Genre: Thriller
Premise: After nearly dying in a car accident, a mechanic is given an experimental drug while in a coma. When he awakes, his IQ begins to skyrocket.
About: This is not the first Eric Heisserer/Ted Chiang collaboration. For those of you who get the newsletter, you’ll remember when I reviewed their previous collaboration, Story of Your Life (about an alien visitation that requires a linguist to help communicate with the ETs). The project has since secured Amy Adams for the lead role (she’s perfect) and Denis Villeneuve to direct. You may know Villeneuve as the director of another big spec script, Prisoners. Heisserer previously wrote The Thing remake and Final Destination 5. He’s since moved into directing, last year helming the Hurricane Katrina thriller, Hours, which starred Paul Walker.
Writer: Eric Heisserer (based on the short story by Ted Chiang)
Details: 116 pages (undated)

mark-ruffalo-now-you-see-meRuffalo for David?

One of my favorite scripts from the last couple of years is Story Of Your Life. It took a big idea and approached it from a very intimate place. Sort of like M. Night’s “Signs,” but way better (and more original). As a screenwriter, this strategy is one of the best ways to get noticed, as you’re giving producers two things they want – a big concept and a story that can be shot on a reasonable budget.

But they’re not easy to write. Because of the tiny scope, the writer often ends up running out of engaging material. Look no further than one of the WORST movies I’ve seen this year, 2008’s Pontypoole (caught it on Netflix). It’s about a zombie outbreak that takes place entirely inside a radio DJ booth. Somewhere around minute 30, they ran out of stuff to do, and the rest was just, well, awful (they eventually figure out that the zombie outbreak is spread though…VOICE! So just by talking, the DJ is spreading the zombie virus! I’m not kidding!).

If you can prove yourself in that realm (your movie actually gets made), that’s when the gatekeepers trust you with a bigger budget. Which leads us to today’s script, the oddly titled, “Understand.”

30-something David Miller is a lowly car mechanic who, you get the feeling, hasn’t ended up where he thought he would. The one thing he’s got going for him is his beautiful wife, Lauren. One day after work, he picks her up and the two drive home like they always do.

Except before they get there, they get rear-ended into an icy river, where poor David watches his wife drift away. Three months later, David wakes up in a hospital room from a coma. He’s been told by his doctor that in order to get him out of the coma, they had to use an experimental drug.

As the days pass, David starts to feel smarter and starts craving knowledge. But this newfound intelligence comes with a price. The doctors won’t let David leave. Whatever this drug they injected him with is, it’s less about helping him and more about making him their lab rat.

The great thing about being super-smart though, is that you can outsmart the dumbos. And David’s able to escape with minimal effort. Once out in the wild, his intelligence continues to grow, allowing him to do things like learn Taekwando in the time it takes to check your e-mail and fly a Cessna plane with a three-minute prep course.

David quickly realizes why the doctors wanted to watch him so closely. David isn’t just becoming smart. He’s becoming a weapon.

Soon, David learns of a previous recipient of the drug he was given, another escapee named Vincent, who is a month ahead of him in the trials. Being one month ahead means having 30 additional days of intelligence growth. David may be a genius. But Vincent is the equivalent of 20 geniuses. David’s purpose shifts from eluding his pursuers (which now include the FBI) to stopping Vincent, who appears to be prepping an attack that could be the precursor to the end of the world as we know it.

“Understand” is a unique and entertaining piece of material. It’s sort of like Limitless meets The Bourne Identity meets Transcendence meets The Matrix meets Highlander. If there’s a hiccup in the script, it’s just that – it may be trying to do too many things.

For me, the script seemed to set itself up as an intimate thriller, possibly something that took place entirely in the hospital. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, it becomes a traditional “man on the run” Liam Neeson vehicle. It was during this section that I began to lose interest, since we’ve seen a bajillion of these thrillers already. The fact that the rapid-intelligence thing had been done fairly recently in Limitless didn’t help either.

But then Chiang and Heisserer start to get trippy, with David’s intelligence becoming so advanced that he can actually calculate where bullets are going to go before they’re shot, allowing him to dodge them (or, in some instances, deflect them with a knife blade).

