I’ve decided to change things up because I got a hold of “Get Him To The Greek”, the Jonah Hill, Russel Brand script that everyone’s been raving about. It’s got the Apatow connection (don’t all the comedies these days?) so I’m excited to read it (especially after today’s abysmal experience). A link will be provided so at this time tomorrow, you could be reading it too! :)
Synopsis: A soldier comes back from Afghanistan to find his wife and daughter murdered. He goes looking for the killer…sorta.
About: This was actually made into a movie. When it’s coming out? I have no idea. Judging by the quality of the script, my guess would be never.
Writers: Jeff and Josh Crook
This was written by Jeff and Josh Crook That’s appropriate because they JUST STOLE 2 HOURS OF MY LIFE. Welcome to screenplay hell folks.
You know I’m kinda glad this script came up because I recently got into it with the guys over at Filmspotting after their review of Taken, which I thought was an excellent film. Their problem with the film though, was that they thought the first 30 minutes were boring as hell, and that the screenwriters should’ve started with the daughter getting kidnapped. I argued that that was the dumbest idea in movie history. Why would we care about a daughter we didn’t know? The reason Taken works so well is the buildup in that first act of showing how much Liam Neeson’s character wants to reconnect with his daughter. Without it there is no movie.
But to even mention Rockaway in the same sentence as Taken is disingenuous. Cause this script sucked. The story’s about a guy coming back from the war only to find out that his wife and daughter have been murdered. So he goes on an investigation to find the killer and get retribution. The problem is, unlike Taken, we’ve never met the wife and daughter. I have no emotional connection to them. So why the fuck should I care whether he gets retribution or not? But if that were Rockaway’s only problem, it might have had a fighting chance.
Unfortunately, the script is horribly written. I mean really bad. The dialogue is simplistic and on-the-nose. And for a movie about revenge, it would be nice if your main character actually did something. Trane (yes, his name is “Trane”) just wanders around from place to place, getting in fights with people, then occasionally decides he wants to refocus his efforts on finding that darned killer. Lol. It’s bad folks. And you have to realize something. This movie got MADE. People put millions of dollars into this.
There are no real obstacles to Trane’s mission because Trane is rarely involved in his mission. He’s too busy walking around and talking to old friends/enemies. There are gang members, old rivalries, and oh yeah, let’s not forget “The Russians”, lol. Because every movie about “the streets” has to involve “The Russians”. Apparently the Crook brothers play a looooooooooot of Grand Theft Auto. This script was so bad, I had to create a new category for it.
link: I refuse to post a link for this. However, if you really want the script, if you really want to put yourself through the torture, e-mail me.
[ ] trash
[ ] barely readable
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius
What I learned from Rockaway: In case I wasn’t clear up above – If your movie consists of someone getting retribution for a person who was kidnapped/raped/murdered, make sure we actually meet the victims before they’re killed. The audience will be infinitely more involved in your main character’s pursuit. Oh, and the second thing I learned: Know how to write.
Carson’s Surprise Advice: Please, PLEASE. If you have to write a movie about a soldier returning from Iraq, please, for the love of all that is holy, give it a twist to make it different from the 862,000 other “just got back from Iraq” scripts. Thank you and good night.
Since I haven’t reviewed all my top 25 scripts and a bunch of you have e-mailed me asking what they’re about, I decided to give a quick blurb about each one. I’ll divide this into two parts. Oh, and because I’m lazy, I’m not including links. You’ll have to reach over to the top 25 list and get the scripts from there (I know – I’m a horrible person).
1) EVERYTHING MUST GO
Genre: Indie Drama
A guy loses his job and his wife. She’s changed the locks to the house and left all of his furniture outside. Instead of shipping it off, he sets everything out in the front yard and starts living there. The reason I love this script so much is because the main character does exactly what I would do in this situation. You want me to leave? I’ll do the opposite. I’ll stay. It’s a bit of a strange plot and weird enough so that a good portion of you won’t like it, but it’s my favorite script of 2008.
3) THE F WORD
A very simple premise. Guy meets girl, girl has boyfriend. Guy and girl become best friends. Guy and girl try desperately not to hook up. No huge surprises or twists here. Just an amazingly executed script. Very funny.
4) JUNIOR EXECUTIVE
Genre: Indie Comedy
In an attempt to get his estranged pilot father to come back into his life, a high school kid decides to build his own airport. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, you have to read this script. Quirky, weird, hilarious. The writing is so simple as to make it look amateur but once you get going, you can’t stop. This one’s out there, but if you buy into a few early absurdities (borrowing 500k like it’s as easy as buying ice cream for example) it’s a great read. (note: no link for this. if you want it, contact me directly)
5) BRAD CUTTER RUINED MY LIFE AGAIN
A hilarious script about a former high school nerd finally making his way in the world, only to find out that his company is hiring the most popular kid from his old school. Before he knows it, the company turns into its own high school, and once again, he’s the nerd.
