Category Archives: Just Read

What I Read in 2015

Here is my annual book list for 2015. Are you ready? Okay. Let’s start from the bottom and count up to my favorite book of the year.

Note: These are books I read this year — doesn’t mean they came out this year.

15. Armada by Ernest Cline

After reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, his first novel, I was fucking thrilled to read his second novel. I even pre-ordered a hard copy on Amazon. I NEVER pre-order books. I don’t think I have since Harry Potter was flying off the shelves on release day. Really the only good thing I have to say about this book regards the cover art. It’s a beautiful looking book. But, unfortunately, that won’t save it. Where RPO is a sci-fi nerd’s wet dream, Armada is being wet dreamed on by a fat, smelly, neck-bearded 43-year-old that lives in his parent’s basement.  It doesn’t even compare to Cline’s first novel. It was simply… Meh. I give it 2 out of 5 stars for effort and I do not recommend.

14. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

This book must be forgettable because I’m having trouble remembering the plot. Oh yes. It’s about a girl whose entire family was murdered by Satanists. Sounds fun, right? It was okay. A good girl power book from the author who gave you that movie where you see Ben Affleck’s dick. I liked it. The book. Not the … Anyway, I give it 3 out of 5 stars. The book.

13. The Fold by Peter Clines

I have a love hate relationship with this book. It starts out wicked slow. And the plot drags and drags. Giving you just enough to want to keep reading and find out just what the fuck is going on. But it’s a smart book, and rubs that sci-fi itch pretty damn good. And the last third is fantastic and super inventive. So I give it 3 out of 5 stars and a pretty decent recommendation.

12. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Just finished this one. This is a collection of shorts by the one and only Mr. King. There are some really great stories in it. And none of them are bad. I especially enjoyed Blockade Billy, The Dune, and the one near the end about the fireworks. I highly recommend this book and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Stephen King is always amazing. If you don’t read short stories, this is a great way to start.

11. Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6) by Stephen King

The penultimate book in Stephen King’s highly regarded Dark Tower series. Which … did you hear Idris Elba might play the Gunslinger in the movies? That would be fantastic. I honestly didn’t love this book, but it’s part of a greater whole which I highly recommend. So I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars — and suggest you read the entire series.

10. Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1) by Stephen King

One of King’s newer books about a psychotic fuckhead bent on killing innocent people and the ex-cop trying to track him down. I enjoyed it. 4 out of 5 stars to this one.


9. The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1) by Conn Iggulden

I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and I heard Conn is a master. So I’ve started reading his books from the first series he wrote — the Emperor series about Julius Caesar. Spoiler alert –  he dies. But not in the first book — it focuses on his childhood. I plan on reading out the rest of the series and starting some of Conn’s other series while I’m at it. I recommend this book if you enjoy Roman Historical Fiction. 4 out of 5 stars.

8. Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2) by Stephen King

The sequel to Mr. Mercedes. If you enjoyed Mr. Mercedes you’ll like this one even more. Better plot and better characters IMO. 4 out of 5 Stars.

7. The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War, #2) by John Scalzi

Okay — let me introduce the Old Man’s War series here. I enjoyed the first book better than the second, but not by much. If you enjoy sci-fi — like the fun Star Trek/Star Wars type of sci-fi…. you will love this series. John Scalzi is honestly one of the best new authors I’ve read in a really really long time. I am going to read everything he’s ever written. Eventually. But in the meantime — go buy the books in the Old Man’s War series. They are thoughtful, action packed, hilarious, and smart. 4 out of 5 stars to this bad boy, but almost, almost a 5.

6. The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

I started reading Sanderson this year with the Stormlight Archive, and you can read what I think of those books coming up. I think under normal circumstances I would have given The Final Empire 5 out of 5 stars … but I enjoyed the Stormlight Archive so fucking much, it bumped this book down to 4 out of 5 stars… but it soooo wants to be a 5 star you can taste it. And it tastes good. The Mistborn series is a fantasy novel about people who can use Allomancy — that is a magic that has to do with different metals. Sanderson is a master of magic systems and the best fantasy author I’ve read in forever. I will read everything he’s ever written. Eventually. And he writes like 12 books a years. So… fuck.

5. Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War, #1) by John Scalzi

I’ve already told you what I think of the Old Man’s War series up above, so all you need to know is this first book is fantastic and you should click on the title up above which will take you to an amazon page where I command you to buy it right now. Okay? Great. 5 out of 5 stars.

4. The Martian by Andy Weir

The first book by Andy Weir — and I will be buying the second. I only hope I don’t get burned like I did with Ernest Cline.  I’m sure you’ve heard of this book — after all, a giant fucking hit of a movie with Matt Damon was adapted off it. I don’t care if you do or do not like the movie or if you haven’t even seen it. This book is fantastic. It’s in my top five books of the year. And you must read it. 5 out of 5 stars.

3. Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2) by Brandon Sanderson

This book is amazing. See below. 5 out of 5 stars.


2. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

If you enjoy fantasy novels, you must give this series a try. It’s practically the best book I read all year. It’s really long — over 1000 pages, as is the sequel, but they are fantastic. Sanderson is amazing at world building, creating extremely unique and interesting locations, and his magic systems are some of the best. This is a series that Sanderson is currently writing. There are two books out now, out of a planned ten. The third is set to release sometime near the end of 2016 or early 2017. 5 out of 5 stars for sure. I highly recommend. Oh jesus, I just realized these books will still be coming out after I have children. And I will read them with my children. Or they will be disowned.

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Even though I don’t necessarily think this is the best book I read all year, I have to give it the top spot because it captivated me more than any other book I read. I couldn’t put the book down. It’s so easy these days to get distracted or overwhelmed with the amount of entertainment being shoved in our faces, however this book completely took over my life. I was even reading it at work. I don’t know how he did it, but Cline simultaneously holds the best and worst spots on my 2015 book list. I give RPO 5 out of 5 stars and super highly recommend.

12ptCourier’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

There are a lot of movies coming out next year that didn’t make this list. A few that deserve a mention are Mission Impossible 5, Ant Man, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. I really enjoy those franchises, but I feel like I’ve already seen what they have to offer, and I’m excited for something a little different in 2015.

THE LIST:

#10: INSIDE OUT

I love Pixar movies and the trailer looks really cute.

#9: CRIMSON PEAK
I am excited about anything Guillermo del Toro is directing.

#8: UNTITLED SPIELBERG COLD WAR SPY THRILLER
I know nothing about this film except that it’s directed by Spielberg, stars Tom Hanks, and is about a cold war spy. ‘Nuff Said.

#7: JURASSIC WORLD

I am very scared of being let down by this movie. But it still hits my top 10. Because Jurassic Park.

#6: THE HATEFUL EIGHT
Because Quentin Tarantino.

#5: CHAPPIE

Neill Blomkamp is one of my favorite new directors. District 9 is one of the best Sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen. I also really enjoyed Elysium despite unfavorable reviews. I’m very excited to see his next film.

#4: THE MARTIAN
I still have faith in Ridley Scott despite his recent string of movies. I haven’t read this book yet, but it is rated one of the best of the year. Also — Matt Damon.

#3: 007: SPECTRE
I love James Bond. I grew up watching these movies with my grandparents. I’m in the Daniel Craig camp. I think this new era of James Bond movies are fantastic — with Casino Royale being one of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t know a whole lot of details about Spectre, but it’s #3 on this list because — James Bond.

#2: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

I really love the original Mad Max movies. The fact this new one is from the same creator and an all-star cast has me really excited. But perhaps the most exciting thing about it was the trailer. Which is probably not only the best trailer of the year, but maybe the best trailer I have ever seen.

#1: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

I have never felt more anticipation for a movie in my life. Maybe that statement isn’t totally true. But that is how I feel right now. My entire childhood evolved around the original three films, and the trailer brought back those feelings. Not the prequel feels… but the original feels. I can not wait to see this movie opening night.

12pt’s Best Movies of 2014

Not going to go into detail. Just a quick list. Also — there are a ton of movies I haven’t seen this year. This is just a list of what I was able to see!

