Genre: Musical
Premise: An aspiring musician and an aspiring actress meet and fall in love in LA, only to find that life is rooting against them ending up together.
About: Damien Chazelle is a force to be reckoned with. After landing one of the hottest young actors in Hollywood, Miles Teller, for his previous film, Whiplash, the director secured an Oscar for Teller’s co-star in the film, J.K. Simmons (little-known fact – Simmons has shot 32 films and TV shows since 2014’s Whiplash). Whiplash may not have wowed the masses (it only made 13 million at the box office), but once you win an Oscar for an actor? EVERY ACTOR wants to work with you. Which is how the 30 year-old Chazelle has found himself directing two of the biggest stars in the world for La La Land, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Details: 95 pages


Reading a writer-director draft of a musical without any lyrics is sort of like looking at an architect’s notes for his next house. “I want a round window in the bathroom.” “Still wondering if we should open up the living room area.”

Since the director’s writing for himself rather than the reader, you feel a bit like an outsider looking in, trying to decipher what the hell this guy thinks he’s doing. With that said, Quentin Tarantino writes some of the best scripts in the business. So it’s not like it can’t be done. Where it gets complicated with La La Land is that we’re missing out on the make-or-break aspect of the movie – the musical numbers. Say what you will about the power of screenwriting, but there’s no way to convey how a song and dance will feel until you see it on the big screen. The written word cannot compare to music.

Now some of you might ask, “Well then why even review the script?”

Good question. It’s because what’s left is pure story. Stripped of all its bells and whistles, La La Land is pure character and plot. And I’m curious to see if those characters and that plot worked.

Sebastian is a 28 year-old Thelonious Monk wannabe, a guy from another era who shuns the catapult-to-Youtube-fame the current system celebrates. Sebastian wants to suffer for his art in order to find that inspiration to create the kind of greatness Monk used to create on a nightly basis.

27 year-old Mia is also from a bygone era, the kind of girl who will quote Ingrid Bergman over Kim Kardashian, and is trying to use that energy to break into the toughest business in the world – ACTING.

After a failed one-night stand, Mia finds herself looking for a way home, only to drift into a dark club playing some of the most beautiful piano music this side of Sam from Casablanca. And what do you know? It’s Sebastian playing the tune.

The two don’t get along at first, but soon find mutual respect in their unique approaches to their craft. Within a few weeks, they move in together. From there, Mia focuses on writing a one-woman play to raise her acting profile. And she encourages Sebastian to branch out from being the James Dean of jazz and join a band, even if their music is more pop-centric than he’s used to.

That band ends up becoming bigger than expected, and soon women are throwing themselves at Sebastian after his bring-the-house-down solos. Mia begins to wonder, “What have I done?” This leads to friction in the relationship, which leads to them breaking up, and us wondering if they’ll ever get back together.

Oh yeah, and musical numbers are interspersed throughout all of this. The opening scene is probably the best, a giant number on a carmageddon highway with every driver getting out and singing their frustrations. As the movie goes on though, the numbers become more intimate, focusing on Sebastian and Mia’s love.

Here’s the big question with La La Land, though: Is this the next Once? Or is it the next Begin Again?


So yesterday we were talking about voice. Voice consists of the way you see the world based on your life experiences up until this point. Say for instance, two different writers are writing a funeral scene. One of those writers may focus on the faces of the crying family as their loved one is lowered into the ground. The other writer may focus on the beauty of the moment – the way the sunlight hits the tombstone or the way the wife leans down to kiss her infant son. A third writer may find humor in the moment. The drunk priest stumbling over his words or the coffin unexpectedly dropping and slamming into the grave.

How different people see different things is how voice is expressed. And sadly, I don’t line up with Chazelle’s voice. I don’t know what it is but there’s a disconnect somewhere. He went to music school. I went to fuck-around school. I felt it with Grand Piano. I felt it with Whiplash. And I feel it here.

My biggest problem with La La Land is that it all feels so cliché. The pretentious angst-ridden musician who’s too good for pop music. The eager young actress who’s so hip she likes Audrey Hepburn and Janet Leigh over Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone.

