Genre: TV Pilot (Drama)
Premise: An “upstairs/downstairs” look at the daily activities that plague one of the most exclusive country clubs in the country.
About: This is a project David O Russell (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook) was spearheading with Susannah Grant (Erin Brokovich, Party of Five). Apparently the two went their separate ways over creative differences. But Grant is still pushing forward with it and the show will premier in 2015 on ABC. This is the last draft the two wrote together (for those looking around the net for this file, it goes by the name “ABC – Untitled David O Russell – Susannah Grant Proj”).
Writers: Story by Susannah Grant and David O. Russell – Teleplay by Susannah Grant
Details: January 13, 2014 draft (63 pages)

David+O+Russell+American+Hustle+Screening+K7XxFlMrk0MlDavid O. Russell

Maybe the British readers can help me out here. Why is it that this whole “upstairs/downstairs” thing, which is being explored most famously in the show “Downton Abbey, is such an obsession with you? Why do these rich/poor mingling-in-the-same-place explorations fascinate you so much?

I have a British actor friend who moved here and I asked him once why he decided to do so. He said that in the UK, it’s a lot harder to break out of your class. Whatever you’re born into, that’s who you’ll be the rest of your life. Whereas in America, nobody cares about that shit. So he’d much rather take his chances here.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Could it be true? One of the most distinguished nations in the world is still running a class system?? What is this? 1709?

I suppose that this would explain the fascination with these types of stories. If there is a class system still in place, the conflict that arises between the “haves” and the “have nots” is interesting, since the characters are locked into those slots. The question is, does that setup intrigue an American audience who’s never had a class system before? Where it’s not as “risqué” for a staff member to cavort with a club member?  Let us discover the answer together.

Members Only focuses on an upscale country club that caters to the “best of the best of the best.” The club was built by and is run by the Holbrooke family. The face of the club, and the de facto manager, is Mickey Holbrooke, a 40 year old beauty married to a hotshot Wall Street tycoon named Randy.

As you’d expect, the second Mickey walks into the club to begin our journey, there’s drama. The club is in huge debt, and it’s forcing the board to get creative. They want to hold a professional golf tournament here but they don’t think the tournament will agree because “we have no black people.” So the first order of business is to go out and find a black family to become members of the club.

Meanwhile, we meet Jesse, a kid from the projects who got this job by the skin of his teeth. He’s a new staffer and has been told that if he even looks at someone the wrong way, he can be fired. So you can imagine the torment he goes through when Mickey’s hot horny 17 year old triplets start a game of who can nail the Jesse first.

In the meantime, we meet TONS of other people. There’s Forty, a Holbrooke who just got out of jail for his 3rd DUI. There’s Ava, the cool as can be “I don’t give a fuck” staffer with a propensity for stealing. There’s Malcolm, the hot widowed husband who every housewife wants to bang. There’s Leslie Holbrooke, whose husband dumped her for, get this, her step-mother – a trophy wife to her alcoholic Senator father.

But the story doesn’t really get good until the midpoint. Two agents from the SEC corner Mickey and inform her that her husband is the biggest financial thief since Bernie Madoff. They’re going to take him down in two days. If Mickey helps them, they may be able to protect Mickey, her daughters, and the club. But if not, all bets are off. The duo kindly hand Mickey their card. If she doesn’t respond in 48 hours, they’re making their move. And just like that, Mickey’s life is turned upside-down.

Premiere+Sony+Picture+Catch+Release+Arrivals+h-Oo9MJkBuOl-2Susannah Grant

Members Only may be the most jam-packed pilot I’ve ever read. There were 30 characters in this thing. That’s one character introduced every two pages. On top of that, a TON of shit happens. Thefts, cheating, ménage-et-trois’s, death, embezzlement, a golf tournament, a party, several courtings, racism, sexism. I mean, wow. Grant and Russell need an award just for fitting this much stuff into a script.