However, once Vincent (the other super-smart guy) becomes David’s nemesis, the script almost becomes a super-hero movie, with the two fighting on top of buildings with super-advanced sparring skills. Heck, they eventually get so smart that they can move things with their minds, throwing yet another influence, Star Wars, into the mix.

What’s happening here is not a unique problem. Sometimes, for a reader to buy into a world, it requires the writer to slowly take us through the steps. In other words, it would be stupid if David could use telekinesis right away. But after we’ve seen him “level up” several times, it makes sense.

But if you take too long before introducing the REAL story (in this case, the emergence of Vincent and his diabolical plan), the reader can become confused. Oh, they say, I thought this was about a guy running away from the government. But it’s actually about a battle between two genius super-heroes.

The thing is, I mostly run into this problem with inexperienced writers who haven’t yet learned how to keep a consistent plot thread going for an entire script. They want to throw in new bells and whistles to keep your interest, not realizing that each one takes us further away from the original story we thought we were reading.

That’s not the problem with Eric’s script. He still knows what he’s doing so he makes it work. I just thought it felt a little unbalanced, with Vincent becoming this huge story agitator too late in the game.

The only other major observation I had was David’s job. David is a mechanic, which I thought was an odd choice since it had nothing to do with the story. There was ONE major payoff of him being a mechanic (he disabled the bad guy’s car), but if David is as smart as we’re led to believe, he should’ve been able to figure this out anyway.

We writers do this a lot. We absolutely LOVE a good payoff. But sometimes we love them so much that we’ll keep the setup to that payoff even if changing it would improve everything else in the screenplay BUT that payoff.

So say I was writing a comedy about an airplane pilot who can’t tell a lie for one day. The reason I made my main character a pilot? It’s a setup to an awesome payoff late in the script where my hero escapes the bad guys by hijacking a plane! Sure, that’s a nice payoff, but if I made my character, say, a lawyer instead, the setup would be a lot more ironic and lead to ton more funny scenes (Liar Liar). So you have to ask yourself, is keeping your main character a pilot so you can have that plane hijack scene really worth it?

I don’t think David being a mechanic is milking the irony of the situation enough. Flowers for Algernon (another “turn to genius” story) made its main character mentally retarded so that the irony level was high when he became smart. I don’t think that’s right for this particular script, but maybe they could do what Good Will Hunting did and make David a low level worker at a place known for the high intelligence level of its employees, like a giant bank or a huge trading firm.

By no means is going with a mechanic a bad choice. I just think if you can milk the irony of a concept, you do it. As a screenwriter, you don’t want to leave any stone unturned when you write a script. Always try to get the best out of every single element.

Anyway, “Understand” was a little schizophrenic but extremely well-written and moved at a speed-train like pace. The weird second half turn did throw me, but it also kept me off-balance, so I didn’t know what would happen next. I’d recommend this one if you can find it!

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

Number of times I checked the internet during read: 7

What I learned: Ahhh, I do not like numbered montages.

1) Frank works at his desk.
2) Frank and Sara sit at home, reading.
3) Frank goes fishing with his buddies.
4) Frank back at his desk, working.

I’m a big believer in keeping the writing as invisible as possible. The idea is to make someone forget they’re reading so they’re always immersed in your story. Anything you do to disrupt that reminds them it’s just a big fake made-up story. So seeing montages (long ones at that) that were numbered here, took me out of the screenplay. I was more focused on the “shot number” than the images themselves. With that said, Eric may be directing this or writing it for a director. In that case, maybe he wanted to know the specific shots he would have to get.

  • Citizen M

    And an aside, UNDERSTAND is my 50th script, in my 16 years writing for film/TV.” — Eric Heisserer tweet.

    Three scripts a year for sixteen years. Impressive. A real pro.

    • Casper Chris

      Not to rain on his parade, but most of them are probably 55-page and 40-page teleplays ;)

      Disclaimer: I don’t know.

      • Ange Neale

        Suddenly getting supersmart plus job as a mechanic plus telekinesis plus the government and doctors want him for a lab rat = John Travolta in ‘Phenomenon’. The cause of his supersmarts was a brain tumor, not an injected drug but still…

        • Stephjones

          Exactly what I was thinking but I’d watch this one too.