And when these two hang out, they go to all the well-known places in LA. The Griffith Observatory. The La Brea Tar Pits. The Getty Center. Ironically, it may be me who’s the problem here, as I live here and know these places well. The rest of the world, likely, does not. But still. It always felt to me like Chazelle wasn’t digging deep enough. He always seemed a minute away from setting a scene at Mann’s Chinese Theater.

It looks like he’s banking on the musical element being the “originality” aspect that makes up for all the rest of the unoriginality. And maybe that will be true. We do get a zero-gravity dance number at the Griffith Observatory so it’s not like it’s pure cliché.

But I kept waiting to care about these two and it never happened. Sebastian is self-absorbed. Mia’s SO obvious with her “I only like old actresses” vibe. And it’s safe to say that if I don’t like your male lead and I don’t like your female lead, then I sure as hell don’t care if they get together or not. And since this movie is predicated on us caring about these two getting together, La La Land felt more to me like Hannah Montana than Adele.

In the end, La La Land feels like a movie from someone who’s lived in LA for six months and is basing his story on the surface level version of the city he’s experienced during that time. Los Angeles is actually much deeper and more complex than it’s being made out to be here, and when you couple that with two empty lead characters, the musical numbers are going to have to be off the charts to save this film.

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

What I learned: The 20-something character who idolizes famous dead actors/musicians is a trope that’s been used so much in film that I’d think long and hard before including it in your own screenplay.

What I learned 2: I don’t think this script had a single surprise (outside of Sebastian’s harsh rejection of Mia’s initial advance). Everything was too perfect, too predictable. You HAVE to surprise your reader/audience to keep them on their toes.

  • FD

    You’re just getting old, Carson. I have that problem too, that films don’t surprise me anymore. This will repeat the tropes for the generation that hasn’t seen the old versions, and just like with the old versions, it will succeed, if only because of the star power of the leads. And quite frankly, I’d watch Emma Stone do anything.
    That said, I watched Jeux d’enfants on the weekend, and that was an entirely new story for me, so it does happen – just not often in Hollywood. That might be a film for Midnight and Wijnand: Cotillard, Belgian production…

    • Scott Crawford

      Watch kids films, or kids TV shows, they’re troperific. Ideas that wouldn’t surprise an adult are new to kids.

      That being said, I don’t mind if a film doesn’t surprise me, as long as it’s fun. It’s the constant need to do “something new” that has sucked the fun out of a lot of modern movies. In my opinion.

      • Buddy

        I agree with the “fun/entertaining” sensation.
        The other day I watched A MOST VIOLENT YEAR and really liked it.
        But you can’t say it’s “surprising” or “original” it’s just a good movie, well done at every level (directing, acting, photography) and the depth of the characters and the theme kept me interested.
        I highly recommand this movie to whom loves James Gray’s “We own the night” for example.

  • Citizen M

    In keeping with the musical theme, and to the tune of Gee, Officer Krupke…

    Gee, Carsonic Reeves, I’m biting my lips,
    Waiting for the latest news on two-fifty scripts.

    Comedy? Drama? Gives us a name:
    Whatever is the genre that will win the acclaim?

    I hope that it’s one of us has the luck
    To option with Grey Matter and win five thousand bucks!

    • brenkilco

      Dear kindly mentor Carson
      Please tell us what we got
      The genius in the finals
      The for me these are not.
      The ones with all the plotting
      The ones that made you plotz

      Jesus, waiting six months really rots.

      • Scott Crawford

        There was a scriptblogger named Carson,
        whose evasions drove his followers to arson.
        When will we see,
        who the winners will be,
        and which scripts you decided to pass on.

        • scriptfeels

          For the scripts of long past
          Revealed to great mass

          Commentators Joyous
          And Angry they Write

          Commenting about comments
          Reviewing about reviews.

          Shed light on new terrain
          Carson shall maintain-
          The site of script shadows
          Bring in the new tomorrow!

    • Randy Williams

      In keeping with West Side Story…

      You love my script,
      or I kill your brother.
      Forget that IN ‘N OUT and
      read another.
      One of my own kind,
      stick to my own kind.

