Busier than normal here at the household. One of the Dragon Gods of Screenplay Heaven got sick and I had to take him to the vet. So I’m reposting my newsletter review of BIRDMAN, which is from a long time ago. Now since that time, they’ve come out with a trailer. And I’ll be the first to admit, the trailer looks awesome. It’s unique in all the right ways. It takes chances. It’s fun. But I’m not backing off my review. The script was borderline unreadable. And I know my review was a little mean-spirited, but as I know all of you can attest to, there’s nothing that gets you more riled up as a reader than a comedy where nothing is funny. Now whether this is another case of a “what the hell did I just read” turning into True Detective, we’ll have to see. But it’s pretty easy to come up with a cool looking trailer that then becomes a terrible movie. Heck, we see it every month. I’m hoping I’m wrong though. I’m hoping Inarritu had some vision that went beyond the script, which can sometimes happen with writer-director projects. So here’s my original newsletter review of Birdman. Also, I WILL be sending out a newsletter later this week. If you’re not on the list, you can join here.

Genre: Comedy
Premise: A famous director turns away from his successful blockbuster movie franchise to try and make it on Broadway.
About: “Birdman” is Alejandro Inarritu’s first foray into comedy. He’s best known for his dark gritty dramas like 21 Grams, Amores Perros, Biutiful, and Babel. Birdman is finished filming and stars Edward Norton, Michael Keaton, and Naomi Watts. Now, Inarritu actually has a little bit of history with the screenwriting world. He used to work closely with writer Guillermo Arriaga on all his films. Then Arriaga, a screenwriter through-and-through, began a personal campaign pushing the agenda that writers and directors should share an “auteur” credit in every movie, as they are just as responsible for the movie as the director. That pissed Inarritu off, who strongly disagreed, and the two’s friendship and working relationship fell apart as a result. This happened during the writing of Babel, and the two haven’t worked together since. It’s an interesting development in that one could argue that Biutiful was Inarritu’s worst film, and it was his first full movie without Arriaga. Coincidence? Maybe the script for Birdman, which Inarritu is the head writer on, will help us find out.
Writers: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
Details: 121 pages (Sept 10, 2012 draft)

filming-scenes-for-movie-birdman-06

I’m always interested when someone who’s successful in one arena tries to break out of the hole they’ve been pigeoned in (get it! “Birdman!”) into another arena. Not only is there the curiosity factor of if they can do it, but there’s a lot on the line. Everyone’s doubtful that you can pull it off, and they’re kind of ready to rip you apart if you fail. And there’s no genre harder to pull off than comedy.

So to hear that Inarritu was making a comedy – he being responsible for some of the most depressing films of the last decade – well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised. Did Inarritu have a secret life? Did he stay home late at night watching Chris Farley movies and making farting noises with his armpit at the dinner table? Or was he just sick of being tabbed the super serious guy? Or better yet, did he just want to prove he could do it? These were questions I was curious to have answered.

Our oddly named hero, Riggan, is a 55 year old director whose successful film franchise “Birdman,” has made him a household name. But when given the chance to make a fourth Birdman film and add even more money to his coffers, Riggan decides, instead, to try out Broadway – to make a serious dramatic play which will bring him the respect he’s always longed for.

The problem is, he hates his lead. Which is a huge issue when your play debuts in a couple of weeks. Luckily, that lead gets injured, and Riggan is able to replace him with a hot Broadway actor named Matt Skinner. The Brando-like Skinner may be a better actor, but he’s also nuts. He lives and breathes his characters, and isn’t afraid to fuck with the production in order to get what he wants. For example, one day he sets fire to the set. Why? Cause he’s Matt Skinner!

If Riggan only had to worry about Matt, he MIGHT be able to get through this. But he’s also going a little nuts (he constantly talks with a manifestation of his Birdman character throughout the movie). He’s got a daughter who hates him, seemingly because he doesn’t know what Twitter is. And there are numerous cast and crew members who are banging (or wanting to bang) each other, inadvertently destroying this delicate production Riggan’s worked so hard to create. Will Riggan figure out a way to save his play and finally earn the respect he feels he deserves? You’ll be able to find out this fall.

Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it. This was terrible. I mean, it’s pretty much a failure on every level. This is a comedy without any laughs. The tone is all over the place (dead serious one moment, overly goofy the next). And I’m wondering if the script’s shortcomings are an ESL issue. Because very little made sense. I know I couldn’t write a comedy in another language. So there’s no shame in it. The shame is in trying to do something you shouldn’t have done in the first place.

Birdman’s problems go deep. Within the first 5 pages, I was confused. First of all, the main character starts in his dressing room, then walks out onto a stage, where the other characters are having a discussion about a psycho ex-boyfriend, which we believe to be a scene rehearsal. But then they turn to Riggan and ask him, mid-rehearsal, what he thinks about the matter. He says something to the effect of, “I don’t know the guy so I don’t know,” and we begin to think that maybe this isn’t a rehearsel. That it is, in fact, actors talking before rehearsal.

But then later in the conversation, Riggan gives one of the actors an acting note preceded by the parenthetical (as the director). Oh! I guess Riggan is the director now. Nobody told me that. Guess we were supposed to figure it out on our own. Except then we realize that Riggan is both the director AND the lead actor. So now I’m going back to the beginning and trying to figure out what this means. Was this a rehearsel or actors chatting? If it was rehearsel, why is the director AND lead actor not out there rehearsing with them? If it wasn’t a rehearsal, why is Riggan giving directing cues mid-coversation?

I see amateurs make this mistake a lot but rarely pros. Whenever you’re setting up a complicated situation (a writer-director you haven’t set up yet walking into an ambiguous scene), it’s your job to identify that it might be difficult for the reader to interpret and call upon your clarity wand to clear things up. Tell us Riggan is both the director and the lead actor in a description paragraph if you have to. Confusing a reader right off the bat in a screenplay is one of the worst things you can do. They lose trust in you and the script IMMEDIATELY and from that point on, you’re playing catch-up with their trust.

On top of this, it’s never clear if Riggan was the director of his famous franchise, Birdman, or the lead actor. He’s portrayed as a director in our story, so we naturally assume he was the director of Birdman. But then it’s indicated he ACTED in those movies too. This is so unnecessarily confusing. Why not just go with one or the other?

I loved Amores Perros. It made me an instant Inarritu fan. Babel had some really great moments in it as well. So I’ve always had a soft spot for Inarritu as a director. But comedy is not his forte. I respect stepping out of your comfort zone. But I mean… yikes. This is not funny or good or clear or anything that a screenplay needs to be. It wants to be five different movies instead of one. I mean, not even the basics are in place. There are no stakes! What happens if our main character, who has hundreds of millions in the bank, fails with this play? He goes back to making Birdman 4. Nothing is lost. Nor are we ever told what this play is about. This is a movie about a play and I don’t know what it’s about!

The only cool thing about this script is that Michael Keaton is playing Riggan – Keaton, of course, of Batman fame. There’ll be some nice irony here in that he’s basically playing a version of himself. And I see that Inarritu is doing a little auto-biographicalizing of his own. He’s trying to get some demons about the business out – how does one be a successful artist and balance family at the same time?

I like when writers bring their own problems into their characters as that’s usually when we see the deepest most meaningful exploration of character. Unfortunately, there was nothing authentic about the Riggan-daughter relationship. I don’t know. It was just… off. Her big monologue in the movie – the one that breaks down their relationship with one another – amounts to “You need to use Twitter more!” Does any of this script make sense? Or more importantly, has nobody told Inarritu that his script isn’t any good?

I think there needs to be a system in place where production companies and studios send their scripts out to a neutral party – someone who has zero skin in the game. Because a lot of money is about to be spent. Don’t you want someone telling you if your script is terrible? Don’t you want that chance to avoid a colossal mistake? Or to fix what’s broken? I get the feeling this script was written in a vacuum and these guys didn’t have anyone telling them how off it was.