  • Guess Who

    So, is it ok to rip off the same idea? This one has been used several times already.

    • andyjaxfl

      Give the idea a new twist (in this case, the main character hunts another guy exposed to the same drug) and it can be fresh.

  • Awescillot

    How about the Flowers for Charlie ep of It’s Always Sunny. This is of no significant relevance whatsoever, but I just thought I’d mention it.

    • Jarman Alexander

      This had one of my all time favorite lines ever in it when Charlie is in the flashback explanation and says “nine plus nine equals box, and that’s where the cat goes.”

      • Awescillot

        Haha yeah. Oh man, great episode.

        Funny though, that this episode was written by Benioff and Weiss (Game of Thrones)

        • drifting in space

          One of the best episodes of a show full of great episodes.

    • Scott Strybos

      The reveal at the end is that Charlie wasn’t actually any smarter. That what he was saying was gibberish, right? That’s how I thought the short story for this script was headed.

      • Awescillot

        Yeah that’s correct. I wouldn’t have mind watching that movie, though. Limitless and those other movies all take the same concept seriously. I think that’s why the storyline here sounds so familiar to everyone (slightly different set-up/build-up, but same concept throughout).

        I think it would be great if the movie would end with revealing that the protag is actually still as stupid as he was before. Take the audience for the same ride (‘oh wow, the opportunities, what if only.. Wow I’m so inspired’) and then just crap all over it (‘ha, sike!’)

    • ThomasBrownen

      And don’t forget the tv show Chuck! The Intersect gave Chuck a type of super-intelligence that let him become a spy.

      • Awescillot

        I haven’t started watching Chuck, so I’m taking your word for it! I’ve heard it’s quite good, though. These days, comedy shows of ~20 minutes are perfect during study breaks. I’m afraid I’ll like it as well, and 40 minute shows are deadly when you’ve got an exam deadline lol.

        • ThomasBrownen

          I was quite skeptical of Chuck at first, and then… it got really good! But yes… long TV shows don’t help with exams. Study hard!

          • Awescillot

            Well, it’s definitely on my watch list now!

            And thanks!

  • romer6

    Wow, this looks a lot like “Lucy”, the new movie from Luc Besson. I mean, the setup is different: here he is injected with the drug to save his life; in “Lucy” she is smuggling the drug inside her stomach and the plastic bag bursts. But overall it is very similar. Take a look at the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVt32qoyhi0

    PS: I know there are lots of movies similar to this one, so there isn´t exactly a rip off. It makes me think of the odds of this getting made anytime soon.

    • Casper Chris

      Much more elegant and interesting setup, isn’t it?

      But yea, hard to ignore the similarity.

    • UrbaneGhoul

      Reminds me of Bradley Cooper’s movie, Limitless. Not exactly the same to this or Lucy, but it uses the “I can use 100% of my brain and know martial arts now”. Maybe that’s the next big thing.

      • Casper Chris

        Carson mentions Limitless in his review. That’s the first one that came to my mind as well.

    • Randy Williams

      In viewing this trailer, I’m trying to understand the humor in shooting a taxi driver because he can’t speak English. If the writer can make me root for this character by the end of this movie after she did that, then sign me up for his screenwriting class.

      • romer6

        Yes, that bothered me as well. What the f*&$? Maybe theose taxi drivers are part of the mob or something, but as far as it is shown it doesn´t make any sense.

        • Randy Williams

          Mob angle crossed my mind too, but hell, in a comic book tonal trailer, give us some context first or just don’t include

      • Franchise Blueprints

        That and the doctor immediately saying “kill her.” I wonder do the writers or actors realize how implausible or lame certain scenes are?

        • Kirk Diggler

          Nothing needs to make sense in a Luc Besson movie. It’s all spectacle.

    • drifting in space

      That’s what I was thinking as well. Bad timing I’d say.

      • mulesandmud

        Or brilliant timing, no? Using the combined momentum of the Cannes deal for their previous project and the buzz of a similar upcoming studio film to slingshot this script through the studio gates.

