Genre: Drama/Sci-fi
Premise: Set in the near future, a lonely man begins to fall in love with his artificially intelligent operating system.
About: Spike Jonze’s (director of Where The Wild Things Are and Being John Malkovich) latest! This is only his fourth directing effort in 15 years and his first as both writer and director. Columnist Mark Harris classifies Jonze’s career best when he says: “As he begins his third decade as a restless genre-hopper in the public eye, he remains one of the rare film artists who is equally respected in and out of the mainstream. He’s never been tagged a sellout, and—amazingly, given the accelerated pace of public taste and Internet mood swings—he has never not been cool.” You can read the rest of Harris’s article here.
Writer: Spike Jonze
Details: 125 minutes!

her-joaquin-phoenix-1Sequel “Him” coming to a theater near you early 2015

I had a tough week at the movies this Christmas. I had three films I wanted to see. The first was Walter Mitty. I love coming-of-age movies wrapped inside higher concepts and this looked ambitious and imaginative from the trailer. Final verdict though? It certainly wasn’t bad, but something didn’t click. It never quite grasped what it was reaching for and the final act lost major steam.

Then there was Grudge Match. I know, I know. A lot of you pegged this as sucking brass punching bags long before I paid 10 bucks to see it but I thought it looked fun and the casting was genius. Well, wrong again Senor Reeves. This was abysmal. So boring and on the nose and PREDICTABLE. Of course, seeing as it came from the writer of “First Kid” (starring Sinbad), I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Which brings us to Her. This one had the most upside. Spike Jonze continues to be a hell of an interesting director, and like all good artists, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get from him. The question is, what kind of “not sure” did we get? The kind we run home and tweet about, or the kind that makes us want to throw away our indie-loving Netflix Instant account?

“Her” is set in a not-too-distant Los Angeles future. Everything’s the way it is today except instead of people being obsessed with their phones 18 hours a day, they’re obsessed with them 23 hours a day. In other words, the future versions of ourselves are tuning out the real world even more than they do now.

Enter Theodore, who writes online letters for people who don’t know the difference between a metaphor and a simile (I admit to being one of these unfortunate souls), a job that allows him to exist smack dab in the middle of this reality-sucks universe. Theodore’s had a rough year. His wife left him (notated by classic indie over-exposed flashbacks of the two during happier times) and he’s still not over it, still not able to give himself to another woman.

And thennnnnn…. And then the first ever artificially intelligent operating system is introduced. This is how Theodore meets Samantha, one of those OSs. Samantha is fun, playful, and efficient, and soon begins thirsting for knowledge. But that search for knowledge quickly evolves into a thirst for Theodore! If you know what I mean.

Theodore loves it and begins to feel alive again. Not only has he fallen in love, but this is someone who can never leave him. I mean, it’s an operating system. Where is she going to go! He begins telling his friends, like depressed documentarian Amy (played by Amy Adams) and is surprised when they actually accept the relationship. But for every Facebook, there’s a Myspace, and the more Samantha learns, the more she outgrows Theodore. Will he be able to contain her and save their relationship? Or is he destined, once again, to be sad and alone???

Ben Stiller in a still from The Secret Life of Walter MittyBen Stiller in Walter Mitty, one of my other Christmas Week watches.

I loved the setup of Her. I liked Theodore. I liked that he wasn’t over-the-top lonely. He still had friends. He still did things occasionally. It wasn’t that typical amateur writer stuff where he’s an all-by-himself 24/7 super-loser.

I liked the discovery of Samantha, their burgeoning relationship, and I liked how relatable it all was. I mean I think most people under 40 have had a relationship by now that began online, and so you’ve been through those experiences, where you’re the one dating “Samantha.” Where you’re questioning how real a person or a relationship is if you’re not physically with that person. That’s what really stood out here, how familiar these experiences felt and how accessible that made the movie.

(spoilers) Unfortunately, the script takes a strange final act turn that destroys that relatability (yes, I know “relatability” is not a real world. Just roll with me). Theodore finds out Samantha is seeing 600 other guys. Umm… WHAT??? Okay, actually, you know what? This will probably be how it happens in the future when you have Artificial Intelligence able to communicate with thousands of people simultaneously. I get that. But for right now? For here in this movie? There is no real-world equivalent to your partner cheating on you with 600 other people. Unless it’s Elliot Spitzer, of course.

