Sadly, my friends, there are no amateur offerings today.  The next TWO Fridays are off, so last week’s round will be reviewed in the New Year.  But I don’t want to leave you with nothing, so I’ll share something I thought about all of yesterday for some reason.  My question is, will Guardians of the Galaxy be the equivalent of this generation’s Raiders of the Lost Ark?  Is Chris Pratt going to go on to be a Harrison Ford like movie star for years to come?

It’s so easy to think, “Of course not!  Movies then were so much better!”  Well, a big reason they were “better” was because it was your first experience seeing that kind of movie, just like it will be this generation’s first experience seeing this kind of movie.  I guess I’m trying to figure out if a movie like Guardians is really truly good, or just benefits from a lower overall bar.  And is nostalgia keeping us from comparing the two objectively?  I’m particularly interested in hearing from the under 25 crowd that didn’t grow up idolizing Raiders.  Oh, and as long as I have you here with 5 days left until Christmas, make sure to stuff your digital stocking with Scriptshadow Secrets, which is only $4.99!  $4.99 to become an infinitely better screenwriter.  Uhhh, bargain!

  • Pooh Bear

    I had a friend buy the box set of the Indiana Jones series and had his girlfriend’s two little boys, ages 4 and 6, watch it over the Thanksgiving break. They LOVED it and they are Marvel fanatics.

    Indy still holds up.

    I told my friend he did a good thing that day.

    • susanrichards

      We just named our dog Indie.. after Indiana Jones :)

  • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

    I’m under 25, and to be quite honest I never liked Raiders that much. I think it was a good movie, but I could never sit through the entire thing in one sitting. I much enjoyed watching Star Wars in 1997. In fact, I loved it! That was my Galaxy.

    • andyjaxfl

      I think my head just exploded, but to each their own.

  • Peace of Chaos

    I liked Guardians (though I liked Winter Soldier better). I think the big difference vs. Raiders is that I never “feared” for any of the Guardians’ lives.

    When they’re talking about a sequel even before the movie’s released you know everyone’s going to be fine. With Raiders, yeah, the hero’s probably going to live, but…

    Plus, great music and (pretty) good comedy will always help ticket sales. The “dance off” scene was kind of embarrassing.

    I would’ve never thought to compare Guardians and Raiders…seems like Apples and Tow Trucks. Raiders WINS by a landslide (I’m older than 25).

  • Mhocommenter

    I scanned thru G O T Galaxy and failed to see the charm. I even thought that it should’ve bombed at the B.O. but the opposite happened.

    Someone please explain the magic of what just happened. Thanks & happy holidays.

  • Magga

    Shouldn’t it be a bigger hit if we’re comparing pop culture phenomenons? Sure, it was surprisingly big considering it was a clone of other movies than what most big hits clone, but a cultural phenomenon doesn’t do less than a third of the biggest hit of the last few years, does it? Hell, it’s at less than half of the biggest hit of the nineties, without taking inflation into account. I hate using box office to rate movies, but that’s sort of the only thing Guardians has going for it, right? I think the last ten years will be forgotten pretty soon in terms of big hits

  • jw

    I’d say comparing the two is likely akin to asking people growing up today about ANYTHING that used to be popular “back then”. It’s not likely they’ll be interested. Some things hold up, but personalities today and the world around us are just not the same. I had family over for the holidays, none of whom have Netflix, nor would know how to use it, and I asked if they’d heard of House of Cards and they’d heard of it, but never watched it and it’s one of my favorites, so all excited, what do I do? I turn it on and within 5 minutes they weren’t interested and wanted to shut it off.

    Style of storytelling even just 1 generation apart can be very different, thus, I don’t necessarily think the comparison is a legitimate one. The most interesting thing is to watch a film today that you really liked when you were younger and you find yourself making mental notes about how it would be different today. I use Goonies as the example, as this was my JAM as a kid! I watch it today and realize that it’s not likely we would have been able to go more than 30 minutes without our main characters already underground beginning their journey.

    • brenkilco

      Surface details change but I wonder if fundamental story values really do. The people glued to Downton Abbey today would have been glued to Upstairs Downstairs forty years ago. James Bond has been on screen for more than fifty years. Star Wars for damn near forty, and that was only a cannibalization of space operas going back to the thirties. Sherlock Holmes is still going strong. Ditto Jane Austen. Lord of the Rings was written in the thirties and first brought to the screen lamely in the seventies. If we get another King Kong Remake circa 2020 will anyone be surprised? Think House of Cards is new? Go watch I Claudius if you can find it and blow your mind.

