Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WTF - Why the Face?

Ok, back.

So, what's up? Well......

I finished a script. Not a huge deal but it's my first completed script in a year after dozens of stops & starts. Anyways, it's called Zombie, NJ, and it's about, well, that. I like it, it's fun, goofy, topical, and has some pretty cool sequences. My first real popcorn script you could say.

I started to tweet. Sorry for the lack of tweets, I'll try to be a better tweeter. http://twitter.com/PatRodio

Here is another Twitter page I follow - http://twitter.com/KipKoopa

I'm on Facebook still, and have uploaded gallons of pix from the past movie productions I shot a few years ago. It's fun to look back, but I do miss shooting stuff.
Movies I've seen of late - Where The Wild Things Are - A Beauty. Wow.
Planet 51 - Cute, has some stuff for the adults, but a decent kid flick.
Want to see: Men Who Stare At Goats, Up In The Air, Lovely Bones, Greenburg (Noah Baumbach's next film) and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Good TV - Modern Family. Glee. Bored To Death. Sunny/Philly.
Listening to: The Dears. Julian Plenti. Jason Lytle. MGMT. Passion Pit.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

2009 Summer Movies

Haven't seen Food Inc, 500 Days Of Summer, The Cove or District 9 yet, so they could make a best-of list, but for now......

The Best........

The Hurt Locker - Stunning, tense. With top of the line performances from Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie; awesome, taut direction from Kathryn Bigelow; and a bad-ass script.

Up - Beautiful. Bittersweet. Devastating. Inspiring.

The Hangover - Simply put, funny as Hells.

Star Trek - Fun, exciting - what the new Star Wars trilogy should have been. Wish George Lucas had JJ Abrahms direct the new trilogy.

The Not-So-Best......

Ice Age 3 - Pretty harmless, but pointless stuff.

GI Joe - Actually had some fun sequences, and there's a great movie to be had here, somewhere. But Tatum as Duke? Duke's not a mumbler.

Funny People - I liked the look inside of comedians lives (though we've already seen it before), and it had some funny moments, but overall, it was hard to get into. Sandler was almost impossible to like/root for, and he did a great job actually with the role, but still, he was just too much of a prick.

Night At The Museum 2 - Eh, it was okay. Again, kinda pointless story-wise, but had some good moments here and there.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Could You Describe The Ruckus?

When I heard of John Hughes' passing yesterday, it really hit me. And when you sit back and think about how his writing has shaped us, our movies, everything, it sorta blows your mind.

What I always liked about his work was he was writing for us. And he knew us. He felt like he was one of us.
Just think about the movies he's written (and some he directed)...Mr. Mom, National Lampoon's Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Planes Trains & Automobiles, She's Having A Baby, Weird Science, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Some Kind Of Wonderful, The Great Outdoors, Uncle Buck, Home Alone, National Lampoon's European Vacation, Christmas Vacation, Curly Sue, Career Opportunities, etc.

"That's why they call them crushes. If they were easy, they'd call them something else." Sixteen Candles

For obvious reasons (and the name of this blog/current post) one of my faves is The Breakfast Club. It's an almost perfect film for me. The characters are priceless, and the writing is spot on. Terrific pacing, too.
It starts out as fun, a bit of a romp, but then quickly becomes something else - something meaningful.

Something about life.

It's how teens think, act. What they do. The shit they have to deal with. Popularity. Violence. Geekdom. Pressure. Love. Hate.

And you can see how he loved these characters. Because he gave them hearts. He gave all of his characters heart. I mean, who hasn't thought about life, what they're going to be, how are they going to get out of the funk they're in, etc.
Even Ferris Bueller, with all it's fun and attitude (and dance scenes), we think about what's ahead, and what we're leaving behind.
And then he grew up, and gave us Planes Traines & Automobiles, She's Having A Baby, some of his most accomplished works, in my opinion.

In Planes, he pulls a similar switcharoo. We start with Steve Martin dealing with the New Buddy From Hell, and how that evolves into a true friendship. And heartbreak, too, when we discover John Candy's character is basically homeless, mourning the loss of his beloved wife. That's heavy stuff for a comedy.
She's Having A Baby. The pressure, the panic, of fatherhood. Did I do the right thing? What am I doing? I'm going to be a father! But when it comes down to it, when his wife and baby are in distress, life slaps Kevin Bacon in the face - nothing else matters but them - and he wakes up, ready for fatherhood, to be a better husband. Funny? Maybe not, but real? Yup.
Even though his career seemed to be winding down (he wrote numerous screenplays under an alias - the Beethoven movies, a few Home Alone direct-to-Tv sequels), his resume is painfully impressive, and who knows what he still may have had up his sleeve.
Dear Mr. Vernon: We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you're crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours,
The Breakfast Club.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Throwing $50 out the window

I wanted to write this on June 8th, but, well, I didn't. But I wanted to share.