And I think that’s important for sci-fi scripts. No, not that Elliot Spitzer cheat on you. But that you make sure the things your characters are going through are relatable to real world people. Or else why would we be interested? How can we be invested? That, to me, is when the movie/script fell apart.

But you could see the writing on the Facebook Wall before that if you were paying attention. Phone calls are BORING to watch. Putting people face-to-face is always better because it’s more interesting to see people duke it out in person. Now there are exceptions. If the phone calls are built into the plot (in something like “The Call” which was about a 9-1-1 Call Center – obviously, phone calls will be needed there), it can work. And the phone calling is definitely a plot requirement in Her. But man, after like 20 scenes with them on the phone together? I’d had enough. It just got too repetitive.

Spike Jonze was, no doubt, aware of this, and he did his best to keep us entertained in other ways. One of the best (and creepiest) scenes was when Samantha got a surrogate woman to have sex with Theodore while she talked to him. Watching the woman come on to Theodore with Samantha’s voice, even though the woman’s lips weren’t moving, was, as Theodore put it, “really weird.”

And there were a few quirky Spike Jonze’isms that kept things fun, such as Paul, Theodore’s co-worker who really really really (like in an unhealthy way) liked Theodore’s letters. And then there was a cyber-sex scene that had Theodore’s partner (voiced by Kristin Wiig, I later found out) telling him to strangle her with her dead cat while he fucked her. A little strange, if not crowd-pleasing. But those moments couldn’t prop up a film that probably would’ve worked best as an extended short, as opposed to a 125 minute feature (125 pages for a script where your character is going to be on the phone 80% of the time?? Come on!).

I came away from this week a little confused, because I watched three sets of writers take three different approaches to their scripts. The Grudge Match writers literally copied and pasted Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat book into their Final Draft document and saved the document as “Grudge Match.” The Walter Mitty writers were a little more ambitious and went off the beaten path, yet lost momentum in their final act as a result (once your main character achieves his goal, as Walter Mitty did at the end of Act 2, it’s hard to keep us interested for another half-hour). And then there’s Her, which took a bunch of chances, and was really the antithesis to Save The Cat screenwriting. Yet without any footing underneath it, it eventually went south as well.

I’m not sure what to make of that. But I think Walter Mitty and Her were definitely more interesting movies than Grudge Match, so maybe the lesson here is to err on the side of taking chances rather than going the obvious route.

[ ] what the hell did I just watch?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[x] worth the price of admission (barely – I’d say a matinee at a cheap movie theater)
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: The Relatability Quotient. This is especially true with sci-fi. Keep your characters and the experiences they’re going through universal so we can relate to them. When Samantha represented our own online relationships, we identified with Theodore and cared about what happened. Once she started seeing 600 other guys, because we have no real-world equivalent for that, we began to feel disconnected from the story. How’s the Relatability Quotient in your latest screenplay?

  • kidbaron

    Time to check out Wolf of Wall Street.

  • tom8883

    What about Saving Mr. Banks? Does it live up to the script? Also, are you going to see The Wolf of Wall Street? Anchorman II? Paranormal Activity?

    • Kay Bryen

      I must be that one kid who doesn’t get the Oscar hype swirling around Saving Mr Banks. The film does stay true to the script, but that’s hardly saying much since I wasn’t bowled over by the script in the first place. That said, terrific performances by Farrell and Thompson. Tom Hanks is, well, Tom Hanks, as he always is in every movie.

      • tom8883

        How’s your latest script coming, Kay?

        • Kay Bryen

          Going swimmingly, thanks! If I make the grade in Carson’s Scene Challenge, I’ll know I’m on the right track. It’s the bastard love child of Inception and Game of Thrones. What are you working on at the minute Tom?

          • tom8883

            I’d love to read yours! Mine is this comedy I promised myself I’d finish this year. it feels like the harder I push the longer the
            marathon is!

          • MaliboJackk

            Cool.
            (Merger of 2 high concepts.)
            Logline?

          • Kay Bryen

            Hmm, I haven’t crafted a logline yet but since I like you *this* much MJ, I’ll try to nutshell it in a paragraph just for you:

            NOISY GRAVE

            “An ex-couple flying to their child custody hearing begin to suspect one of their pilots is deliberately trying to crash their plane. They only have 33 minutes on auto-pilot to hold both pilots hostage and put them on ‘trial’ — battling each other as improvised ‘advocates’ and interrogators for the respective pilots to judge which one should be trusted with landing them safely… and throwing everyone’s secrets on a collision course.”

