Saturday, August 21, 2010

Movie Magic Mind Meld

As some of you may remember, I was writing about an extremely messed up time in my life for several months on here. It's something that I felt that I would eventually turn into a screenplay at some point and I WILL but for now I've shifted gears.

I completed one outline for a new story and began hammering out the screenplay and something just told me "Nope, that's not it either". Still not the story I want to tell, not the one I can. I am. Starting a brand new outline on yet another story that I really think is the best idea I've had yet. I've been watching tons of movies, reading their screenplays and desperately trying to grasp the architectural aspects of pacing, and building the tale into something enjoyable. At first I thought I'd shy away from having a narrative thinking that it's lazy and that things should be left more to the viewer's interpretation. But after realizing several of my fav films do just that...I think that's the way I'm going. "Goodfellas", "Stand By Me"..."Shawshank Redemption" ....these films really drive to the heart of me and I think it's partly BECAUSE of the narrative. It really does seem to take you on the journey with the character.

Anywho, just wondering if anyone else cares to share what movies really get to you? It may be some I haven't thought of and will also help me in my quest to write the greatest screenplay in the history of fucking time. least better than a Lifetime movie.


  1. Mmm I remember the narrative in Shawshank Redemption so I think that rates as a strong story.

    The other film that I always remember when I think about Shawshank Redemption is 'Cry Freedom' staring Kevin Kline and Denzel Washington (gotta love the Denzel as Angel says in Serious 2 episode 3 "Who doesn't love Denzel?"

  2. Blade Runner - director's cut
    *Powerful themes about the nature of humanity and identity
    *Amazing visuals
    *Brilliant score
    *Really good cast, good acting
    *Strong lines, solid dialogue
    *SFX subordinate to the story, not the other way around

    The Princess Bride
    *Still more fun
    *Gorgeous fun. Fine sense of humour which is happy to poke fun at itself.
    *Fantastically quotable script
    *Excellent cast

    *Strong themes of love, loss, self-respect and sacrifice
    *Absolutely amazing cast, right down to the bit-parts
    *Wonderfully quotable dialogue
    *Brilliant use of lighting, taking advantage of the black-and-white film instead of treating it as a disadvantage
    *Strong, rounded characters with real depth and backstory that comes through in the performances

    *Incredibly powerful meditation on the nature of self and identity - the theme is stark and terrifying, and its relevance to all of us is unmistakeable.
    *Fantastic, thoughtful script that insists the viewer use hir own intellect to puzzle out the absorbing story
    *Effective, well-rounded characters, very believable
    *Amazing central performance from the main actor, Guy Pierce

    The Fall
    *Strong themes of trust and redemption
    *Vividly imaginative
    *Astonishing, gorgeous cinematography
    *Good acting work, particularly from the youngest member of the cast
    *Deals well and intelligently with children as thinkers and as people

  3. Barnes- I love "Cry Freedom". Definitely one I had not thought of. thanks!

    Flinthart-Wow thanks for such a detailed response! I can't say I disagree with any of your assessments of these films either. I will certainly incorporate them into my on going, self-taught studies. I had not even thought of "The Fall". Good one!

  4. Hell, I'm amazed you've even seen it, Heidi. Good for you!

  5. The Great Escape. I love the visions of human emotion. Charles Bronson and his claustrophobia, Steve McQueen in his futile attempt at escape (on a friggin motorcycle....jumping over friggin barbed wire!). James Garner and his friendship with the counterfeiter. Just a brilliant movie and if it's on tv, I'll sit down and watch it regardless of what part it's at.

    The Right Stuff....a picture of American heroism (with some good German engineering of course). When John Glenn is re-entering the atmosphere, his capsule feels like it's falling apart, and he's humming the Marine Corps hymn. Powerful stuff.

    Hoosiers...the ending montage of the kid in the gym shooting baskets, the camera panning over the championship banner, the quotes from Coach Norman Dale in the background, and finally the camera settles on a team pic, and as it zooms in, it ends with Coach Dale saying, "I love you guys." At that point, every time I watch this movie, I have tears in my eyes.

    Oh, and "Brian's Song." I am a devoted Bears fan, and if you can watch the classic story of brotherly love between Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers without crying, you're a better man than I.

    Lastly, Stripes. Because it makes me laugh. "Come on, it's Czechoslovakia. It's like going into Wisconsin." "Oh yeah? I got my ass kicked in Wisconsin once."

  6. Great choices man! All very "feel good" flicks with dramatic messages. The story I'm working on actually has a chunk of "Hoosiers" vibe running through it. And "Stripes" STILL holds up as one of the funniest movies of all time in my opinion.
    Thanks man.

    I saw this recently and it made me think of you....

    So funny!!!

  7. One other movie to add to the list: "Better Off Dead." One summer, HBO ran it about 2-3 times/day. My brother and I recorded it on the ol' VCR and watched it constantly, to the point where it was like "Rocky Horror," we could recite all the lines. He and I could pick random dialogue from any point in that movie between any two characters, and we could rattle the lines off for about a minute or two. It was probably the one decent bonding experience he and I had as kids, because otherwise we were 4-1/2 years apart in age and not that close. Now that we're both in our 30's, we're very close and we still rattle off lines, much to the annoyance of our wives.

    And "Office Space," because there have been times when my job was shockingly like that movie. Even though the centerpoint was the Y2K deal, it's comedy is still relevant today.

  8. OMG, you have no idea how many times I've watched B.O.D.

    "Throwing away a perfectly good white boy like that."

    "2 dollars!"

    "Gee, I'm real sorry ur mom blew up Ricky."

    I even know ALL of the montage songs and the theme that the random eighties songstress busted out at the dance. Still sing'em sometimes.

    It's practically a perfect comedy. Back when Cusack was still hilarious. There's just a glimmer of the old him in "Hot Tub Time Machine". It's towards the end when he's trippin balls. Classic Cusack. OH and "Grosse Pointe Blank" Another great one of his.

    And Office Space- Nothing more can be said. I have the freakin' soundtrack but I DON'T turn the volume down when black folks approach. I also have a picture of "Milton" on my bulletin board that says what else???

    "I'll set the building on fire."

    Dunno if you've seen Mike Judge's last effort "Extract". No rival for O.S. but still another great work place comedy only this one takes place in a factory.

  9. If you liked BOD, then you probably like One Crazy Summer too? Both were Savage Steve Holland movies. Unfortunately, after OCS, he almost exclusively stayed with directing Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows.

    And I agree, Grosse Point Blank was an awesome movie. It ALMOST made me want to attend my upcoming 20th reunion, if only to see a guy I went to school with turn out to be an assassin and whack an eastern European hitman. Unfortunately, Cusack started to take himself too seriously at some point. But in fairness, he was a bit too old to appear in movies with cartoon cute and fuzzy bunnies.

    "See, Johnny, my brother got his arm caught in the microwave, and my gramma freaked out, and dropped acid, and hijacked a bus full of, um, penguins, so it's KIND of a family crisis right now, so can you come back later? Thanks!"

  10. Oh yeah, not as good as BOD but I watched it plenty. Bobcat Goldthwait and the skinny dork from "We've Got It Made" were my last fav thing about it. OH and Demi Moore, Not a fan but Cusack was funny in that one. I like Bobcat though, just watched "Shakes The Clown" again last weekend. F'd up flick! And I get what ur sayin' about the bunnies but I thought he'd go through some sort of Bill Murray transformation and just do smarter comedies.