About: I know nothing about “Kept” other than that it showed up at my door with a note. “Read this or die.” I decided I wanted to live so I read it.
Writer: Jayson Rothwell


Have you ever gone out with a girl who’s physically out of your league? And you two are moseying along. You can’t believe how lucky you are. And then somewhere in the fourth or fifth week that moment comes. And I think you know what moment I’m talking about. The moment where you realize SHE’S CRAZY! Yeah. Man does that moment suck. My dad taught me an important lesson when I was a kid. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

“Kept” starts out with CHARLIE, a mysterious businessman, sidling into a club, and noticing the jaw-droppingly hot MAXINE all by herself. He discreetly slips off his wedding ring and makes his move. They eventually end up back at her place, drink a little wine, and the next thing he knows Charlie’s woken up with a headache, a mouth full of duct tape, and his arms and feet chained to a bed. It looks like Charlie found out his chick was crazy just a little earlier than the rest of us.

“Kept” keeps this old sub-genre fresh by introducing some unfamiliar elements. Such as everyone else in the apartment complex (all women who have in some way been harmed by men) is just as crazy as Maxine is. Which means Charlie must helplessly endure a barrage of psychos hell-bent on making him suffer as much as possible before his death. There’s an older Asian woman who was a sex slave who keeps jars full of severed penises on her bookshelf. There’s a religious woman who was the victim of family-related sexual abuse. There’s a 92 year old freakshow named Bea who’s killed so many husbands she’s lost count. And these are the normal ones.

But Maxine’s the most fucked up of all. She truly possesses an inner rage and not a lick of mercy. She’s been doing this for years, videotaping all of the men she’s killed and the horrible ways in which she’s killed them, apparently for a movie she’s making (Sundance ’11?) She revels in showing Charlie the moment when all the previous men broke down. So she becomes increasingly agitated when Charlie is able to handle whatever is thrown at him. There’s something different about him and she wants to get to the bottom of it.

She snags his suitcase and goes through it in front of him. What she finds is that Charlie is actually a killer too! A hitman to be precise. And Maxine takes delight in the irony of seeing him on the other side of the hit. The problem is that Maxine underestimates Charlie, and it ends up being her undoing. Or does it?

Besides the cartoonish nature of the script, it’s a fun-as-hell read. The thing flies by. And you’re genuinely interested in whether Charlie will escape or not. There are, however, three fairly big problems I had with the script. If this movie is made, I’d prefer to have one or two of them taken care of.

The first is when Maxine finds out Charlie is a killer. She doesn’t even react. I mean the odds of two killers finding each other accidentally is astronomical. So when she sees Charlie has killed people, just like her, her passee reaction really hurts the credibility of her character.

Secondly, one of the things Maxine can’t shut up about is men who cheat. Men who have it all. The perfect wife. The perfect house. Two children. And they’re willing to risk it all by fucking some random woman – which she claims is why she’s punishing him. She saw him remove his ring that night. However, midway through the script, we learn that Charlie is actually a widower, that his wife is dead. So the way the writer deals with Maxine receiving this information is to have her not understand at first. And barely acknowledge it when it becomes obvious. This conveniently allows her to continue torturing Charlie, when in actuality, if she’s staying true to her character, she would’ve realized that she made a mistake.

The last problem I had was when Chalie escapes and decides to, a la William Wallace, get even with these bitches one by one. The way Maxine reacts to this is completely ridiculous. She turns into Hans Gruber and vows to “take this motherfucker down.” Lets be real here. Maxine may be a professional torturer. But Charlie is a trained killer. That’s like Kobe taking on Urkle. Give me a break.

But because the script embraces its cartoonish tone, I’m ultimately willing to forgive these things. It is a fun ride. And I’ll be honest, this script gave me fucking nightmares. I haven’t had nightmares about a film since I was ten and I thought that skeleton from Tales of Crypt was going to sneak into my room and kill me. I will certainly be thinking twice before going home with any super hot girls from now on. The lesson to learn from all this? If it’s too good to be true…you’re probably dead.

What I learned from Kept: Look for ways to create new twists on an old genre. We’ve seen the person who wakes up and is being held captive before. But Kept throws a few wrinkles into the equation. It’s a woman holding a man captive. She lives in a complex where everyone helps her. All of this made the script unique and unexpected, essential if you want to stand out from the crowd.