      • jw

        Yeah, but the way that all of these stories are told continues to change. Are the newer Star Wars told in the same fashion as the originals? No. James Bond? No. Sherlock? Not a chance. Star Trek? Nope. There are fundamental shifts in the way the story is told that seem to be (in my estimation) the fundamental shifts we see in society. Those shifts are the same reason why those who were at my place wanted to turn HOC off within 5 minutes and it utterly intrigued me from the first few seconds. This is why I think the comparison may be ill-fated from the start.

        • Malibo Jackk

          Think of Carson’s comment that he won’t watch a black and white movie.
          (Not even a great film noir?)

          • brenkilco

            Unbelievable. Did he really say that? Maybe the most cinematically ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. But then Carson would have avoided both Sin City movies. So maybe he knows what he’s doing.

          • LV426

            I would love to see more “new” movies shot (or at least made) in black and white. I think it can be beautiful and doesn’t have to mean “old timey” just because it was how things were back in the day before shooting in color was economical enough to become the norm.

            It’s sad that there are so many options available to filmmakers these days, but everyone gets hung up on what should be the standard format. There shouldn’t be a “standard” format. Film, digital, 3D, color, black and white, HFR (high frame rate), etc. Just as every filmmaker chooses things like lenses and aspect ratio, so too should formats be used as tools to best tell the story. It can differ from one film to the next.

            Sin City was interesting not so much that it was black and white, but that it was trying to be like a page from the comic book come to life. I haven’t seen the second one though. I hear it was crap. Although the same was said for 300: Rise of an Empire and I thought that was fun. Not as good as the first 300, but still kept me entertained and uhm… titilated.

          • brenkilco

            Black and white can be extraordinary. But I think it’s a lost art. It’s not enough to drain the color out of a digital image. Old b and w started with black and white films stock and ironically because old film stock was less sensitive it allowed a more precise demarcation between light and shadow. Films today are never really dark, just murky. The sort of precise lighting techniques of old film noir aren’t necessary now that everything registers and I’d wager have been forgotten. Steven Soderberg attempted an old black and white look a few years ago with the movie The Good German. For the reasons I’ve mentioned it just didn’t come off.

          • mulesandmud

            There are still folks out there who know how to play the game.

          • klmn

            I’d rate Sin City, A Dame To Kill For at five out of a possible ten. Not great and not pluck your eyes out bad.

  • ArabyChic

    I think this is a hard question to answer without coming off as a curmudgeon. But…

    Look at the elements in play: script wise, director wise, star wise, producer wise… it is hard for almost ANY movie to go head to head with the talent they lined up for Raiders. Alright, the sum of the parts don’t always add up — that’s true. But in this case, the parts are in many cases DEFINED by this movie. But this just sounds like some wonky algebra theory I’m pulling out of my ass.

    I did enjoy GOFTG, but I think it was way overhyped. Partly because people were expecting so much LESS. A property even most comic geeks had little to no interest in. They took it and managed to make it more than the superhero clone it looked to be by embracing the weirdness of it.

    However, Marvel, always keeping the universe in mind as the primary focus, knew this was a secondary release. And as such its story was severely lacking. Its plot was mere set up for the next Avengers movie, in which the infinity stones and Thanos play a huge role. A movie like Raiders — while it kept it’s doors open for a sequel — was devoted to telling its one story and telling it well. It wasn’t a piece in the corporate puzzle. GOFTG, while it had winning characters, was hobbled by its corporate baggage.

  • Fish Tank Festival

    GotG is to film what Arianna Grande and Iggy Azalea are to music. In the end, it’s a simple and played out discussion.

    • lonestarr357

      You don’t like the movie, fine, but an analogy like this seems needlessly cruel.

      • UrbaneGhoul

        Yeah, leave Arianna Grande alone! :D

        • LV426

          Is that her real name?

          It can’t be can it?

          It sounds sillier to me than a name like Vin Diesel.

          It sounds like the name of a second rate villain in an Austin Powers flick. Some evil Bond girl parody. I picture a beautiful seductress from Spain, except for the fact that her behind is massive (grande).

  • Jarman Alexander

    I have no clue what this movie means for Pratt, but I know he’s “everyone’s friend” and is loved by many, so he’ll be fine. What I took away from Guardians, and to a lesser degree Pacific Rim / Hancock, is that in the midst of a superhero storm hovering over every box office weekend, people crave seeing lesser known or original superheroes.

    I didn’t know what Guardians was before I saw a trailer. A lot of my friends new of them but had never read any of the comics. I feel like a lot of moviegoers were in similar camps, and it was the biggest movie of 2014.

    Get your original superhero scripts banged out people.

