Just a quick update to alert you guys to “Go Into The Story” where I give a brief interview (9am EST). These bits and pieces I share are precious because I rarely reveal anything to the public. So take advantage dammit. Also, Scott Myers and I will start doing something that we think is kinda cool every month. So stay tuned for that announcement on Friday. Pierre Pierre review is below.

Genre: Le Comedie
Synopsis: Le man est angrie deteste le grand ball nous live on. Salut.
About: Sold for uno million dollars, this Western European jaunt will star Jim Carrey and be directed by Juno’s Jason Reitman (no, contrary to popular belief, Diablo Cody did not direct Juno). With Fox Atomic having a nuclear meltdown, I’m not sure where this project currently stands. But I have to say, Jim Carrey, although a little old, is perfect for the part. I’m one of the few souls that liked Yes, Man.
Writers: Edwin Cannistraci & Frederick Seton

note: yes I was considering doing my entire review in faux French. You’re welcome for changing my mind.

Let’s get something out in the open right now: Cannistraci and Seton, the writers of Pierre Pierre, are two really fucked up individuals. And you know what? I love them for it. Cause their demented minds came up with “Pierre Pierre”, a script about an annoying Frenchmen who hates the world so much, he wishes only that he could be dead. Yes, welcome to the 1 million dollar spec script, and 2nd on our list of Top selling 2008 screenplays, “Pierre Pierre!”

Pierre Pierre takes advantage of one of the few countries we can still make fun of without feeling bad about ourselves, France. Pierre is everything we assume the stereotypical Frenchman would be: arrogant, smug, smelly, insensitive, combative, and doesn’t really respect women. But see it’s okay, because even though the writer is making fun of him, he’s making fun of us. And when I say “us”, I mean everybody. Because Pierre hates everybody.

We’re informed almost immediately just how much of an asshole Pierre is, because instead of calling his girlfriend “Michelle”, he calls her “Scumbag.” Pierre has all sorts of interesting names for the people in his life. His father is “Idiot Father”. His mother is “Whore Mother”. A hot girl he meets is “Hot Bitch”. His best friend (who also happens to be a rapist and a murderer) he names “Pigeonshit”. And of course he calls all these people these names to their faces, which is actually the nicest thing this he says to them, because most of what Pierre has to say revolves around insults and personal attacks. For instance, when his girlfriend brings up that he doesn’t work, Pierre retorts, “I work plenty Scumbag. Listening to you prattle on is work. Having the sex with you is work. Breathing the same shit air you breathe is fucking work.”

It’s actually funny because you imagine Pierre with a thin little mustache, chain smoking, saying all this in the most absurd French accent imaginable. Jim Carrey is going to have a field day with this role but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did a rewrite and cleaned him up a lot. This borders on dark comedy here. And we all know what happened the last time Jim Carrey did dark comedy. Errr…The Cable Guy?

So the main storyline is Pierre insulting people. What would be considered the “sub-plot” is when Pierre has to transport the stolen Mona Lisa somewhere in Europe with his stupid girlfriend. Along the way he and Scumbag find a tiny code on the painting and they think, a la the Da Vinci Code, it must lead to something amazing. But as much as Pierre tries to give a shit, he just can’t, and would much rather be sitting in an empty room, smoking a cigarette, preparing for death. Watching the Mona Lisa get ripped, kicked, bent, twisted, drawn on, and thrown in the ocean is kinda funny though.

Pierre’s shtick gets a little thin in the end, but there are enough LOL moments to justify its large price tag. This script is different from almost every comedy I’ve ever read. For that alone it gets a thumbs up.

[ ] trash
[ ] barely kept my interest
[x] worth the read (narrowly missed impressive)
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned from Pierre Pierre: This is another case where you have the dreaded screenwriting no-no breathing down your neck: the unlikable hero. You might even call the hero in Pierre Pierre “despicable”. Screenplay purists would argue it’s impossible to write a film with Pierre as the protagonist because if the protagonist’s an asshole, why would we root for him? But there are a few devices you can use to offset an unlikable lead, and the biggest one is humor. It doesn’t matter how much of an asshole your hero is, if he’s making the audience laugh, they’re going to like him. A perfect example is Vince Vaughn in Swingers. On paper the guy is a womanzing asshole. But you can’t help but laugh at everything he says. There are other secret ways to offset unlikable heros, but what? Do you think I’m just going to give you everything in one post?? Are you crazy?? Pfft! Stupid Americans. Merde! Je Desteste. Fin.