And actually, the more I thought about it, the more I realized this “jam it all in” approach would work as a screenwriting exercise. You’re always taught to get through your scenes as quickly as possible, but that’s easier said than done. Well, when you write a pilot (60 pages) with so many characters and so many plotlines, you have NO CHOICE but to write scenes quickly. The average scene here was a page and a half.  Having to get in and out of a scene that quickly and still keep it compelling?  That’s a skill every screenwriter should have.

For example, in a scene where Mickey must call and convince the tournament sponsor to consider their club for the professional tournament, the scene starts with Mickey already on the phone mid-conversation. That’s how we get through scenes quicker. If you start with all the “Hi, this is Mickey calling from blah blah blah,” and the forthcoming formalities, you’re taking a looooooot longer than you need to.  Start us midway through the conversation to cut down time.

The problem with Members Only is that despite its best efforts, you can only maneuver through so much plot when you’re introducing 30 people, and for the first half of the screenplay, while I was admiring the work, I wasn’t fully engaged in the story. And I was wondering why.  Then it hit me.

Suspense!

There wasn’t enough of it. Meeting people, meeting people, meeting people, is not suspense. It’s meeting people. I mean, there’s a little bit of suspense in whether they’re going to get the tournament to play at their club, but it’s not enough to hook us for 30 pages.

Suspense can’t be treated like a blanket tool. There are variations in its intensity, and if you’re not going to give us suspense with a high level of intensity, our focus is going to wander. In this case, the Defcon 5 suspense plot point didn’t hit until the midpoint – this is when Mickey’s told that her husband’s embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars.

From this point on, the suspense is VERY high because we’re DYING to see Mickey confront her husband. We have to know what she’s going to say and how he’s going to respond. So anything you write between the beginning of this suspense thread and the conclusion of it is golden. We’re zoned into your story until that line of suspense is over.

And that’s exactly what Grant and Russell did. They drew it all the way out, not even telling us at the end of the episode. Which means we’ll have to tune in next week to find out! Suspense is the cornerstone of any good piece of fiction, but it’s especially important in TV where you’re repeatedly asking your viewers to come back after commercials and come back week after week.

Still, the intensity in which I became attached to the story after that suspenseful plot point makes you wonder: why not start the script with a suspenseful plot point as well? Something big and flashy to keep us riveted through all the character introductions? The more I think about it, the more I believe that every stretch of your screenplay should have a suspense thread going on. At LEAST one.

Members Only is a good teleplay but its success is going to depend on how it’s shot. Will it be shot in that dark serious tone that Downton Abbey is shot in? Or will it be treated like the glossy vapid Revenge? Being that it’s an ABC show, it’ll probably be more like Revenge, which would suck. Now is the time for the networks to start challenging the cable channels with riskier fare. If this show has any shot at lasting, it needs to go darker. I just don’t know if ABC is capable of that.

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

What I learned: “And” is a great place to start in a scene. It means we’re coming in on a character in the middle of a conversation. Which means a shorter scene. Which means you’re only showing the good stuff. During the scene where Mickey is on the phone trying to convince the tournament to play at the club, we come in on this line: “And I’ve been a huge fan of your tournament for ages, so this could be a match made in heaven! Excellent! Yes! See you then.” – “And” is a great place to start. But really, the goal is to start anywhere mid-conversation.

  • leitskev

    Have not read the script, just Carson’s review. Couple comments.

    From my viewing experience, introducing thirty characters in the pilot is a challenge. There are right ways and wrong ways. In the opening of Boardwalk Empire, we meet many of the characters who will come into play later in the series, but it works for a couple of reasons. Several of these characters are famous figures from gangster history, so we don’t need a lengthy intro. The pilot worked well because the focus remained on 3 main characters, and the relationship between those three mains with each other.

    I’ve watched other series where the writing is very clever and the scenes well crafted, but which fail because there is not enough focus on one or a couple main characters and their storylines. I think it’s better to introduce new characters as the series proceeds; or maybe to just give us a taste of them in the pilot.