      No Anita, no!

      (Anita is the drive thru cashier at In N Out on Van Nuys.)

  • Scott Crawford

    I was just doing a quick check. J.K. Simmons has 163 acting credits on imdb. Glenn Morshower has 201! Bruce McGill has 145 (thought it would be more).

    Can anyone think of a still-active on-camera actor who has more acting credits than Glenn Morshower?

    • brenkilco

      He may be tops among busy ones but he’ll have to get a move on to beat Veteran character actor William Schallert who has 371 credits on IMDB, considerably more than even John Carradine, whom I’d always heard had more credits than any other actor. Course it depends on how you define active. Schallert is 93. But he was the mayor on True Blood and according to IMDB had a role on Two Broke Girls last season.

      BTW had to google Glenn Morshower. Name meant nothing to me. Whereupon I said, oh yeah, that guy. Curse of the character actor.

    • BoSoxBoy

      Clint Howard has 231 acting credits. He must know someone.

      • Scott Crawford

        I don’t know, I think he has that special something.

        • Randy Williams

          I think Blue Bell killed more people with ice cream.

        • Sebastian Cornet

          It seems like a law of nature that some of the wittiest titles belong to the most ridiculous movies.

      • wrymartini

        Even as a child there was just something about him…

    • Poe_Serling

      Michael Madsen…

      He has 245 acting credits as I type this… probably 246 by the time I finish.

      He’s been averaging 10+ films for the last several years. This year alone he’s been in or completed another 20 or so.

      The last film I’ve personally seen him in?

      Sin City back in 2005.

      • Rick McGovern

        Easy to do that many roles when you’re doing nothing but B movies. They don’t have as much money and don’t have the luxury of long shoots. Probably film more at a TV show rate.

        • Poe_Serling

          Of course.

          For a short time I used to run in the same circles as Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers). Whenever I would bump into him, he was either starting a new flick or just finishing one.

          I just checked and he has 107 acting credits – 19 and counting for 2015. No doubt he will be in the 200+ category at the end of his career.

          • Rick McGovern

            Yeah, he became a B actor pretty quickly. You almost have to do that many movies to make up for what you would have been paid on a major motion picture. Bruce Willis also does B movies mixed in with major releases.

            I wonder what these actors make for low budget movies, most of which appear to be utter crap lol I’m guessing, depending on who they are, between a grand to two grand a day, which is still way less than what they would make otherwise… especially in Willis’s heyday when he could command $10-15 million a movie. Now he’s lucky if he gets 2-5 million. Not that I’d be complaining!! hehe show my the money, baby, and I’ll take it! lol

      • The Colonel

        Madsen, 245 movies, only 1 character.

        • Poe_Serling

          lol. True. Even his turn as Joe Gage in the upcoming The Hateful Eight has him sitting at a table with the same disinterested look on his face.

    • Rick McGovern

      Character actors tend to do a lot more stuff. And they aren’t usually the lead, but usually the supporting role. Even in Whiplash Simmons was the supporting role. He probably would have been in 30 roles since even if he was never nominated.

  • walker

    There is no such thing as “a Thelonious Monk wannabe,” and the writer-director should know that, if he is familiar with the music industry, and with Monk’s career.

    • Scott Crawford

      Sorry, I don’t quite get that one. Can you elaborate? Are you saying people don’t like Thelonious Monk?

      • walker

        Monk was one of America’s greatest composers, but he was never a popular musician in any sense. His life was tough and he never experienced the success of many less-talented musicians. His actual piano technique is extremely personal and even naïve, totally inimitable, and no starlets were enthralled by his solos. He struggled with drugs and was harassed by law enforcement, losing his cabaret card for several years in his prime. His recognition as a giant of American music was essentially posthumous. Although he is now regarded as a major composer the events of his life led to him completing less than 100 compositions.

        • walker

          I recommend that everyone check out Monk’s work. The early Prestige recordings contain many of his famous compositions in compact performances, often with the great Milt Jackson on vibes. The most important record of his career is the Riverside album Brilliant Corners from 1956. One of the most accessible Monk records is his Duke Ellington record from 1954, in which his quartet applies Monk’s style to several very familiar melodies.