Genre: “Comedy” – important to note the quotations
Synopsis: I couldn’t even fucking tell you.
About: I’m shaking my head as I write this. This…script…sold for 850k against 1.6 million (dollars, not pesos)!!!
Writer: Jack Amiel & Michael Begler

Welcome to script 3 of 5 of our top selling scripts of 2008 list. I know there are some new visitors to the site. Let me just say this. I’m not normally this angry. I swear. Go to the backlog of reviews if you don’t believe me. But yesterday’s experience of reading this script was……….it was……..it was not good. I have no more words. Enter at your own risk:

Wedding Banned made me do something I rarely ever do. I stopped reading after 30 pages. Because I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t understand what I was reading. I couldn’t comprehend the fact that this script sold for 8. Hundred. And. 50. Thousand. Dollars. My brain would not accept it. I know comedy is subjective but this had nothing to do with subjectivity. This had to do with common sense. Amiel and Begler literally robbed a bank here. They robbed the bank of my soul. I would not have paid 25 cents for this script. I’m not kidding. I actually want money back for the time that it took me to read these 30 pages.

The “story” revolves around a female lawyer who’s desperately searching for the perfect man and unexpectedly finds him except he just so happens to work in an ice cream truck.

Now that right there? That premise? That actually sounds kind of funny. But Amiel and Begler find out every possible way to make it unfunny. I’m not even sure if what I was reading would be considered jokes. I think they were supposed to be. They were crafted in such a way that it appeared as if jolliness was meant to be had. But nothing behind them was even remotely funny. I would really like to know the circumstances behind who bought this and why. Was this like a bet between studio executives? Like “I bet I can buy a worse screenplay than you”? Seriously, there’s got to be more to this.

For those who are curious, it appears that this is some sort of “Meet The Fockers” ripoff where the bride and groom’s conservative and liberal parents are forced to spend a weekend together. So let me get this straight… You had a choice to ripoff either Meet The Parents or Meet The Fockers…and you chose…………….Meet The Fockers? The shitty stupid slapped-together sequel?

I’m besides myself. I don’t even want to go on anymore. The fact that this sold is why your average Joe walking down the street thinks anybody can write a screenplay. This is their ammunition. I have nothing against Amiel and Begler personally. I congratulate them on their sale. But this should not have been sold. Without question it should not have garnered any monetary outcome unless it was for a fund to find, collect, and burn all the known copies of Wedding Banned around the world.

script link: Wedding Banned (Download if you feel like murdering yourself)

[x] trash
[ ] barely kept my interest
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned from Wedding Banned: You don’t have to break into somebody’s house to rob them.

When I first got to LA, I was warned about the parking police. People told me very specifically, “Don’t fuck with parking out here.” I laughed at them. “Parking?”, I said, “How bad can it be?” I’m from Chicago, where you can actually park on a fire hydrant and they won’t ticket you. Even if a nearby building burns down. But I would learn very quickly that things are different out here. My first experience came when I parked in Westwood, threw a few coins in the meter, and ran in to get some Fatburger. I came out 23 minutes and 48 seconds later, exactly 12 seconds before my meter was to expire. A parking cop was waiting by the meter, counting down the seconds. As I went to get in my car, smiling happily, I offered a “Just beat it.” The parking cop got down to zero and wrote the ticket right there. I was laughing because I thought it was a joke. It was no joke. I assure you, it was no joke.

A month later I was spending my week’s earnings on a lunch in Beverly Hills when I noticed some commotion outside. It was a tow truck loading up a car. MY CAR! I ran outside and asked what the hell they were doing! What could possibly be wrong?? The basic response I got was that my car was too dirty. Beverly Hills does not like dirty cars parked on their streets. Although the actual ticket listed some extremely minor technicality, this was definitely the reason my car was towed.

And the wonderful thing about Los Angeles is they have this system in place by which they multiply your ticket exponentially if you don’t pay within a certain time. It starts off as 40 bucks. But by two weeks it’s 80. 2 weeks later it’s like 300 dollars or something. Yes, I learned very quickly that you DON’T FUCK WITH PARKING IN LA.

So why am I bringing this up? Because there’s another type of parking you should be aware of. Mike Le, a tremendous writer and all around entrepenaur, writes a hilarious web-comic strip about his experiences in the business. It’s called “Don’t Forget To Validate Your Parking” and I don’t know anyone who’s read it who hasn’t loved it. Mike’s one of the smartest funniest guys I know and you’re going to want to get in on the ground floor here so you can cooly claim you knew him when. Mike is also working on a spec script with one of the best hooks I’ve heard in a long time and I hope to review it on the site when he’s finished. Go check out “Don’t Forget To Validate Your Parking” in the meantime and laugh your ass off.