    Last comment: I wouldn’t watch this series for the simple reason I am not interested in that world. I find nothing at all interesting in that whole country club world and I’m not sure who would…other than people who grew up in that world. Which means I suspect we’ll get characters from the poorer classes drawn from the perspective of people who grew up in a privileged world. I mean this can work, I guess…Caddy Shack, Ferris Buehler. But I suspect it will be annoying.

  • bruckey

    hot horny 17 year old triplets
    (x) Genius

  • mulesandmud

    Truly, I still can’t tell if Carson is putting us on sometimes, or if his I-just-learned-the-darndest-thing-about-the-real-world routine is legit.

    Yeah dude, the class system is totally real. Like, for sure.

    In fairness, there are many young studio execs who would say the exact same thing, not realizing that they themselves represent the epitome of the American class system.

    • Brainiac138

      I once actually asked a studio exec about this very thing. We were in a meeting and the Occupy protests were at their peak, and he just couldn’t for the life of him, figure out why they were so upset. After all, he thought everyone has a fair shake at everything, you just have to work hard. I then asked him about a recent writer he just hired, and he said the writer was from some big East coast family that was friends with his family growing up, and I asked about his assistant, the same thing, from a very wealthy East coast family, and so on and so on, everyone in his life was from his same social class, even the same geographic area. He then stated that there are other opportunities for everyone and then dismissed me using him as an example. The fact is, I think now more than any time in the past, because you have to be willing and able to work for free for such long periods, the film industry is just going to become more exclusive, and only open to people whose parents can afford to take care of them for a huge chunk of their 20s.

      • peisley

        Yep. Saw the same thing. Nothing new, but probably more prevalent now. It’s apparently the cool thing to do when you don’t want to be in the family business. Entitlement has its perks. There may be opportunity in the US but I don’t know how equal it is.

    • JakeMLB

      Most Americans still think the homeless are just lazy.

  • walker

    Actually recent studies show that there is less social mobility in the US now than in most European nations.

    • mulesandmud

      In fact, the larger the wealth gap grows, and the more the service industry expands (replacing manufacturing jobs, small businesses, etc), the more American society resembles a corporatized version of a traditional upstairs/downstairs dynamic.

    • Midnight Luck

      which means, as time ticks on, we will become more and more interested in Downton Abbey than ever before.

      • brenkilco

        But when Dr. Zhivago becomes a successful weekly series, watch out.

  • pmlove

    Rich / poor mingling stories are the ultimate fantasy, for both rich and poor.

    For the poor, there’s the inherent dream that the wealthy person will forego their riches/status for the sake of another human and the fantasy land of ‘what would it be like? (to be rich)’ .

    For the rich, it’s the ‘what would it be like? (foregoing my wealth for another human)’ and perpetuating the myth that it is possible.

    In short: it’s really easy to like a rich character if they’re kind to a poor character. Scrooge. Mr Darcy. Eddie Murphy in Coming to America. Pretty Woman. etc etc.

  • Somersby

    Here’s a link to Susannah Grant’s BAFTA Screenwriting Lecture you may find interesting…
    http://tinyurl.com/pdsgsnl

  • Linkthis83

    OT: When I look to see what films are playing in a given week, I’m usually hoping there’s at least one film I want to see, or at least one I’m willing to take a chance on. When I looked up times for movies this week I appreciated the following options: A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES – THE EQUALIZER – GONE GIRL.

    I found this to be very refreshing. I don’t look at these choices and put them in future historical context. I place them in the context of the here and now, as I’ve perceived my movie going choices for the year thus far. I love these OPTIONS of films to see in the course of one week. I’d also include the choice of seeing THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, or still being able to enjoy GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Or if you’re looking for something to scare you, you could go see ANNABELLE which put up quite the box office fight this weekend. Hell, even IF I STAY is still hanging around. Is this a gem that I’ve missed? It’s been an option at the theater for a while now.

    And in the weeks/months to come we’ll get: THE JUDGE – The Steve Carrell family comedy – THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN – FURY – BIRDMAN – NIGHTCRAWLER – INTERSTELLAR – DUMB AND DUMBER TO – FOXCATCHER – THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (I can’t wait to see this one).