Then again, it’s a comedy. And comedies are easy to hate if you’re not “getting” the sense of humor. So maybe I’m just not getting it. Also, the movie starts out with Michael Keaton floating in mid-air and never goes on to explain why. With a universe that untamed, maybe this isn’t the kind of script meant to be judged. Maybe you’re supposed to throw logic to the wind and just go with it. But there’s a fine line between that kind of movie and one that throws a bunch of nonsensical crazy shit at the screen and hopes it hits. Let’s hope Birdman isn’t the latter.

[x] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: If you want to go “off the reservation” with your script, like Birdman, go ahead and do it. But please take the time to be clear about what’s happening on the page. The wilder your story is, the less reference we have to draw on, which means we need more hand-holding along the way. If we’re confused about something as simple as what your hero does, that can kill the entire reading experience.

What I learned 2: When you write a dialogue scene, try not to think of it in terms of what you (the writer) need to do with the plot. Think of it in terms of what the characters need. This is a common mistake all writers make. We’re so focused on moving the plot forward or getting in those important lines of exposition, that we forget that in real life, there’s no all-knowing entity sitting above people forcing them to do anything. In real life, people just talk. So you kind of have to take yourself out of the equation and approach the scene from inside the two characters. They’re not thinking about what you, Aaron Sorkin, need them to say so he can properly pay off that first Act setup. They may just want the girl across from them to know that they like them. If you do this properly, your scenes will stop feeling stagey and plot-driven and start to feel more like two people actually talking.

  • fd

    I personally find it difficult to tell if a reader is going to understand parts of my script or not. You put in this scene that is supposed to surprise everyone and they read half of it and say “this confused me”, so you put in an exposition scene before it to take away the confusion and they say “this is blatant exposition. All the while I thought the first scene was self-explanatory anyway, but the reader is already long gone.
    How can I know what the reader will understand and what not?

    • Scott Crawford

      For my four-pennies worth, you can’t, not entirely. You’re too close to your own material, ultimately. You need to get others to read your material AND give you quality feedback. A lot of people who say “don’t like your script” REALLY mean “don’t UNDERSTAND your script”, and a quick rewrite might be enough to change their minds.

      Thing is, quality feedback – you may have to pay for it. I heard there’s this guy called Carson…

  • Scott Crawford

    Did anyone here take Guillermo Arriaga’s “Screenwriting Masterclass”?

    • Sebastian Cornet

      No, but what about it?

      • Scott Crawford

        Well, I was asking if anyone took the class. It looked interesting. Carson is arguing that Inarritu’s movies have suffered since the split from Arriaga. So, I was just wondering if anyone took Arriaga’s class. Problem?

        • Sebastian Cornet

          None at all. Arriaga’s name had slipped my mind by the time I scrolled all the way down here, so it didn’t register.

          • Scott Crawford

            Everyone forgets the screenwriters!

  • Bifferspice

    this looks amazing!

  • Randy Williams

    Reminds me of “The Black Swan” and “The Wrestler”, both movies I love.

    I watched the trailer on my phone. The video stopped midstream where actors were taking a bow on a stage. The shadow as it lengthened on the back of one female actor as she bowed was a bird head dominating the “Batman” shadow.

  • fatherdope
    • Scott Crawford

      That’s Venice, Italy. How will it go down with an audience in Venice, California? Or Bradford in Yorkshire?

      • brenkilco

        It’ll go over the heads or under the radar of most popcorn munching multiplexers. That’s a given.

        • Scott Crawford

          So, if I don’t understand something, whose fault is that? Mine of the genius filmmaker?

          Besides which, it’s those “popcorn munching multiplexers” who provide the ticket sales that make films like this possible.

          • brenkilco

            Is it your fault or the filmmakers’s fault? Dunno. What movie are we talking about? Look, everybody knows that relatively unsophisticated teenagers are the core audience for most of the movies made. But I hope writers would not deliberately dumb down their material in an effort to appeal to that audience.

          • Scott Crawford

            It’s a grey area where someone can say “You didn’t like my movie/script, well, you just don’t get it, you’re too thick.” We had some of that on AOW this Sunday.

            But there’s a HUGE gap between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and, say, Birdman, and it’s filled with Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Boyhood maybe, and lots of other non-dumbed down films that people might actually like.

