Who won a wild weekend? Was it Altered Carbon, Solo, Cloverfield, Avengers, Jurassic World, an unknown Swedish movie? The Super Bowl itself? Mish-Mash Monday has the answer and so much more!

I have a request to anyone who wants to join the “rip off Blade Runner universe” movement.



Just stop.

It’s done. It’s over. It’s 30 years ago. The aesthetic is tired. From the overpriced sequel to Ghost in the Shell to Altered Carbon to Mute. Stop.

First of all, it’s proven that the audience for this stuff is niche. I’ve seen more Bronies than Bladers. But more importantly, writers need to come up with their own shit! Duncan Jones’s Mute script (the next in line of the Blade Runner ripoffs) is terrible. It’s beyond awful. It makes no sense. There’s no story. It only exists so that Jones can play in his ripped-off version of the Blade Runner universe. Stop people. It’s over. Time to come up with something other than floating cars and giant TV ads on the sides of buildings with Japanese women. It’s over.

I’m so glad I got that out of my system.

Speaking of originality, I saw a movie this weekend I’m still trying to process. It’s called “The Square.” I sat down expecting, as I usually do when I’m about to watch a movie, something that made sense. But The Square had no intention of adhering to logic. I’ve never seen a movie like this. David Lynch’d walk out of this one scratching his head. It seemed to be written via a series of individualized sequences linked together by nothing other than they involved the same characters.

The movie, which takes place in the art world, starts out with a great scene. A man is leaving the subway with dozens of other people, and all of a sudden this woman comes running towards him, screaming. “Help! Help! He’s after me! Hellllp!” The man, a curator at a museum, is thrown into the role of protector. The fleeing woman leaps behind him while another man joins him as the crazed man approaches. They prepare for battle. The chaser barrels up, grabs our hero, then says, “Eh, never mind,” then walks away.

What’s so cool about this scene is the way it’s shot. We never cut away from the curator. We hear the crazed guy coming, but we can’t see him. We only see our guy preparing, the woman grabbing him from behind, screaming for help. In a Hollywood movie, we’d be cutting through 20 different angles as he got closer and closer. But staying with the man made the scene so much more harrowing.

The woman thanks him afterwards. Our hero high-fives the other guy who helped, then everyone goes their separate ways. A minute later, hopped up on adrenaline, our hero reaches into his pocket, only to realize that his wallet and phone are gone. He was scammed. It was such an unexpected development, I thought, “This is the way to start a movie! I’m in.”

The movie then cuts to the museum, a place that curates only the most cutting edge contemporary art. One of the exhibits is a giant TV screen with a video on loop of a 50 year old muscled man with bad teeth growling into the camera. To say it’s unsettling is an understatement.

This is followed by a 7 minute staff meeting that is shot so realistically and deals with details so mundane, you wonder if it was put in the movie by accident. Soon after, we get another endless scene, this time an interview with a famous artist. The scene focuses on a man in the audience with Tourette’s Syndrome who keeps screaming out horrible things, like “Show us your cunt” to the female interviewer. You get the sense that maybe this is an exhibit? Performance art? But the movie never lets on. It’s up to the viewer to decide.

Afterwards, a woman (played by Elizabeth Moss of The Handmaiden’s Tale) mistakes the curator for the artist in the interview, and, in an attempt to endear herself, mocks the event, “Show us your cunt!” she belts at him. The curator, who has no idea what she’s talking about because he wasn’t at the interview, mistakes it for a come-on. He then goes to her place and sleeps with her, only to find out she lives with an orangutan. Yes, you read that right. She lives with a giant monkey. You can’t make this stuff up.

Usually I HATE these movies where the script is all over the place. But the movie is shot so beautifully, so uniquely, and the events are so unexpected, it’s impossible to look away. If you’re tired of watching the same old stuff and need a movie that surprises you, by golly I’ve found it. Check out The Square and report back. I’m curious to see what you think.

I can’t do a Mish-Mash Monday without an update on The Last Jedi. The movie’s box office take has fallen even quicker than expected in recent weeks. Three weeks ago, a lot of box office experts had the film hitting $670 million. I thought it’d get to $630. It’s middling now at $615, making a paltry 2 million bucks over the weekend.

It’s finally safe to say that the majority of people who saw this film hated it. I know there are people out there who genuinely like the film. But they’re in the vast minority. More and more people are being honest with themselves and admitting the truth. This is a bad script on almost every level – pacing, plotting, characters, choices. And hey, if you’re still trying to convince yourself you liked it, I understand. I convinced myself I liked The Phantom Menace for a full year after it was released.

What’s odd about the whole Last Jedi thing is the Riansplaining Tour. I know Rian Johnson is just answering questions people ask him. But I’ve never seen a director spend this much time defending his movie. Ever. Tell me one director who’s ever done this. Some people didn’t like The Force Awakens. I think JJ Abrams did, maybe, two interviews responding to the criticism? Rian Johnson has done like 50.

For the purpose of sites like these, these explanations give us a rare glimpse into the screenwriting process of major franchises. It also highlights a rarely talked about trend that can be dangerous in screenwriting – using the tools of the craft to talk yourself into bad ideas.

