Tag Archives: script-review

What Did You Think: Source Code

I wrote a review of the Source Code screenplay, a little while ago. I’m curious as to what you thought of the film. Did it live up to the hype? Did Duncan Jones do the script justice? What were some of the differences you found between the script and the movie? Was it better… or worse? Spoilers allowed.

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.