  • andyjaxfl

    Adjusted for inflation, Raiders of the Lost Ark grossed $627 million domestic. I’m hardly believing that myself — $627 million!!!

  • andyjaxfl

    I enjoyed Guardians but the villain (whose name I already forgot) is one of the weakest villains in recent memory, and I thought the script could have done a better job with the Gamora/Nebula sibling rivalry. I liked the actual Guardian characters enough that I was moved by “We are Groot” and the origin of the Star Lord name.

    As much as I love Harrison Ford as Indy, they can easily take the James Bond route and recast and keep telling Indiana Jones stories.

    • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

      They probably will one day. Just give it time. Not sure who could replace him with Ford still so fresh in our minds. And such a perfect Indie.

      Though I know Ford still wants to do one more. It’s still in development, but he’s 72 years old, so if he doesn’t do it in the next couple years, it probably won’t happen. But who knows.

      But Blade Runner is in pre-production… so that one seems a more likely candidate as far as Ford is concerned.

      • http://danieldeboulay.tumblr.com/ Daniel de Boulay

        Bradley Cooper as Indy works.

  • mulesandmud

    There was certainly a lot of love for GUARDIANS this year. It crushed at the box office, and even made a few best-of lists.

    Funny though, I haven’t heard many people quoting from it these last few months, even among my friends that went wild for it this summer. That ‘nothing goes over my head’ line is a keeper, and Baby Groot went viral, but aside from that the specifics of GUARDIANS are already starting to fade.

    Then again, RAIDERS had its share of skeptics when it first came out, and still does today. Only time decides whether a movie ascends to full cultural touchtone status or just settles into the background of the pop culture group photo as just one more event movie.

    Also, I guess it depends on what you’d consider a touchtone. For perspective, here are a few of the chart-toppers that we’ve had since RAIDERS:

    1989 – BATMAN
    1991 – TERMINATOR 2
    1993 – JURRASIC PARK
    1999 – THE MATRIX
    2001 – HARRY POTTER
    2005 – BATMAN BEGINS
    2009 – AVATAR
    2012 – THE AVENGERS

    Some of these are a joke now. Others have been overshadowed (or dragged down) by their sequels. Some have truly endured, both in terms of quality and popularity. You tell me: do any of these achieve RAIDERS status?

    If not, GUARDIANS doesn’t have a prayer.

    • pabloamigo

      Be interested to know which of the above films you consider a joke now?

      • mulesandmud

        I guess TRANSFORMERS is the easy one, a film universally regarded as overstuffed and undercooked, despite being a biannual box office juggernaut. “Let’s watch TRANSFORMERS again tonight.” said no one ever.

        Others, like INDEPENDENCE DAY, are a slightly softer punchline: once upon a time a megablockbuster, but now reduced to a few half-remembered trailer moments slowly fading into our pop culture memory.

        Still others, like AVATAR, felt like game-changers for a second, but five years later it hardly ever gets mentioned, and the game is pretty much the same. AVATAR still has supporters aplenty though, and sequels on the way.

        I guess it depends on what you find funny, like any other joke.

        • http://danieldeboulay.tumblr.com/ Daniel de Boulay

          Avatar still holds up as a good film though when you watch it unlike the other two you mentioned.

  • Rommer

    Carson singled my logline out for improvement in Thursday’s post, and I wanted to thank everyone who came forward with suggestions.

    Here’s the link to the full script again for anyone who might be interested in helping me refine that critical aspect.

    Minus (110 pages)

    • brenkilco

      Am on page fifty. A lot of effort put in. You write well. If I were to offer one stylistic suggestion it would be to take things down a notch. Your character and action descriptions, your similes and metaphors, can be a little elaborate and a bit purple. Ditto the dialogue. I have to believe that even most criminals and cops talk like ordinary human beings most of the time. Their chatter isn’t a constant stream of creative obscenity, angry threats and self consciously hardboiled cracks.

      The basic premise of a hitman who works alone and can’t drive a car is pretty preposterous. But you manage to get away with it. I admire the way you engineer things, the number of balls you’ve gotten in the air, different sets of characters acting at cross purposes. But at this point in the story the tone seems to have switched from nominally realistic to something closer to a Tarantino influenced absurdism. And the coincidences and contrivances are starting to pile up.