          • MaliboJackk

            That’s going to be my write in vote
            — next AF.

          • Alex Palmer

            That’s an eye-catching premise. All the best with writing it!

          • Matt Clarke

            Sounds more like Ally McBeal meets Air Force One than GoT/Inception…or am I missing something?

          • Kay Bryen

            You’re right Matt, I should’ve clarified that I’m working on two scripts concurrently. The Inception / GoT hybrid is a different script.

          • Matt Clarke

            see I KNEW I was missing something! Whats the GoT/Inception pitch?

      • wlubake

        As for Oscar buzz, this has a “King’s Speech” feel to it. I thought King’s Speech was an enjoyable, well made, but rather unremarkable movie. It still won the Oscar.

      • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

        Agree entirely. Saving Mr. Banks was sanitized melodrama. Nothing special whatsoever. Farrell was GREAT, Thompson was good, everyone else was serviceable but nothing special.

        Even the production design seemed lacking. Not sure why, but it just felt really off.

    • wlubake

      Saw Banks yesterday. It reminded me of Julie and Julia in a weird way. The current storyline was very linear and uninteresting. The only thing that kept you interested at all was the “flashback” story (Julia Child in J&J, and young Travers here). Much more emotion there. Much more intrigue.

      Quite frankly, we’ve all seen Mary Poppins, so we know how the present day story ends.

      Also, it goes way too far to try and mine the present day storyline for emotional moments. They never felt that genuine to me. People did a little too much of just telling their back story (except for Travers).

      I’d agree with Kay that Farrell and Thompson were the movie. I’d expect both to get nominations, and Farrell should be a strong contender, IMO.

  • martin_basrawy

    Welcome back Carson.
    Have you seen or plan to see: Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, 47 Ronin?

  • leitskev

    I enjoyed the Walter Mitty film. What surprised me even more, the 3/4 packed theater of mostly teens actually clapped and cheered in approval when the movie ended. People really loved the movie. I overheard one young guy saying it was his “new fave of all time”. It’s just kind of a warm, human movie about learning to not be a bystander watching the world go by.

    The structure was very deliberately built around Campbell’s hero’s journey. Step by step. Which might explain why the third act was too long and felt to Carson like it was losing steam. It’s like they were trying too hard to incorporate every step.

    • leitskev

      Since we’re doing current movies:

      Out of the Furnace: thumbs up. The story is not what it was billed in the trailer. The revenge stuff does not come until the end,and in fact his brother does not disappear until late. But the acting was strong,and what I really loved was the location shots, which gave this film a real post-industrial feel, with the decaying steel factories, rusting bridges, and monstrous industrial remnants.

      American Hustle: great acting all around, exceptionally written dialogue, so thumbs up. The first half of the film takes exceedingly long to develop because there is no overall story goal, at least not one that we care about anyway. But it finally gets there and when it does it’s pretty much worth the time you put in.

    • filmklassik

      Hmm. Wonder if we haven’t entered into a new era of film storytelling: The Era of the Bloated Ending, where movie audiences — for reasons that defy understanding — are willing to embrace a story that ends 30 minutes before the movie does. I guess I’m thinking specifically now of LORD OF THE RINGS, GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, WALTER MITTY, etc.

      Those endings would have been leaner and more disciplined forty years ago.

      • leitskev

        The audience reaction surprised me, but it pleased me. A young audience was willing to embrace a story about a middle aged guy who’s never “been anywhere or done anything”. I suspect my generation would have been too cynical to appreciate that kind of story when we were teens. I think it’s actually encouraging to see this.

        The “bloated” ending problem comes from the fact that in a complicated story there can be several things that need to be resolved. I’m not advocating that type ending, but I will condone the depth and complexity that seems to encourage it.

  • drifting in space

    Sad to hear this about two movies I was looking forward to. Guess I’ll go see Frozen.

  • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/audiblescripts/audiblescripts-variety-pack-2 DontStealMyScript

    In spite of Carson’s review, I still plan to go see “Her”. To me, the cheating with 600 guys is a great plot twist that fits nicely into the world of a guy getting involved with a computer operating system. It just makes sense! And I look forward to seeing Scarlett Johanssen’s performance that has been getting rave reviews.

