Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 04.25.16
Stanstead, Quebec


How to make a superhero movie

You start with an Exposition: It's a dark time. It's a dangerous time. It's lunch time. There's a global food crisis, and by "global" we mean the United States, which is the same thing. The government and military have teamed up in an implicitly sinister way with a mega-corporation to manage the crisis using robo-soldiers powered by the world's stockpile of personal deodorants. It's a smelly time.

We cut to the dingy apartment of unemployed chef Lance Meadows. We know he's basically a good person because, even though he was arrested for dumpster diving, he did so only to feed the children at the orphanage, where he grew up and learned to make a breathtaking bouillabaisse.

We also meet the attractive girl across the hall, who is a nurse or a reporter or maybe a nuclear physicist. No, wait: a food inspector! Let's call her Linda Luffinterest. Banter, banter, banter. Will Lance and Linda get together in the end? Don't rush me!

Hopefully, something has exploded at this point, otherwise we're fifteen minutes into the movie and we haven't deployed a single CGI effect.

Meanwhile, the the robo-soldier program's ambitious Number 2, Dax Villion, has conspired to introduce an element of mind control into the initiative by powering the robo-soldiers with fermented cabbage.

"That's crazy!" Someone declares.

"That's kimchi," Dax leers. Always leering, this guy.

After we see what kind of horror the Kimchi Protocol can inflict (CGI!), we have The Intervention. It could be a Mentor, an Alien Force or Technology Gone Horribly Wrong. In this case it's Weird Chemistry. Lance is cooking aloo gobi using black-market cauliflower when suddenly a robo-soldier bursts through the door, smelling like Axe Grubby Boy Deodorant.

To make a long set piece short, through the combination of radioactive deodorant, a blast and spilled potato-cauliflower, Lance Meadows discovers he has the power to absorb all cooking smells into his clothes. He becomes Curry Man.

Malcolm Gladstone postulates that you need to practice something 10,000 hours to perfect it, but this is a superhero movie, so we just need a two-minute Training Montage in which Lance learns to expertly control his stink-absorbing abilities. Through this lighthearted montage ("What's that smell?" says Linda to an embarrassed Lance in a series of gags, and I do mean "gags"), Lance learns that by exuding cooking smells, he has the power to render bad guys helpless with hunger and/or nausea.

His Weakness, however, is that if anyone discovers the stink is coming from him, Lance Meadows, he will die of embarrassment.

After a series of Interventions in which we see Curry Man defeat robo-soldiers bent on seizing citizens' privately grown cabbages, Lance and Dax meet up, maybe at the Food Inspector's Ball, where Lance is catering, arranged by Linda, who once dated Dax but doesn't know that Lance is Curry Man. (Whew!) Banter, banter, banter. "You should work for me," Dax says, leeringly. "I'll stink about it," says Lance.

And Linda needs to be hot on the trail of Curry Man, whose malodorous interventions in the city's few remaining restaurants (where he must go to recharge his permeating powers) has rendered them unfit for public dining, even the Mexican ones.

At some point, there should be a question of Ambiguity/Self-Doubt: is Curry Man really a hero or just kind of gross? But enough angst; more CGI!

Linda uncovers Dax's plot, there's peril, Lance dons his Curry Cape, and everything leads to a climactic battle. CGI, CGI, CGI! Dax, of course, has developed an even stinkier power of his own, so now it's an epic stink-off.

If possible, during the Climax, have one of the robo-soldiers dissolve so that Curry Man can quip, "He who smelt it, melted." You can probably do better than that.

Finally, there must be some kind of Sacrifice. In this case, the only way for Curry Man to defeat stinko-Dax is to absorb all the city's cooking smells. "It's suicide!" warns Linda. "That's what they said about vindaloo Jamaican-jerk burritos," says Curry Man.

Did I mention that a character from a more successful franchise should make a cameo? But not that damn Stan Lee!

Back to the climax: it turns out Curry Man absorbs only the smells from the cities Cinnabon franchises, making him irresistible to Dax who in his blind lust stumbles into a vat of kimchi. "I thought he liked me," quips Curry Man, "but I guess It wasn't ferment to be."

Yeah, yeah, Lance and Linda get together. After they discuss how she still doesn't know who Curry Man is, they embrace. "Mmmm," says Linda. "Have you been cooking?" Wink! Credits roll over Lynard Skynyrd's "That Smell."

And repeat.