            What I see when I think of this movie (not that I think about it that much) is a (foreign) filmmaker saying – “Ha!, you popcorn munching idiots. All you like is superhero films. Well, superhero films are beneath contempt, and so are you, so I mock your superhero films and all you value about them. I’m better than you! Ha, ha, ha, ha!”

            Or something like that. Truth is there’s probably more profundity in the AVERAGE superhero movie than there is here. He plays a man who can fly and yet when he’s not wearing a costume he can fly! Deep.

          • Bifferspice

            what has him being foreign got to do with anything?

  • brenkilco

    In critical quarters this is prompting enormous anticipation and even sight unseen Oscar buzz. Everybody seems to be rooting for Keaton. I think it’s probably not productive to try to review the script of a writer/director’s pet project. With his auteur bona fides Inarritu was probably able to attract his cast on the strength of his name. So unlike the typical script this one really didn’t need to be more than notes to himself.

    On a general level the GSU of trying to stage a successful Broadway show has been apparent to Hollywood since the dawn of sound. And some problems with the script will probably evaporate on screen. Did Keaton play Birdman in the movies? Well, if, when he’s talking to his character, he’s talking to himself the question’s answered. Maybe this will be a self indulgent mess but the trailer sure makes me curious.

    • Scott Crawford

      I see what you mean, but this is a script review website, so it’s a review of how things look on the page. And on the page, things don’t sound promising. It’s true that some scripts are there just for the director to film and then people can judge the movie on its aesthetic appeal, or acting, or whatever.

      But this is the danger of “pet projects”: taking what’s in your head and sharing it with other people. Believe me, you don’t want to know what’s in my head, and I don’t want to share it with you. So I think I’ll stick to telling stories and (hopefully) making people smile when they read them.

  • Linkthis83

    “The shame is in trying to do something you shouldn’t have done in the first place.”

    No way, man. There is no shame in trying to find out what you are capable of.

    Had I read this a year ago, I would’ve went on a rant that lasted 200 lines or more. I realize this a generalization of the moment. Besides, how could he have known he shouldn’t do this? And if this is his first time, who is to say he shouldn’t stick with it? This is just one moment in his life. It could be this very experience that leads him to something great (or something worse :)

    • mulesandmud

      That quote comes close to summarizing the approach that Hollywood in general, and Carson in particular, has to scripts. There are very distinct comfort zones, and anything outside of the zone will be greeted with something between suspicion and scorn, even though everyone is ostensibly looking for something different. That applies not just to unusual material, but to established writers attempting to move away from their familiar genre.

      Stepping outside the zone is a double-edged sword: it may brand you as someone who “doesn’t understand the business”, or it may get you noticed for doing things your own way. Often it does both at the same time.

      Either way, zero shame.

      • M3

        Stepping outside the comfort zone is dangerous to your health. I’m working with an exec on something, and I’ve run into about a half dozen real walls, which keep is firmly in the comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but if it’s not working, then retreat. Know your audience.

        • mulesandmud

          For sure. And more than that, know your collaborators.

          Execs love pitches that take chances, but it’s true that once contracts are signed people expect something recognizable, especially if you’re on the kind of delivery timetable that Hollywood is used to, which limits experimentation in a big way. And the last thing you want to show an exec is a half-finished experiment.

          On the other hand: no risk, no reward.

          I’m also deep in development on a project (with both execs and director on board) that started wildly idiosyncratic, and has skewed just a bit safer with each progressive conversation.

          All of those safe choices stem from legit story problems, and are definitely strengthening the narrative overall, but also risk sanitizing it to the point that the tightened final product won’t excite anyone enough to get a green light.

          The line between comfort zone and no man’s land is a razor’s edge.

  • Nicholas J

    I’m going to watch this movie so hard you don’t even know. It’s either going to be a mess or a masterpiece or sort of okay. Can’t wait.

  • Magga

    “So to hear that Inarritu was making a comedy – he being responsible for some of the most depressing films of the last decade – well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised.”