I discussed this the other day, actually – this notion of tools. And how tools are there to help you. But they only work when used in conjunction with your gut. In a recent Collider Interview, Rian rehashed why he made the now infamous choice for Rey’s parents to be nobodies. This is what he said:

It was more a dramatic decision of ‘What is the toughest thing she could hear about her parents? What is the thing for her and for us what will make her have to stand on her own two feet and will make things the hardest for her?’ Because she’s the hero and that’s her job—to have things be the hardest for her.

This is a well-known screenwriting tool – making things as hard as possible on your character. But used in isolation, it can lead to some seriously bad choices. For example, if I wanted to “make things as hard as possible” on the hero of my latest screenplay, Lou, I could kill off his entire family. If critics who disliked the choice said, “Don’t you think that was a bit harsh? Killing off his entire family?” “No,” I’d say. “Because in storytelling, you want to make things as hard as possible on your hero. And you have to agree this made things hard on Lou, right?”

Uhhhh…but…well… I guess?

The missing element here is gut. While the tool is used to build the choice. It’s your gut that must decide if the choice is correct. If something in your gut tells you it doesn’t feel right? That means it’s the wrong choice. Rey’s parents being nobodies doesn’t FEEL right for a Star Wars film, regardless of whether the tool said the choice should work. And that’s the component Rian Johnson forgot to apply. Just remember, guys, a tool is something that builds a possibility. But ultimately it’s up to you to decide if the choice feels correct.

Moving on to the Super Bowl spots. I think it’s pretty clear who won the night. It’s Cloverfield, baby. For those who didn’t hear, not only did Netflix debut the first trailer for the film during the Super Bowl, they’re releasing the film TONIGHT! SAY WHAT!!??? First off, kudos to Netflix for continuing to change the game. They said, “What can we do that nobody else can?” What they can do is debut a movie whenever they want. They don’t have to send it to 10000 theaters. That’s what good screenwriters do. They ask, “What can I do with my concept that nobody else can do with theirs? What’s unique about my story and how can I exploit that?” Nobody has EVER DONE THIS BEFORE. Released a major movie trailer and then had it come out ON THE SAME DAY!!! Kudos to JJ for continuing to surprise us. Kudos to the marketing team for thinking up this clever stunt. When is a movie ever going to be in more demand than right after its Super Bowl commercial? Genius.

Sadly, not everyone hit a home run. I’m going to wait to talk about Solo since they’re releasing the new trailer tomorrow morning (I’ll add my thoughts to the end of this article when it debuts). Someone forgot to tell the people at Avengers Headquarters that a trailer is more than 5 close-ups and the words, “May 8th.” The Jurassic Park trailer was so bland. Rule number 1 for a sequel trailer. Show us what’s different this time around. They’re hoping that adding a girl’s bedroom will be different enough to bring in crazy box office? Yeah, good luck with that. Skyscraper, a script I reviewed here on the site, did nothing to improve my thoughts on the project. But The Rock is The Rock so maybe that’s all that matters. Mission Impossible looked pretty good but it’s the same problem. What’s different this time around? Tom Cruise broke his foot?

I’m stoked for the Stephen King Universe on Hulu. I’ve been DYING for a good TV show. This one highlights Shawshank AND has Pennywise in it? The exact same actor as in It? Uhhh… dial me up and call me Sally. This looks tremendous. I’m torn on Annihilation. It looks unique. It’s directed by Alex Garland, who wrote and directed one of my favorite scripts of 2015, Ex Machina. But I’ve started and stopped reading the book 5 times now. I can’t get through it. There’s something about it that doesn’t work. Paramount trying (and failing) to sell it off doesn’t bode well either. I’m actually shocked they’d pay for a Super Bowl spot. Usually when studios are unsure about a movie, they give it a smaller marketing campaign, not a bigger one. I’m hoping this is good.

I’ll be back when the Solo trailer debuts. The word on the street is that Alden Ehrenreich either can’t act, is unconvincing as Han Solo, or both. Some people who claimed to see footage have even floated the rumor that they’re considering dubbing him with a different actor. I doubt that’s true but, hey, it would stick with Star Wars tradition, right? So that’s what I’ll be looking for in the trailer – Han speaking. Because based on the small sampling of footage in the Super Bowl, the movie looks pretty cool. Almost to the point where you’re like, “What’s the big worry?” The big worry is a movie called “Solo” where the actor playing Han Solo is the worst part of the movie. Nothing else matters unless they get that right. I’m praying they do!

****Solo Trailer Reaction – Coming Soon!****

It’s here! The full Solo trailer. So what do I think?? I think it looks good! I tried to watch the trailer through the eyes of someone who had no idea about the film’s troubled production. As a trailer, all by itself, was it good? And I’d say the answer is a resounding yes. You’ve got lots of action. There’s a distinct look to this thing. There are some really cool aliens (who’s that badass masked drifter dude?). Han originally trying to work for the Empire. Even Woody Harrelson looks cool.