    So, I have to admit that I’m a little biased about this film, in a good way.

  • Cfrancis1

    I’ve heard amazing things about “Her” from people I really trust (not that I don’t trust you, Caraon), so I’m still really excited to see it.

  • andyjaxfl

    I was forced into seeing Grudge Match when The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle were sold out. I managed to eventually see American Hustle over the break and it’s really something to behold. Bale knocks it out of the park and Adams is equally great. Bale kicks it up a notch after the introduction of the mobster from Miami (don’t want to spoil who plays him for those who haven’t seen it). Really great stuff.

    Grudge Match was okay but pretty forgettable. But I’d rather watch Grudge Match again than have to sit through Identity Thief or We’re the Millers one more time… I thought Stallone was pretty damn good in it. He actually acts, and I’d take him in 100 more roles like this than another Expendables movie.

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

    Thanks for the tri-fold reviews, Carson. I was curious to read your reaction to “Her”. Nice to get some of the plot points of this movie. HUGE rom-com fan, but this one kinda sounded out there like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”.

    Did see “The Seceret Life of Walter Mitty” over the weekend, and my reaction to it was almoast identical to yours: liked the beginning, was looking at my watch by the end of the movie.

    Didn’t see “Grudge Match.” THAT can wait untill it comes out in cable; thanks for the warning ;)

    Did see “The Wolf of Wall Sstreet” last night. Was revolted by all the crass sex, some of it low-by-blow, drug use and absolute degerates in suits. Couldn’t believe that Martin Scorsese made this movie. Allthough VERY WELL acted, and having a rock solid story, this movie is boatloaded with the depravity of man. After watching this movie I felt like I needed to take a shower to wash its filth off me. Haven’t had that reaction to a movie in a long, long time. Not sure how based on truth this movie is, but once you get inside the lives of the people in this movie it’s all puked stained money. Cautionary tale? Maybe. But it sickened me to the core, nonetheless. Will NEVER watch this movie ever again; it’s just too gross.

    Loved the acting in “American Husle”, found the double-crossing plot of the conmen kinda hard to follow.

    • kidbaron

      Well, at least WOLF is getting a reaction from people. I don’t think movies have to always leave you warm and fuzzy and this movie was about a man and a culture that was way out of control. It nails that.

      • drifting in space

        The issue I’m having with WOWS is that I read the screenplay… and it wasn’t anything like that I’m hearing about it. I feel like they wanted to overindulge in more of the scandalous topics which may or may not distract from the story.

        It’s also 3 hours long, which to me, is too much.

        • kidbaron

          Yeah, the 3 hours were indulgent. Then… that’s what the movie is all about. Seeing Martin is the master at montage it would have been nice to see him go crazy and condense it. He did seem sort of restrained with tricks.

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      I LOVE LOVE LOVED Wolf of Wall Street. It’s up there with Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and Goodfellas for me. I couldn’t wait to see it again right after I left the theatre. Only Scorsese could make such depravity so much freakin’ fun.

      Was totally let down by American Hustle. Just a mess. No surprises like a good con film should be. Acting was good, I guess, but with such a weak story they felt like performances in a vacuum. Honestly don’t understand the rave reviews for that movie. Just a missed opportunity on almost every level.

  • Montana Gillis

    “Her”? This idea was covered in an episode of The Big Bang where one of the characters fell in love with Siri on his I-phone. A perfect vehicle for a limited concept that was played for laughs. After Lars and the Real Girl, there really isn’t much more to say or to be more accurate… There isn’t much more I care to experience about the concept of a man being in love with a “non-human” female. Yes, I’m tired of the so called “man” character that is exceptionally uber-pathetic that is socially as well as in every other way “dysfunctional”. Just shoot that character in the head, sweep up the mess and move on to the next theater in the multiplex and hope the writer gives us a protag we can root for. NO MORE PATHETIC PIMPLES ON THE ASS OF JOHN BOY WALTON FOR THE HEROS IN OUR STORIES, PEOPLE!!! WHERE’S MY MEDS?

    • fragglewriter

      Yes!!!! I said the same thing about the Big Bang Episode. They covered it there. I think this idea is more for am episode of a TV show or commercial. Definitely not a movie, unless its 90-minutes or less.

      These type of characters cannot be a protagonist. Maybe a supporting cast member but that is it. Shoot, reload, and shoot again, and go next door and see a real movie.