    Plus there will be other films in these weeks that I’m not even aware of that I will learn I want to see/experience. I’m excited for the upcoming weeks at the theater.

    —————————–

    On another note, the past couple of episodes of Scriptnotes have included some links to things that I think should be shared. Even if you’re not a Scriptnotes fan, you should listen to them spend an entire episode on Bruce Joel Rubin’s GHOST. They discuss scenes that don’t move the story forward, but understand their existence in the film. They address things that get discussed here a lot about what should be in a film and why it shouldn’t. They talk about the importance of the tone setting and necessary tone shifting in GHOST.

    As amateurs, we have to keep in mind they professional scripts get benefit of the doubt regarding these story choices, but it’s still extremely useful to hear them discussed and explained by professionals.

    To listen to the episode:

    http://johnaugust.com/2014/ghost

    To read the episode:

    http://johnaugust.com/2014/scriptnotes-ep-163-ghost-transcript

    A link to The Science and Entertainment Exchange. This program connects creators and science professionals together for more accurate, credible stories:

    http://www.scienceandentertainmentexchange.org/

    A link to Steven Soderbergh’s RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK video. He wrote an explanation of what he did and why he did it. And then he presents the film in Black and White with the original sound/score removed and a different one added. Very cool. Check it out:

    http://extension765.com/sdr/18-raiders

    And finally, a link to the Auralnauts YouTube channel where they take scenes from the STAR WARS prequels, re-cut them, re-voice them and tell their own mini-stories/episodes. Here’s the link to the first episode (there are three total – Jedi Party, Friend Zone and Revenge of Middle Management):

    • Scott Strybos

      The Steve Carrel family comedy is “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”.

      • Linkthis83

        I know. I just didn’t want to type it out. Lol. Thank you for doing that for me ;)

        • Scott Strybos

          I figured as much. The title is a mouthful.

    • Levres de Sang

      I really enjoy the three-page challenge on Script notes — and there was a fantastic discussion back in the summer about late act two and the tendency towards epiphanies at around page 70… On the whole, though (like GITS), Scriptnotes is an occasional check-in as opposed to the everyday heroin fix that is ScriptShadow.

      • Linkthis83

        SS is great for having material to read and for the interactions/discussions to follow.

        I’ve listened to every episode of Scriptnotes and have now started over at the beginning (I travel A LOT so it’s great for the road).

        I love GITS. If I had a complaint about GITS, I would feel like I get too much useful info to process on a daily basis. A great fucking problem to have though :)

        • Levres de Sang

          I guess it’s easy to become blasé to all this material available for free. I’ve learned so much (from all three sites) that just went unmentioned in the formal classes I attended.

        • Somersby

          Sorry to be so uninformed, but what is GITS? :-|

    • Nate

      Out of those films you listed I’m looking forward to The Judge and Fury. I’d add John Wick to it too. Looks to be a pretty good revenge flick starring Keanu Reeves.

  • Scott Strybos

    “… when you write a pilot with so many characters and so many plotlines, you have NO CHOICE but to write scenes quickly. The average scene here was a page and a half. Having to get in and out of a scene that quickly and still keep it compelling? That’s a skill every screenwriter should have”.

    In television pilots this approach also increases your chances of hooking an audience… clashing societal sects doesn’t interest you, how about… infidelity? BAM! Infidelity doesn’t interest you, how about 17-year-old’s having sex? BAM! Sex doesn’t interest you, okay, what about crime? BAM! Crime doesn’t interest you, maybe an SEC investigation will nab you attention. BAM!

  • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

    The issue I have with the rich/poor stories is that I invariably find the poor side more compelling, because the stakes are, by nature, higher. My favorite example is “Rome” There’s the historical rise and fall of Julius Caesar and the rise of Augustus that pretty much spans the rich side. On the poor side we follow two grunts, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, navigating life in the lower classes of Roman society.