      Minus just happens to encounter the greek gangsters at the quickstop, and just happens to encounter the Latino gangsters at the hospital and just happens to trip over the body of Nick. Frank orders a murder in part to get his hands on a phone which he hopes will ID a turncoat but doesn’t bother to check it till hours after he receives it. Minus blows up a gas station with a single 9mm bullet-does this kind of thing happen anywhere but in the movies- and is knocked unconscious. But when he wakes up no one has discovered him and there isn’t a police car or emergency vehicle in sight. The latino gang decides that Frank has double crossed them because they apparently can’t hear the accident or pitched gun battle occurring a block away from the meeting place. Frank still wants to complete the deal but nevertheless has Tommy shoot them when they turn up at his shop.

      I’m also on the fence about the domestic scenes. Particularly the brother shooting his thumb off.

      What I’m hoping for at this point is that things start to tighten up. Anyway will keep reading.

  • scriptfeels

    I really enjoyed Guardians, but I love raiders a lot more. I rewatch raiders atleast once a month.

  • UrbaneGhoul

    What does being the next Raiders mean? Will it have a lasting impact? It seems to already with Paramount wanting to ruin Star Trek even more by “Guardians” it up. But after Avengers came out, no one asked if it was the next Raiders and that’s created the “universe sharing”. Dark Knight changed movies in 2008. And it goes on.

  • Tor Dollhouse



    I will receive a lot of hate/criticism because a lot of the regulars on this site will not like MY opinion BUT it is MY opinion and I RESPECT you and your opinion, the reader, as much as I hope you will respect mine.

    Guardians was a bigger risk than both Star Wars and Indiana Jones combined and here is why:



    Now compare it to EDGE OF TOMORROW.


    The biggest sci fi blockbuster this year THAT WAS AMAZING and failed. Yes, FAILED. It had everyone in the right place to make it BIGGER than Guardians but why did Guardians be so successful?

    Because it took risks on ESTABLISHING a generation WITHOUT AN IDENTITY.

    My generation.


    We don’t have a world in which it is easy for us to connect. It is the exact opposite. We are disconnected through who and what we are expected to think and watch.

    • Steffan

      Not true, Tor.

      But, I agree with you that it is a Sci Fi.

    • andyjaxfl

      Hi Tor, I’m not quite sure I follow you on establishing a generation with an identity. Can you clarify if you have time?

      Agreed that Guardians is a science fiction movie first. Edge’s financial disappointment will be studied for decades since it had all of the usual ingredients of a box office hit.

  • ripleyy

    I love James Gunn so by default I love GOTG. It may not be Raider-level brilliance, but it’s still pretty amazing.

  • Buddy

    I went to see GOTG because everybody was saying “it’s so good, blabla”, but to be honest, the trailer, the plot, the characters…everything felt too childish to me. And I think the movie is really over rated.
    I mean the film is OK, but it’s more a parody of a superhero movie than a real one. The opening (backstory) is one of the cheesiest scene I ever saw in my life. this is probably the laziest “save the cat moment” you can write…unless you see it like a parody. But I’m not 100% sure they did it on purpose (thoughts anyone ?).
    The plot is Ok, but there’s nothing you’ve never saw before. the only originality is the 80’s pop songs in the middle of a sci-fi movie. that’s it !
    Indy is 1000 more powerful than star-lord. Why ? his flaws are relatable, his relationship with his father is deep and funny, the imagery he covey’s (hat, whip, leather jacket), he’s an expert and passionate about his job.

  • bl2d

    Well a few months ago Carson dissected a scene of mine on dialogue… I just finished the rewrite so I guess I’ll throw my hat in…
    Title: FIELDS
    Genre: Action Adventure
    Log Line: In small town Iowa, a group of teens who are “far from friends” accidentally stumble across a once in a lifetime astral event. But the infinite is more than just dreams of discovery, it also holds nightmares.


    • Bifferspice

      your logline is so vague it makes it impossible to know whether i want to read the script or not. a logline isn’t to tease. it’s so that people can see what kind of a movie it’s going to be. yours flirts round the details, scared to clarify anything. tell us what it’s about. i have no idea what they are if they’re far from friends. i don’t know what the once in a lifetime astral event is, and i don’t understand the last sentence at all. i have no idea what your screenplay is about.

      • bl2d

        Hey thanks for the help… That’s the great thing about this site, it leaves no stone unturned.

    • Bifferspice

      i’ve actually read some of the script and it’s very well written. i urge you to revisit the logline and remove all the obstacles. use it to make people want to read your script, not confuse them. :)

      • bl2d

        Hey, I’ve been rewriting for a while now and finally got around to the log line… I was hoping you might tell me if I’m on the right track or not…
        LOGLINE: When an ancient comet flies over a small town in Iowa. A group of teenagers stumble through a gateway to a new world… A world full of adventure, full of wonder, full of danger.