        The actual UNDERSTAND movie wouldn’t hit theaters for two years at earliest, so there’s plenty of separation there. And also notice how the script went out at the height of LUCY’s ad campaign, as opposed to after it came out, thereby avoiding any backlash in case LUCY tanks.

        Seems like a very strategic spec sale to me.

    • Logic Ninja

      We might just have the 2014 version of OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN / WHITE HOUSE DOWN.

    • Franchise Blueprints

      I saw a Lucy trailer at the movies. All I could think was how ultra generic and predictable it was.

      • Franchise Blueprints

        I forgot about the live action version of Kite. Maybe they’re trying to preempt the heat for that movie.

    • http://screenplayamonth.tumblr.com FilmingEJ

      I think the “OHMAHGOD WE ONLY USE 10% OF OUR BRAINS WHOA WE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT WE CUD DO” is a really outdated belief that I really can’t imagine could be pulled off very well, but I have faith in Besson.

      • Midnight Luck

        I have faith as well
        unless he is making THE FAMILY or 3 DAYS TO KILL or LOCKOUT or COLOMBIANA or THE TRANSPORTER 2,3,4,5,6 or TAKEN 2 or TAXI 4 or BRICK MANSIONS.

        • astranger2

          well… haven’t seen your around here much recently. The world is a cold place… made much warmer, however, by your presence…

  • brenkilco

    Sure this has a lot of other problems but something that struck me from the review. How does being super smart make these guys superheroes. Being an uber genius doesn’t improve your physical coordination. Just because a genius can calculate to ten decimal places the force needed to sink a perfect free throw doesn’t mean he’s going to make the basketball team. And I’d be curious to know how skillful the writer is at showing the gradual increase in the protagonist’s intellect. His growing sense of wonder at his own abilities etc. Or do we simply get bang, now he’s Macgyver?

  • mulesandmud

    Ted Chiang is a powerhouse, and STORY OF YOUR LIFE is the rarest of sci-fi scripts nowadays: one that respects the characters and the ideas, and privileges them both over spectacle. Heisserer did a damn fine job with the adaptation.

    LIMITLESS was exhausting to me, a movie about becoming smart that had minimal signs of intelligence itself (the book it’s based on, The Dark Fields, was slightly better). Movies in which people evolve to a higher level of consciousness should not end with a fight against Russian mobsters.

    Let’s hope for better this time around.

  • Logic Ninja

    Has anyone read Heisserer’s 90-tweet advice on pitching? Here’s a link, if anyone’s interested: http://goodinaroom.com/blog/eric-heisserer/

    • mulesandmud

      Brilliant stuff. Hilarious, depressing, and dead accurate in every way.

      The nitty-gritty of pitching isn’t discussed nearly often enough, and it’s death to try to learn it in the room. Great that someone is getting the down and dirty realities of the process out into the ether.

      The industry actively puts distance between writers, and we often put distance between each other because of the competitive nature of pitching makes us put. That’s a shame; if everybody knows more, everybody wins more.

    • Randy Williams

      That was great. Thank you!

      We recently practiced pitching in my screenwriting group. We each pitched our current projects and in summary, we agreed most of us were pathetic. Me included. My public speaking fear dating back to speech therapy when I was young often just nails my synapses to the wall and I freeze. Anyway…

      There was one member, however, who had us just enthralled. He started off with the physical geography of the setting and really put us right there. The setting in this case was important to the plot. He then introduced a character who was focused on getting something. Then another who was focused on something at odds with the first character. Then instead of explaining how each character could attain their goals, for instance, rob a bank, find the killer, ask Cindy to the prom, he explained how they could NOT

      So we were left afterwards with this little seed in our minds. Wait! hell, why not? Here are some ways they could succeed. I could do it or want to do it. And a week afterwards, some of us were still discussing how they could accomplish their goals.

      I’m not sure this is applicable in the real world, but I thought it was clever.

      • Logic Ninja

        I have a two-step miracle cure for overcoming any fear of public speaking while pitching!
        1. Write a musical.
        2. Sing all the numbers in front of a roomful of execs.
        If you can do that, you can do anything! Haha

        • Randy Williams

          Thanks Logic. I know it’s often said to think of your audience in their underwear, but then I have another problem.