The question mark has always been Alden Ehrenreich. And while I don’t think he blows anyone away in this trailer, he doesn’t seem nearly as bad as rumors have suggested. One thing to keep in mind here is that Han Solo is not “Han Solo” in this movie yet. He wasn’t always a carefree wisecracking shit-grinning rogue. I think they were hoping to do three of these Solo movies, and one of the ideas was to show how Han got to that place. Which would mean starting from another place – one that was more serious. If you’re younger and more idealistic, your personality is going to be different. I’m guessing that’s what’s going on here. I’m not saying that it’s going to work. But that was probably their thought-process.

If we’re ranking pre-interest based on trailers for Star Wars films, I put this behind Force Awakens, but definitely ahead of Last Jedi and Rogue One. Actually, this feels like the movie Rogue One should’ve been. We were told with that film we were getting all these cool rogue Star Wars underbelly characters. Instead we got a bunch of lame boring losers. Solo seems intent on correcting this. These characters look more colorful (literally!) and more fun. By the way, is that Maz Kanata at 36 seconds in??

As Han would say, though, we’re not in the clear yet, kid. This is supposed to be the first “full” trailer and the title card arrives at 1:06. That seems early. Like they don’t have enough cool stuff to fill an entire trailer. Then again, I think they’re still shooting this thing. They literally might not have enough footage! I’m intrigued, though. I think this movie could be cool. Let’s hope so for the sake of this franchise! It has to win back fans after Last Jedi.

  • Justin

    Damn, that was fast.

    • Scott Crawford

      First… use the power wisely, son.

      • Justin

        I think… not.

  • Poe_Serling

    Mish-mash Monday is always fun!

  • Sean Luft


  • Myster82

    OT: My script Roger is now a semi finalist in the WeScreenplay Feature Contest. I would like to say thanks to everyone that was kind enough to give us notes (November’s amateur offering) and help us take it to the next level.

    For anyone thinking of entering their script for amateur offering I definitely recommend it. As scary as it is, the benefits are huge. Even if you don’t get picked.

    Fingers crossed the script makes the final.

    • Justin

      Badass. Congratz — hopefully it goes all the way!

      • Myster82

        Thanks Justin

    • Scott Crawford

      Congratulations on your semi.

      That joke will never/always get old/be funny.

    • klmn

      Big congrats! Good luck in the upcoming rounds.

    • jbird669


  • Mayhem Jones

    I really liked the Solo trailer but during it a SMALL VOICE inside me went “wait…are we hardly seeing Alden because he’s actually really terrible in it????? nooooooooooooo”.


    • Justin

      Maybe he’ll be a Tommy Wiseau-genius terrible…?


    • Scott Crawford

      It’s not a small voice, it’s an accurate one.

      Dubbing, edititing, even CGI, there are lots of ways around a bad performance.

    • Myster82

      Is it me or does Alden sound northern (UK)? when he says “best in the galaxy”. I had no idea that Han Solos came from Sheffield.

      • Mayhem Jones


      • Scott Crawford

        “Great shot, that’s proper champion, that, lad!”

    • JasonTremblay

      Jack O’Connell would’ve been better.

  • Scott Crawford

    Dun-dun dun-dun dun-dun dun-dun…

    Guess which movie I’M most excited about?

    I’m so excited, I can’t sleep. That and other things. See you in my morning.

  • brenkilco

    Altered Carbon is clearly expensive and visually showy- the jury is still out on the advantages of HDR- the world building elaborate and painstaking. The basic premise is reasonably interesting. So why is the thing so dull? No story really needs to be ten hours long. And when the subplots and filler don’t click……

    • Scott Crawford

      ‘cept they all are ten hours long now.

      There was an eight-hour Soviet Movie (released in four parts) of War and Peace (NOT the longest book ever written, but up there), and (western) critics complained that it had a lot of boring bits, close ups of trees and the like.

      So if War and Peace doesn’t need to be that long…

      • brenkilco

        I’ve never seen and am not sure I ever want to see Bela Tarr’s Satantango, even though it regularly crops up on lists of best movies ever made. An eight hour tale that chronicles the deterioration of a muddy, Hungarian, collective farm. I understand the first ten minutes are just shots of cows milling about. For the It ain’t art unless it hurts crowd. Still, probably a more entertaining sit than Solo.

        • Scott Crawford

          I could’ve mentioned the nine hour cut of GREED that had every dot and comma of the book in it.

          Of course, there’s always:


          • brenkilco

            Hah, yes it’s on my list to watch. Right after Andy Warhol’s ‘Empire’ .

        • Scott Serradell

          Interesting coincidence — but I just recently acquired a copy of “Satantango” (one finally popped up on eBay.) Sat down and watched the first hour and a half — and that was only because I had other engagements. I’ll watch the rest when I have the opportunity…

          But so far I’m totally into it. And what on the surface looks like the penultimate cliche of an art film (long takes, muted action, black and white photography, a somber and minimal score etc.) is actually all done by an artist who is extremely deliberate with his execution and design. Yes, you have to be open and patient to the experience, but (again, so far) I have found it very interesting and far from boring.