6/8 was the deadline for Austin. And I just HAD to send something. I had a few choices I was thinking about sending a month prior, but life sped up to the weekend prior to the late deadline and there I was, with nothing sent yet. So I decided to send The Stand-In.

So I went to print it on Friday night, thinking I can mail it Saturday the 6th. But I discovered I was out of ink.


So, after work on Saturday I buy ink. Head home, print the mofo out. But I don't have 3 hole punch paper (I swore I did), and can't find my 3-hole puncher. Post office is closed anway so I gotta wait 'til Monday.

Monday the 8th.

6:30am. Rise. Make breakfast for my kids.

7:00am. Get spatula, scrape kids out of bed.

8:15am. Drop the kids off at school, head to work, take script and entry materials with me.

9:00am. Start working. No time to mail script yet.

12:00. First inspection (I'm a home inspector) runs long. I know my office has a 3 hole punch so I run over there, 3-hole punch The Stand In, then realize I still need card stock covers. But I'm running late and head straight to 2nd inspection.

NOTE: It's at this point of my day that I wish Austin joined the 00's and accepted e-mail submissions.

4:00pm. Inspection ends. Hit Staples to grab card stock. Attach card stock, head to Post Office.

4:53pm. While in line at Post Office I make the mistake at glancing at the script (don't do this). I see two things that I would immediately want to change. Not typos, but poor wording.

On the 1st page.

No time for corrections, I mailed it off.

Hectic day aside, my thoughts spin around me. Did I pick the right script? I thought it was a good comedy, but good enough to place? I just don't know. I got my notice from BlueCat regarding the quarterfinals (didn't make it). I wasn't even in the top 987,645,464 quarter-finalists. And what did I send? The Stand-In.

So, Austin looks bleak. Enjoy the $50 bucks, Austin. Buy yourself something pretty.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Where Are We?

Hello? Fellow bloggers? Where the hell did we go? Are we over the blogging thing? I dunno. I mean, I have time to post, I just don't do it. And it seems like a lot of other bloggers/writers have stopped as well. Not all, of course, but there's been a noticeable drop off.

Are we busy writing? Working the day job? Raising a family? Farting around? Farting?

Writing's been hard to get going. I still have several scripts started and am working on them as I much as I can, I've listed their titles here before. I'll mail out The Stand-In to Austin on Monday, and am waiting on the Bluecat Results (quarterfinals announced soon).

Peace out.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

BlueCat Feedback - The Stand-In

Okay, gang, here's the feedback from Bluecat, for my comedy, The Stand-In. My logline is:

Pete, an anti-social loser, hires a male model, Simon, to attend his high school reunion cruise as Pete to "wow" his former classmates. But when Simon falls for Kara, Pete's high school crush, Pete takes matters into his own hands and battles the model for her heart.

The feedback.....

What did you like about this script?

Pete's initial humiliation-by-wedgie is an amusing scene. Pete clearlyseems destined for a life of humiliation and sexual failure; youeffectively set him up as a protagonist who needs to transform himself and his life.

When we jump forward chronologically, you swiftly establish that Pete is still a put-upon individual: his good nature is exploited by his colleagues, who pile their work upon him. His dress sense may have improved (slightly), but he seems no closer to romantic success. Will the impending school reunion enable Pete to correct wrong turns that he's previously taken, or will it just be a reminder of his sexual and social failure as a teenager, a pattern that heappears to be stuck in?

You quickly establish Simon as a rather vacuous, self-absorbed hunk.The scenes in which he feigns concern for the starving Africans before switching to diva-esque behavior between takes are amusing (if a little obvious). The impending reunion sets the main plot in motion:Pete hires Simon to impersonate him, creating the impression that he'ssucceeded in life. It's a premise that has comic potential. We already anticipate that things won't go quite according to plan; is Pete's aspiration (to impress everyone with "his" (Simon's) good looks and material success) a false goal? Perhaps accepting himself and being unashamed will prove to be his true goal.

You derive some farcical energy from the scenes on the boat. You quickly show Pete's plan coming unravelled: Simon wants Kara for himself, while Pete discovers that Kara actually had a crush on theold, socially-maladjusted him; he'd have been better off appearingunder his own guise rather than that of the fictitious "Chuck". Of course, Kara hates liars, so he feels compelled not to come forward immediately (a narrative contrivance that is just about convincing).

You tighten the screws on Pete as Simon appears to be successfully winning Kara's heart. How will he undo the confusion he's caused? Can he hope to win Kara away from Simon? Will the (unavoidable) revelation of his true identity anger Kara when it finally arrives?

You bring Pete to an appropriate end point, as he discovers some home truths: that he should have confidence in himself as he is, that the bullies who tormented him were fallible people with insecurities of their own, and that being himself is the route to success with Kara (well, that and a good makeover). Having a fitting end point for your protagonist is a good attribute in a script; so long as you're aware of the "lesson" your protagonist needs to learn, the false goal they're aiming for and the true goal they need to recognize, you havea strong "core" to the script. If things go a little awry in the second act (and they do, somewhat), it's just a matter of remedying this. The spine of the script remains strong.

