July 2, 2002, 10:44 a.m. CST
July 2, 2002, 10:58 a.m. CST
July 2, 2002, 11:02 a.m. CST
Serial killers, supernatural visions of the crimes, secret government programs conspiracies and projects studying people with extra-cognitive abilities... Throw in a little old skool religion (like a thousand years old) and some Nazis and its all there. QUICK - someone call Frank Black!
July 2, 2002, 11:21 a.m. CST
Executives actually have paid douche bags to read scripts FOR them. Its an excellent system. They have said douche bag read the script and then give a one page critique of the script. This one page critique is what execs and producers read. Oh and the douche-bag is usually some shit for brains college student whose most important moving going experience was Last Action Hero, because that's the film that made him want to be a director... ugh. Hollywood is creatively bankrupt. The best plan for future filmmakers to actually create something honest to their vision is to inherit, like, $4.8 billion dollars and then do whatever the hell you want.
July 2, 2002, 11:26 a.m. CST
Bottom line is that if you want Hollywood to finance your films then you have to abide by their rules and allow them to change the direction of your project whatever way they see fit. As far as most studios are concerned (there are exceptions and if anyone wishes to point them out and hail them then please do so), cinema is not an art form or a way for creative people to tell a story in the visual medium the way they want to, it's an expensive buissness, the buissness of 'show'. I understand that the acqusition of wealth is an incredibly important factor but i don't understand why, with the increase of cinema ticket prices, it seems more important to studios than ever. With the money he made from Diamonds are Forever, Sean Connery started a trust in Scotland to help finance the pet projects of all types of Scottish artists, completley free from creative control. I'm not plugging Scotland, or Sean i any way but it'd be nice to see more of that type of thing. The question is, if ticket prices were raised even higher, would it change the way films are made in America, would more gambles be taken with original films, and would any of you guys be prepared to make that sacrifice.
July 2, 2002, 11:34 a.m. CST
then we could arrest the scum who pollute this otherwise wonderful medium. Come on people, who would you arrest (don't say Schumacher or the bloke who directed the Avengers, i forget his name, too obvious)
July 2, 2002, 11:57 a.m. CST
by Ralph Cifaretto
$Money$ is made on the opening weekend. Audiences go see a film based on the concept (spelled out in the adds). By the time they are learning what happens in the 3rd act, they've already paid. Look at Scooby. $100 million in 2 weekends, with a %50 something drop-off in week 2.
July 2, 2002, 12:02 p.m. CST
Man I'm happy just reading the scripts, let's pass on the films.
July 2, 2002, 12:04 p.m. CST
by Ralph Cifaretto
July 2, 2002, 12:06 p.m. CST
by Ralph Cifaretto
July 2, 2002, 12:19 p.m. CST
And everybody knows it; yet if they did anything about it, eighty percent of Hollywood would be out of work. I mean, you sell a script, okay? Then anywhere from five to fifteen producers/"creative" execs give you notes on how to make the script better. Sometimes these people are smart, sometimes they are not. But no matter what, they always tell you to change stuff. Why? Because if they didn't, how would they justify the existence of their job? So you, the writer, try to make everybody happy, including yourself (impossible), and rewrite your script over and over until the studio is happy or sad. If they're happy, they bring on a high-profile writer (someone who's suffered through the process and managed to get a credit on a financially successful movie) to make themselves feel better and give the project some "momentum". If they're sad, they bring on a high-profile writer to make themselves feel better and fix what's wrong with your script ("what's wrong" almost always has something to do with you, the writer, trying to implement everybody and their mother's awful notes). After high-profile writer does a draft or fifty, the studio goes after a director. Once he or she signs on, they want changes and usually bring on another writer. Then they get an actor, who wants changes, then another actor, who wants changes, and then maybe, just maybe, your script, at least what remains of your script (a word, sometimes two) will be shot. And that's if your lucky. I guarantee you-- GUARANTEE YOU-- that if you eliminated the development process and shot the selling script, 99 out of 100 times the finished product would be superior. The sad thing is, everybody knows this; but the system is so ingrained, that they just try to move forward, fight the good fight, hoping for a miracle (a great movie, hell, a good movie) that almost never comes.
July 2, 2002, 12:33 p.m. CST
Hey M, not to sound pushy, but what happened to your Fountain script review. This movie sounds great.
July 2, 2002, 1:13 p.m. CST
You pick one of the newest must-read scripts. You read it, we get a link to it so we can read it too. From then on you update us from time to time with who is interested in the script, like producers, directors, actors and so forth. Like Elston Gunn's recap only for this one script. Basically so we can follow the development (in real time) of a film from script 1.0 to opening night. If it takes years, so what.