    • carsonreeves1

      It’s because they’re making the same mistake as every project that uses the Blade Runner aesthetic. They think the Blade Runner look is going to do all the work for them.

      • brenkilco

        Bladerunner was really a one off. One of the very few movies where a fascinating background makes up for a fairly mundane foreground. And where scads of unanswered questions create fascination and not anger. But ordinarily your world is never going to compensate for your inadequate story,

      • jbird669

        Have you read the book on which the show is based?

    • RBradley

      Loved the book.

  • Justin

    Watching “The Cloverfield Paradox” now — will let you guys know how it turns out (without spoiling it, of course).

    P.S. Extremely shaky cam in the beginning, so… Scott C., it’s not for you.

    • Justin

      So for anyone who might be interested, I just finished the film…

      Final thoughts: It wasn’t bad. I can imagine most being disappointed, but the film was basically a “Life” meets “Aliens” with a tiny bit of the “Cloverfield” element incorporated into it. If you’re looking for about 2 hours of sci-fi entertainment, you’ll love it. Otherwise, not so much. The first couple minutes were sloppy and just weirdly done, a couple set ups could have been much smoother (especially for the ending), and… yeah, that’s about it. Great acting, though. Can’t complain about that. Love some Elizabeth Debicki; always a pleasure to witness her acting.

  • klmn

    Wow, you wrote this during the Superbowl, Carson?

    Are you an immigrant?

    • JasonTremblay

      The Super Bowl is the Super Bowl of everything I couldn’t give a damn about.

      • klmn

        That’s how I feel about Star Wars. At least the action in the Superbowl obeys the laws of physics.

  • Michael Weldon

    THE SQUARE made my top 10 of 2017 films. I absolutely love Ruben Ostlund. I’m curious, have you seen FORCE MAJEURE, Carson? It’s so fucking good.

    • carsonreeves1

      I don’t remember. There were two foreign films that looked similar and I think I only saw one of them. Force Majeure might’ve been the other one.

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpjCroELCew Carmelo Framboise

      Well, if someone saw Force Majeure, he probably would have remembered so I don’t think Carson saw it.

      In general, I believe that American filmmakers who study their European colleagues (and Asian, and African, and Latin-American, and Oceanian), are way more interesting and combined with the Hollywood magic, they really raise their game.

      I remember Nicholson in the 70s saying that when he saw L’ Avenntura he was blown away. That’s how you become great.

    • Jonathan K

      I thought THE SQUARE was fabulous in parts, but it all got messy for me. That said, both the pickpocket scam (that Carson referenced) and the dinner party entertainment scenes were stunning and unforgettable.

      FORCE MAJEURE was spectacular, agreed.

      P.S. I’m not sure that Elizabeth Moss is mistaking the curator for the artist. She knows the curator because she interviews him (poorly) in the opening of the film. I thought that moment was about her being clearly interested in the curator, and in her nervousness, she tries making a silly joke about the Tourette’s incident.

      • juleslefrog

        Glad you appreciated “The Square”. Yes, it’s not as tight as “Force Majeure” since its thematic scope is wider, but those set pieces you mention… Wow. jut wow. Another measure of The Square’s success is how ,at the Cannes Film Festival, the movie was accused by some critics of being too right wing, and by others of being too left wing. When a movie ends up being a Rorschach test for the audience, the director is doing something right!

  • Scott Serradell

    Speaking of “Star Wars” — Finishing up a quick polish but hopefully coming soon to an Amateur Friday near you … https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4412187814f8de180196917c3c105eace27c0347f1ae91f01c5d634ab61fa605.jpg

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Fuck ya! Bring it on! Stop teasin’

    • DB Stevens

      I’m excited, Scott. But can you maybe spice up the title the way Lucas would make them kinda hokey as a throwback to the old serials?

      Maybe “A REPUBLIC TRIUMPHANT” or “THE NEW REPUBLIC GAMBIT” or something even more crazy? I have to admit I kinda hate how even the titles of the new trilogy are standard fare and lost the throwback heart of the previous Lucas flicks.

      • Scott Serradell

        I totally agree with you and, believe me, I’ve thought about it. In my defense, “The New Republic” is wrapping up the story-lines from the last two movies, so there had to be SOME unity — aesthetically and thematically — to connect it with the others, even if it sounds perfunctory at best. Originally it was “A New Republic” (mirroring episode 4) but a title starting with “A” just seems weird.

        • DB Stevens

          Fair enough. Fitting it into this trilogy of perfunctory “The…” titles actually does fit. Sad, but true.

  • JasonTremblay

    “This is a well-known screenwriting tool – making things as hard as possible on your character.”

    Sure. But NOT if it’s boring and/or deflates expectations. The reveal of Rey’s parents was both. AND it goes nowhere.

    BAD screenwriting.

    • moog

      The funny thing about this is that it suggests that another tool wasn’t used at all – to have a character biography for Rey. This surprised me because this is a franchise where family origins / history is one of the de facto pillars on which it rests. After TFA the internet speculation about her origins was one of the major talking points. To have made an ad hoc decision about a core element of a character’s history telegraphs a lack of commitment or work in that area.

