Wednesday, July 26, 2006
And in about 5 weeks, we hope to go out with it. Why 5 weeks? 'Cause it's Summer, and he wants to take it out when it people aren't on their vacations, etc, which will be after Labor Day. Useless to send out a script if 50% of the people you want to read it ain't there!
Cricket Hill (pilot) is off to the director now, he's going to check out Acts 2 & 3 and after I get his notes, we'll lock down those acts. I got some good stuff in there, I'm pretty happy with it.
After all the Snakes On A Plane hype, how much do you think it'll actually make? I'm thinking not blockbuster money, more like the gross of a solid horror flick that opens semi-big then drops like a stone. Like, it'll make 20-25 in it's opening weekend, then sink to 10 the following and by the time it's out of theaters, maybe it'll clear 50-60. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Besides the fun, trashy title, it looks like a pretty stupid movie that will fill it's opening weekend audience with college frat boys and internet hypesters (this is no 4 quadrant movie, like Pirates 2), then drop.
Two movies have truly caught my eyeballs, both coming in November. The first one is Stranger Than Fiction, which I've heard about for quite some time. Looks wonderful. And then, there's The Fountain. HOLY SHIT!! The trailer for that is simply amazing. If the movie's half as good, well, it'll be a pretty wild, beautiful ride. clcik on the movie titles below and you will go to joblo.com, both links have links to the trailers. Awesome stuff.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
The Hitcher - This movie grabs you by the balls and yanks. Good plot twists, and surprisngly unpredictable.
Near Dark - Kicks the shit out of The Lost Boys.
Aliens - James Cameron owns this. He took the series to a whole other level. It's a shame David Fincher came in and pissed all over it with Alien 3, but what can you do.
Run Lola Run - See it.
Reservoir Dogs - Pulp Fction doesn't kick ass in my book, although it's a superior movie to Dogs. But this movie shambles along, quickly, to it's awesome, bloody finale. And no, Kill Bill doesn't kick ass in my book because I didn't like Kill Bill at all. Although I did like...
From Dusk Til Dawn, written by QT and directed by Robert Rodriguez. It's a throwaway movie, but it has some balls.
The Bourne Supremacy - Bourne literally kicks ass, but the filmmaking here is also notable. Awesome car chase.
The Thing - "Maybe we shouldn't." Great characters. Perfect ending.
Danny Boyle's Trainspotting & 28 Days Later. Amazing stuff. But NOT The Beach, although that could have been a great movie. It wasn't.
Jaws - "Show me the way to go home........"
70s thrillers - The French Connection, Marathon Man, Three Days of the Condor
Dawn Of The Dead - This movie pulled me right in from it's amazing opening sequence to its tragic finale. Can't wait to see what he does with 300, coming in 2007.
Your turn - what kicks your ass?
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Here's some of mine............
My Fave: Mean Streets & Goodfellas
Least Fave: The Aviator
Flawed but underrated - Bringing Out The Dead
My Fave: 25th Hour, Crooklyn, Clockers
Least Fave: She Hate Me, Mo Better Blues
Underrated - Jungle Fever, Overrated - Do the Right Thing
Fave: Jaws, Close Encounters, Private Ryan, Empire Of The Sun, Raiders
Least Fave - AI, 1941
Overrated - The color Purple
Underrated - Munich
Fave - Out Of Sight, King of the Hill. The Limey, Traffic
Least - Solaris
Fave: Miller's X-ing, Barton Fink, Raising Arizona, O Brother, Fargo
Least Fave - Intolerable Cruelty (had some moments though)
Underrated: Hudsucker, The Ladykillers
Overrated: Blood Simple
Fave - A Simple Plan, Evil Dead
Least Fave: Darkman
Fave: The Untouchables, Casualties Of War, Carlito's Way
Least Fave: Dressed To Kill, Mission To Mars, Raising Cain
Underrated: Blow Out
Fave: The Fly
Least Fave: Naked Lunch
Overrated: History Of Violence
Fave: Gallipoli, Fearless, Dead Poets, Truman Show, The Last Wave, Witness, The Mosquito Coast
Least Fave: Green Card (it does have moments though), The Year Of Living Dangerously.