Genre: Drama
Synopsis: A man with a dark past must exact revenge on his brother’s killer.
About: Sold for 650k against 1.1 mil. To star Leonardo DiCaprio. Ridley Scott to direct. The writer sold the script all the way from Pennsylvania. But don’t be fooled. Inglelsby spent 2 years at the prestigious American Film Institute (great school btw).
Writer: Brad Ingelsby

I’d still prefer a sequel to Titanic

No. 4 of 5 on our Top-Selling Scripts of 2008 List. Because you stingy script-horders won’t send me “The Long Run” (AHEM! AHEM!) it looks like this will be our last drama of the week. Enjoy (aka I hate you).

I was really dreading this one. I already tried to read it once and it didn’t go well. By page 13 I was actually considering watching The Bachelor instead. That’s never a good sign because I only mildly occasionally watch The Bachelor. It’s usually by accident if I’m flipping through the channels and happen to leave it on ABC at 8pm on Mondays. It’s always by chance though. Believe me, I could care less about the show. But I will say this: Jason really screwed over Melissa. I’ll leave it at that.

And I don’t think Molly is emotionally available enough for Jason and I worry how that’s going to affect Ty. Okay I’m done. I just wanted to be on the record about that.

The (S)Low Dweller was purchased when none other than Jack Dawson (known by some as the celebrity-eschewing Leonardo DiCaprio) became interested in the material. Scripts that are bought for actors are always interesting because an actor doesn’t look at the whole story when he’s looking at a script. He tends to look exclusively at the character. This is all fine and dandy but a story has to work as a whole and sometimes these vanity projects stink of Oscar bait. Check out “Seven Pounds” if you don’t believe me. But it’s a good thing for Inglesby that DiCaprio became interested. Because if he hadn’t, I’m almost certain we’d have never heard of The Low Dweller.

I don’t know how many of you watch Entourage, but The Low Dweller reminds me of those two hicks that E represents – the ones that ended up selling their script for a million dollars? This is a small town movie about small time people. We meet SLIM somewhere in rural Indiana (is there anywhere in Indiana that’s not rural?), his clothes stained with fresh blood, his mind still blank from alcohol. We find out later he’s killed a man but we don’t know who or why. After four years in jail, he’s released back into a world that’s forgotten him.

He reconnects with his brother and the rest of the people he left behind – all of whom he seems to have strained relationships with. The Low Dweller is heavy. I’m serious. There isn’t a single smile in the script. I’m getting depressed just thinking about it. When his brother is killed for skipping out on a gambling debt, Slim grabs a couple of old buddies and heads out on the road for a little revenge (if only he’d called Dan Minter!). The man he’s going after, SAM, is a really bad guy who, for some reason, likes to wear a fedora. During this time Slim tries to mend the relationships he destroyed during his “troubled” past.

The writing here is very good but the film feels like it’s lost in cliches. Small town with shady characters. Guy owes a gambling debt. Collectors are tired of waiting to get paid so they kill him. His brother (with a dark past) comes after the killer. I’m not saying you have to have a completely original idea to write a good screenplay. But it helps.

Basically The Low Dweller is a revenge movie and it takes way too long to get to the revenge part. The first 20 pages could’ve been condensed into 3. If you want to read a great movie about revenge, look no further than my Top 25 List and download The Brigands Of Rattleborge . Now that’s a revenge movie. This is Revenge Light, and I fail to see what caught DiCaprio’s interest here besides another opportunity to use a southern accent.

The script makes a late comeback (with a revenge for the revenge) but the final shot falls short. This felt like an amalgam of a few films: Fargo, No Country For Old Men, and History Of Violence. I like all of those movies but the problem with The Low Dweller is that it doesn’t do anything nearly as well as any of them. This sounds terrible but The Low Dweller is kind of like the ugly non-smiling stepchild here.

But if you liked any of those movies, you might as well check out The Low Dweller. Who knows? Maybe DiCaprio saw something in it that I didn’t and it’ll turn into a great movie. It definitely has its admirers as I think it was pretty high on The Black List. Just bring something to entertain yourself during the read – like a gameboy – cause it’s sloooooooooooo-oooooooooow.

[ ] trash
[x] barely kept my interest
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned from The Low Dweller: If you’re going to write a revenge movie, you have two jobs. Make sure we like the person who gets killed and inspires the revenge and make sure we detest the killer (so that we’ll want to see him killed). Fail on either of these fronts and your revenge movie doesn’t work. If you have a somewhat mean guy killing an annoying victim, where’s our incentive for the hero to get revenge?