    • Montana Gillis

      just got “down voted.” Must have been one of those uber-pathetic, dysfunctional pimples on John Boy Walton’s ass that took offense to my calling them out. Oh well.

  • Kay Bryen

    Since it’s a slow news day on CNN (Carson News Network), you guys can help me solve this paradox because it’s been puzzling me and puzzling me until my puzzler was sore:

    Why is it that we all want to be one of the lucky few to be featured on Amateur Offerings Weekend, yet when Carson invited EVERYONE to put links to their scripts as a signature in *every* comment, only a tiny fraction of us did? Is it the anonymity factor? What gives?

    • drifting in space

      Good question. Perhaps being selected among the 5 chose feels differently than posting your script openly to a jury of your peers.

      • Rzwan Cabani

        This is Carson’s universe. And his involvment is crucial, and a catalyst to getting our work noticed and us finding success. AOW is that platform. So if we all find a way to give each other’s script 20 pages and find the one that is worth reading further, maybe we can recommend it to one another, and if we find that gem we all decide is great, not just good, maybe we can give Carson a collective referal and he may review it. We can’t all be wrong… can we?

    • IgorWasTaken

      Seems to me that posting a link is akin to tossing a message in a bottle upon the waters, while trying to get picked for AOW is like pointing your rifle – with your best aim, good or bad – at a small, hazy target. At least with AOW, there is a sense of an actual target. “I mean, I can hit that. Steady… steady… exhale… FIRE! Did I hit it? Hello…?”

      • Kay Bryen

        But even with the links in every post, the best scripts would attract the most positive feedback and prompt Carson to review them — pretty much the way it works with AOW. Even those who don’t exactly have lots of friends on this forum would still get a fair read, as we saw with Grendl’s script.

        • IgorWasTaken

          I wasn’t arguing for or against (OK, maybe I was a little); mostly just offering my POV to your “Why” question.

          Another allusion: Trying directly for AOW is entering a contest; posting a link is hoping your script is Lana Turner and SS is a latter-day Schwab’s Drugstore (and no matter how good your script may be, it’s drive-by appeal could never be that good).

    • Kosta K

      Let’s do it! Happy New Year!

      http://kostak.com/media/LOWLIFE.pdf

      • MaliboJackk

        Thought I was reading WHERE ANGELS DIE.

        • Kosta K

          I can’t tell if that’s a compliment or a joke :(

          • MaliboJackk

            Always assume the best.

          • Kosta K

            In that case :)

          • MaliboJackk

            Thought the writing was on a professional level.
            Didn’t read enough to make a judgement on the story (was short on time) and didn’t have a logline to guide me — but thought what I read was handled really well.

            One minor quibble: Was not a fan of the title.

          • Kosta K

            Thanks for taking the time. Hopefully you read the whole thing in the new year and send me your thoughts :

            In the meantime, here’s the logline (I hate writing loglines):

            LOWLIFE
            With his newborn son in a coma, a small-time thug is forced back into a world of violence and betrayal when he becomes indebted to the dirtiest cop on the street.

            Happy New Year and all the best!

      • Kirk Diggler

        Read the first 37 pages. Thought you had some interesting character work, the dialogue was good, kept me reading. Main question I have: What is Ritchie’s goal? He seems like a small time criminal/enforcer type but so far I’m still a little in the dark as to what his journey is supposed to be.

        He is being pulled in different directions (Nikki, Bobby Golden, Pete, concern for his son) but there doesn’t seem to be that one incident that tells me exactly what this is about. What is your logline? Because based on the first 37 it would be tough for me to formulate one. So far it’s been a series of events (pretty well played out) but as yet there is no real urgency.

        Nonetheless, I think it’s well written with a nice flow to it. I just need a hint of where Ritchie is headed so the reader can become more invested.

        Have you pitched this for AOW? I think it would do well.

        • Kosta K

          Thanks for the feedback!

          Ritchie is trying to stay out of trouble (for his kid), but everybody keeps pushing him further toward the dark side. The logline is further down in the posts.

          Read the rest and let me know if it still bugs you by the end. I’ve been getting that comment a lot :

          I’ve sent it in to AOW multiple times. No bites, though.

          Thanks again and Happy New Year!

