Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dear Lord Argo - some reasons why I haven't written movie scripts.

I have to confess that I didn't watch the Academy Awards last Sunday. I tried, but I fell asleep while watching the red carpet. It was 3 a.m here, so in my defense I was too tired to watch the damn broadcast.

Also in my defense I was so tired that I was able to stomach some of those empty, superficial interviews that no one should probably watch or pay attention to.

Another confession that I have to make is that I haven't really seen those movies that got nominated. The only film that I've seen so far is The Silver Lining Playbook. The movie was okay, but the story didn't make any sense once you got past the first hour.

The dancing stuff didn't feel organic at all. Neither did the bookmaking part. It was just badly written. Yet, the acting was pretty solid and I didn't mind the ending. (didn't encourage me to write though)

So naturally I haven't seen Argo, the movie that won Best Picture. I think I have to watch it this week probably. Nevertheless, even though I can't say anything about the quality of the film, I have read about how little the movie has to do with reality and facts.

Everyone seems to be pissed off, except for the Hollywood elite and the mainstream press. Ben Affleck probably shouldn't be going to Iran anytime soon. Or to Canada.

Again, I haven't seen the movie yet, but what's the point in making a movie that portrays Iranians as evil doers and CIA and Americans as some kind of heroes? Isn't this something that makes the world a worse place than it was yesterday?

Unless it turns out that the movie is super entertaining, I don't see what's the point in making stuff like this. "Yay, golden statues". "Oh well, we're going to bomb iran.."

Now, I'm not saying that they shouldn't give out awards or something like that. It takes a lot of effort to write a 120 page screenplay and to make a movie out of that.

Truth is that it's very hard to write a great script. It's really hard to write something that is riveting and something that entertains the audience and makes us think.

But you should always try to represent honor and dignity. I don't see the point in pissing people off unless you're telling the truth. Argo apparently didn't give a damn about the facts so it wasn't worth the effort.

Telling lies and making people mad simply isn't the best combination that I can think of.  Maybe that's one of the reasons that I haven't managed to write movie scripts yet. Selling out like that...

For me, I don't think there are that many things that are scarier than being a cheat, getting paid for that, and at the same time making the world potentially a more dangerous place to live. Walking on the red carpet after all that would really be too much.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Another look at 'Girls'.

So, I thought about writing about Girls, because I haven't really written about the show before in any detail. I thought it might be good time to do it now since I just watched the latest episode that aired.

I have to say that I initially quit watching the show after I saw the first three or four episodes of the first season that aired last year. Those episodes were enough to convince myself not to watch the show anymore.

Nevertheless, once the show won some golden globes, I thought I'd have to give it another shot. Not because I wanted to like the show, but because I wanted to really not like it. The constant hype over the show really bothered me - and still kinda does.

So, I managed to watch episodes from this season and I have to say that the show still is not that interesting or funny. Nevertheless, I don't think it's really that bad. In fact, if you compare it to a show like The Big Bang Theory (r.i.p), I think that Girls is actually a better series. 

I'm not sure you can call it a comedy though. What basically happens on the show is that Lena Dunham gets naked in every episode and that's about it. I mean, yeah, that's about it.

A lot of people have complained  about how they don't like to see Dunham naked. But even though she's not in shape at all, I think I'd rather watch her without clothes than watch some other actresses on some other shows fully dressed. Like Amy Farrah Fowler...

A lot of the performances by actors on the show are pretty weak, the scripts aren't very strong and many of the scenes don't seem natural at all. There's also stuff that makes me roll my eyes, like that Glass-Steagall exchange for example. Nevertheless, that all is kinda okay.

I don't know, perhaps me not being that much against 'Girls' has something do with the fact that Roy from It Crowd guest starred on the show. I think Chris O'Dowd is a wonderful actor, so naturally any show that has him on gets me interested. How can you not like that guy?

But there has to be something else than just that. Maybe despite of all its more or less obvious flaws, there's something honest about Girls. For me it seems that's enough.