6) BRIGANDS OF RATTLEBORGE
I hate Westerns. But something about this one got me. What’s interesting is that this script breaks about every screenwriting rule there is. And it ended up being the top rated script on the 2007 Blacklist.
9) GOING THE DISTANCE
A simple comedy about the trials and tribulations of long distance relationships. Geoff, the writer, is a master of comedy dialogue. Anyone who’s been in a long distance relationship can relate to this one.
10) WINTER’S DISCONTENT
One of the most unexpected reads of the year. A bunch of old dudes looking for nookie in a nursing home. American Pie for the Viagra generation. Hilarious.
11) THE ORNATE ANATOMY OF LIVING THINGS
Genre: Indie Dramedy
Charlie Kaufman-inspired, the story of a man who finds out there’s a museum dedicated to his life. Very weird but very cool. One of the more imaginative scripts I’ve read. Was on the 2007(?) Blacklist. These are the same guys who brought you The Adventurer’s Handbook.
13) LAST NIGHT
This one’s already been shot with Keira Knightly and Eva Mendes. A woman (Knightly) starts to suspect her husband of infidelity with an extremely attractive coworker (Mendes). Things get complicated when he goes on his next business trip.
14) THE HANGOVER
Much funnier than the trailer showed. But it’s a great little premise. Four guys have to piece together their drunken night to find a missing groom (who’s getting married THAT day). This is one of those scripts you read and immediately say, “I could see that as a movie.” Funny funny funny.
I’ll post the second half later in the week folks. Til then…
Starting tomorrow I’m reviewing a comedy that sold a couple of weeks ago. I have a futuristic crime drama. I have one of the worst scripts I have ever read (that got made into a movie no less!). I have a script that surprised me in the same vein as Goodfellas. And I have Part 1 of my Top 25 synopsis rundown. A bunch of you have e-mailed me asking why there are no reviews for those scripts, so I thought I’d give you a quick blurb on each. That way you’ll know if you want to read them. Should be fun…
I didn’t like The Reversal. As I tried desperately to settle into the first 10 pages, I realized that I was reading everything twice, sometimes three times. I couldn’t tell if I was distracted or not into it. The Reversal feels like a some sort of neo-punk semi-futuristic episode of NYPD Blue with characters spouting cooler-than-thou lines, all in an environment alien enough that everything has to be described extensively. I think it’s this description that was driving me mad. I don’t really care that the pink girl dressed in fishnet stockings is shooting down aqua-blue viles of an uknown substance. I fully acknowledge, however, that this is probably a taste thing, and there are plenty of people out there who ,will be into this. Unfortunately I wasn’t one of them.
The overall story of The Reversal is quite grand and a little difficult to digest. In the year 2027, all the water’s been evaporated on purpose so that the leaders of the world can control the water supply, allowing them to keep the populations under control. If people need water, they’ll do whatever they’re told. Okay whatever. Anyway, our “hero”, DENNIS, a cop, starts investigating a series of murders where the left arms of the victims have all been torn off. Coincidentally, Dennis knew all these men. They were soldiers in his company. So now we think whoever’s killed everybody else is trying to kill Dennis. The reason (“spoiler” here – and I may be off on this cause it was so laborious reading this thing) is that all of the company members were secretly encoded with a way to bring water back in the upper epidermus level of a skin patch on their shoulder. That’s why the arms are chopped off.
Anyway, the whole thing felt like some sort of bad B-Movie sci-fi noir detective crap. Everybody’s got 5’oclock stubble. Everyone speaks in gruff voices. Only one small area of the room is ever lit. Gahhh!! I couldn’t take it anymore. As I stated before, part of me believes that my dislike of the script is a preference thing. Someone recommended it to me so obviously there are people out there who are into this stuff. This is one of those scripts I can’t dismiss out of hand without telling you to read it and form your own opinion. It’s distinctly stylized, and it might be your kind of style.
What I learned from The Reversal: This is probably the most opinion-related lesson that I’ve offered, but it’s one I learned personally after sending out a few sci-fi scripts. When you’ve created an imaginary or futuristic world, don’t spend too much time describing that world. Set it up as best you can. Sprinkle in the important visual images here and there. But keep the focus simple and on the story. Even though *you* believe your world is awesome enough as to be described in illicit detail on every page, the reader is here to enjoy a story. That’s where you should spend the majority of your effort.