    Now, not only was the latter something I had never seen in TV or movies before, it was compelling because Pullo and Vorenus didn’t command the power that Caesar, Mark Antony, or Augustus did. Therefore, their struggles were organically more challenging, unpredictable, and moving.

    I liked both aspects of the show, but if I really had to choose one, well, I think I made it clear where I’m throwing my support.

    • Kirk Diggler

      1st season of Rome was awesome. 2nd season was a bit of a mess.

      • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

        No argument from me, but it was still a fun mess. And mostly because the producers learned they wouldn’t be renewed, so they had to rush through a lot of history in a matter of five episodes. Not the bet result, but it could’ve been worse. Watching Augustus come to power was definitely worth it.

  • Somersby

    Despite Carson’s specific directions, I’ve come up empty trying to find the script. If anyone has it and would care to share, I’d love to read it. (For educational purposes only, of course.)
    anvil [at] total [dot] net

  • klmn

    Some years ago the Augusta Country Club – the host of the Masters tournament – scrambled to integrate and to recruit a Black member. I forget the exact details but I think it has something to do with either Tiger Woods winning there, or perhaps pres Obama wanting to play at the club.

    So I think it’s good to follow the news if you want to write scripts.

    • Logline_Villain

      And (proper WIL word of the day to start a comment with) clearly, this pilot borrowed from the headlines in terms of the Bernie Madoff strand – not that either news story is hot of the press. It seems that TV is more likely than film to be news conscious in terms of storylines, though that may largely be a facet of quicker turnaround time… ?

    • Dan B

      Augusta also had a controversy around allowing a woman to be a member. They traditionally have always had the CEO of IBM be a member (a top sponsor), and when a woman got the top job they weren’t sure which tradition to break. I believe they made her the first member, but didn’t check up on it.

      The club is invite only, the tournament pays for the entire course operations for the year, so they aren’t worried about money. There was a guy who invented a securities trading platform in Chicago that wanted to be a member, and they wouldn’t let him in. He decided to build his own amazing course in Kaneland, IL. Now there’s an LPGA tournament there.

      • wlubake

        Condi is a member. Check two boxes there.

  • websters

    As two Brits we couldn’t help but weigh in on the whole upstairs/downstairs/rich/poor point. I think it’s true to say that -some- British drama often has a tendency to slip into this, but I would hesitate to say it’s any more prevalent than in the US – especially in terms of more forward thinking British drama. I would say that it is somewhat of a stereotype to say we are obsessed with it, but an interesting one none-the-less!

    I think the perception is owed slightly to some of the traditional great “British” drama of a more Dickensian nature, the poor boy injected into rich aristocracy etc. I’d even go further to suggest that some of Downton Abbey’s success is hinged on a nostalgia for these stereotypical British conflicts, mixed with the stereotypical British people portrayed throughout (clipped pronunciation etc) – both of which are diminishing in British drama.

    Think about some of our more successful shows of late – Utopia comes to mind (soon to be remade by Fincher), something that has more in common with a US conspiracy thriller than Oliver Twist.

    And to the actors point around being a victim of class I’d again push back on this (although he might be drawing on vaster experience than I can I admit). I’d say there are examples of typecasting (Cumberbatch/Stephen Fry/Ray Winston come to mind) but there are equally those who seem to sift between upper class toff to working class hero easily (James Mcevoy/Ewan Mccgergor).

    • Bifferspice

      you’re not insinuating that carson makes lazy generalisations about entire swathes of people, particularly europeans, are you? :)

  • Nicholas J

    Ever since the great recession people sure do like to watch stories about corrupt upper classers getting their comeuppance. (Not that they didn’t before, but there really seems to be an influx of these types of stories lately.)

  • TruckDweller

    Many thanks to Carson for proving to the internet that White Male Privilege is still at large in the world.