1 – Guardians of the Galaxy (A)

2 – Edge of Tomorrow (A)

3 – The Raid 2 (A)

4 – The Lego Movie (A)

5 – Gone Girl (A-)

6 – 22 Jump Street (A-)

7 – X-Men: Days of Future Past (A-)

8 – The Grand Budapest Hotel (B+)

9 – The Hobbit (B+)

10 – Snowpiercer (B+)

11 – Night Crawler (B)

12 – American Sniper (B)

13 – Whiplash (B)

14 – Unbroken (C)

15 – Into the Woods (D+)

Still haven’t seen:

Jodorowski’s Dune

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Calvary

The Purge: Anarchy

How to Train your Dragon 2

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Fury

The Babadook

Birdman

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Chef

Big Hero 6

Bears

John Wick

The Unknown Known

Interstellar

Just Read: What I’ve Been Reading – Jan. 2013

My new years resolution was to read more. It has gone very well. Too well in fact. I find myself getting into long series of books. Even worse than that, I am reading multiple series as the same time. It can get confusing. Here’s a little look into the pages I’ve turned in 2013.

228665I’ve always been a sucker for a good high fantasy novel, and I just recently started reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I always planned on reading this series, I was just scared to commit. This a long series, with the 14th book just being released on Jan. 8 of this year. These aren’t short books either, with the average page count coming in at 827. The books borrow thematically from The Lord of the Rings, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, as Jordan really holds his own in the genre. I’ve read through the first book, The Eye of the World, and just started the 2nd installment, The Great Hunt.  I’m not sure how long it will take me to finish the series, as I sometimes get burnt out reading the same books in a series back to back for too long. However, I’m excited to continue. The book follows a young farmer named Rand al’Thor who discovers he is a key figure in a plot to save humanity from The Dark One.

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

68527As a huge fan of historical fiction, I have come to love Bernard Corwell over the past few months. I started his Saxon series in mid December with the first book, The Last Kingdom, and I was hooked after the first few pages. I am already on the 5th book in the series, and the only reason I’ve stopped is so that I don’t burn myself out. The 6th book was just released last year. Corwell really knows his stuff, and besides the main character, almost everyone in the book was a real person, and most of the events really happened. His battle descriptions are epic and gruesome.  I found myself lifting my eyes off the page at times, just picturing myself standing in a Danish Shield Wall, preparing to take a sword in the groin. I highly recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in awesome historical fiction.

In the middle years of the ninth-century, the fierce Danes stormed onto British soil, hungry for spoils and conquest. Kingdom after kingdom fell to the ruthless invaders until but one realm remained. And suddenly the fate of all England–and the course of history–depended upon one man, one king.

375802I just finished reading Ender’s Game the other day. It’s a super easy read, and I flew through it. I decided to pick it up since they’re making a movie based off it starring Harrison Ford. A lot of the science fiction I read is very dense. Like, I find myself sometimes re-reading pages multiple times until I figure out just what the hell they’re talking about. But not this one. It read like a Harry Potter book. You don’t even need to be a big sci-fi fan to enjoy it. The story tackles some pretty great social and political themes, without ever lacking in action and adventure. At 324 pages, it’s a short book, so there is no reason not to go pick it up and spend a weekend on it. The book is part of a Saga, but I don’t necessarily feel the need to read the rest of the series now, as the book works great as a stand alone.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut€”young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training … 

There’s a few more series I’m working on now. But I’ll leave that for another post. Go pick up some of these recommendations and read!

Just Read: Everything Must Go

Everything Must Go

by Dan Rush

Draft Dated: 4.4.8

Based on the short story “Why Don’t You Dance” by Raymond Carver

Remember that everything I write is my personal opinion, and is (usually) based on an early draft; the plot, characters, and practically anything and everything in this draft could be changed, or will change, before the movie comes out.

This story is basically about Nick, a down-and-out struggling alcoholic, who loses just about everything he holds important in life. After Nick’s wife decides to leave him, she throws all his personal belongings in their front yard, and changes the locks. So what does Nick do? He says fuck it, and begins living in his front yard. This is a powerful story about letting go and starting over.