About: This edgy comedy – the third from Mike Judge – supposedly stars Ben Affleck. I must be the bearer of bad news however. Affleck is not the one who gets his balls chopped off.
Writer: Mike Judge
Poor little Mike Judge. The marketing campaign for possibly the funniest movie ever had exactly one laugh in it, and from a character who didn’t even have a minute of screentime (“My “oh” face”). About 12 people showed up to Office Space before it became a phenomenon on home video. Then a thousand years go by and we hear rumblings about a second Judge film set in the future! Cool! However when the film is released, it is done so without even a POSTER! I have seen many things in my life. But I have never seen a studio so dislike a film that they didn’t even spend money on a poster. Idiocracy was no Office Space but it was fun. The problem with the film was that we didn’t know what edit we were watching, the studio’s or Mike’s. All I remember thinking was, “Mike Judge is never going to make another movie again.”
But the movie Gods have smiled down upon us. “Extract” or, as it should be called, “The Ball Chopping Off Movie”, is about a man, JOEL, who’s on the verge of selling his Extract company for a cool mil, when a factory accident “extracts” one of his worker’s balls. Just when it seems like the worker is fine with the insurance settlement, in comes CINDY, a super hot con girl, to encourage him to sue the company. Joel goes from potentially having it all, to potentially losing everything.
It’s in the first few pages that we see why Judge is such a master. His character despcriptions couldn’t be better if he had drawn you a sketch. Here’s one of STEP, the poor soul who gets one of his testicles severed. How bout this description?
“Talking to Hector is STEP, a short, beady-eyed Charles-Manson-looking guy with a beard and mustache. Step is in his forties. He makes everything he says sound as macho and important as possible.”
Here is a completely unique character, someone I’ve never seen before, and yet I know exactly who he is. Who does this better than Judge?
The irony is thick, as even though STEP’s the one who’s had his testical severed, it’s Joel who doesn’t have any balls. Back at home his wife won’t have sex with him.And when Cindy (who’s working all the angles) comes on to Joel, in order for him to not feel bad about cheating on his wife, he hires a local gigolo to seduce her. If she has sex with him, he won’t feel bad about cheating on her. The gigolo, an airhead named BRAD, falls in love with Joel’s wife, and starts coming over to have sex every day. When a furious Joel finds out, he confronts Brad, who insists not to worry. He won’t charge him for the extra sex. Joel refuses to allow Brad to have sex with his wife for free, and so continues to pay him. haha.
It’s all fucking hilarious. And Judge adds a dearth of memorable characters. Joel’s annoying neighbor who never takes no for an answer. His best friend Dean who thinks every problem can be solved with a pill (and has access to all of them). The 40-something factory worker still holding onto his dream of being a rockstar. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you jealous when you think about your own comedy scripts.
The problem with the movie is that it peaks too early. The height of the story is the moment when Joel realizes his wife is cheating on him, he might go bankrupt, and that he’s not going to have sex with Cindy. The tension is built up beautifully to that point. But from then on, everything deflates like a punctured balloon, of which you can actually hear the air escape.
It’s too bad because Extract was fast becoming my favorite script of the year. That’s not to say it still isn’t hilarious. And since Judge is the director, I’m sure he’ll be tweaking it right up to production. But nothing is ever as interesting as when those three things come to a head.
The only other knock I have is that Judge tends to make his leads huge pussies. And I understand that’s a theme he’s exploring here. But at a certain point you wanna grab Joel by the shoulders, shake him, and scream, “Stand up for yourself!”
The ultimate irony, of course, is that Judge has lost his balls somewhere along the way too. He’s the one who keeps letting these producers and studios walk all over him, and as a result we get movies without posters. It could be that this script is a reflection of that, and if it is, well then I’m sorry, but we won’t be seeing Judge stand up anytime soon. I hope he does though. And Extract could be the movie that gives him the clout to do so. Cause it could be a classic. Even with Ben Affleck in the lead.

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

What I learned from Extract: Don’t be afraid to tell us who your characters are, even if it takes a few extra lines. “Handsome and likable” doesn’t cut it for all your leads. Sorry.

Info: Every once in awhile I like to close my eyes, reach into my pile of scripts, and pull something out. I don’t look at the title. I don’t look at the writer. I want to go in completely ignorant and judge the writing for the writing. Sometimes you get lucky. Other times, you get Black Box.
Writer: Brad Holloway


I don’t like trashing scripts. I really don’t. I know how long it takes to write something. And I know how much heart and soul goes into it. But one of my biggest pet peeves is lack of effort. If your script doesn’t give me a single thing that I’ve never seen before, then why the fuck did you write the thing in the first place? If you were just going to cobble together scenes and lines and characters from all the other scripts and movies and TV shows that you’ve seen, then don’t be a writer. And on top of that, if your story is going to go nowhere for 119 pages just so you can have your big “twist” at the end, you better make sure that twist is the mother of all fucking twists. Not something that’s on every third episode of 24.

