Aboard the plane, aside from a pilot that is never shown due to a deficit of adults we wanted involved, are two young boys named Alan and Mike (Alan would portray the role of Alan, I would play Mike).
The thing about Alan and Mike is that they have a knack for getting into trouble, but also a deep commitment to their elementary knowledge of archaeology (a thing they know involves digging in the dirt for gold, but what they don’t realize requires an education). This is not far fetched because, hello, what 10-year olds aren’t chartering planes in order to satisfy their desire to learn about ancient cultures? It’s practically a rite of passage!
For reasons never agreed upon (I suggested a classic engine failure, while Alan really wanted an attack by alien saucers), the plane crashes in one of the continent’s “…most darkest and most remotest” jungles. Miraculously, the two boys jump out just before impact, landing safely onto a pile of leaves from heights of several thousand feet. (The intensity is already that thick!)
With no way of contacting the outside world , the boys are left with no other choice but to use their survivalist backgrounds to trek their way out of the jungle. After several, arduous minutes of hiking, the two boys find that they’ve stumbled upon a city of gold from an ancient civilization named, um, the Bokoloks.
Lured by the opportunity to unlock a new chapter in anthropological and cultural history, the pre-pubescent archaeological wonders begin exploring the ancient ruins. On the outside, the city is beautiful and welcoming. But, once the boys pass the forbidden ‘Door of Entry’, they are shocked to find the city guarded by an elite group of ninjas…sworn to protect the ruins at any cost.
However, these ninjas, with their discipline and training dating back thousands of years, find that they are no match for the boys’ mixture of street smarts, comedic timing and unparalleled skill with a whip (a whip, incidentally, made entirely from dozens of leather shoe laces knotted together end to end. It didn’t make a cracking sound when snapped, so we would have to add the sound effect post-production by breaking potato chips under a glass).
As the action commences, the boys engage the ninjas in a battle envisioned as a cross between a Burt Reynolds barroom brawl and a Keystone cops chase. Our throwing punches with our underdeveloped arms take out the trained assassins left and right. For their part, the ninjas haphazardly bump into one another, stabbing one another in the butt with their swords and become all-around hilarious foils. The sound of tweeting birds would be inserted every time a ninja was knocked unconscious because, ya know, we wanted some realism.
We weren’t sure how it ended, but figured we’d make something up. So…
Day after day, we acted out this epic battle scene, something that was only meant to be just one of the many climaxes the film had to offer. Alan’s hyperactivity proved beneficial, as he was able to simultaneously portray several ninjas at once, coming from all sides.
Yeah, things were really falling into place on Danger Boys of the Lost City. No malaria was gonna stop this movie, no sirree.
Satisfied with the only scene we put any thought into, we moved on to the next natural step: deciding where to premiere Danger Boys of the Lost City. After intense consideration, we decided that the local 4-screen cineplex would be the best venue. It was close enough to Alan’s house that he could get home on-time for bed and not get grounded.
Every aspect of the premiere was planned out. Our friends would show up in tuxedos, the big lights, the expensive limousines, the free bucket of popcorn that Alan and I would share (the pimply-faced teen would smile and wink at us from behind the concession stand as he added, at no charge, an extra, delicious helping of the artificially flavored, finger staining butter he knew we loved so much). We knew that the publicity we’d receive from newspapers all across the country whose headlines heralded us (and rightly so) as child prodigies would be our ticket to fame. As media darlings, our faces would be as common on the evening news as that guy that killed people or whoever the President was. Everyone at school would want to be our friends, we’d receive fan mail from all over the US and from other countries and Canada. It was all going to be so sweet.
Every detail of our success was worked out to a tee. Not one thing was overlooked. Nothing, that is, except the actual movie. We had no large-scale production costs considered, no locales scouted out. In fact, aside from Alan’s manufacturing the shoelace whip, no effort had been put forth to help bring the film to light, at all. In fact, so caught up in what charming comebacks I would have for reporters, I never found time to write one of my patented one-page scripts.
It was only when we realized this oversight did we feel completely beaten down and our ego balloons deflated.
Our sorrow not entirely without merit, however. We had learned one important lesson: in order to premiere a movie and reap the benefits of mass adoration, said movie must first be filmed.