      I actually liked that particular choice, I just thought it seemed pretty late in the day to be figuring it out. I think Disney made a calculated move with this film – for it to be iconoclastic. Shatter as many of the restraints of the universe, so they can have more freedom within it and remake it for new generations with new societal mores to reflect.

  • Lucid Walk

    I apologize for addressing the elephant in the room, but what happened to Amateur Offerings?

    • klmn

      It’s every other week now (until C changes the schedule again).

  • John Bradley

    The movie I’m most excited about is Hereditary! Looks amazing! https://youtu.be/YHxcDbai7aU

  • ripleyy

    I really liked Altered Carbon, which has the best character arc in a show in a long time with Lizzie. Plus, it’s CYBERPUNK. That’s why it looks so familiar. But I do agree, I never realised 2018 was the Year of the Cyberpunk.

    Still, I highly recommend Altered Carbon!

  • Pugsley

    Carson: for a real off the wall, Lynchian thriller, check out Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest film, The Killing of A Sacred Deer. By the same guy who gave us The Lobster. As close to vintage David Lynch as I’ve ever seen.

    • scriptfeels

      One of my favorite films from last year. I loved it.

      • Pugsley

        There are moments, notably the mundane dining room sequences, that reminded me of Eraserhead. And the last act when both siblings — (spoilers)

        — are crawling around the house without the use of their legs, was straight out of the David Lynch playbook.

  • Ace

    How’s this for a Blade Runner rip off?

  • JakeBarnes12

    Wait, what?

    There’s a new cyberpunk show with a Blade Runner aesthetic?

    Fuck all y’all. I’m in.

  • Nick Morris
    • Scott Crawford

      Someone did a BRUTAL takedown of Empire on Twitter other day. Not entirely inaccurate but, hey, it’s only a movie, Ingrid.


      • Nick Morris

        And ESB suffers from the same “Wait, so how long did the training take?” timing issues as TLJ. Assuming Han and Leia are running from the Empire for, I dunno, a day maybe? That means Luke crashes on Dagobah, finds Yoda, trains with Yoda and gets his X-Wing back up and running in the same time span. But, whatever. ESB is till my all-time favorite movie. :)

        • Kane

          We are gonna have to disagree on that one. Luke had already trained with a Jedi by the start of Empire. He was unable to lift the xwing (Yoda lifted it for him) after training. He got his arse handed to him when he went up against someone trained in the force, Vader. The implication being he still had a lot more training to do. Rey hasn’t lost a fight yet even without training and was able to move mountains within the same short training time span where Luke couldn’t master anything except a butt whoopin from daddy.

          • Nick Morris

            I meant the actual passage of time as it relates to the rest of the film. Not who trained long enough to accomplish what.

          • Kane

            I get you, but my impression has always been that the ludicrously short passage of time for training was an intentional plot point for Empire. As in Luke don’t go, you just got here, you literally only did the intro course and can’t even unstick your xwing, you are going to die bro. Whereas it was a plot hole for TLJ, as in a similarly short period, Rey is ready to take on all comers.

        • DB Stevens

          Getting caught up in the technical details is part of the problem that leads to the studio not understanding why things work and don’t work.

          It’s more important for these self-contained universes to feel like they make sense than to actually make sense. They can come up with reasons why the kamikaze run makes technical sense and toss that in a book somewhere, but the problem is that at the time it felt wrong even if it also looked cool at the time.

          Its sort of like when Carson talks about having too many weird things at the same time in a premise or log line. You can only make so many leaps of faith at a time.

          And for ESB…technically, Luke had 3 years of training on his own, reaching out with his feelings and whatnot, and having Ghost Ben doing his Jedi-whisperer thing. So he came into Dagobah with all his Force high school AP credits serving as his prerequisites for Yoda.

  • Scott Crawford
    • Magnus script account

      First big issue: can Han Solo develop as a character in this film when he was still this kind of person at the beginning of the first Star Wars movie?

      • DB Stevens

        I think so. Just moving from the extremes of “the establishment” with his Imperial Academy stuff, to “the underbelly” with him probably mixing up with people who are just plain bad not lovable rogue types, provides enough contrast and growth (even if that growth is shown as a pendulum instead of the standard linear approach).

    • Nick Morris

      Looks cool. I’m happy to see that they appear to be sticking with Solo’s Expanded Universe backstory and his history with the Empire, at least to some extent.

  • CJ

    To all Resistance fighters:
    The rumors from the front are true: Screaming Eagle Squadron out-dueled and eventually destroyed the First Order last night on a remote ice world.

    Philly Philly!

  • RS

    Aside from that tough loss (yes, I am a New Englander), and the emerging controversy about why Malcolm Butler was benched, was there one spot or trailer for a movie or a TV ad that was original content? Star Wars, Jurassic Park, a Jack Ryan and Castle Rock series. The only thing that looked original was the Rock movie, but it seemed to have so many elements of Die Hard that it didn’t seem that original. Everything is a sequel or a reboot. Everything!

    • jbird669

      That’s what happens when businessmen and accountants run Hollywood instead of creatives. They are risk-averse by nature. The problem is, people still go to see these films.