          • Bifferspice

            I’ve got Live at the It Club, which I think is brilliant, but I struggle to make it to the end of the double album. Bit too intense for me, but so moody. The dissonance he creates is amazing. You feel it shouldn’t work, but it actually sounds perfect. He’s what I think about when I imagine a smoky jazz club where you could sit in a suit with a whiskey, clouded in cigarette smoke, and send drinks to girls you don’t know.

        • The Colonel

          Well, but have you seen Whiplash? The protagonist there is striving not to be a functional or good musician, but to be an all time great. He brings suffering on himself in an effort to achieve transcendent greatness.

          It would make sense, then, if the character here is also chasing ephemeral greatness, and locates a model in the long-suffering Monk.

        • klmn

          I think some of his more dissonant passages would make great background music in movies, to put the audience on edge.

        • witwoud

          “His recognition as a giant of American music was essentially posthumous.”

          Since La La Land is set in the present day, I can’t really see your point. Of course there are Monk wannabes. Heck, I used to be one myself.

  • Bifferspice

    just OT, i read the water man today, and i thought it was fantastic. gets an ‘impressive’ from me, if anyone was on the fence thinking about reading it. totally lives up to the comparison with stand by me, and i loved that film. i think it reads better than disney will shoot it, cos they’ll oversaturate it with schmaltz, but if it was shot subtly (fat chance) i think it would be brilliant.

    • Stephjones

      Hey Dave, could you send it to me? Thanks!

    • Rick McGovern

      Looks like we have a difference of opinion on this one ;)

    • scriptfeels

      Also loved it. Memorable heartfelt characters that had clear goals. I loved the use of dramatic irony, such as when the police officer asks the father if he knew why Gunner had ran away, or the clues the reader gets as to the truth to the scar on Joseph’s face. A quick emotional read that I would recommend to AF writers.

  • Magga

    Whiplash gave me back enough faith in cinema to slow down my “what the hell is going on with my beloved medium!!”-moaning until around September. Hope Bridge of Spies, which I’ve showed up for twice now without being able to secure two tickets at any cinema, does something similar to me this year.

    I really don’t have much to say here, other than to protest the “Whiplash wasn’t all that”-sentiment of the review. Great music, great acting, great pacing, fantastic editing, the perfect ending, and a movie whose themes I remember debating a lot with people, for many reasons. I’ll show up for Chazelle’s next three movies even if the first two of them stink, that’s how good Whiplash was.

    • The Colonel

      Totally agreed on the strength of Whiplash. I wish he had handled the “love interest,” a little better, and that final drum solo was 20% too long, but otherwise the movie’s fantastic. I’ve intentionally not watched it a second time so I can clear my mind and fully enjoy it again.

      • Nabil

        No. The drum solo was perfect. As a drummer myself, I can tell you that it was a build up of epic proportions. When he starts laying on those triplets with his feet and his father watches him in awe. That was the money shot. That was when I knew I was watching a masterpiece.

        • The Colonel

          It’s when he slows down the beat, all the way down, then slowly brings it back up–seems unnecessary and overdrawn.

          Also: how did the orchestra know how to play the song he starts in with? An odd assumption that they could (and would) just pick up with his track.

          • Nabil

            It’s what he plays after the slow down that makes the solo epic. It’s extremely hard to play and pull it off the way that he did. That’s the best part of the solo.

            It sounds like a symphony of canon blasts and for good reason. The speed and technique is superb. Just like his hero, Buddy Rich.

          • garrett_h

            Re: the song, he played “Caravan.” They played that song maybe five times in the movie. I’m not sure how many exactly. But I’ve seen it maybe four or five times, possibly more (haven’t counted) and it was one of J.K. Simmons characters’ main pieces so the band would know it.

            And with the slowing down and bringing back up the solo, it was necessary to me. To that point, he was off the rails, doing his own thing. At that moment, he let J.K. take control and lead him. They started off with Simmons embarrassing Teller, then Teller showing up Simmons, but in that moment they became one.