A better title for this script might have been “Nothing Happens.” Black Box is about the “investigation” of a crashed plane. The main character is some guy named Stu who apparently is addicted to pain killers. This is the extent of depth given to all the characters btw. One guy is having family problems. Another guy’s a drunk. It’s all so surface level and indicative of the level of thought put into this script.

Stu is convinced that the government is covering up the plane crash. As a cop (or an ex-cop – I’m still not sure) he jumps in and takes it upon himself to find the truth. His main adversary is Fairchild, a Homeland Security official, whose big thing is that he’s really pissed off all the time. I suppose that’s his character “flaw.” Stu’s all over Fairchild’s ass to let him hear the contents of the downed plane’s black box. Fairchild – being pissed off – says no. Uh oh, whatever will Stu do?

In the meantime, there’s a secondary story going on in Pakistan with random characters who we’re given no information on as far as how they’re connected to the story. We take part in their obviously shady dealings but we don’t care because we don’t know who the fuck they are or why we’re watching them.

In order to understand how bad this script is, you have to know that 67 pages into the story I still didn’t know any more than I did at the beginning of the story. A plane had crashed. There’s something fishy about it. The government is probably covering it up. I mean…what the fuck is the point of all this if we’re not going to get any new information? Or if we’re not going to get any new information, why aren’t we at least learning something about the characters? Tack onto that that we DON’T CARE ABOUT THE PLANE CRASH – the main thing that’s driving the film – because we don’t know who the fuck was on the plane, where they were coming from, or where they were going. We don’t know ANYTHING about them or any of the people who lost them. So why do we care if this mystery is figured out or not???

I just can’t tell you how boring this all was. I’d rather watch Joaquin Phoenix’s next rap set than read another page of “Nothing Happens.” (disclaimer: I actually thought his first song was pretty good) So Stu goes around conducting his own investigation with a bunch of scenes that basically amounted to, “Do you know anything about this crash?” “Yes, I heard two explosions.” “Two explosions?? Not one?” “No. Two.” – Goes to next location. Has extremely similar conversation with next guy – What we eventually learn is that the terrorists tricked the U.S. into blowing up their own plane! Which is why they needed to cover it up! Ooh. Wow. What a clever ending. 119 pages of dicking around for a 4th rate twist. Awesome.

I think what frustrates me the most about this script is that the idea of a black box is just so ripe for mystery. There are so many places you can go with it. And here we’re given one of the least interesting ways. This was a big waste of time. I have nothing else to say.

What I learned from Black Box: A simple rule is, if a major catastrophe is the centerpiece of your film, make sure that at least one of the characters has a personal connection to the catastrophe. For instance, make Stu or Fairchild have known someone on the plane that crashed. The entire movie instantly gains a level of depth with that very simple addition.

Okay, all I know is that Bale was in the middle of a shot, and supposedly the D.P. – who was not in the shot – started fiddling with one of the lights behind him. Bale then unleashes a verbal tirade. And of course now it’s heard all over the internet. Who’s wrong in this situation? I’m sorry, but the D.P. is wrong.

Why would you be fiddling or even looking at lights DURING A SHOT unless you were going for some sort of effect (which apparently wasn’t the case)?? People are calling Bale a diva but do you know how difficult it is to get into character for an intense scene after you’ve been waiting around for 2 hours for them to set everything up? It’s really fucking hard. The idea is you create an environment that gives your actors the best opportunity to give a great performance. A.D.D. perfectionist D.P.s roaming around the back of a shot while film is rolling is a fucking amateur thing to do. The D.P. is retarded if he doesn’t know this. And to be honest, he does sound a little autistic.

I’m not saying Bale doesn’t have anger issues. But anyone who’s been on a film set knows they’re pressure cookers. You’re always racing against the clock. Thousands of dollars are being spent for every minute that goes by. Half the time you’re doing something that nobody’s ever done before and that nobody knows how to do. It’s intense. And I can see someone cracking when Jeff the Retard D.P. just has to check his scrim to make sure it’s fastened correctly.

