Synopsis: A college kid is forced to babysit a very strange family for an evening.
About: Big spec script that sold a few weeks ago.
Writers: Brian Gatewood & Allesandro Tanaka
Noah, 21, is a loser. He’s a fuck-up. He does not have it going on. He’s been suspended from college, is flat broke, lives with his mother, and has a girlfriend who refuses to list her Facebook status as “In a relationship.” So when a party that his mother’s been looking forward to all week has been canceled due to her friends not being able to find anyone to take care of their children, Noah is forced to do the unthinkable: Be a 21 year old babysitter.
He huffs and he puffs but ultimately gives in. Once he gets there he realizes this family isn’t just weird, they’re batshit crazy. Blithe is an 8 year-old whore obsessed with celebrity (particularly Kim Kardashian’s sex tape). Rodrigo is an extremely weird slightly retarded recent adoptee from Ecuador who likes to walk around lighting sparklers, and Slater is a 13 year-old stud with a laundry list of prescription medications for his multiple anxiety disorders.
About 5 minutes into the night, Noah gets a call from Marisa (his “girlfriend” – cough cough), asking if he’ll come meet her at a party (only an hour ago she told him she couldn’t hang out because she was sick). He tells her he has to babysit but it falls on deaf ears. She needs coke and asks if he wouldn’t mind dropping by her dealer’s place on the way over. Or, err, her “old dealer” she means. Cause Marisa doesn’t do coke anymore. It’s for her friend Tiffany. Noah, blinded by the fact that he’s being used, grabs the kids, jumps in their parents’ Bentley, and the adventure begins.
Along the way Noah accidentally destroys 10,000 dollars worth of coke. The drug dealers threaten his life if they don’t get their money back. This forces Noah to crash one of Slater’s friend’s bat mitfah’s, where they steal money envelopes from the “gift pile.” The Bentley gets stolen, forcing him to confront a father he no longer has a relationship with. He steals his father’s keys and robs his jewelry store. He himself gets robbed by a pair of shady cops. All just to get to this damn party to see a girl that he refuses to accept doesn’t even like him.
Although it’s a silly movie about a crazy night out, the script tackles some bigger issues, specifically the destruction of the American family. Fathers move on to start new families. Mothers are stuck trying to find new husbands. Husbands are cheating on their wives, unaware of what it does to their children. Wives who know of the cheating but refuse to accept it, try to make up for the loss by “saving” children through adoption. It’s all pretty heady stuff. And all too familiar.
I got to give it to these guys. Any writers unafraid of putting an 8 year-old whore in their script deserve some credit. Surprisingly enough, even with how broad these characters are painted, they really come to life in the end. Blithe learns that the reason she cakes her face in make-up and wears slutty outfits is because she spotted her father making out with his secretary. Slater’s anxiety stems from the fact that he’s in the closet. And Rodrigo just wants to feel like he’s part of a family.
This is the best script I’ve read in awhile and I highly recommend it.
[ ] trash
[ ] barely readable
[ ] worth the read
[ ] genius
What I learned from The Sitter: Flip characters around to come up with something unique. Slater isn’t the nerdy kid with asthma problems. He’s the good-looking kid with anxiety problems. Blithe isn’t the perfect 8 year old cute girl, she’s an 8 year old whore.
Synopsis: 5 strangers get stuck at the airport together.
About: Yes, this is the infamous “remake” of The Breakfast Club
Writer: Lizzy Weiss
Okay I have a suggestion to the people realeasing this film. Do not, under any circumstances, let any media print that this is in any way related to The Breakfast Club. Like me. Come to my place right now, break down my door, and force me to log into my blog and erase this paragraph. Cause I’m telling you right now, you do not want people comparing this to The Breakfast Club. It’s like comparing a cracker to a croissant. It is really not a good idea. Every time I read a line – heck every time a character’s name came up – I thought, “How does that compare to The Breakfast Club.” So please do that ASAP. For your own good. Now on to the review…
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and five strangers decide to “bump” themselves to the next flight in order to snag some free tickets. We learn that the reason for their bumping is that each is having their own issues back home which prevent them from being in any sort of hurry to get there. A few more hours in the middle of nowhere is better than a few extra hours in hell. Hey, I think we can all relate.
The five characters sort of “bump” into each other, as you sometimes do at an airport, and begin a seriously accelerated group friendship. There’s C.C., 21. Poor C.C.’s in love with a guy who will only ever see her as a friend. Tabitha, 20s, is a stuck up bitch with a high-paying job. She’s engaged to the Cuban-born Omar, a dirt poor musician. Then there’s Max, 20s, a guy who’s been swallowed up by a job that sends him everywhere in the world but home. And finally (and most unfortunately), there’s Eleanor. Eleanor is a mini-celebrity, has 1.5 million myspace friends, and her alias is…yes…Veronica Vodka (consider yourself lucky if you don’t know the real-life person she’s portraying). I’ll get to that in a bit.
Max and C.C. hit it off immediately. Omar and Tabitha start their rift soonafter. And Eleanor pokes and prods into everyone’s life – though she’s mostly interested in Omar. For the most part, Bumped is like a reverse Breakfast Club. Whereas everyone started off hating each other in that movie, then slowly grew closer, everyone in bumped starts off liking each other before slowly breaking apart. Of course they all come back together in the end, but it’s interesting how they approach the genre from a different angle.
I think the biggest faux pas in the script is Tila Tequila – er, I mean Veronika Vodka. Cause you see, once you include a celebrity in your story, the story is no longer about people. It’s about people…and a celebrity. It peels away some of that real life autheticity. Sure it’s possible that you could run into a celebrity at the airport and start hanging out, but it’s unlikely, and actually comes off as a bit of a gimmick.