  • fragglewriter

    Definitely agree on your tips Carson. I think if the writer changed the setting as well as the characters, and maybe based it on current events, and have the love story as a subplot, I think it would work or at least be somewhat interesting.

    • The Colonel

      I think you guys are missing the point on the location. The vast majority of the world is still totally captivated by LA scenery. It’s literally “movie land,” and the first time you go there you’re blown away by the fact that it’s all REAL.

      It would be silly to call the movie La La Land and NOT feature LA tourist destinations.

      • fragglewriter

        I understand that, but with the overabundance of LA’s tourist destinations in numerous media platforms, the visual imagery is of dull excitement.

  • Rick McGovern

    Emma Stone is one of the biggest movie stars in the world? That’s news to me lol

    • scriptfeels

      Since Birdman gotta give her some props

      • Rick McGovern

        Still haven’t seen it. It was even one of the screeners I was sent during last award season… actually there’s still three screeners I still have to see. Birdman, Boyhood, and Buddapest Hotel. All three of which I hear is good, just haven’t been in the mood to see any of them.

        They start sending out screeners again in December, I’ll have to make sure I actually watch them this time lol

        But I don’t think her alone can draw in a crowd to the theatre. But I could be wrong.

    • The Colonel

      Sorry, he meant to say she’s one of the biggest ASIAN movie stars in the world.

      • Rick McGovern

        Ahhh lol okay

    • Rick McGovern

      Ahhh lol okay

    • Sebastian Cornet

      Well, of course, man. She was in Movie 43. What more street cred do you need?

      • Rick McGovern

        Another movie I’ve never seen lol maybe she’s just not a draw for me.

  • Sebastian Cornet

    I imagine the opening scene as a pumped-up version of the “Everybody Hurts” music video.

  • Malibo Jackk

    OT (sorry)
    Thought this was interesting.
    Check out the percentage that the movie made compared with its cost:

    “1. Zyzzyx Road (2006) – 0.0017%

    Not all flops are studio driven. With a budget of only $1.2 million,
    this independent film, staring Tom Sizemore and Katherine Heigl, takes
    the top honor of the lowest-grossing film of all time. Sure, its limited
    6-day theatrical release was only at one theater – the Highland Park
    Village Theater in Dallas, Texas – but still, it only earned $20 dollars
    at the box office from exactly six patrons, two of whom were cast
    members and got in for free. At least the film has something in common
    with the similarly-named Zzyzx Road: a 4.5 mile long partially dirt road
    running form Interstate 15 in the Californian Mojave Desert. They both
    add up to a whole lot of nothing.

    (TC = $1,200,000; WG = $20; G/TC = 0.0017%)”

    • Sebastian Cornet

      I’m sure that title didn’t help.

    • Howie428

      A lot of the time that kind of thing is more about business than commerce. The terms of many pre-sale financing deals or talent contracts will include contractual obligations for the movie makers and possibly the distributors. So there was probably a requirement in a contract that this movie get a theatrical release, and in order to tick that box they’ve found a low cost venue and screened it without any promotion.

      • wlubake

        The Highland Park Theater is unaffiliated with any chain, so it gives some nice flexibility for stuff like this. Great theater, though, with old time charm. It’s where the old money in Dallas goes for a movie. Saw Jerry Jones there one night. If I remember correctly, he was seeing the on-the-nose choice of There Will Be Blood.

    • Scott Crawford

      Probably already know, but Zzzyk Road was never intended for a major cinema release. It was shown in one theater for contractual reasons, something to do with IATSE I think. Anyway, movie probably made its money back by now.

      The £40,000 film OFFENDING ANGELS was only released on one screen in one cinema in the UK (in Croydon, “wherever that is”) and was seen by NO ONE. No tickets sold. It still technically made £70, which was how much the cinema paid to show the film. To no one.

      However, Offending Angels stars Andrew Lincoln, whose fanbase is such that I’m sure a lot of people will have seen it by now,

      More recently, $20 million film MOMENTUM with Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko made £47 in its opening weekend.