  • Omoizele Okoawo

    I think the reason why this latest Star Wars trilogy is garbage is because it has no story engine. You could make a case for every movie of the original trilogy having the same story engine with the stakes increased. You could describe the emotional logic of the story engine as being “a hero working hard to learn about a mystic warrior tradition learns enough to have interesting fights but always has to be rescued from the final climactic fight”. Very much like Arya Stark in Game Of Thrones, it’s a story engine of growth. There are other subplots but they all serve to increase the drama of the growth story engine.

    I think the story engine that Rey should have had was Katniss Everdeen’s in The Hunger Games. Katniss is technically a very strong character who would be considered a Mary Sue but for the fact that, unlike the drama sucking black hole of a MS, she generates drama (For one thing, every time she risks her life for someone else, you never get the impression that she thinks that she’s going to survive it.) The story engine for the Hunger Games trilogy is that due to her past when her father died and her mother fell apart emotionally leaving her children to starve until Katniss figured out a way to feed them by hunting, she feels compelled to protect the weak at all costs. That’s why she stands up for her sister in the lottery. That’s why she tried to help Rue. That’s why she decided that she’d rather commit suicide with whatshisname than kill him and win the games. That instinctive urge she has to protect the weak no matter the cost to herself plays out throughout the trilogy.

    The problem with the new trilogy is that NO ONE has a complete story engine. Everyone is being pushed by the writers to fulfill the plot points the writer wants to hit without having a real, compelling reason for doing what they do.

  • DB Stevens

    You can’t trust your gut if you haven’t developed it’s instincts over years or a lifetime.

    Someone who builds a career out of deconstruction isn’t likely to have a good gut call on something that needs earnestness and sincerity, and vice versa.

    So step one isn’t trust your gut, it’s know your limitations and write what you know.

    • Omoizele Okoawo

      I’ve never been a king but I do my research. -G.R.R.Martin

  • Justin

    I take back what I said about the Solo trailer. It looks great — much better than I thought. The Han Solo actor doesn’t seem terrible, not bad at all.

    I’m kinda excited for it.

    • Mayhem Jones

      SAME. Looks awesome!!

      • Justin

        Yep. I’m still not a huge fan of the casting, but his acting isn’t as bad as suspected.

        • Nick Morris

          Still say they should’a got this guy.

          • Justin

            Good eye. With some acting lessons, I could see him becoming the new Han Solo.

            What the hell was the studio thinking not casting this guy?!

          • Nick Morris

            He’s even played young Ford before in something called “Age of Adeline”. I haven’t seen that but, c’mon! I think he was in the running for Solo but lost out to Alden Ehrenreich.

  • carsonreeves1

    Added my reaction to the full Solo trailer that debuted this morning. What did you guys think??

    • MrMcGuffin

      I think hiring Bradford Young was a smart move. This looks gorgeous. I thought that was Maz Kanata too, but they claim in TFA that she’s hundreds/thousands of years old. But that character at 0:36 is considerably younger than Maz. I get that they would de-age her, but she’s still should be looking pretty old, if it’s actually her.

    • DB Stevens

      Looks fun. It’s weird that the Story movies are more diverse and visually interesting than the Saga Sequel movies that are the farthest removed and designed to “be different”.

      But it’s still early for this SOLO thing.

    • Scott Serradell

      I agree with your assessment. It looks pretty good!

      My only question came at the 00:22 mark: Was that…A Wookie skin coat he was wearing??

      (Joking…Kind of)

      • DB Stevens

        He has to stay warm while eating his Porg skewer combo meal.

    • Scott Crawford

      I’m just happy that YOURE happy. I take no delight in your disappointment with the last two movies.

    • Erica

      It’s what I’ve been saying now for months, Don’t worry about the rumors and troubles production’s had, Ron Howard has taking over and it will be good. He would not have taken the job if he knew he couldn’t make a great story. I put my faith in Ron and it looks like he has delivered.

      So looking forward to the movie. Wonder if there will finally be a “New” version of the Falcon released for collectors. Last good one was in 2008.

      • Nick Morris

        “Wonder if there will finally be a “New” version of the Falcon released for collectors. Last good one was in 2008.”

        Probably not. Hasbro’s new ships/playsets have been pretty weak since TFA. But I’ve got one of those 2008 Falcons. It’s seriously badass. :)

        • Erica

          Still wishing I bought one of those, now they are far too much money on ebay. Oh well, I do have the 1977 falcon :)

          • Nick Morris

            My son and I are currently restoring my childhood Kenner Falcon from ’77. Just missing the canopy glass and that damn training ball. :)

    • Andrea Moss

      Another Star Wars movie under Kathleen Kennedy management, another scene with an alien tentacled monster… It’s her personal brand for the franchise, or what?

    • jbird669

      Much better than I expected. I like the Western feel, which the character posters continue.

      I take umbrage with your posts saying that the majority of people dislike Last Jedi. In my circle, that is incorrect. The majority of diehard SW fanatics seem to dislike it (I’m not one of them, for the record). However, the casual moviegoers that I know and talk to have nothing but praise for it.