Fave - Manhattan, Annie Hall, Sleeper
Least Fave - Match Point, Celebrity, Everyone Says I Love You
Fave - Gung Ho, Willow, Apollo 13, Night Shift, Cocoon, Parenthood
Least - The Missing
Overrated - A Beautiful Mind
Fave - Planes Trains, 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club, She's Having A Baby
Least Fave: Curly Sue
Underrated: Christmas Vacation
Fave - The Thing, Escape From NY, Halloween
Least Fave - Escape From LA, Vampires
Underrated - They Live
Fave - Unforgiven
Least - Anything with a monkey, Garden/Good/Evil
Underrated - A Perfect World, Mystic River
Fave - Star Wars, American Graffitti
Least Fave - Eps 1, 2, 3
Francis Ford Coppola
Fave - Apocalypse Now, The Outsiders, The Conversation, Godfather 1 & 2
Least Fave - Jack, The Rainmaker, Rumble Fish, Godfather 3
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
What did you like about this script?
The author has a sly sense of humor that is incorporated into the script. One example: when Bean and Billy are at the top of Dead Man’s Hill, Bean complains that people have died there. “Tall tales,” counters Billy, until they hear a kid scream in the distance. “Mostly tall tales,” he amends. Another moment: when Grandpa puts vodka in everyone’s juice. Or when a clueless co-worker hurts herself and Oliver asks how she is. He gets the offhand reply, “Her hand was on fire.” To which he asks, not really caring either way, “You put it out.” The piece de resistance is the revelation-filled family dinner. Everyone confesses all from infidelities to homosexuality to incest to adoption, and it is all taken in stride as only things are in such a offbeat comedy.
This is an oddball family, but one where every character is distinct and interesting. Our hero Billy is, of course, the straight man in a family of crazies. The deaf and senile Grandpa. The ditzy daughter Anna. The sex and toaster obsessed father who lost his job and hasn’t worked up the courage to tell anyone. The teacher mom who deals with vomit and blood on a daily basis and doesn’t remember the names of her students. The former golden boy football star and valedictorian turned hippie Dave with his pregnant, older girlfriend. The only semi-sane brother Oliver who works at a burger joint with complete idiots and lusts after his sister. The two-time high school failure and closeted gay John. This script is reminiscent of Arrested Development. It has the same sort of offbeat collection of characters but ones who are likeable. In particular, Billy makes a good narrator, one who fits into his strange family but is also apart from it enough to be an impartial observer.
I often dislike voiceovers. There are usually employed as a cheap device to fill in holes the author neglected. In this case, Billy’s voiceover works. Especially in the opening sequence, he introduces us to all the family members and supporting characters with a brisk ease and dry wit that makes them memorable. The device with Billy writing a book about his family (a school project he simply couldn’t finish) makes sense as well. The author has crafted a compelling, smoothly-paced story. At 101 pages, it never grows tired or sluggish. The dialogue is witty and flows naturally. The description is enough to give us a clear mental image without getting bogged down in endless detail. Overall, this is a charming, humorous script with strong characters.
What do you think needs work?
For a relatively smart comedy, there is an over-reliance on low-grade toilet humor. Is it necessary to have quite so many fart/bathroom/etc. jokes? The humor plays to two completely different audiences. The smart, offbeat humor will appeal to the same fans of shows like The Simpsons or Arrested Development. The bathroom humor is going to attract teenage boys and not many others. I think it would be a mistake to turn off the first set of viewers with the inclusion of too much toilet humor.While most of the characters made a strong impression, a few didn’t ring true. In particular, Brooke comes across as a high school vixen, not at all subtle, and it seems silly. Why does she like Billy anyway? Teenage girls usually pursue older men, not younger. Dating a younger guy would be social suicide, and the fact that he’s your best friend’s brother is even worse. Plus, how many high school girls are so sexually advanced and blatant? This character seemed silly and over-the-top. Chad Gross was your typical gross teenage bully. His character, while stereotypical, is fine. My question was what does Daphne see in him? She’s into Billy, Billy’s into her. But since he hasn’t gotten his act together and asked her out, she’s dating Chad. Chad is nothing like Billy. If she likes Billy, she’s unlikely to like Chad and vice versa. For a smart-seeming girl, she looks idiotic to hook up with this guy.