        • Bifferspice

          Hey man, sorry, only just seen this. i like the first half better (though there should be a comma rather than full stop after “Iowa”. the second half is still really vague though. the logline should let us see the movie, at least what it’s going to be like. you’re still being coy and mysterious. adventure, wonder, danger, these things tell me nothing. what’s the new world like? who’s the antagonist? what’s stopping them getting back? do they even want to get back?

          check this article out – the man’s a genius: http://www.twoadverbs.com/logline.pdf

    • Montana Gillis

      “Far from friends” does this mean they are not “buddies” or are at long distance from their other buddies back in town? — Is the “infinite” the afore mentioned “astral event” or something else? Strive for clarity. Might try— “An Iowa cornfield is ground zero for teenagers experiencing a beautiful interstellar event that morphs into unimaginable nightmares.”

      Merry Christmas to all of SS!

  • Steffan

    The Indiana Jones movies are so powerful because they bridge the past and the present without ever being “meta”. They just tell a really old style of story in a very fresh and fun way (i.e. exactly what Hollywood is always looking for).

    I fail to see how the Marvel movies (though sometimes fun) really taps into anything other than the superhero/blockbuster zeitgeist.

  • Scott Chamberlain

    Sir Alec Guinness thought Star Wars sucked despite its success. Now, it is regarded as a paragon of hero’s-journey-storytelling virtue. Sir Alec wanted Obi Wan dead to save him from the banal dialogue.

    Each generation has a tendency to think the next is more feckless and shallow than the last. And nobody seems able to judge a classic, except in hindsight.

    Guardians was good fun, I thought. A thankful relief from the recent spate of dark and brooding superheroes. You never really feel Indy is in peril, and the same is true of Guardians, so I guess they have that in common.

    If anybody is pining for more movies like Raiders it’s not immediately obvious: a quick scan of Black List/this site/any list of spec screenplays seems to show nobody thinks its time for a return of the fun. Or, if they do, they are not willing to put their time and sweat where their mouth is…

  • lonestarr357

    It’s a cruel analogy. Period.

  • cjob3

    I liked Guardians a lot, but there’s something very cheap and easy about winning an audience over by playing a lot of popular music everybody loves. It’s like a cheat for getting people on your side. We’re not allowed to do that in our specs, and Indy certainly didn’t resort to it.

  • walker

    Happy Solstice to my SS friends. The shortest day should be an easy read.

  • cjob3

    To be fair, outside the opening scene, I don’t think the two films have all that much in common.

  • Linkthis83

    I didn’t love GOTG either. I didn’t think the opening was lame, but really screwed up the tone from the start. I understand “why” they might choose to open that way, but it was too brutal of a moment.

    I felt like they crammed all three Star Wars films into one movie. I was really wanting to have the fun movie going experience a lot of others had, but that did not play. Oh well, at least it was made and did well. That helps generate other movies being made.

  • andyjaxfl

    I agree that the finished product for Edge was far superior to the original script that featured a 20-year old main character. I think the dynamic of putting a weasely coward on the front lines and unable to grease his way out of combat was a great and unique take.

    Edge still made $365 million so I’d classify it more as an underpeformer than the bomb many have depicted it as. It’s hard to pin down what kept people away, though I don’t think it’s any one thing in particular.

    • http://danieldeboulay.tumblr.com/ Daniel de Boulay

      It was simply marketed poorly. The film was funny, had great action, and a terrific concept…all of which were underplayed in favor of the idea of it being a science fiction film. But a genre is never enough to sell a film.

      Edge of Tomorrow is a terrific film so it’ll find its audience on home video and will be recognized over time. Especially since Tom Cruise is its lead…it’ll find its audience as people look at his filmography more and more as he gets older. The man has a resume that’s impressive as it stands.

  • MJ86

    Wouldn’t the eventual reboot of The Mummy franchise be a better example of this? Or am I focusing too much on the details (a journey story involving finding a specific something)? I don’t think Guardians even applies to this supposed comparison, really. But back to the second half of the question, how is Guardians even any different from any other comic adaptation (or is it not one? I thought it was…) in terms of “goodness?”

    Granted, I’m slightly over 25, so I guess the question wasn’t directed to me in the first place ;-)

  • MJ86

    Why “terrible?”

  • Cfrancis1

    I really don’t know. I really, really liked Guardians. Story wise it was so-so. The villain felt generic and I can’t even remember the McGuffin. What hooked me was the characters. I loved the characters and enjoyed the otherwise generic plot because of them. Then again, I think that about most Marvel movies. The plots are just fine. But, man, they’re great with character and dialogue.

  • klmn

    Guardians was stupid fun. I don’t think it will be a touchstone for future discussions.