  • jw

    There’s no doubt this will be “interesting” and potentially mildly entertaining, but I have to say that “funny” is one thing I wouldn’t be expecting. How do I know that? When the writer writes something like, “this place smells like balls” and that’s supposed to be comedic. Ten, fifteen years ago, maybe, but not after a decade of Seth Rogen. There’s no doubt this will be “left-of-center” comedy (fingers crossed not Death to Smoochie), but it looks WAY more dramatic to me than anything else. And, the casting is sort of interesting in that it directly mirrors Keaton’s life — the once celebrated Batman drifts into relative obscurity… until… I’m not sure if I like that or if it’s too “on-the-nose”. I love indie films and risk takers, but what I often find with this sort of thing is someone saying, “I don’t do things like everyone else, so I’m brilliant,” when in fact they just CAN’T really write solid films and therefore they hide behind the mask of “indie risk takers”. Interesting that our subject here wears a mask…

  • Scott Crawford

    Off-topic: New spec script “A CIA AGENT F’D MY GIRLFRIEND”.

    Haven’t we got passed this putting a f-word in the title crud?

    • Casper Chris

      lol, starting to scream desperation…

      • Scott Crawford

        I’m sure the script’s great and the writers are talented – so why the cheap trick? You know they’re gonna change the title to What if.

        • Midnight Luck

          or
          “Hell No”
          or
          “If What?”

    • Andrew Parker

      Because “This Means War” was already taken?

      • Scott Crawford

        Logline: A man decides to take on a CIA agent who slept with his girlfriend.

        Puts the “b” in subtle.

    • Midnight Luck

      yeah, these cheap titles will only be remembered in the future for their lameness.

      I cannot imagine a movie with a title like this being remembered 30 years later and referenced like THE BREAKFAST CLUB or SAY ANYTHING.

      Can anyone really imagine chatting with their friends and saying: “Hey you remember that awesome movie ‘A CIA Agent Fu**’d My Girlfriend? That movie was so great. Classic”. I really think not. People will stay away from talking about it in the future, or it will be completely forgotten. My money is on it being completely forgotten. Any writer who thinks that is a good title, probably has questionable taste in story as well.

      • Scott Crawford

        It’s not even a particularly great idea, that’s what annoys me. Did they just buy the pitch for the TITLE?

        • Midnight Luck

          So you posted that this was the logline:

          Logline: A man decides to take on a CIA agent who slept with his girlfriend.

          All I have to say is: “And then what?”

          It doesn’t even sound like a complete thought, let alone a complete movie.
          What the hell is the story, the idea, and who are the characters?
          A CIA agent,
          a Girlfriend,
          and some dude.
          Ok. And?
          Who gives a shit? I don’t see anything interesting here. Did someone really think that they had an INGENIOUS twist to a basic infidelity story by having the third person be a CIA agent? Really?
          Sorry, this sounds so lame, I just can’t. Can’t even go on.
          And adding “F-ck” to the title doesn’t make it any more interesting. It just makes it even. more. lame.

          I gotta say, if they bought the pitch solely for the Title. Super Lame. Yes I said lame again.

          • Scott Crawford

            To try and tie in to what people are saying about today’s script, nobody know what’s going to work and what isn’t. The guys who wrote this – Clint Gage, Michael Truly, and Nick Mundy – are part of a web comedy trio called “Team Tiger Awesome” who have their own website:
            http://www.teamtigerawesome.com/

            So, the producer is probably investing in them as much as the idea. But yeah, THAT title: Mega Lame. However, if Hollywood wants to invest in some REAL talent, try this guy, Mike Mort:

            I watched the whole thing the other day on Film4 in the UK. It’s f—ing amazing! He wrote, directed, and did ALL the voices. And the trailer gives only a hint of how awesome the violence is… all in claymation.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Two thumps up.

          • Nicholas J

            All I have to say is: “And then what?”

            Isn’t that one of the goals of a logline? To make you want to know what happens next?

            How much info do expect to be conveyed in a logline? “A man decides to take on a CIA agent who slept with his girlfriend” is a little vague, sure, but I can still envision a story from that.

            The logline to Meet the Parents is probably something similar. “A man plans to propose to his girlfriend but must first win over her ex-CIA agent father.”

            Not much difference there I think. Could be funny. Could be terrible. No way of knowing without reading the script.