          • Kirk Diggler

            Finished it. I think there are some issues. Part of it relates to what I mentioned earlier, Ritchie’s arc and fitting it into a proper 3 act structure. Ritchie needs to find a way NOT to be the same old guy he is at the beginning. He’s a stone cold killer in the first scene (although he could argue self-defense), as well at the end. What does he learn? Sure he’s not all bad, gives a naked Heather a ride home and all. But he is still the same guy he was at the start.

            I also think character motivations are a bit sketchy. Particularly Pete’s reason for wanting Ringo dead. I cant even say I fully understood it, other than Ringo was such a great porn director that the girls became big stars and left Pink Money Studios? Unclear to me. Needs either clarity or a much better reason

            I also found the scene where Gwen eats a bullet slightly confusing. It was not obvious whether it was intentional or an accident, although later Ritchie claimed it was an accident. I understand both women were hopped up on coke so it could happen. Also I found it odd that Dmitri left that kind of cash lying around in a closet.

            I also think Ritchie is a bit inconsistent at times. He balks at killing Gwen’s husband for an easy score but has no problem icing Two Balls in the opening scene or the slew of characters he offs in the final pages. He is an unlikable protagonist. Buying a teddy bear for his sick son in the hospital doesn’t really make up for it. I know u probably see him as an anti-hero but he is comes off mostly as a thug who has an occasional soft touch.

            He also did some dumb things. Waving the money around at Mike and then later letting Mike see Nikki squatting on top of a quarter of a million dollars was none too bright. Hard to sympathize with a character who has such hubris. He basically uses violence to get himself out of every situation. .

            I think if he really wants to turn his life around, he needs to be working on a plan to get out of the game without slaughtering the bad guys. He needs to be smarter. He needs to change. His son can’t be there simply as a prop to make us feel for his plight. We need to see him proactively trying to be a better man for his son’s sake.

            There are a couple scenes that are a bit superfluous. Bobby Golden ends up being a bit of dead end as a character. I know it sets up him running into Pete again, but since Bobby doesn’t play a role the rest of the way it’s just wasted time.

            The scene at the hospital where the cop lets Ritchie go, I just did not buy it at all. It is a big stretch that a clean cop would let Ritchie walk scot free after killing Pete and some Russians.

            Anyway, these are just some thoughts. It was an nice easy read, The style is good. The dialogue worked well for the characters, The raw material is there. I just think the story needs a little more focus…one event needs to serve as a catalyst for Ritchie trying to clean up his life.

            I know his son being in the hospital after his mother is killed is supposed to be that thing, but it happens off-screen so it doesn’t resonate. And this comes after Ritchie kills someone in the opening scene. Maybe don’t start with that.

            Start with Ritchie doing Nikki that favor, beating up Tommy. Nikki tells him about Gwen and how they should meet for lunch. He agrees. Then let us meet Ritchie and the girl he knocked up, close to giving birth. Let us know Ritchie is doing the right thing. Might even marry her even though he doesn’t love her, but he’s excited about being a father.

            Then Ritchie does the collection favor for Bobby Golden over at Pink Money. Runs into Pete. Still owes Pete a favor. Pete wants Ritchie to take out Sammy Two Balls as payback. He’s holding something over Ritchie’s head. Maybe Ritchie doesn’t want to kill Two Balls so easily, regards him as a friend (honor among thieves). But Pete is unrelenting. Ritchie agrees to do it but it but he’s just stalling. Then do the Gwen/Nikki lunch thing. Ritchie learns about the 50 large (even though it ends up being more) He’s not sure about killing Dmitri, but he can just take the 50 G’s and then run off with his pregnant g/f and start a new life.

            Give us another scene with Ritchie’s g/f. She’s close to bursting. G/f wants to make sure Ritchie will give her a ride to the hospital when she’s ready. He agrees. Nikki calls him, says the thing with Gwen needs to happen now. He goes off to meet Nikki, maybe lay in wait for Dmitri to come home…make it look like a robbery gone bad. But it’s along wait. Nikki and Gwen and Ritchie do coke. Gwen ends up dead by accidental gunshot, They take the money and run. But while this was happening Ritchie’s g/f goes into labor and maybe tries to drive herself an there is a car accident, she is dead an his son is saved but in critical condition at the hospital.

            Ritchie blames himself of course, this would be the inciting incident for him to change, to find a way not kill Sammy Two Balls and get out from under Pete’s influence and somehow avoid the bad Russians seeking revenge for Gwen. If you can fit all of that into your first act I think it would be pretty good.