  • James Inez

    That’s how it’s going to be when I win my Oscar.

  • James Inez

    Guess I’m reading this after the 259 pg Gone With the Wind script. I’m so close. Only 36pgs left.

    • The Colonel

      Never read the script, but the back half of the novel (like the movie) is a slow boat through hell. Should have stopped when they escaped burning Atlanta.

      • James Inez

        Haha. Good thing I didn’t read the novel. I love that scripts move so much faster than novels. I’ve been entertained pretty much the whole time. And that could also possibly be due to the fact that I only read 4-5 scenes a day. Never enough to get bored.

  • The Colonel

    I don’t know, Carson, Whiplash is still one of the most exciting screenplays I’ve read. We talk about making action move as fast on the page as it should on the screen, and BAM, Whiplash nails that. Who would have though he could make that script (which is also hackneyed, frankly, in terms of cliche) shine even brighter by including the music? I mean, if you ask people what they remember from Whiplash, it’s the music, and something that’s not even in the screenplay.

    Frankly, I think the guy is playing with a bonus multiplier, because not only can he draft a laser beam script, but he can add to it ideas that can’t be expressed in words.

  • Rick McGovern

    My friend’s new TV show is going to be filming in Cape Town starting in February. Funny thing though is the show takes place in Philidelphia lol I think he said it’s going to be another lawyer show, but I don’t remember.

    But most working actors I know or have met are pretty cool. I feel only a few are actually extremely full of themselves. They’re just thankful to be working. Especially now that they don’t pay actors anything like they used to. Before an actor could live off of four TV spots. Now they can book four parts and still have to have to work a part time job. You have to work closer to double that to survive.

    This business is even harder to make a living at than ever before. Kinda sad actually.

  • klmn

    OT: Just saw this headline.

    TUE DEC 01 11:01:02 2015 ET

    The new movie ‘REVENANT’ features a shocking scene of a wild bear raping Leo DiCaprio!

    Can’t remember – was this in the screenplay?

    • Citizen M

      …tosses Glass aside with a powerful swing. Glass hits the
      ground with a PAINFUL THUD. He starts CRAWLING AWAY, pulling
      the KNIFE from his belt as the bear rises up like a giant
      behind him… swings… tears its claws across Glass’s back,
      shredding deep into his flesh.

      Could easily be a rape scene.

      • Shawn Davis

        …or maybe just rough sex…


        • klmn

          So, it’s consensual?

          • Shawn Davis

            Lets be honest…

            Who among us HAVEN’T dreamed of a grisly ass attack?


    • The Colonel

      Bro, what you read on the Drudge Report does not count as a “headline.” Insane blathering of a sociopath, yes. Intellectual equivalency of a National Enquirer story, yes. But news “headline,” no.

    • BoSoxBoy

      giving new meaning to the NC-17 rating-

      no cubs under 17

    • ChadStuart
  • Scott Crawford

    Sent! No Creed yet, but keep an eye out for it here, along with other potential Oscar scripts:

    • Citizen M

      Thanks for that link. Lots of women writers cracking it these days. I count 28 male and 16 female writers. (I took a guess at some of the foreign ones. Didn’t look them up.)

  • Scott Crawford


  • E.C. Henry

    Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in a romantic story? Carson, it sounds like you’re TOTALLY missing the point of a movie like this. Probably because you have no inherant passion for the romantic comedy genre or romantic movies in general. This story sounds like it could be the next, “The Notebook” (2007: which stared Ryan Gossling and Rachel McAdams). Who cares about capturing the culture of L.A!? NOBODY does. What matters is, can this movie help to be a catalyst for restoring the romantic comedy genre and put it back in the forefront where it belongs. I think the sweet spot for this movie is how close to “The Notebook” it can get.

    HUGE fan of Ryan Gossling–especially when it comes to romantic moives, he’s so good at doing them: “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (2011), which also co-stared Emma Stone, whom I am NOT a big fan of–except when she’s knocking it out of the park doing her role as Birdman’s daughter fresh of rehab.