      • Randy Williams

        This must be pitch day. Tonight, I’m coming home and three police cars corner me on my bicycle. Ask me the usual suspect questions. They were obvious canvassing the area for someone. In relationship to where I was coming from – my screenwriting group- the question was raised. What do you do there? At the end I was pitching my current script to the police. THAT is an audience that was hard to gauge the reaction of.

    • ElectricDreamer

      I try to share with execs what gets me excited about my stories.
      Which almost always is tied up in the CONFLICT ENGINE powering my idea.
      The two major benefits for me going with this approach…

      A) It loosens me up a lot, because I’m nerding out over a project.
      B) Excitement is super contagious. A movie plot is not.

      • Logic Ninja

        I really like the idea of a conflict engine. In your experience, is some form of irony generally involved? Or a relationship between two important characters?

        • ElectricDreamer

          Thanks, it’s my term for the screenwriting system I’m cobbling out.
          Very recently, an assignment fell into my amateur lap.
          And my dog needs a five-figure surgery pretty soon.
          I needed to find a way to bang out quality work on a tight schedule.

          In my experience, DRAMATIC IRONY is gasoline on a narrative fire.
          Personally, I can’t HEIGHTEN the TENSION much without it.
          So, the reader is my SECRET COMPANION in that sense.
          The writer must SEDUCE the reader with SECRET WISDOM.

          I tend to define ALL my character relationships through conflict.
          External and internal conflicts for lead and supporting characters.
          I must IDENTIFY & QUANTIFY all conflicts before I write Fade In.
          Without that data, I can’t give the reader the scenes they deserve.

          • witwoud

            Good luck with the dog.

          • Malibo Jackk

            We open with a scene of a man who needs a five-figure surgery for his dog…

          • klmn

            Before I’d spend five figures for surgery for a dog, I’d get a new dog. Hell, I could adopt every dog at the local shelter for far less.

            Like the cowboys say, if you can’t shoot your own dog or shoe your own horse you shouldn’t have either.

          • ElectricDreamer

            I hope your pitch has a happy ending. :-)

    • Linkthis83

      Love stuff like this. Thank you.

    • A Tribe Called Guest

      This is great- thanks!

    • Magga

      I once had to pitch something to a room filled with fifty of the big decision-makers in Norwegian TV. The producer got me to test-pitch it to people in the department who were trying to get funding for the pilot (it was a web-series of five-minute episodes), and split it into groups to give me two practice runs. I messed it up big-time at both attempts, getting dry-mouthed, shaking, forgetting my lines and so forth. Then I had to do it in the room. I got through two sentences and was shocked to hear a huge laugh! As I kept telling the story they kept laughing, and I remembered that I actually thought my story was funny and worth listening to. We got a pilot, which was terrible and got nowhere, but we got a good reputation based on the script and get meetings with the execs whenever we want now, though so far without a show to show for it.
      My point is that if at all possible you should always pitch to strangers and make sure they don’t know about the project in advance when you practice. People who are taking pitches want you to do well, they want the story to be good, they’re hoping to make great TV or a great movie, while people you know are thinking about what advice to give you, how they can help you improve and so on. Kind of like how we get better feedback here than when we show a script to people who want to please us.

  • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

    I really liked Pontypool. Thought it was quite the refreshing take on the zombie genre and very very well made. Not sure what the budget was, but they did a great job with it. It ain’t easy to make a (mostly) contained film like that in one room, but man, I loved it. Great acting too.

    • pmlove

      I thought it was great. If you engage in any horror communities, it’s often brought up as a must see lesser known film.

      Surprised to see Carson hate on it so much. It’s also a horror film ABOUT something. Read into what you will, whether Canadian language politics or just something for amateur semiotic theorists to mull over, it’s a massive step up from two bros high fiving over a threesome with a prostitute (I’m looking at you, Hostel).

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        Completely agree with you both but I can see how a non-horror fan would be bored by it if they go in expecting a zombie movie :)
        It’s in the same vein as the German RAMMBOCK or the South African THE DEAD – both really low budget films which concentrate on story and character instead or relying on zombie attacks or gory FX.