The reason I read this script was because I’d heard some positive reviews about it, and I knew that Will Ferrell was cast to play Nick. I love Will Ferrell. I have to watch Elf multiple time a year, just to keep up with the quotes.  Oh, and Step Brothers… don’t even get me started!  A life without Will Ferrell is a life not worth living. I seriously don’t know how you “Will Ferrell Haters” do it.  Yes, there really are Will Ferrell haters out there! I’ve actually met a few of them.

I was really intrigued after hearing that Will Ferrell was cast in this movie, so I decided to check it out.  I was expecting it to be a complete comedy. Wrong! Honestly, if I didn’t know Will Farrell was going to be in this film, I would have thought it to be one of the most depressing scripts I have ever read. Even knowing ahead of time that Will Farrell was going to play Nick, this script was still depressing. Not to say there aren’t funny parts in the script. There are definitely some hilarious scenes I can’t wait to see played out. But when you take the script in its entirety, it’s very heavy.  Definitely a Dark Comedy. Casting Will was a genius decision, I believe.

Now that I think of it, this story reminds me a lot of Lost in Translation.  It’s funny, but depressing. Lost in Translation also happens to be one of my favorite movies.

Due to MAJOR SPOILERS I am putting the rest of the review after the jump.  But to start off, I’ll break down the good and the bad.

The Good

  • The writer really makes you feel what the main character is feeling.  I instantly hated Nicks wife, hated his boss, and hated his neighbors. I felt so much sympathy for Nick.
  • The whole script is kind of dark, and negative, and I don’t give a fucking shit-ty… which I enjoy.
  • Even though the movie is fairly dark, the writing is extremely witty.  The dialogue makes you laugh.

The Bad

  • There really isn’t anything bad about this script that I can think of at the moment. It doesn’t end the way you really want it to, but that doesn’t mean the ending is wrong, or bad. It’s actually very appropriate to what the story is trying to say. But when Hollywood bombards you with revenge and happy endings, you sort of come to expect it. Not in this one.

The Verdict

I think Will Farrell will do an awesome job, and I really had a fun time reading this script. If you can find it, I highly recommend reading it. I thought it to be serious, yet funny, and it touched on some important life topics. If you’re skeptical about Will Farrell’s performance, or skeptical about a non-ridiculous Will Farrell movie, watch Stranger than Fiction.

I cannot share scripts on this site out of fear of being sued, but if you place your email in the comments section, there is really nothing I can do if another reader decides to send it to you.

DUE TO MAJOR SPOILERS THE REST OF THE REVIEW WILL BE AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading Just Read: Everything Must Go

Just Read: Source Code

Source Code

by Ben Ripley

Draft Dated: Undated

Remember that everything I write is my personal opinion, and is (usually) based on an early draft; the plot, characters, and practically anything and everything in this draft could be changed, or will change, before the movie comes out.

Colter wakes up on a train. He has no idea who he is, or what he’s doing. He starts to freak out.  For 17 minutes, he observes his surroundings until… BOOM!  A bomb explodes, killing everyone on board. The next thing we know, Colter wakes up in an isolation unit, in some sort of government lab. Oh snap! He is part of some strange experiment. Before he can figure out what the hell is going on — BAM!  He is back on the train. Only this time, he has 17 minutes to figure out who the bomber is. He tries to gather his senses. There is a girl sitting next to him. What does she know? What about that suspicious looking guy? Is it him? 17 minutes later — BOOM! The train explodes again, and Colter gets to start all over.

I absolutely loved this script when I first read it. Sometimes I’ll read a script, even a good script, and I’ll have to set it down for a little while. Not this time. I did not set this script down ONCE. The entire script reads extremely fast. The writer is very talented. His words feed the senses. I felt as if I was actually there, in the train with Colter, as he first takes in his surroundings.  Every detail, every sensory impression overload, I was there.

One of the reasons this script reads so fast, is because there is so much we want to know. Right from page one, we want to know what the hell is going on. Who is this guy? Why is he on a train? Why is he in a government lab? Who bombed the train? How and why is this all happening? There are a lot of questions in this story, and the fact that we NEED these questions answered, makes the pages turn as fast as possible.

