Thursday, April 12, 2007

Can't you smell 'em?

Okay, so you're at the movie theatre with the lights dimming. Almost time for the big show but first its Movie Trailer time. Sometimes, for me, it can be as good as the upcoming movie (like a pre-movie warm up.) A whole batch of movies can hit you like a 1-2 punch of excitement.

Anticipation of trailers can play into expectations but if you're like me you gain a "sense" when watching them. Do you have a nose for movies? I like to think I do. Mind you, I think the sniffer can be off sometimes. (I didn't think The Sixth Sense would be that good--okay, let's keep that little dirty secret to ourselves) But lately I have to say...can't you smell 'em? It ain't pretty folks. We're seriously talking a tank of floaters here. And that never a good sign. A few I have noticed lately--

Perfect Stranger: Yeah looks good on paper, I mean Halle Berry and Bruce Willis in a thriller. But from the looks of it--straight outta Skinemax with higher paid actors...

Premonition: I really am one who has a kind heart and wishes Sandra Bullock could find her place in Hollywood but this one had my bells and whistles going off to avoid at all costs...

The Reaping: Again looks good when I first heard about it. I am a Hilary Swank fan cause she does good drama, I think. But this thing just seems like a Omen rip off...

Slow Burn: Sorry this one didn't even look good on paper even though I like Liotta. Again it has Basic Instinct written all over it and the trailer doesn't do much to help that...

There are more but I think you get my meaning. Now, of course, this is all my opinion and you might say this are movies I'm sure the screenplays were better and something got effed up along the way. Seriously?

SERIOUSLY??

I strongly believe it is way too hard to screw up a good screenplay and make it a bad movie then it is to take a poor screenplay and succeed in making a good movie.

I'm gonna have some detractors to that statement, I know. But more times than not, I believe it.
Something along the same lines, in regard to screenplay contests, is touched on in MaryAn's blog Fencing With the Fog. She writes in her April 10th post--

...No amount of screening or standardizing of scores can change somebody's predisposition for drama over comedy or their disdain for horror. The process doesn't work. And yet, it works. It works because, as subjective as people are, sometimes ugly is just ugly. Maybe contests don't always get the "best" screenplay and sometimes a "better" one rises above a "best", but has the "worst" ever won? Be fair. Don't say "yes" unless you've read some of the juvenile crap that gets entered in contests alongside the well-written stuff. The worst doesn't win because the worst is the worst...

Sometimes ugly is just ugly...I hope Unk got that for his quotes.

MaryAn talks about the subjectivity of screenplay contests and makes a valid point that people are people and sometimes it's all a beauty contest. It's a good read and look forward to more from her (Even though she kinda knocks us Midwesterners as not being "pretty" by Hollywood standards but I'll let it slide 'cause she's from my birth state of Texas.)

What does this mean for screenwriters? We have to write good screenplays. Damn great screenplays. Screenplays so good that a person's subjectivity is put to the side and they are able to see the MOVIE being written on the page.

That's my objective. One that plagues me but allows me the justification that I'm not gonna write any floaters.

I'm just not. I'm sick of smelling 'em.

7 comments:

MaryAn Batchellor said...

I thought the women in Wisconsin were awesome. I'd go back in a heartbeat. It's America's version of beauty that sucks. SUCKS! Remember? In California, I look like a man. I don't diss midwesterners at all. Oh wait. You're male? Okay, maybe I did diss you a little...want to smell my hair?

Thanks for the shout out. Great post, by the way.

Suburban Screenwriter said...

MaryAn,

Thanx for the reply. I was just giving a gentle rub I hope you didn't take it the wrong way...I'm sure your hair smells great...I feel sorry for the Calis who think you look like a man they don't know what they're missing :> Keep up the great blogs!

Unk said...

I got nothin'.

Unk

Suburban Screenwriter said...

I appreciate the insight, Unk.

chris soth said...

this was from somebody's book, or words to this effect:

"they make lots of bad movies from bad screenplays, they also make bad movies from GOOD screenplays and even, occasionally good movies from good screenplays. What they NEVER do is make a good movie from a bad screenplay"...

So, maybe those screenplays ARE good. Maybe they're bad and triumphing from a system where all qualitative judgement has been abandoned in favor of market-driven product. If they're bad, trust me, the movies'll be bad too...if they're good, the movies might still be bad, and there'll only be one way to find out if the screenplays are/were good.

Read 'em.

Suburban Screenwriter said...

thanx chris I couldn't agree more with that statement...it's unfortunate that the bad screenplays which end up being bad movies have to be a part of that system though, don't you think? And also I agree this movies might be decent screenplays--I mean someone somewhere had to like something about them. But my thinking is, I bet it had to do more with the fact that big names got attached to these puppies than the quality of the screenplay...anyway thanx for the insight, chris

Suburban Screenwriter said...

oh forgot to add (blaming my tired mind) I hope I can get a chance to read some of these so I can see if they're as bad as they look...

SS