            Of course these are just my thoughts. Take it with a grain of salt. Hope you don’t think I’m going too far. Basically just using stuff you already had in there but rearranging it so we find a way to like Ritchie more. Good luck with it.

          • Kosta K

            Thanks for taking the time. At this point, I’m taking any and every suggestion I can get to heart. I’m on a new screenplay now, so once I finish the first draft of this one I might give “Lowlife” another spin.

            The last line of dialogue was meant to sum up Ritchie’s character and the movie (The cop delivering it is one of the cops Pete had under his thumb). I never wanted Ritchie to change. I wanted him to see this kid as his way out and pursue this faint light at the end of the tunnel and realize the only way to reach it is with a ton of blood on his hands.

            It can definitely use a structural change and some cleaning up for clarity. One friend told me it felt more like a sequel. I’ll do my best to work out the kinks in the next draft.

            Thanks again for taking the time :)

    • davejc

      Well I’m game. I’m sort of at that message in a bottle stage :)

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/09trgw8212zetzm/50HIGHSTREET122013.pdf

      • MaliboJackk

        A logline would give us an idea of what type of script we are reading.
        (The title doesn’t tell us much either.)

        Have always thought that screenwriting is about making hundreds of decisions.
        I’ll make just two suggestions from reading the first couple pages:
        Do you want your opening image to be a balding man with a comb over?
        (Why not have your opening image be the woman, who appears to be a main character, whereas Jim Munk apparently is not.)

        In your action lines, you refer to the attorney as Jim. Generally, you refer to you main characters by their first names — and less familiar characters by their last names. (Also Jim is a very friendly sounding name. Is this the mood that you are shooting for in your action lines? Why not refer to him as Munk?)

        Do what you think works for you. These are only suggestions.
        I’m not passing judgement on the script as a whole.
        Good luck.

        • davejc

          Yeah, now that you pointed it out I don’t want the lawyer to be the opening image. I fixed it with a scene I was trying to find a place for.

          Naming characters is a big weakness of mine. I just draw them out of a hat :) I know I should try a better method, lol, but I’m just at a lost. The only name I gave any consideration to was Ed. I was thinking about Ed Wood. No, this story has nothing to do with Ed Wood. But I was thinking about that scene where Johnny Depp is talking to the Studio producer on a pay phone: “…really? The worst movie you ever saw? Well my next one will be better.”

          lol (I love that film)

          Log lines are another weakness, but here goes:

          “An emasculated father must confront his demons to save his family.”

          • drifting in space

            That logline is very vague. I don’t really get any impression of what the story is going to be about.

          • davejc

            Yeah, I know. I really suck at loglines. lol! The script I am working on now I’m just going to state what it’s about and skip a log line. Something like: “A period piece about the early days of Air Mail in Europe and the brave pilots who risked an uncertain fate every time they took to the air.”

          • drifting in space

            I’d watch that. LOL!

            Very much in-line with what I’m writing now.

  • fragglewriter

    I want to see “Grudge Match.”

    “Her” doesn’t grab my attention because it seems like the story is either an overlong commercial idea or that episode of “The Big Bang Theory” where Raj falls in love with Siri and when he finally gets to meet her in-person, he chokes.

    Relatability Quotient depends on the culture and socio-economic status of the person. 600 other guys don’t relate unless she’s trying to start a gang bang porno record. Maybe if they could of fell out over him finding out there was one other guy, or even two, it would be relatable.

  • UrbaneGhoul

    I watched 47 Ronin. It’s like Carson’s review but with a witch. Really tacked on with the witch.

  • Trek

    You’re right Carson, there is no real world equivalent to cheating on you with 600+ people. But for this movie, there doesn’t have to be.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I have a feeling Jonze was trying to put Theodore into a position to understand where he could come to grips with what his relationship with Samantha really was. She’s not human, so what’s the one thing that would make Theodore realize that the relationship was just a bunch of smoke and mirrors? Why not reveal Samantha in technological terms?

    To me, that’s much more powerful than making her relatable from a human perspective. For this movie to work, Theodore needed to see Samantha in those technological terms. A real person wouldn’t cheat on you with that many people, but a sentient computer could. He needed to see first hand that she wasn’t human, and that she never could be.

    If you ask me, it was a genius decision on Jonze part.