    • ripleyy

      Good luck explaining to your five year old kid why there’s a film trailer on television called “MY GIRLFRIEND FUCKED AN CIA AGENT 2: WHAT A SLUTTY BITCH”

  • Sebastian Cornet

    Or Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” for that matter.

  • charliesb

    The trailer for the film is amazing and my fingers are tightly crossed that it delivers on it’s promise. On the strength of Inarritu, Keaton and Lubezki alone I’ll be in the theatre opening weekend, but I do kinda wish Arriaga and Inarritu hadn’t broken up.

    I don’t doubt that the script is a mess (from your review) but I’m hoping some of these problems have been addressed in subsequent drafts and shooting.

    • Scott Crawford
      • Guest

        Thx!

      • charliesb

        Couldn’t download it for some reason. The link was blocked. :(

        • Scott Crawford

          Give me your email, i’ll try and send it.

          • charliesb

            No worries, I tried again and it’s downloading now. Thx again!

          • Scott Crawford

            No problem.

          • Ryan Sasinowski

            rsasinowski@hotmail.com. Thanks in advance, man!

        • Scott Crawford

          Leave an email address and I’ll send it direct (having a lot of technical problems today).

  • brenkilco

    It’s just premiered at the Venice Film Festival and it appears the critics were completely blown away. Ecstatic reviews from Variety and Hollywood Reporter. A creative tour de force. So go figure.

    • Scott Crawford

      Or do critics like things that mock things that audiences like? The recent Boyhood non-review debacle tells me a lot about how critics’ minds work:
      http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/why-the-unanimous-praise-for-boyhood-is-bad-for-film-criticism-and-for-boyhood-20140804

      • brenkilco

        Rubbish. On Rotten Tomatoes The Avengers has the same rating as The Lives of Others and Cache. And Iron Man 3 has a higher rating than Primer or Eyes Wide Shut. Newspaper and Magazine downsizing means the circle of intellectual critics that used to exist in NY for instance is long gone with the wind. Nowadays a kid in Redondo Beach with a blog can get polled by RT.

        And claiming critical unanimity by reference to RT is ridiculous since everything from a mild meh to a rave gets labeled the same. Of course everyone was dazzled by the concept of Boyhood. It was an audacious concept. Relatively few critics were blown away by the story itself.

        • Scott Crawford

          I would reply, but starting a comment with “Rubbish”…

          • brenkilco

            Sorry, for rubbish substitute maximum disagreement.

        • Magga

          I’ve heard this a lot lately, that giving a percentage that’s too high on rotten tomatoes is a mistake, and I can’t help but think people who say that don’t know how the site works. What they’re asking is basically for a few critics to give it a bad review to bring the percentage down.

        • jw

          Woooooo… what’s wrong with Redondo Beach?

      • Magga

        If anything critics are too eager to placate people who treat movies as simply passing time. By any real measure of vision or originality, two thirds of superhero movies and adaptations of child playthings should get zero stars and be laughed off the screen, but we live in a time when “hipster” and “elitist” are insults and people who know things are automatically suspect.

  • Jaco

    On the opposite side of the tracks from this review. Thought the script was brilliant. A wonderfully crafted story with complex characters and written with a confident voice. I can’t wait to see it in the theaters.

  • Scott Crawford

    For Educational Purposes Only:
    https://www.sendspace.com/file/egux8m

  • Andrew Parker

    Quite a lot of the praise has to do with cinematography, music composition and individual performances (particularly Keaton). Those won’t really appear in the script.

    But I think you made a mistake going into this assuming it was a comedy. It seems to be more of a meditation on aging, ego, celebrity, etc. But if you go in expecting laughs, you’ll be disappointed.

    • Jaco

      I agree – big mistake expecting this script to provide non-stop laughter. It’s a dark comedy – a very well done one at that.

      • Andrew Parker

        It’s a bit like NIGHTCRAWLER. That script didn’t really have me on the edge of my seat or afraid, but I appreciated what it was saying and how it was saying it.

  • Casper Chris

    Carson wrote:

    “Then Arriaga, a screenwriter through-and-through, began a personal campaign pushing the agenda that writers and directors should share an “auteur” credit in every movie, as they are just as responsible for the movie as the director. That pissed Inarritu off, who strongly disagreed, and the two’s friendship and working relationship fell apart as a result.”