This does not hurt Terminator at all though. Terminator is a badass franchise. So if one of the actors in the film does something badass, well then good. It’s a fucking Terminator film. That’s how it should be.

As a side note, this totally changes the game. Between this and the infamous David O. Russel breakdown, true divas are going to be a lot more careful with how they treat people on set. And ultimately that will be a good thing.

Info: 20,000 Leagues hit the spotlight when it was revealed that the man who made the worst movie of last summer – Da Fresh Prince – was interested. While I’m one of the first people to defend Smith as a movie star (how can you not like the guy?), Hancock fucking sucked. Stupid-ass mid-movie “twist”. Arrgh, I’ll never forget how quickly I went from loving to hating that flick.

Writer: Craig Titley

Draft: July 2007

Anyway, first things first. I don’t know jack shit about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Apparently it was some big Harry Potter like book back in the what? 17th Century? The title completely underwhelmed me. The first thing I thought of when I heard it was…old. Dated. Not relevant. Like something that people 50 years ago might’ve been interested in. That and one of the worst movies to ever grace the screen was set on water – the hurts-my-brain-to-even-think-about-it-still “The Perfect Storm”. Well, now that you mention it, pretty much anything Marky Mark is in sucks. But back to the script. What else was I gonna say about it? I hate the sea. I think it’s stupid. Blah blah blah. But you know what? Even though I was fully prepared to hate this script, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was pretty damn awesome.

20,000 starts off – I believe, at the turn of the 20th century – with the mystery of an underwater “beast” that has been stalking boats, taking bites out of them, and leaving them to sink to the bottom of the sea. But only in spots where it’s 20,000 leagues. Otherwise it leaves them alone. NED, we’ll just call him Jack Sparrow 2.0, is reluctantly recruited by an old army buddy to hunt the beast. He’s joined by Aronnax, a scientist and Julie, a hot girl. She has some other ties to the story but let’s call a spade a spade shall we? She’s a hot girl.

They go out looking for this beast (how you go looking for a beast in 1,000,000 square feet of water I’m still not entirely clear on) and eventually find it. But the beast is not a beast at all! It’s an underwater ship! Essentially a super tricked out mega submarine called “The Nautilus.” Back before submarines were even built yo! The ship is being captained by Nemo. Which means that this entire time they were actually trying to….Find Nemo. There, I said it.

They are then taken captive, because apparently Nemo’s got all sorts of fucked up shit in his past and he ain’t happy. People be killin his wife and kid n shit! And so Jack Sparrow 2.0, Hot Girl, and Scientology Dude, all try to figure out what the hell it is they’re inside. Eventually they’re brought back to a secret Volcano City (think Zion) and told that Nemo here is searching for a secret lost city (a city even more secret, apparently, than a Volcano City!). This then becomes the main thrust of the film, and the three core players (Finding Nemo, Jack Sparrow 2.0, and Hot Girl) find themselves bickering and backering, none of them sure whether to kiss or kill each other.

And it’s all pretty damn entertaining to be honest. Jack Sparrow 2.0 is funny as hell. He spits out one-liners that are actually funny instead of being retreads of old lines we’ve heard a thousand times before. Finding Nemo has a dark and brooding quality that keeps him mysterious. And even though I can’t see Hot Girl, I know she’s hot. So whenever she gets all saucy and bothered with one of the men, it’s extremely sexy. I totally wanted to bang her. Wait a minute…what am I talking about again?

Ah yes, the script makes great use of well-researched history, co-signing lore and myth into an entertaining backstory. If anyone’s researched the Sumerians, they are one of the earliest cultures to display knowledge of mathematics and…other smart people stuff. And 20,000 Leagues makes the assertion that the Sumerians knew these things because they were taught them by an even more ancient civilization which was…wait for it…swallowed up by the ocean. I’ve heard some theories about how there was a civilization right here on earth tens of thousands of years ago that was actually more civilized than our own. And even though it’s pretty far-fetched, who’s to say it didn’t happen?

Okay, now that you think I’m batshit crazy, let me finish up by saying this would make an awesome movie! The Nautilus is cool as hell. The characters are all entertaining. The set-pieces are original and action-packed. And most important of all, it’s a good story. Sure the ending had some confusing action. But that’s literally the only problem I had with the script. And I usually can’t even get past page 5 of a big-budget script. So stop dragging your…err, gills New Line. Or whoever’s got this property – and go ahead and make this movie. It’s going to make, like, a bagagillion dollars!