    • Nick Morris

      I enjoyed it too, though not as much as Bruce MacDonald’s earlier work – particularly HARD CORE LOGO.

    • JakeMLB

      Pontypool was great!

  • ripleyy

    Wouldn’t it have been more rewarding if David got to the pinnacle of being genius and then slowly lost his intelligence somewhere about midpoint? This way, when Vincent comes along, fighting him becomes a more strenuous task?

    That’s how I’d go about this one, anyway. Still, the whole “telekinesis” thing is so off-the-rails it’s surreal.

    • fragglewriter

      Sounds like “Awakenings” with Robert Deniro and Robin Williams. That was a good movie.

      • Brainiac138

        It just needed more Matrix style fight scenes!

  • Logline_Villain

    This apparently has shades of “The Lawnmower Man” (1992) as well… it would seem the premise of Forrest Gump transforming into Albert Einstein never goes out of fashion for too long.

  • Linkthis83

    OT: Does anyone have the script for CHEAP THRILLS written by Trent Haaga and David Chirchirillo? And if you do, would you please send it to me:

    linkthis83 at yahoo dot com

    Thank you in advance. Here’s the trailer for those who may not know what it is (I didn’t – I’m not in the know everything business :) I think the trailer shows too much (like they all do) but I’m interested:

    • Linkthis83

      And for those who hate how much trailers give away, like me (fuck you OBLIVION trailer), here is this:

      • Franchise Blueprints

        That was some seriously epic funny sh1t. And its only funny because its true.

        +100

        • Linkthis83

          The Glove and Boots channel has a lot of funny shit. Never heard of them until I found their version of The Hero’s Journey that I posted on here.

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      Loved this movie! Had no idea what I was in for when I started it – hadn’t heard of it or seen a trailer. Was really pleasantly surprised. Great little black comedy.

      • Linkthis83

        Once I was into the trailer just long enough to get the concept I was like “I want to fucking see this.”

        • Craig Mack

          Let me know if you find this script. Been looking myself for a while.

          C

          • Linkthis83

            Will do.

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            I saw this at the Paris International Film Festival here last november where it won the Grand Prize (I voted for it as well, I loved it to bits !). If you get the script, would you please send it on ? I believe you already have my email :) Thanx !

          • Linkthis83

            No luck so far, but if it shows up, I will pass it on.

    • Franchise Blueprints

      Yeah that trailer pretty much spoiled everything. It was entertaining. This seems like the Penn and Teller version of the scene in Movie 43 where Halle Berry and Stephan Merchant continuously raise the stakes in truth or dare.

    • brittany

      Hey, Linkthis. I asked Trent Haaga on his blog a few months ago if the Cheap Thrills script was available and he said that it’s not. He said that with all the companies and interests involved, too many permission would be needed. Though, I guess it could have somehow leaked. But according to him it’s not available.

      • Linkthis83

        That’s disappointing to hear, but thanks, Brittany. It’s funny that you reached out to him on his blog. I was so determined to find that script yesterday that I did the exact same thing.

        I saw your post to Biffer about having a project currently in development. Congrats to you. So cool. And a very sincere “good luck”.

    • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1888937/ Rick McGovern

      Too much skin? lol

  • Scott Strybos

    I read the short story for this screenplay a few months ago and it was excellent, despite being reminiscent of previous fiction. While reading the story I thought it was going to be revealed that he only thought he wAs getting smarter, but all that he was thinking was nonsense.

    If you haven’t read the short story for Understand, you should.

    • tobiar3

      Can you please send me the short story for Understand or the link for it? Been trying my best but can’t seem to find it. Thank you very much.

  • successor

    This reminds me of a premise from a book I recently read. _Brain Wave_ by Poul Anderson from 1954.

    http://tinyurl.com/n3t9rov

    In it, the Earth passes out of an electromagnetic field that has dampened the intelligence of all living creatures. Suddenly, people and animals starts gaining massive amounts of intelligence. Animals revolt against humans, mentally disabled people become intelligent overnight and smart people become super geniuses. It’s a great premise.