What do you think needs work?

It's problematic to specify too many songs in the script; you may not be able to secure the rights to use them. It's best to refer to generic types of song if it's absolutely necessary (in the karaoke scene, for instance), rather than being specific. The karaoke sequence itself is overlong; it should only take one song to establish that Pete's unabashed taste for cheesy music endears him to Kara.

Why is Simon so determined to seduce Kara? He's an odiously self-absorbed and cocksure character, obviously, but he has a vested interest in keeping Morty (and, by extension, Pete) happy. It should be easy for Pete to persuade Simon to follow orders and make him lookgood without threatening his relationship with Kara. You need to establish convincingly why Simon goes "rogue" and pursues his own agenda at the risk of angering Morty (who holds the keys to his career in his hands, of course). The mechanics of the plot need a little attention here.

Some of the contests between Simon and Pete (the relay race and the rock-climbing contest) seem a little unnecessary. The second act feels slightly dramatically flaccid. Once we know that Pete has a circle of friends who are prepared to help him defeat Simon, we never feel that Simon is a serious threat to Pete's happiness. Write to increase the possibility that Kara will fall for Simon; make him more of a real romantic threat. Deepen Kara as a character; she feels slightly one-dimensional, a "prize" for Pete to win rather than a distinctive personality in her own right.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Best of 2008

Ok, I'm way late on this but haven't updated in a while. Working on a few scripts and have finally settled on one, a comedy called Born Again Christian. Act 1 is done and I'm onto Act 2.

So here's my "Bests" lists of 2008, music & film. Music-wise is not an order, there were several important albums to me, hard to pick a best.

The Airborne Toxic Event - An amazing debut, and every song on this album is terrific. And the album-ender, Innocence, might just be one of the best songs I've heard in years. If I picked a number 1 this would be it.

Keane - Their 3rd album, Spiraling. A little more energetic than their 1st two, just about everysong on here is solid. And like Airborne Toxic, it has an amazing closer - Love Is The End.

James - Hey Ma - Great, great, great from start to finish. Waterfall is a stand out.

The Killers - Day & Age - This grew on me, and now it's almost always on. The songs A Dustland Fairytale & Spaceman are simply wonderful. Wow.
Coldplay - Viva La Vida & Prospekt's March - Both the album & EP brought us some amazing songs. Lovers In Japan, Life In Technicolor (1 & 2), Lost, Strawberry Swing....

Radiohead - In Rainbows - Not their best album, for me that's The Bends, but it had some amazing moments, none better than Videotape.

Weezer - Not incredible but solid. It has two wonderful songs, The Angel & The One as well as The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.

Sigur Ros - No, I don't know what the singer is singing, but the music is powerful and inspiring.

Charlatans UK - You Cross My Path - Welcome back, guys. A solid return to form.

MGMT - Time To Pretend - This is a grand album, with songs that sneak up on you. And just try NOT to dance to the song, Time to Pretend.

Youth Group - The Night Is Ours - they've still never topped their amazing debut but this is still a fine album. A fave is Dying At Your Own Party.

Best Flicks -

1. Let The Right One In - The direction. Cinematography. Acting. The snow. The blood. And the pool scene. Whoa. Currently being re-made by us silly Americans, which is a shame.

2. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - Beyond a fun, cool soundtrack is the smart script, directing and wonderful acting. It feels like you're there, because you'd had this kind of night. The night that nothing yet everything happens, and the night you'll never forget.

3. In Bruges - Stellar. A dark, pitch black comedy. Ralph Fiennes, Colin Farrell and ....are at the top of their game, with a cool biting script.

4. Milk - Fantastic.

5. The Wrestler - Mickey Rourke & Evan Rachel Wood sitting by the ocean. That's truth.

6. The Dark Knight - Yup, Ledger is amazing, and even if he hadn't died tragically, he still should have won that Oscar. But more than that, this is a great film.

7. Role Models -It could have been a dumb, thoughtless romp. It wasn't.

8. Wall-E - A beauty.

9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Same as with Role Models. Coulda be a waste but it really rocked.

10. Burn After Reading - not the Coens' best, but it's tight, smart and fun/fucked up.

Coulda been good but was really just Ok......Benjamin Button - Yeah, it was pretty much EXACTLY like Forrest Gump, plot-point for plot-point. Characters, too. Same writer as well. And dialogue that mirrored each other. ("My name is Forrest. Forrest Gump"...."My name is Benjamin. Benjamin Button")...BUT it still told an interesting story.

My main problem was it was too cold. Some critics applauded because Fincher left out some of the shmaltz. Well, having a heart and pouring on the shmaltz are 2 different things. The movie lacked a heart.