  • MrMcGuffin

    The full length Mission Impossible trailer is fantastic. McQuarrie seems custom built for the franchise.

  • Poe_Serling

    Since it’s an open mic forum today…

    I just noticed that TCM is in full swing with its month-long programming schedule
    featuring Academy Award winners. This year each day of films is broken down
    into specific categories: Best Sound, Best Art Direction, Best Actress, and so on.

    For those interested in the writing side of such things…

    Three upcoming evenings are devoted to a handful of pics scoring an Oscar for
    putting pen to paper.


    Best Adapted Screenplays

    >>Little Woman
    >>Doctor Zhivago
    >>Tom Jones


    Best Original Screenplays

    >>Splendor in the Grass
    >>Pillow Talk
    >>The Candidate
    >>The Producers
    >>Citizen Kane


    Best Original Story

    >>Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
    >>The Champ
    >>A Star is Born
    >>Boys Town
    >>Vacation from Marriage

    I’ve been fortunate enough to see my fair share of the above flicks, but I can’t
    recall if I’ve ever seen the original version of The Champ (once watched the
    Jon Voight remake).

    • brenkilco

      Although it’s often derided for its obsessive visual splendor and its somewhat diffuse story, Dr. Zhivago really has a first rate script. Robert Bolt crafts several remarkable dialogue scenes that are particularly impressive for their precision and compression. It’s also innovative. The first meeting between Zhivago and his brother is this carefully constructed combination of ordinary dialogue and narration that’s unlike any other scene I know. And that last line with the swelling music gets me, although they should have cut the rainbow over the Soviet dam. There are no Bolts today.

      • Poe_Serling

        Several years ago…

        C reviewed the unproduced Nostromo screenplay – a project involving both Lean and Bolt.

        • brenkilco

          The Nostromo script is extremely strange and quite unlike anything Bolt had done before. Short but very dense. None of the dialogue is particularly memorable and there isn’t that much of it. But the descriptions are quite elaborate. What exactly Lean had in mind, we’ll never know.

  • http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts Eldave1

    Just my opinion – and yes I am an old, out of date fok I guess, – but continuing to reference Star Wars on a script writing site not only becomes tedious, it’s akin to food critic site focusing on the new McRib sandwich – billions in sales (still crap).

    • brenkilco

      You mean you’re not excited about the ninth, or is it the eleventh, sequel in a forty year old franchise, all of whose initial creators have long since moved or passed on? You’re not interested in an entertainment designed for eight year olds of all ages? You’re not expecting the most bottom line obsessed, committed driven,family pandering, entertainment conglomerate on Earth to give you something artistically fresh rather than recombine the same old tropes for the umpteenth time? Whassa matta with you?

      • Thaddeus Arnold

        Boy, you must be fun at parties.

        It’s okay to make fun movies. It really is. Some of the great movies are fun. Some actually made by Disney, LucasFilm, Pixar and Marvel.

      • klmn

        You don’t want to see another Death Star explode?

    • Erica

      Star Wars is a Religion. :)

      • klmn

        Carson is a practicing Jedi.

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          He’s my favorite Jedi. I just fear he’s one of those in Kylo’s old class. Still, a badass none-the-less.

  • MrMcGuffin

    Also, and I can’t believe I spent more than a minute looking into this – but here’s what I took from the Jurassic World trailer… Colin Trevorrow is a one-hit wonder. This movie looks atrocious.

    If you watch the trailer, you come away with the following:

    – They return to Isla Nubar to “save” the dinos from extinction (irony!). I’m thinking this is the first half of the movie.
    – Pratt is re-united with Blue, the raptor, who will become his effing sidekick in this movie!
    – The true intent of the venture back to the island seems to be to save certain breeds, since the nefarious Toby Jones is later seen serving as an auctioneer later on, with a bid-board behind him with the word “IndoRaptor” on it. If you remember from the 1st JW, the genetically engineered big bad dino was the Indominous Rex. So I would assume that they decided to mess with the smartest of the dinos this time around, the Raptor, thus the IndoRaptor.
    – This will lead to the IndoRaptor, or more like, a pack of IndoRaptors, terrorizing and murdering people back in the real world (as witnessed by the thing in the little girl’s bedroom). And Chris Pratt and co, including newly minted dino-sidekick Blue, will have to save the day.

    While it was smart, if you’re bringing a dinosaur to the mainland (instead of say, setting a t-rex loose in LA), to make it a smaller one that can terrorize on a more individual level, this looks laughably bad. I hope I’m wrong, but the first one seemed to generate a lot of it’s box office from nostalgia. This thing is gonna suck.

    • ShiroKabocha

      the genetically engineered big bad dino was the Indominous Rex. So I would assume that they decided to mess with the smartest of the dinos this time around, the Raptor

      The Indominous Rex was already modified with Raptor DNA, that was actually the big twist / reveal of JW, when Pratt and co realized the creature was even more dangerous than assumed and the humans tampering with Mother Nature even stupider.

    • jbird669

      Colin did not direct this film.