A small problem character-wise is that a few of the family members seem different once we get into the story than they do in Billy’s opening introduction. Anna is presented as an empty-headed, ditzy cheerleader, but after the opening sequence, she never seems quite so air-headed. John is shown as a high school failure (on his second or third go-around of senior year), flicking boogers at others for amusement. Basically, your typical stupid teenage boy. Yet, he actually appears to be more sensitive in the bulk of the script than the opener gives him credit for. In fact, he turns out to be gay, something that, based on the opening introduction, is completely unexpected and out of thin air.
This week, I'm busy locking down acts 2 & 3 of the Cricket Hill pilot. It's still a blast to write after all this time (I originally wrote in in 2003) and now that we're creating a TV show out of it, it's really fun to open it up and expand the characters and their situations.
I'd recommended BlueCat when it rolls around next year, as you can see it offers some decent feedback, plus the entry fee is sweet ($35).
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Both The Fountain and The Prestige look amazing. Can't wait to see both.
Pirates 2 just blew past 250+ million, of course, in record time. Depending on how it holds up against Boredom In the Water, Monster House, Clerks 2, and Super Ex, it should be past 300 million soon. Will it hit 400? We'll see how it holds up.
Meanwhile Superman might (MIGHT) finish with 200 million. I swore that would have made more $$. Cars in still cruising with 220 million and counting.
Chow Yun Fat has been cast in Pirates 3 as a pirate captain, which I think will be pretty damn cool.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Firebirds - Nicholas Cage, Sean Young, Tommy Lee Jones, and some Apache helicopters. Dreadful.
A Kiss Before Dying - Sean Young (See a pattern?). Terrible, terrible.
Meatballs 4 - Featuring Corey Feldman and that levitating alien freak, what a great way to take a huge shit all over the original movie (which I liked). Parts 2 & 3 (featuring a young, awkward, Patrick Dempsey) were bad enough, but this cockscab of a movie brings it to a whole new sub-level of bad.
Mac & Me - Diarrhea on film.
Darkman - I may have liked it when it first came out years ago (1991?),and if that's the case I was young and stupid. I saw it last year and what a horribly made/acted/directed/written/shot piece of garbage.
Alien 3 - I still hate this movie. I don't care if ol' Fincher had to re-cut or if the movie was taken away from him, etc, etc. The plot sucked, and it took the story from the 1st two AMAZING FILMS and flushed it all down the toilet. I actually enjoyed Alien 4 much more than this crap.
Alien Vs. Predator - Stupid. Please don't make another. Too late? dammit!
Vertical Limit - Okay, your sister is trapped on a mountain so you piss and moan until you can assemble a team of climbers to help you go get her, and you get MOST of them killed in the process. Nice going, douche. when I saw this in the theater I also noticed the BOOM POLE or an actual film crew member in 80% of the shots, and I'm not lying.
Superman 4 - Quest 4 Peace - Christ Almighty. The battle with Blonde Man was lame enough, but did they notice that a HUMAN BEING was brought up into SPACE and was just floating there, not dying???
The Village - I think M.Night is an awesome director, I just wish he'd stop writing.
Catwoman - Meeooowch! I don't mind watching Halle Berry prance around in tight leather, but have her fight a villain better than - A cosmetics empire?!?!?! Directed by Pitof. 'Nuff said.
Wing Commander - Dumb as a bag of dead monkeys.
A Lot Like Love - Actually harmful to watch.
Chicago - God, how I despised this.