We’ve definitely seen this basic, back to the beginning “time travel” type movie before. Groundhog Day, Deja Vu, Vantage Point. But this story works way better, I believe. I thought Vantage Point was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The reason this story works better, is because there are constantly new questions arising, and there is more than one mystery to be solved. We need to figure out what is happening on the train, but we also need to figure out what the hell this whole lab is about, and how Colter got there in the first place. With all of these questions to answer, we are constantly moving the story forward. We don’t find ourselves in the completely fucking horrible stagnation that was Vantage Point. While watching Vantage Point, I wanted to rip my eyes out every time we reversed back to the beginning. In Source Code, you actually WANT to go back onto the train. You WANT to know what is going on.

I wrote an article on the “10-Page-Twist” a while back. I would like you to notice in this script, at the bottom of page 10, we find the bomb for the first time. BOOM baby! The “10-Page-Twist” in action.

Due to MAJOR SPOILERS I am putting the rest of the review after the jump. But to start off, I’ll break down the good, and the bad.

The Good

  • The script is extremely well written. I feel like I am actually there with the character.
  • The story is fast paced, and keeps you guessing. You’re always moving forward.
  • I really enjoyed the ending. It puts a nice twist on things.
  • Great use of the “10-Page-Twist” and completely snagging our attention, early on.

The Bad

  • There are a few story holes that have to do with the time travel and parallel universes.

The Verdict

Definitely read this script. Even if the movie ends up sucking balls when it comes out (and I hope it doesn’t), this script will still be in my top 10. As I said before, I cannot share scripts on this site out of fear of being sued, but if you place your email in the comments section, there is really nothing I can do if another reader decides to send it to you.

DUE TO MAJOR SPOILERS THE REST OF THE REVIEW WILL BE AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading Just Read: Source Code

Just Read: The Dark Fields (Limitless)


The Dark Fields (Limitless)

by Leslie Dixon

Draft Dated: July 12, 2006

Based on the novel by Alan Glynn

Remember that everything I write is my personal opinion, and is (usually) based on an early draft; the plot, characters, and practically anything and everything in this draft could be changed, or will change, before the movie comes out.

The Dark Fields is about a complete loser named Eddie Spinola.  He’s a writer that has hit rock bottom, and is headed nowhere fast. He lives in a shitty apartment in NYC, and is barely holding his life together. One day, Eddie bumps into Vernon, his ex brother-in-law (a.k.a. his ex-drug dealer) who gives him a miracle drug. OH SNAP!  Now Eddie is going a million miles per second. This drug turns him into the smartest, funniest, and coolest guy in the room. Unfortunately, this drug also has some pretty nasty side effects. This story is a fun, exciting, yet dangerous thrill ride, that asks the question – What if there was a miracle drug that could make you the best at everything?

I read The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn a while ago, and I absolutely loved it. Fast paced, page-turning, brain fucking goodness. After finding out that it was being adapted for the big screen (and renamed Limitless) I naturally had to find the screenplay — and I was scared. Far too often has an amazing book been ruined, by the complex necessities of screenplay adaptation.So, did it make the cut, or did it fall into the black, swirling vortex, of “good-book-to-bad-movie” death?

I normally don’t add spoilers to my reviews, but there are some specific issues I felt like talking about —

Leslie Dixon did well! You might recognize her name from movies such as; Look Who’s Talking Now, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Thomas Crown Affair, among others.

Now, the screenplay doesn’t exactly follow the book.  There are extra characters and situations in the screenplay, that are not in the book – but thankfully, none of it hurts the story.  The major points of the story remain intact.

Not only was this screenplay well written, but it also addressed (and improved, in my opinion) the only issue I had with the book.  I never liked the way the book ended.  Originally in the end, after one HELL of a pharmaceutically-induced roller coaster ride, our hero – THE Eddie Spinola, just runs out of pills and dies in a seedy hotel room. It was kind of anticlimactic. I was hoping the end would have left us with Eddie getting a new sack of pills, and doing something crazy or end with him high as crap, gaining even more power in life!