    • Midnight Luck

      I agree. Can anything finally bring back the Romantic Comedy? The one genre that has been dead since the ’90’s?

      Seriously, we have had LOVE, ACTUALLY that was a slight hit, and then we had CRAZY, STUPID LOVE which actually wasn’t much of a hit (but I liked it).

      Seriously, these terrible movies that call themselves “rom-coms” but aren’t (like VALENTINES DAY, NEW YEARS DAY, WHATEVER DAY) just piss me off. They load up on big names and fame, and somehow they tend to make some money, but they are the most pathetic and terrible versions of “Romance” out there. All the same schlocky, pathetic, cliche’d storylines.

      We need a revolution of the Rom-Com kind.
      Will this be it?
      Not sure.

      But filling it with generous amounts of Gosling and Stone is a great start.
      (and I loved WHIPLASH, so I will give Chazelle the benefit of the doubt)

      • wlubake

        There is so much uncertainty as to what constitutes a romantic comedy. I would say that Silver Linings Playbook qualifies, and it was a hit (and an Oscar contender). But now every true comedy has some romance, and every romantic drama has some comedy.

      • Dan B

        They were talking about this on a Bill Simmons podcast recently… One thing they noted was how much more of the Rom Com content has found a new home on TV/Netflix rather than in film.

        The Proposal is the biggest recent Rom Com hit I can think of…

      • Nabil

        The revolution has already begun. It was called Shaun of the Dead.

  • The Colonel

    ” don’t agree the music can save this, musicals should be more complex and layered so the music has some resonance and can simplify complex ideas.”

    But see Grease, Rocky Horror; etc.

  • Bfied

    Carson, have you read Damien Chazelle’s “The Claim” off of the 2010 Blacklist? It’s probably more in line with your tastes.

    • Dan B

      I think it was reviewed a while back. I thought it was pretty good

  • hickeyyy

    OT: Wasn’t this the plot of a AOW script we saw a while back?

    • AstralAmerican

      Definitely sounds familiar. Hope someone chimes in who knows for sure, I’d like to read the “amateur” script.

    • Citizen M

      You’re thinking of Damn Nation, June 5, 2015. From Carson’ review:

      “The setup for Damn Nation is pretty straight forward. Five years ago, a lost Russian tanker wanders into U.S. waters, full of dead bodies. When a group goes to inspect the ship, they find that these “dead” bodies aren’t as “dead” as they thought. We cut to five years later, where we learn that that event was the beginning of a fast-acting virus that took down the entire United States.”

      Based on a comic book. [xx] worth the read

      • hickeyyy

        There it is! Man, don’t send anyone into those ships or we could be looking at the end of days.

  • Scott Crawford


    • 95Forty Productions

      Can I get a copy as well?

      Thanks in advance!

  • Scott Crawford


    • Bert Filmmaker

      Scott, can you please send me a copy as well? Thanks a bunch!

    • David Kilmer

      Just saw the film and would love to read the script. Thanks!

  • Magga

    He just did with Steve Jobs

  • Poe_Serling

    A bit of OT:


    “A man must race across the US to save his pregnant wife as the apocalypse rains down around him.”

    The project just lined up a director – David Rosenthal. He was at the helm of this year’s moderate box office hit The Perfect Guy.

    Carson reviewed this script over four years ago. At the time, it scored an Impressive and jumped into his Top Ten. Since then, it’s slipped a bit to the No. 12 slot.

    And even attaching a director doesn’t mean the production is set to film anytime soon.

    • garrett_h

      I remember Carson’s review, and read the script soon after. I quite liked it. Even remember some scenes from it, which is either a testament to how good the script is or my memory lol.

      Happy to see it moving forward.

  • Malibo Jackk

    Still no word from grendl??

  • Citizen M

    OT: No dialogue required.

    Sometimes there’s no need for words. I have just finished my third visit to a locksmith.
    — The first, to get a spare key cut
    — The second, because the new key didn’t work.
    — The third, because they had closed for the day on my second visit.

    I hadn’t brought the padlock with me on the first visit because it was a big strong one on a security door and I didn’t want to remove it. But for my second and third visits I put a small padlock on the door and brought the big one with me.