High Tension - Poor taste, and crappy, too.
Shark boy & Lava Girl - I like Robert Rodriguez but this was simply a crap movie.
Iron Eagle 3: Aces - Poor Louis Gossett, Jr.
Most John Waters movies. No, wait, all of them.
That's all I can come up with off the top of my head. I'm sure I'll think of more. What are some of yours??
Monday, July 10, 2006
Well, it's landing at 132 million.
Saw the movie last night - Loved it. Great stuff happening in there. The Perfect Summer movie, and a perfect compliment to the 1st film, and I eagerly await to see what they come up with in the final installment, "At World's End."
Orlando Bloom has some nice stuff in here, his scenes with Stellan Skaarsgard are great, and this movie fleshes out some stuff we've heard about in the first movie. I like Bloom, shame he got stuck in the clunker, Elizabethtown, but I don't see that as his fault, that was more of Cameron Crowe's blunder.
Keira, sweet as always, and her character's actions are interesting to see.
Loved Bill Nighy as Davey Jones. Wow. Incredible work by him as well as the F/X team.
Depp - What can you say. Still owns this role, and his I did like what they did with his character here.
Gore Verbinski should get a special commendation for steering this ship, he's got so much well-choreographed action sequences going on at the same time throughout, it was a delight to see. Also, if you think he can only do big Summer flicks, check out The Weather Man, which he directed last year.
Was it a perfect movie? No, but it was fun as hell. Better than the 1st? I'd say it's a good companion piece. It's what a Summer movie should be.
Also, stick around through the end credits, there's a little something at the end that's quite funny.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Friday, July 07, 2006
The following is from Bluecat, regarding The Money Shot (originally written in 2000). In a nutshell - college student loses financial aid & tries to make a porn:
WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS SCRIPT?
It’s definitely got some funny moments - there’s some good character based humor, as well as some laugh out loud slapstick scenarios. The premise of a group of film students shooting a clandestine porn film on the side isn’t particularly original, but it is handled with a genuine affection for its subject matter, and enough fresh angles that the overall script didn’t feel as though it had all been done before.
The characters were diverse and most of the major ones had some interesting levels to them. The relationship and interaction between Kenny and his friends was well presented and intriguing. The dialogue and tone was consistent and for the most part well matched to the characters, although there were some issues. (See part two.) The characters didn’t all sound the same - a frequent problem in many scripts. Boston’s snappy one-liners were funny, and the excruciating dialogue of Kenny’s parents in front of Megan was perfectly over-the-top. The action and description was clear, well written, and visual; and the story was easy to follow without any confusing or distracting scenes. There was a good balance between physical humor and dialogue/character humor, and some funny, original scenarios, usually plausibly constructed. The “Adam and Eve” scene on page 77 was very funny - although I think it could’ve been pushed even further. In general, I didn’t feel the story line lagged or slowed down at any point, and the tension of how long they could get away with their film-making unnoticed was nicely sustained. The opening scene was great, and a nice way to introduce the varied characters, as well as set the tone and subject matter of the script. The bracketing of Kenny’s voiceover in the opening and closing scenes works well thematically to tie the script together, and offers a nicely unexpected heartwarming feeling about the joys of sitting back with a group of friends and watching midget porn. Who would’ve thought?
WHAT DO YOU THINK NEEDS WORK?
There are some character inconsistencies. Grace is set up as an uptight prude - we meet her as she’s organizing a protest against the local go-go bar. When we find her smoking pot on page 82, it’s out of character. We can believe her and Gabriel’s tryst in the gym - the uptight prude turns out to be suppressing desires that have got the better of her - but her getting stoned just didn’t seem believable. The Dean’s dialogue doesn’t read realistically at many points - even considering that his character is preachy and didactic.