The dialogue – which started out pretty standard – improves tremendously as the script goes on. In The Breakfast Club, there are about 30 classic lines. Most movies would be lucky to have 1. So I’m not going to hold that against Bumped. But as the relationships became deeper, the truth starts coming out, and that’s when the dialogue began to soar. Sure, the situations are a little heavy on the drama, but it worked. Why? Because they’re in an airport. And for people like me (who don’t live in them), an airport is a very emotional place. It means you’re going home, or going to meet somebody important, or heading back for the holidays, all things that force you to deal with and assess where you are (and who you are) in life. I am never more emotionally schizophranic than the moment I step into an airport.
In the end, Max helps C.C. realize she’s spending her life being more than a little pathetic (turns out that guy she liked “borrowed” 500 dollars out of her account – for a weekend with another girl no less). C.C. helps Max realize that his work is preventing him from having a life. Omar and Tabitha realize they aren’t meant to be together. And Veronica Vodka? Poor girl realizes that she can’t hide behind her celebrity anymore and that maybe she misses what it feels like to be a “normal” person.
I have to admit, Bumped got to me. There was a moment about 60% in where I realized I was truly emotionally invested in this group. I mean, it’s still no Breakfast Club. But you know what? It doesn’t have to be.
[ ] trash
[ ] barely readable
[xx] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius
What I learned from Bumped: Make sure to connect your characters to their setting, whatever it is. Had these five been stuck at a laundromat, for example, it wouldn’t have been nearly as powerful.
Next week I promise to read three of the newer spec scripts out there. Expect a review of a particularly large actor’s recent sale, something that revolves around what you’d do on a couch, and possibly a script being produced by two industry titans. I can’t wait!
Genre: Political Satire
Synopsis: A down-and-out political fundraiser will do anything to get his candidate elected president.
About: Berger (the son of President Clinton’s National Security Adviser Sandy Berger) wrote the script after interviewing professional fundraisers in Washington and Los Angeles.
Writer: Alex Berger
[ ] barely readable
[x] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Synopsis: A bald overweight TSA screener, Kirk, somehow lands Molly, the most beautiful girl ever.
About: Despite Kirk’s description as “bald and overweight”, Judd Apatow alum Jay Baruchel will be playing the lead in this. God are these Freaks and Geeks guys kissing the ground that Apatow walks on or what? There isn’t a comedy that comes out these days without one of them.
Writers: Sean Anders & John Morris
I wouldn’t say this was the most hilarious script I’ve ever read. But what it lacked in the laugh department it made up for in sweetness. At its core, the story is about the insecure guy inside all of us struggling for acceptance. What we tend to forget, however, is that true acceptance doesn’t come from others. It comes from within.
She’s Out of My League spends a hell of a lot of time making it very clear to us that Molly is way out of Kirk’s league. She’s constantly being hit on whenever they’re together because, well, everyone assumes that Kirk and Molly can’t possibly be together. He’s kicked out of restaurants as owners assume she must be a high-class escort. He’s tackled by cops who assume he’s a random pervert. It goes on and on and on and a lot of it, I have to admit, is pretty funny. But at a certain point you have to say, “Okay, you’ve made your point. She’s out of his league!”
Although I loved Kirk, the writers at times try to make him a little too lovable. He’s so low on the family totem-pole that he’s been resigned to the butt of all jokes. His brother is a total asshole. His parents like his ex-girlfriend so much that they’ve adopted her into the family, along with her new boyfriend! And through all this, Kirk takes it in stride, accepting it for what it is. We’re meant to feel sorry for him but in the end, he comes out looking like a little too much of a schlub. We wanna grab him and scream, “Stick up for yourself! Say something!” But he never does. I wouldn’t have minded if they’d given him something – anything – to rough him up a little. Make him not soooo perfect, ya know? Even the best people have faults.
Kirk spends much of the movie trying to figure out why Molly is with him. Is this some kind of bet? Is it a misunderstanding? His best friend Stainer, an anger management candidate if there ever was one, is convinced she’s a terrorist, befriending him in order to circumvent security. But the truth is, Molly’s just sick of all the jerks she usually goes out with. Kirk is first genuine guy she’s met in…well, ever.
It is an interesting question. Is it possible for a relationship like this to exist? I’m not sure She’s Out Of My League gets to the bottom of that , but it certainly tackled the kinds of situations a couple like this would find themselves in.
The script moves along nicely and I don’t really have any complaints except that I felt they missed an opportunity in the end. As we all know, every romantic comedy ends with someone running to the airport. And here, he *works* at an airport. So there was such potential to come up with a unique ending. Like maybe he has to race to her house (away from the airport). Or maybe he does have to run to the airport, only to get stuck at…SECURITY (he’s a TSA screener). You know, something like that.
But all in all it was a fun script. And maybe with Kevin James’ newfound fame, it’s a role he might be interested in (Jonah Hill also comes to mind). Otherwise, I don’t know if this has the teeth to make it to the big screen.
note: I wrote this before knowing that it had been made into a movie. I like Jay Baruchel and have been waiting for him to get a legitimate leading man role. I guess we’re going to find out if he’s got leading man chops.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM “SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE”
Never miss a chance to create suspense, even if it’s using a cheap trick. We’re told at one point that Molly has a birth defect that’s caused her some self-esteem issues. When Kirk is informed of this by Molly’s friend, he’s ecstatic. Because it means she’s not perfect, and he doesn’t have to feel so inadequate. For the 12 pages between when you’re told of the defect, and it’s actually revealed, you are riveted. You desperately want to know what it is. So cheap, but it works.