    Unfortunately, I felt Anderson blew it big time because he didn’t focus on the most interesting character in the book. Archie Brock, a farmhand with a low IQ, who becomes a lot smarter after the change and has to keep the farm he works on running with the help of uplifted animals. Instead, Anderson focuses on other super geniuses who adapt to the change quickly and stand around solving a bunch of boring political problems, then go off exploring the stars. Plus, he tells about several major events (riots, food shortages, etc.) off page instead of actually showing them. And then there’s the writing itself, which is rather uninspired and contains poor sentence construction and grammatical errors such as comma splices.

    This is the classic case of a great idea ruined by poor execution. Maybe someone could option this novel for a film and improve upon it by focusing on Brock.

  • Nate

    I thought Carson only reviewed recently sold spec scripts in the newsletter after all that trouble he had. This only sold last week, I’ve seen it pop up on the Specsout website. Or am I missing something here? I’ve provided the link in case anyone wants to check it out.

    https://specscout.com/home

  • Gilx

    I flashed on the PKD story “The Golden Man” while reading this review, although the premise is quite different. All the predictive powers utilized in escaping the facility, I imagine. Would love to see that turned into a movie.

    • mulesandmud

      I thought I would, too. Then they bastardized it into that Nicholas Cage flop NEXT. Now I pray for a remake just to wash the taste of that first film out of my mouth.

      • Gilx

        I missed that one. Now I have a morbid curiosity to check it out. Must. Fight. Urge…

  • bruckey

    ’30-something scriptshadow follower is a lowly wannabe writer who, you get the feeling, hasn’t ended up where he thought he would……..

  • http://screenplayamonth.tumblr.com FilmingEJ

    OT: Hey guys, I’m working on a blog where every month I’ll write a full screenplay every month, and be completely transparent in the process. Yes, I am whoring myself out in the comments. No, I have no shame. Thanks for your time! It’s at screenplayamonth (dot) tumblr (dot) com

    • Brainiac138

      good luck. That seems daunting.

      • http://screenplayamonth.tumblr.com FilmingEJ

        It really does, but hopefully it works out and I don’t die by the end of it.

    • Awescillot

      That’s quite a task you’ve put up there. Just read your first entries, and I’m very curious how this pans out.

      Best of luck! I’ll keep an eye out. Anyway, you’ve got +1 following.

      • http://screenplayamonth.tumblr.com FilmingEJ

        Thank you so much!

    • Casper Chris

      I’ll be surprised if you last a month. Good luck though.

      • http://screenplayamonth.tumblr.com FilmingEJ

        Here’s to trying!

  • craktactor

    Sounds a hell of a lot like Charly http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062794/ , but then nothing is new under the sun.

  • Mike.H

    I’ve had internet issues so if anyone has a PDF please forward: yokejc100 AT YAHOO DOT COM. Thanks.

  • Scrapt

    Why do people here use an alias? Is there a downside to commenting using your real name?

    • astranger2

      So, Scrapt is your real name?

      • Awescillot

        “One name? Who do you think you are, Seal?”

  • filmklassik

    No, it hasn’t.

    And if so, when was the last original movie idea generated — and by whom? Do we have any specific dates and times on that?

    There are, of course, myriad smart-ass replies to that question (“THE BEASTMASTER was the last original idea — generated by writer Don Coscarelli on April 3, 1981.” Etc.) Lotta fun to be had with this question, but it’s legitimate.

  • klmn

    They have to get smarter to keep up with the new cars. I got a ride in one of the new electric BMWs last Saturday and the technology is impressive. It has a few things I don’t like, one of them being that the car is just too small – a little over 2600 lbs. But it does show where the auto industry is going.

  • jbird669

    Same here please!
    jedi_116@yahoo.com

  • Linkthis83

    Watched CHEAP THRILLS the other night. I think I feel guilty for enjoying it. Which is probably why it’s so aptly titled CT.

    I loved the moment with the Bouncer “$500 if you hit him first.” Good stuff. I think I’m a fan of Trent’s now. I will likely check out DEADGIRL. Thanks again, Brittany.