  • Trek

    You’re right Carson, there is no real world equivalent to cheating on you with 600+ people. But for this movie, there doesn’t have to be.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I have a feeling Jonze was trying to put Theodore into a position to understand where he could come to grips with what his relationship with Samantha really was. She’s not human, so what’s the one thing that would make Theodore realize that the relationship was just a bunch of smoke and mirrors? Why not reveal Samantha in technological terms?

    To me, that’s much more powerful than making her relatable from a human perspective. For this movie to work, Theodore needed to see Samantha in those technological terms. A real person wouldn’t cheat on you with that many people, but a sentient computer could. He needed to see first hand that she wasn’t human, and that she never could be.

    If you ask me, it was a genius decision on Jonze part.

  • Trek

    You’re right Carson, there is no real world equivalent to cheating on you with 600+ people. But for this movie, there doesn’t have to be.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I have a feeling Jonze was trying to put Theodore into a position to understand where he could come to grips with what his relationship with Samantha really was. She’s not human, so what’s the one thing that would make Theodore realize that the relationship was just a bunch of smoke and mirrors? Why not reveal Samantha in technological terms?

    To me, that’s much more powerful than making her relatable from a human perspective. For this movie to work, Theodore needed to see Samantha in those technological terms. A real person wouldn’t cheat on you with that many people, but a sentient computer could. He needed to see first hand that she wasn’t human, and that she never could be.

    If you ask me, it was a genius decision on Jonze part.

  • Film_Shark

    Interesting take on Spike Jonze’s ‘Her.’ I live in a mid-market city so the film doesn’t open until January 10th. I would love to get my hands on this screenplay. I like Spike Jonze’s previous films (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) because he takes on stories that are so different from the mainstream. This film has that ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ vibe to it. It seems like a cautionary tale. Just go to your local shopping mall and see how many people are so attached to their smart phones, waiting for that next text message like it’s the Messiah. Jonze is making a serious commentary about our dependency of technology here and even without seeing it yet, I want to include it on my Top Ten Films List because it’s so refreshingly unique.

    As far as Theodore discovering that “Samantha” aka Siri is seeing 600 other guys, it’s important to the story since she’s not actually real so that reality has to come into play with his journey. Hopefully the guy finds a real woman in his life again even though having a love affair with artificial intelligence is safer, it can never replace the warmth and beauty of a real human soul in Theodore’s life. If anyone knows where I can read the ‘Her’ screenplay, it would be greatly appreciated.

  • wlubake

    “There is no real-world equivalent to your partner cheating on you with 600 other people.”
    I present to you: Tiger Woods.

  • Mark David

    As much as I get that we have no real world equivalent for being cheated on with 600 other partners, I don’t think it matters if the number is 600 or 6, or just 1 other person our supposed ‘soul mate’ is cheating on us with. Surely the 600 figure would serve to greatly compound the hurt Theodore no doubt feels at this reveal. That Samantha, thus, transpires to be a mere digital whore of emotional connectivity. And, worse yet, the central theme of this movie no less implies that we are all slaves/clients to the exact same whore – beit Facebook or Twitter et al. And that we ‘whore’ ourselves to it in turn — the digital age machine that now connects all of us on single-controlling devices. The relatability herein this movie Her looks to me to be an expansion on what we already likely experience if, say, our significant others add 10 new ‘single friends’ of the opposite sex on Facebook – people we ourselves may not even know. Just a thought. I haven’t seen Her, but from where I sit it sure sounds more heart-warning than heart-warming.

  • Freddie

    See Wolf of Wall Street – 3 hours, keeps your attention every single minute.

  • Montana Gillis

    It’s the concept that gets butts in theater seats, then they experience the execution. Not the other way around. The proof is in the box office. “Her” released Dec 18 has yet to break the 3 million dollar mark as of Jan 6. Carson as well as every other scriptwriting guru/coach/expert always says to start with a “great concept”. But I understand your line of thinking… Hence the phrase “starving artist”.

    • drifting in space

      Wow… I did not believe you so I checked box office mojo…

      I must say I am shocked!

      • Montana Gillis

        I’m surprised that so much talent and effort decided to go in this direction. maybe it will become a cult classic.

  • Montana Gillis

    Okay, I get it that you are a huge fan/defender of Spike Jonze and his latest film and you believe this could have a lot of Oscar buzz. Your inferred prediction of great box office results will no doubt result in an enormous “I told you so” directed at me after the movie blows past 200 million. Oh goodie!