    Naturally, I am highly pissed off by this time.

    I walk into the locksmith and lay on the counter the invoice, the lock, the old key, and the new key. The two guys at the back ignore me for a while. One of them is the guy who cut my key. Eventually the other guy slouches over ever so casually, chewing on a toothpick.

    He looks at the items I’ve put on the counter, picks up the shiny new key, tries it in the padlock, and it doesn’t work. He takes the key to the back, grinds it and buffs it a bit, comes to the counter again and tries it in the padlock in front of me. It works perfectly.

    At this point not a word had been spoken between us.

    “There you go,” he said, handing me the key and padlock.
    “Thank you,” I said, placed them in a packet, and walked out.

    But that flat, monotone ‘thank you’ contained a freight of invective and rage at all the trouble their incompetence had caused me, and he knew it.

    • Wijnand Krabman

      “But that flat, monotone ‘thank you’ contained a freight of invective and rage at all the trouble their incompetence had caused me, and he knew it.”

      and he didn’t care!

      • Citizen M

        It’s a good thing wishes don’t come true. A lot of people on this earth would drop dead.

  • carsonreeves1

    Yeah, with Passengers. I feel like I didn’t appreciate the nuances of that one the first read through.

    The reality is that sometimes I have to read scripts pretty quickly, and I can miss some things that I wouldn’t have missed had I had more time. It happens every so often. But for the large majority of them, when a script is bad, no re-read is going to help it! :)

  • ff

    Does anyone by chance have this? Would love to read. Thanks so much.

  • BillinHP

    Just saw the film and this script review is dead on. Unfortunately the musical numbers are not great. Okay, but not great. Plus Gosling and Stone are adequate singers at best and poor dancers. The opening number is very busy and poorly shot plus it has no relationship to the rest of the movie at all. (it might come across better in the script. But in the film it is a real head-scratcher.)You’re also dead on about the LA Chazelle shows us here. Seriously. It could have been shot in the 1980’s or by someone who had simply looked up LA on Wikipedia. I wonder if Chazelle let his location scout even attempt anything that wasn’t a complete old school cliche. I mean, seriously. Jones? The Frolic Room? Where is Silverlake? Where is Echo Park? Let alone downtown LA where the real action is these days. Swingers was filmed 20 years ago and it seems more hip and up to date!

    Worse yet. I don’t think Chazelle knows a lot about jazz other than what he watched on the Ken Burns PBS doc. LA was one of the hot beds of jazz in the 50’s and 60’s and they still play down in Leimert Park. Young jazz players can go down there and play with folks who played with Ornette Coleman as well Don Cherry’s kids. USC has one of the best jazz programs in the country headed up by Bill Watrus and many of their music students go down there on Fridays as well. You do something on jazz and LA you should know that. (BTW – I know everyone in the industry seems to think Chazelle went to music school. Read the interviews he did regarding Whiplash. He was coy about his music knowledge for a long time but finally admitted he only took band in high school and wasn’t a particularly good musician. I think he’s a Harvard boy. No music school at all. And it shows.)

    The biggest problem, though, is what you’re outlining here. The character development and storytelling is terrible. I know everyone raves about Whiplash but if this script was turned in to a screenplay class at USC by a student it would come back with all kinds of notes. I think La La Land was rushed into production on the back of Whiplash’s success because the screenplay lacks basic storytelling and it is hard to care about the one dimensional characters in a story this trite. Add to that the mediocre songs and bad singing and dancing and well, let’s just say it ain’t All That Jazz. Or even Step Up 5.

    I think I can sum up the whole enterprise with a quote from the two women who walked out of the theater next to me. One of them turned to the other and said, “That reminded me of when we went to see Chicago. You fell asleep during that one, too.”

  • Cherryblossomgirl08

    I just saw this film, and your review of the screenplay is EXACTLY what my friends and I felt walking out of the theater. A lot of cliche wrapped up in over-stylized directing. As a native Los Angeleno, I’m annoyed Chazelle even calls this a “love letter to LA.” It’s a love letter to Hollywood cliches.