      • MrMcGuffin

        No, but he did write it.

        • jbird669

          Correct, but the director likely added his own stamp, as they all do.

  • brenkilco

    Is anyone else weirded out by the fact that these Star Wars movies all seem to require the presence of young British actresses who look exactly the same? Some guys have a type. Disney appears to have a genome.

    • DB Stevens

      Brits and Star Wars have been entwined from the very beginning. Making the girl a Brit instead of the guys is how Disney is being “different” (insert eye roll emoji)

    • Kirk Diggler

      So you can’t tell Daisy Jones from Felicity Clarke from Emilia Ridley? C’mon man!

      • Midnight Luck

        Daisy Emilia Felicity Ridley-Clarke Jones.
        Good name.

    • Scott Crawford

      I already have a Daisy Ridley action figure and a Felicity Jones action figure. I’m looking forward to getting a Phoebe Waller-Bridge action figure and renacting episodes of Friends aboard the Millennium Falcon.

    • Midnight Luck

      I thought it was hilarious, yet it had a purpose, a reason, the one woman looked the same in the Prequels. Because Princess Amidala had copycats so nobody could tell who was the actual princess. Who was a stand in and who was the real one.

      That was like, literally, the ONLY thing I liked about the prequels. An interesting concept, and I liked how they unfolded it.

  • Frankie Hollywood

    OT a bit. Curious how you guys would react. Starz’s COUNTERPART. I’ve read numerous articles and reviews on it (just finished another one, that’s what’s got me thinking: “The spy/conspiracy story is kind of a dud, but Howard’s a keeper.” https://www.tvinsider.com/662295/roush-review-j-k-simmons-counterpart-starz/?utm_source=TV+Insider&utm_campaign=e4e7b9e8fd-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3576f8ead4-e4e7b9e8fd-14354317).

    NO ONE is impressed by the idea/story but everyone loves Simmons and he’s pretty much the sole reason it’s a success. If you’re the writer/creator Justin Marks what would you be thinking? “So everyone thinks my idea sucks but thank god we got the right actor?”

    A success is a success (RT: 100% Critic though 69% Audience. Still, that’s a 84.5% average).

    I dunno. I’d be conflicted if my show was a success DESPITE me, the writer/creator. You get the wrong actor for Counterpart it’s a surefire flop (of course, that probably goes for most every TV series…and movie).

    • DB Stevens

      I’d be super grateful I was able to secure Simmons. I’d cash my checks. And I’d take the success of the show, that I created, and keep shopping new things around. Because success is all that matters. It’s hard to get something made. It’s harder to make something successful. If you did it, how you did it isn’t secondary, it’s not tertiary, it’s all but irrelevant.

    • BoSoxBoy

      If Simmons weren’t in it, it would be unwatchable. It’s barely watchable with him.

    • klmn

      “…I dunno. I’d be conflicted if my show was a success DESPITE me, the
      writer/creator. You get the wrong actor for Counterpart it’s a surefire
      flop (that probably goes for most every TV series…and movie, though).”

      Then all you could do is do the best job you can and ride it out for as long as you can. If you can’t do that, take up bull riding. You only have to stay on for eight seconds.

      • Frankie Hollywood

        Don’t get me wrong, I’d take the W, I’d cash the checks, I’d ride the train for as long as the gravy was flowing. I’d just take to heart, seriously take to heart, basically all the critics saying, “Your idea sucks and the only reason I’m giving your show a thumbs up is because of the casting.”

        And if I were a producer I’d be thinking the same thing. If Justin’s reps called for a meeting I’d think, “This guy got lucky. His idea sucked but he landed the perfect actor.”

        I’d be happy that I was involved in a “successful” TV show. But I’d be disappointed to know it was basically in spite of me. That’s all.

        • klmn

          The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.

  • Omoizele Okoawo

    If the name Star Wars and Solo weren’t in it, would this trailer really pull you in? What these guys should be doing is giving us stories that would be interesting on there own. Like the Mission Impossible: Fallout trailer looks interesting even if you were unfamiliar with the series.

    • RS

      I would go a small step farther. It need only have the sub-header “A Star Wars Story” to draw interest, and I believe we’ll be seeing that for years to come (perhaps once a year). The Yoda origin story, Palpatine in his early days. The adventures of Princess Leia! They are going to milk the SW universe for everything that it is worth, and as long as SW is somewhere in the title or sub-title, no matter how shaky the script, a decent sized audience will seek it out.

      • JasonTremblay

        An Ewok Origin Story. The Rise of the Porgs! Chewbacca’s Lost Legacy.

        They write themselves.

        • RS

          We jest, but let’s not be surprised when it happens. And for good measure: “C3PO, Lost in Translation.”

          • JasonTremblay

            I’ve started work on a Jar Jar Binks cancer script.

            There won’t be a dry eye in the house. Annoyed AF, but not dry.

          • RS

            Wasn’t there some conspiratorial theory that Jar Jar was possibly a Sith?

          • jbird669

            Yes, there is.

  • klmn

    So Hans Solo has been doing scams on the street since he was ten? Is he going to be rapping about life in a space ghetto?