  • brenkilco

    What I learned: “And” is a great place to start in a scene. It means we’re coming in on a character in the middle of a conversation. Which means a shorter scene. Which means you’re only showing the good stuff

    William Goldman extended that idea to every scene. Come in as late as possible and get out as early as possible. I was going on about this a bit with the AOW scripts the other day. Too often in dialogue scenes in scripts that appear here the dialogue doesn’t sound like dialogue. It sounds like an exposition exchange. The only reason you want the characters to be talking to each other is to convey certain info to the audience but of course that’s not the only reason the characters would be talking to each other. And just coming in late isn’t necessarily going to make it less stilted even if you assume the characters have already asked after the kids and the spouse and are getting down to the meat of what they need to discuss. They can’t overdescribe, talk about what both already know, be more explict or clear than they normally would be with each other in order to get a point across. In short, they can’t behave as if an audience is eavesdropping on them. And the writer, while being clear about the purpose of the scene, at some level needs to forget the reader is there. Not easy obviously.

    • mulesandmud

      Before I even get to the point of clipping out excess exposition, I usually read through a draft a few times just to trim out doors opening and closing, cars pulling up and driving off, phone calls being dialed or hung up, plus any other needless entrances and exits that take up valuable story time with actions that are boring in real life, let alone in a story.

      • Bifferspice

        Those things aren’t always boring of course. Sometimes they add to the atmosphere or create/prolong tension. If you strip everything out but the plot you can get rid of the best bits

        • mulesandmud

          Absolutely. By ‘needless’, I meant those pillowy non-scenes which we assume are necessary because “Well, I’ve got to show him coming home from work, otherwise how will we know this is his house?”

          If a writer has a plan to use mundane elements to build mood or suspense, all the power to him/her. When in doubt, though, get it out.

          • brenkilco

            Yeah, filmmakers like Polanski get a lot of suspense mileage out of staging scenes in real time and following every step their characters take. And efforts should be made to preserve the illusion of real life. But for the most part, screenplays being as short as they are, you don’t have time to dawdle.

          • mulesandmud

            So interesting you mention Polanski. I recently watched THE GHOST WRITER, which I absolutely love, and was astonished by the leanness of the storytelling.

            That film is a moody, talky, deliberate thriller, but it gets away with that by trimming out every ounce of fat possible on the front and back of each scene, so even though it’s a slow burn, we always feel like things are moving.

          • brenkilco

            While the basic material is not that great, Ghost Writer is a master class in old school directorial craft. Polanski generate more excitement from a guy taking a three foot jump off a ferry than Michael Bay manages with millions of dollars in special effects. But beyond that he makes you pay attention. And he makes you want to pay attention. It’s sometimes forgotten that Polanski is a first rate screenwriter too.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Hiding exposition is an art form unto itself and it often separates the pro from everyone else. Because it is impossible NOT to have exposition in your dialogue.

      You have to figure out how to put in the ‘spoonful of sugar to make the exposition go down, the exposition go down, the exposition go down, in a most delightful way’.

      • brenkilco

        You are correct. So why do I have the urge to tell you to go fly a kite?

      • Malibo Jackk

        One method — distraction.

        Recall a scene in SHOOT ‘EM UP where all the protag had to do was unlock a door. But because he was dishing out exposition at the same time — the writer had the audience watch him as he used a Rube Goldberg method to retrieve the key. (Retrieving it this way, of course, was totally unnecessary for advancing the plot.)

    • filmklassik

      “’And’ is a great place to start in a scene. It means we’re coming in on a character in the middle of a conversation. Which means a shorter scene. Which means you’re only showing the good stuff.”

      Great point. Great takeaway.

      And yeah, Goldman’s been pounding the “Come in late, get out early” drum for years now, and it’s a great rule of thumb.

      Another awesome Goldman maxim (among many): “Screenplays are structure” — which is very tough to argue with, particularly in regards to genre scripts.

      • brenkilco

        And one other. Screenplays aren’t good or bad. They work or they don’t work.

  • klmn

    America still has a class system. The upper class has its secret societies – Skull and Bones, The World Economic Forum, The Bilderbergers, The TriLateral Commission, Bohemian Grove, The Clinton Global Initiative… (Those are just the ones I can think of at the moment, and some of those are international.)

    Much of the country’s wealth is held by the members of those groups.