There might be a benefit to having an actor (or friend) read the lines aloud, and listening to whether or not they flow naturally. There’s also a problem throughout the story of the stakes involved. They never seemed high enough, which weakens the drama. What are the consequences of Kenny not graduating for another six months? Yeah, it sucks, but a whole lot of students don’t graduate on time, and life works out. He needs to have a strong emotional reason - gaining his father’s respect, winning true love, something powerful, something meaningful for Kenny, whatever that might be. Along with higher stakes for accomplishing his goals, there needs to be higher risks if he fails. In fact, there needs to be more risk for all the characters, and the risks need to escalate throughout the film. As it is now, it’s difficult for the audience to truly care about their situation and whether or not their porno succeeds. (I’d argue that the first “Revenge of the Nerds” was a much better movie than its sequels largely because in the first one the two main characters were fighting for one’s father’s respect, and the other’s first true love; in the sequel, they were fighting for an inter-fraternity competition.) If Kenny’s emotional life hangs in the balance between succeeding and failing, then we have a reason to root for him to succeed. The script, as it is now, would make a cute movie, but it could be much more.
Pretty good notes. I disagree slightly on their take of Grace; at that point in the script she has sorta lost all hope, and the point was that although she was a prude she was a closet pothead. Their main concern was with the "stakes." I agree with them to a point, although in the script I did make several mentions of a huge job opportunity for Kenny upon graduating, but if they're mentioning it as a negative then I should make that clearer.
As for Writers On The Storm - Good contest, cheap entry (like Bluecat, it was $35) and they give feedback (not as in depth, but it's nice to hear ANY notes on your screenplay. They did mention that they had 907 entries, and that 210 made the quarter-finals, and that mine came in at 250. Not too shabby.
"A well-written, entertaining script. the dialogue is sharp and many of the scenes have a good amount of conflict. The tension is good throughout most of the script, but some of the structure is off. Overall, it was a fun read. Good effort and good luck." Their scoring came down to checkmarks in the GOOD categories for Premise, Characters, and Dialogue, and SO-SO for Structure.
Well, they were right about the structure, but the script was never your typical 3-act Syd Field blueprint, and that was on purpose. But that's also the reason why when Prospect Pictures decided to take it on, they said it makes a better TV series than a feature, and since I started developing it with them as a TV pilot, I couldn't agree more!
I am awaiting Cricket Hill Bluecat feedback, and when I get that I'll post that, too.
Okay, I'm done. I'm hoping to catch Pirates 2 this weekend with the wife, and it's my B-day on Sat! Go on, say it!
Thursday, July 06, 2006
It's coming soon, gang! Best movie of the year? Well, no. Will it make a lot of $$? Well, maybe not. I picture opening big for an action flick (no more than 25 million, I bet it makes 18-20 in it's opening weekend), then it'll fall off quickly and make about 60 million total, maybe 80 if it has any legs. But, it will likely be HUGE on DVD.
They're murmuring that Pirates 2 might beat the all-time opening weekend gross. I think it's possible. It looks great and will wipe all the other movies out this weekend. My $350 million estimate may be way off, it might do north of 400 million. Dang!
Monday, July 03, 2006
The first act of Cricket Hill TV Pilot is locked down, now I'm working on Acts 2 & 3, as well as a re-write of my feature script, FOOD FIGHT. Once FF is done, my manager will take it out, sell it, and I'll retire.
After I wake up, I'll then finish my high-concept idea (co-story by credit goes to my bro-in-law, Ken!) called The Stand-In. It's an idea so good, so high concept, that I dare not announce it yet! It's good! Also working on 3 other high concept comedies, 2 awesome ones coming from my wife's mind (She's good! Her first idea she ever had scored us an option back in 1998!). My manager will be pushing me as a high concept comedy dude, so it'll be a long (but fun) summer of getting these scripts done.
Haven't seen Superdude yet, we only see a handful of movies per year due to children and a lack of decent babysitting, so it may have to wait. however, I WILL SEE Pirates 2 in the theater, dammit!
I hope NJ will open back up again soon. Quite a sad statement when your state has to close (even the beaches?!?!?! What the f***!). Oh, that was FUCK for those who couldn't read asterisk.