    Is it me or are the writers considered the “auteurs” in TV, moreso than the directors (in TV)? I’m using the term “auteur” lightly here, but it seems like writers get a lot more respect in TV.

    • Scott Crawford

      Yes, but I THINK it’s because TV writers can also be producers. That’s where they get most of the money from, usually, being producers.

    • kent

      It’s because the networks, studios and prod. co.s NEED writers who understand the show to keep cranking out episodes while directors come and go. With a movie, the writer is paid to walk away.

      • Scott Crawford

        Some writers become producers, like Simon Kinberg and Jamie Vanderbilt, so they don’t walk away.

  • craze9
  • brenkilco

    Read the first thirteen pages and so far, well, its pretty good. And potentially really funny. Yeah for a split second you may think the actors are discussing their own problems but as the stuff getting discussed grows more extreme you get it and its funny. “I could get a black audience in this theatre faster than a doctor” “Jeremy Renner. You mean they put him in a cape too?” “Two words Shia La Boeuf. That’s three words. Get out” Bad actor Ralph getting hit with the light. What’s not to like?

    Understand that the whole movie seems to be one continuous take. This is guessable from the script so far but perhaps not explicit. Anyway not at all the incoherent thing I was expecting from the review.

    • mulesandmud

      Maximum agreement. All of the confusion that Carson talks about happens in the course of about half a page, in the second scene of the film, and is clearly intentional. The context is revealed in a controlled way: first it seems like a normal conversation, then gets a tad sureal with people slipping in and out of character, then organically (and visually) reveals the theater and stage crew as Riggan’s attention drifts away from the scene.

      Compare that Carson’s suggestion of “tell us Riggan is both the director and the lead actor in a description paragraph if you have to”, which is a hanging offense around these parts, not to mention lazy writing that dodges the real exposition work and suggests a lack of larger narrative strategy.

  • mulesandmud

    Damn curious about this one.

    Inarritu has already proven that he has some funny in him, though even his funny tends to be hyper-dramatic and build toward something fairly epic:

    • Bifferspice

      he deserves an oscar for managing to capture the only time drogba stayed on his feet when a challenge comes in in the box.

  • walker

    An emergency involving a veterinarian is a serious situation. I hope everything is ok.

  • Cfrancis1

    I think they might have fixed some of the problems in this. From what I’ve read, people are raving about it. I personally can’t wait to see it.

  • Craig Mack

    I can reiterate this enough: A good screenplay doth not a good movie make… and vice versa. Sometimes it’s the director, sometimes it’s the writer… On special occasions it’s both.

    • Craig Mack

      And sometimes producers fuck EVERYTHING up.

  • Midnight Luck

    I absolutely love the Trailer for this. I love the use of Mr. Mom in his over the hill state. I love the idea of a once great who has fallen on hard times, trying to make a comeback.

    I am going to hope against all hope that this is a great movie. I really hope it doesn’t fall apart and not work in the multitude of ways Carson’s review says it does.

    I want to believe in whatever vision the Director has, aside from what the script shows. I know writer / directors can get away with much different scripts on paper than the rest of the world can.

    I know that is a cheat when it comes to us as Screenwriters, trying to learn and perfect our craft. A cheat as we the screenwriting people trying to sell our stories, have to do everything we can to nail perfectly everything we can in our scripts. Dialogue, Story, Pace, First 10 pages, Last 10 pages, 2nd Act, Mystery, etc. It is brutal.

    All I can say is, from what I have seen of just the trailer, it looks amazing. Have I been Burned by a Billion Trailers because of that? Yes, but I keep trying.

    I have only seen 21 Grams and Babel from the Director, and really liked them. I always mean to see Amores Perros, just haven’t yet. It seems to be the movie everyone loves of his.

    So, here’s hoping the screen version of this somehow manages to pull it all together.

  • Randy Williams

    Especially in 3-D. Man, that 3-D trailer was awesome.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    I look at this, and I cant help but wish it was a Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law movie.

  • Midnight Luck

    Gung Ho

    funny. really enjoyed that one as well.