Personally, I believe that Leslie Dixon’s screenplay addresses this ending quite well. Instead of having Eddie run out of pills, and complacently accept death in a cheap hotel, it ends with him as a fucking Senator, well on his way to becoming even more rich and powerful! — Plus, there seems to be a certain “pharmaceutical company” contributing heavily to Senator Spinola’s campaign. Add Bradley Cooper and Robert-freaking-De Niro into the mix, and I’m starting to get excited.  The only dumb part in the screenplay had to do with a cut-off hand and a middle finger. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you read the screenplay. It will be interesting to see if that makes it into the movie.  It really was stupid.

THE GOOD

  • The screenplay keeps the overall theme intact, staying true to the dark, fast-paced atmosphere.
  • The writer fixed the ending, which would have definitely pissed off the average moviegoers.
  • Amazingly, the writer was able to take a really great book, and adapted it into a pretty good screenplay – only changing/adding a few situations and characters – and didn’t fuck it up!

THE BAD

  • Honestly, without rereading the book or screenplay, all over again, the only bad scene I remember is the dumb, cut-off hand in the vault.

THE VERDICT

I recommend reading the book, reading the screenplay, and going to see the movie when it comes out.  In whatever order you chose to do them in. I can only vouch for the book and the screenplay, though. If you don’t read books then shame on you.  I cannot share scripts on this site out of fear of being sued, but if you place your email in the comments section, there is really nothing I can do if another reader decides to send it to you.

What do you think? Good script? Good movie? Good book?

You can discuss and review the movie in detail here.

Just Read: The Brigands of Rattleborge

The Brigands of Rattleborge

written by S. Craig Zahler
Draft Dated 2006

Set in the days of the old West, a sheriff and a doctor seek revenge against three ruthless thugs who robbed them and terrorized the town.

I haven’t written a script review in a while, so I am finally going to write up what I thought about The Brigands of Rattleborge by S. Craig Zahler.

This is a very popular script. Many people love this script. Being so well received, I was very excited to sit down with a nice cup of coffee and take some time out of my precious day to read this popular lovable script. I don’t necessarily regret that decision, I think something can be learned from every script I read, but I have absolutely no idea why so many people enjoyed this script.  After I read this script I literally said out loud, “What the fuck did I just read!”.  I was even more perplexed after going online and finding out that everyone enjoyed the shit out of it.  Either I am alone in my dissatisfaction or people who don’t like this script simply don’t share their views online.

Just like my previous reviews, I will not go through the entire story and bore you with all the plot details, I will simply make a list touching on what I did and did not like.

The Good.

  • The writing in this script is absolutely phenomenal. Zahler’s ability at describing the characters and the world around them is extraordinary. I felt like I was reading a novel. If there is one reason to read this script it would be for the writing.
  • It’s very easy to make darkness and violence cheesy and laughable. This is a dark story, it’s a violent story, but the grit is written well and comes across as intended. If you don’t want a detailed description of a head being blown apart — don’t read this script.

The Bad.

  • Way to much exposition.  Seriously. What the fuck.  It takes 60 pages just to set up this story.  I’m still being introduced to new characters half way through the script and I literally have no idea what is going on. Who are all these people? Why do I need to know every person in this town? WHY AM I 60 PAGES INTO THIS SCRIPT AND THERE IS NO PLOT?! I don’t know how people got through half of this script before saying, “Well that’s neat… but what the hell is going on?” There was really nothing driving me to keep reading. You know that movie Open Range? Kevin Costner’s Western? Yes. Remember how the entire movie was super slow and boring until the very end when we have one of the most epic gun fights in movie history? That is kind of how this script is.  Except the gunfight at the end isn’t as good.
  • Who is the main character? We are introduced to so many people I had no idea who to invest my time in. Who should I care about? Who do I want to root for? For almost the entire script I had no idea who the main character was. This is bad… and the Doctor guy?  Am I supposed to care about him when I only learn who he is near the very end of the script? He could have been killed and I could have cared less.
  • I personally thought the very end of the script was dumb. I’m not going to give it away, but it came across very weak to me. That was it? Really? After 137 pages that is what you give me as a resolution? Come on.