Monday, February 11, 2013

John F. Kennedy died almost 50 years ago (part II)

Last time I wrote about John F. Kennedy, I talked about the upcoming Tom Hanks & Vincent Bugliosi lone gunman Oswald-did-it-project that I thought would never go anywhere.

It turned out that I was mostly right, because one simply can't make a believable case, 'write a good story', about Lee Harvey Oswald killing John F. Kennedy. He didn't do it, so they had to abandon that project.

Instead, what we're going to get later this year is mostly damage control - Tom Hanks & co. trying to save their faces - by making a movie about the events at Parkland hospital that early afternoon.

All this because they simply couldn't admit that they were wrong and that JFK's death was as a result of a conspiracy. They couldn't let it go, so they had to come up with 'Parkland'.

I haven't read the script yet, but I can already imagine how little the movie is going to have to do with reality and truth. There's basically no way they're going to let the facts stand in their way.  What you'll get is lies, omission and distortions - and more lies.

You won't hear anything about how the throat wound was an entry wound. You won't hear anything about how JFK's back of the head was gone - which means that he was shot also from the front and not just from behind.

You also won't hear about the numerous people who took a good look at the limousine outside the hospital - and saw a bullet hole in the windshield - a bullet hole that later 'vanished' but meant that more than three shots were fired.

Furthermore, you won't hear about the real story about that pristine magic bullet CE 399, that was planted by the conspiractors and was found on a stretcher outside the elevators - after the chain of evidence had been broken - right after the stretcher had been left unattended.

All this of course will tell us more than what we want to know about the entertainment industry. These are the people that I think we're supposed to look up to and yet they're going to fail us.

Truth is that they had 50 years to get to the bottom of it and the only guys who stepped up to the plate were Oliver Stone with his masterpiece JFK and Chris Carter with X-Files (to a certain extent).

What were the rest doing? It seems that they were doing nothing. Not that doing nothing is the biggest crime ever, but Tom Hanks & co, what the hell are you thinking? You're supposed to do better than this.

Ps. Coming up later this year, my Boston Legal JFK spec sripts.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Monday Mornings - pilot review.

 So, I decided to watch the pilot episode of 'Monday Mornings', a show about medical surgeons. It's created by David E. Kelley, who's best known for his lawyer shows, like The Practice and Ally Mcbeal.

After I watched it, I thought the pilot was actually really well made, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep watching it regularly. Maybe I will, maybe I won't.

I mean, it's not exactly a secret that I'm a massive fan of Kelley, but at the same time I'm not that much of a fan of medical shows. For example I didn't pay that much attention to Chicago Hope either, a show that he also created. (I guess I like ER the best)

Drama shows are usually about life and death, so naturally you would think that it would make sense to write about something that directly deals with those issues. After all, you need to have high stakes situations in order to keep the audience interested.

Yet, the problem sometimes tends to be that when a show handles these two issues, it turns out that the show is too much about death and not enough about life.

That's how I kinda felt about Monday Mornings. When I watched it, I felt it was a bit too depressing and didn't tell me anything that, well, I really wanted to know. The show tells us that surgeons make mistakes, patients die, and then a head honcho, in this case the great Alfred Molina reviews these mistakes in front of an audience.

David Kelley's shows have always been about showing compassion and about his insight into humans. I guess Monday Mornings is about those things. But every great DEK show has also been pretty absurd, like Picket Fences having cows giving birth to human beings or Ally Mcbeal having dancing babies. Monday Mornings isn't absurd.

There's of course nothing wrong about show not being absurd, but that part has always been Kelley's biggest strength as a writer. Monday Mornings is so serious - I guess the subject matter dictates the tone of the show - that we don't get to see him at his best. This stuff just seems too safe, whereas for example on Ally Mcbeal he decided to be himself and took risks, like he's supposed to.

What I'm trying to say here is that at a lot of other showrunners would be really lucky to helm a show like this, but we're talking about David Kelley here. In all honesty, based on the first episode, I'd probably rather watch a flawed absurdist Kelley show like Harry's Law, than Monday Mornings.