    If you’re not a member of one of these, you’re not upper class. (I’m sure as hell not).

    • Kirk Diggler

      There is reason that Donald Trump never has a problem getting loans for millions of dollars even though his casino businesses have filed bankruptcy several times. He’s in the club. He’s well connected, knows all the right people.

      • Guest

        *cough*illuminati*cough*

        • Kirk Diggler

          Good thing you signed on as a guest.

          • Guest

            Sure beats creating an account just to comment every once in a while. Even then I still wouldn’t be using my real name, so what’s the difference? I could’ve posted using an account name of “The Elephant Man”… I don’t get it. :(
            My comment is just one of the many illuminati accusations flying around on the internet. It’s as good as buried.

      • klmn

        And while we’re on the subject of finance, it’s time for some moneymaker blues…

      • Malibo Jackk

        You have it backwards. It’s not who he knows.
        It’s — I’m Donald Trump. Who are you?
        All part of the con.

        (Banks used to be risk adverse.
        Basically — they got greedy.)

      • brenkilco

        What’s the old line? When you owe a hundred thousand dollars the bank owns you. When you owe a hundred million dollars you own the bank.

  • Randy Williams

    I hope they change the title.
    “Members Only” reminds me of those tacky jackets from the ’80’s you see hanging on thrift store racks. You could get high sniffing the pockets of those things from the coke residue.

    • Kirk Diggler

      Only Don Johnson could make it look good.

  • andyjaxfl

    OT: A Robin Hood shared universe was announced by Sony Pictures (same studio that absolutely butchered a softball mega franchise with Spider-Man).

    Must be because audiences showed up by the dozens for the last one.

    • Franchise Blueprints

      I read that article as well. I was real tempted to post the link. But the idea of a Hood cinematic universe is garbage. The constant rehashing of public domain fairy tales or whatever obscure literature is beyond mind numbing. The only conceivable reason I can fathom is a lamer Pirates of the Caribbean / Lord of the Rings / Hunger Games mashup cash in.

      I was watching the Disney channel with my 9 year old cousin. I watched 3 hours of lame CGI or tween-agers shows. As soon as Disney’s (1973) Robin Hood came on he got up and left. All I’m thinking is finally something I want to watch. A flat cel-shaded non-politically correct entertaining animated film. This has nothing to do with the original post. Except when this Sony Picture mishap makes it to theaters I’ll be watching the (1938) Errol Flynn Adventures of Robin Hood.

  • witwoud

    Your actor friend is right, Carson. Britain is still class-bound. Much less so than fifty years ago, of course, and inverted snobbery is as prevalent nowadays as good old-fashioned snobbery (ever hear a posh kid trying to speak Cockney? It sucks.) But when two Brits first meet, they still have their eyes and (especially) ears peeled for clues which will allow them to place the other person in the right social slot. It’s not a very attractive habit, I admit.

    This is why it was always refreshing, at school or university, to come across an American. Not only were they more friendly and less cynical than the average Brit, but they were entirely outside the class system. They couldn’t be placed anywhere in it, and they weren’t trying to place you, either. It was as though someone had pressed the ‘reset’ button, and you could start from scratch. In fact, I nearly became friends with some of them, but they would keep using the wrong knife for eating fish. This made it impossible.

  • Poe_Serling

    Premise: An “upstairs/downstairs” look at the daily activities that plague one of the most exclusive country clubs in the country.

    Sounds just like a uppity version of Caddyshack.

    Per Carson, “Why do these rich/poor mingling-in-the-same-place explorations fascinate you [the British readers] so much?”

    Not just them… who doesn’t enjoy the occasional snobs vs. slobs project. ;-)

  • jw

    Here’s how bad Britain is… Jaguar, who touts itself supremely “British”, we’ve all seen the commercials, is actually owned by Tata Motors in India. Ahahaha! Oh, how fate has a sense of humorous irony.

  • fragglewriter

    I didn’t read all of the review due to the fact that when I read the middle, Carson, you gave me the greatest idea for a plot twist.

    Thank you :-)