The Verdict

I think I would love this script if you took the first 60 pages and crammed it down into 25 pages. That would be amazing.  Also, introduce a main character and let the audience know it’s the main character so that we actually have someone to care about. Introduce the doctor earlier as well. We are given intimate details on so many characters and none of them actually matter.  When the inciting incident doesn’t take place until half way through the script you have a problem. Make the storm happen around page 30. That would be amazing as well. Then you can spend the rest of the movie following around the two main characters and their quest to kill the bad guys. Now that sounds like a good script.  Maybe bring the Indians we meet at the beginning of the script back into the mix. We see them at the beginning and then never hear from them again.

I say READ IT. You’ll probably like it just like everyone else. I obviously have serious problems with it.

I bet many of my concerns with the script will be addressed in production. I doubt the actual movie will follow the obscure structure of this 2006 draft.

Just google this script and you will find a .pdf link to it.  Like I said, It’s very popular.

Just Read: BURIED

BURIED

by Chris Sparling

Paul is a U.S. contractor working in Iraq. After an attack by a group of Iraqis he wakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it’s a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap.

This entire story takes place in a coffin. From start to finish with no flashbacks or anything. With that said, this script is awesome!

The Good.

  • Being only 79 pages this script is short and fast paced.
  • This script is exciting and entertaining! Once I started reading I was sucked in and didn’t stop turning pages until the end.
  • There is one part in the script where I almost had to stop reading. It made me squirm and I loved every minute of it.
  • The ending was awesome!
  • This movie is really unique and proves that locations do not matter if you can tell a good story.

The Bad.

  • Paul is running out of oxygen in the coffin. Then he lights a candle. Fire burns O2. This bothered me.
  • The script was great, but I’m not sure if an audience is going to be able to watch a dark coffin for an hour and a half.

The Verdict.

READ IT!

This script is amazing, short, exciting, unique, entertaining, and the movie will star Ryan Reynolds.  One thing I learned from this script is that story is really the only thing that matters.  This whole script takes place in a coffin. One actor.  One location.  If anything, this script is a perfect exercise on relying on story alone. Why don’t you try and write an engaging script with one location.  You think you can do it?

Script Link

(UPDATE: Apparently the script over at script shadow was taken down. Sorry folks.)

Just Read: The F-Word

THE F-WORD

Written by: Elan Mastai
Based on the Play “Thoothpaste and Cigars” by T.J. Dawe and Michael Rinaldi.
Draft Dated: November 28, 2007.

So last night I went to my pile of unread scripts and picked out The F-Word.  This movie is basically an R-rated semi-romantic comedy. Wallace and Chantry meet and fall in love. Chantry has a boyfriend, so Wallace is stuck in shitty friend-zone. Chantry has to figure out if she wants to stay with her boyfriend or go with Wallace. Wallace has to figure out a way to show Chantry how he feels about her, without possibly ruining their friendship forever.

Romantic Comedies aren’t usually my thing. The reason I read this script was because I knew it was a comedy, and it was called The F-Word. I love the F-Word. I think it’s one of the best words. Little did I know, this F-word was FRIEND. I will not review the entire script, because why would you read it if I told you what happens? Instead I will list what I liked and did not like about it.

The Good.

  • First off you will notice that the script is written well and reads easy. You can really visualize what is taking place. The characters are dynamic and actually take on personalities of their own…which is what they’re supposed to do.
  • Some parts of this script are actually funny! I found myself literally laughing out loud while reading!
  • You really feel for the characters, each in their own personal predicament. Half way through the script I actually found myself wanting to know what happens at the end. The story and characters drove me forward.

The Bad.

  • The first thing I really didn’t like about this script were these weird animated “dream” sequences that happen. For some reason it really took me out of the story. I actually found myself subconsciously speed reading through these parts.
  • There is one scene in the script were Wallace is really determined to do something. A bunch of bad things start happening to him all at once. Mustard is shot on his shirt — he keeps going — a rain cloud forms above his head and rains on him – he keeps going….etc. It’s really dumb. This whole movie has well written witty comedic dialogue, so why screw it up with really cheesy comedy? I don’t know. It doesn’t work for me.

The Verdict.

READ IT.

It’s a script worth reading.  I would suggest it to anyone who likes comedy (Who doesn’t?). The characters are great, the story’s compelling, and it’s funny.