July 2, 2002, 2:36 p.m. CST
Seriously. For all the complaints about power being taken away from creative people, the director can generally get the movie he wants made. If the studios really hate it they can demand reshoots, but even then the director is capable of fighting for the film he wants to make. The trouble is, way too many directors only care about the aforementioned "Hollywood horseshit"--flashy images, over-the-top twists, sentimental pap, or "dark" nastiness for nastiness's sake. Directors often don't care about solid story construction, believable characters, or some kind of overriding theme (let alone heart or morality). Obviously there are plenty of talented directors (duh) but only a handful of them genuinely think like writers; most of them just know enough to get out of the way of a good script. And those are the GOOD directors. Ironically, the writers always get blamed for the crap that gets foisted on the film by the director. Directors truly do deserve the blame for crap films. There often seems to be a point where films bottom out before getting rewritten into something decent (if usually rather generic). So I'll give Merhige the benefit of the doubt. But I thought "Shadow of the Vampire" was pretty silly in most ways, showing a reckless disregard for what actually happened, for the sake of, yes, pretentious artsiness. I don't think he appreciates any of this stuff that Moriarty advances--which, ironically, sounds a hell of a lot more interesting than the usual "serial killer" crap. I mean, a police officer with psychic visions tracking a serial killer? Give me a freaking break! That's the kind of shit they grafted onto "From Hell", thereby ruining it. So often, movies people think are merely OK were once great stories that got mucked up like that, and which would frustrate people no end if they knew what they were missing. Kudoes to Moriarty for getting this stuff out in the open.
July 2, 2002, 2:40 p.m. CST
by Billy Talent
I haven't read any drafts of 'Suspect Zero'. If and when I see the finished film, I'll judge it on the merits of what's up there on the screen. Scripts go through a development process, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. The average movie goer (and critic) is only concerned with the final product, and that's as it should be. This whole business of reviewing scripts seems kind of seedy and unfair to me. I'm not convinced one way or another. Cruise and Wagner have demonstrated superior instincts in choosing projects ('The Others', 'Vanilla Sky', 'Minority Report') and I wouldn't be surprised if the completed film turned out to be excellent. That it might not be the movie Moriarity wanted to see is completely irrelevant.
July 2, 2002, 2:43 p.m. CST
I a surprised that the Scientology angle was not mentioned. Or perhaps how all the serial killers were linked to Xenu, or how L Ron Hubbard was one of the first profilers. I do not mean to pick on him, but he lost all credibility for me when he claimed that Scientology cured his Dyslexia. *** This COULD be a really, REALLY good script, but the whole concept of the FBI profiler has become somewhat stale. It goes back AT LEAST as far back as "Manhunter" and that was in the mid-1980's. Do we even WANT to see what this piece of dreck will turn out to be? And the concept about the 50' shark parable is reminiscent of the supposed 'ritual satanic abuse cults' nonsense of the 1980's. Because there is no proof that somethign does exist, then we can conclude that it does exist because it is so good at avoiding detection. What a crock. It sounds good in the script - sort of - but it is a ridculous concept when you extract it from the movie. At least IMHO.
July 2, 2002, 2:45 p.m. CST
by Neil MacAuley
Great article, Moriarty. Now here's my post on the Cell, from the Texas Chainsaw thread, in case you've moved on and missed it. I hope this silences you idiots who love The Cell, but it won't because you won't even understand my points... *******SERIOUSLY, pi, and other defenders of this film -- I'm even more adamant about this being trash than Texas Chainsaw. Becaues it had a good budget and decent talent but yet was completely misguided from the getgo. Ideally I'd want to go back through the film but to do that would be so angering I can't even describe it, so here's my take on its major faults, off the top of my head, which derail the whole damn thing from the getgo: **The premise falls apart in the second half of the film, especially the ending. It just doesn't make sense, logic goes out the window. Because they never b bother to clearly explain the RULES of the dreamstate. In fact, there are no rules, so the story loses focus and merely goes wherever the director wants it to go; again, in the name of STYLE. By the time Jennifer Lopez is killing him with the sword I have so many unanswered questions it's mind-numbing. Questions the filmmakers didn't bother to address, because, guess what, STYLE was more important than story. The whole idea of "killing" someone in the dream state is not clear at all -- what exactly is this achieving and why is Lopez, someone whose entire GOAL and main motivation of character is anti-violence (e.g. to save the abused children) resorting to violence in the end?!! It makes no sense in terms of character motivation and story (like the one scene of child abuse that's supposed to explain the killer's whole dementia and incredibly ornate mental fantasy world. And I'm sure a country hick like this boy has hundreds of progressive works of cross-cultural art in his mind, down to the nth detail, right?! Jeez.). **Vince Vaughn actually finds the kidnapped girl in the end, not Lopez, which just doesn't work at all because we never invest any emotion in him and the subtle sexual thing between him and Lopez goes nowhere and is completely limp. And the whole attempted murder of this innocent girl by drowning is sick and exploitative as it's drawn out. Overall... **The content with the kidnapped girl is absolutely disgusting and atrocious and unnecessary. Yet another grisly sexual serial killer in a movie for exploitative reasons *only*, wherein the moraity of the situation is never called into question. In The Silence of the Lambs Clarice questions Lecter's motivations, his sickness, and we feel real emotion for the victims of Buffalo Bob (not the Senator's daughter but Fredericka Bimmel and others we hear about). Not here. It's just irresponsible bullshit; not just morally but in terms of story and filmmaking; it's lacking theme and credibility and focus. **The performances: way over the top and it's OBVIOUS as hell that Lopez and especially Vince Vaughn are WALKING THROUGH this movie. Paycheck time. Vaughn must have been taking time off from rehab to shoot this, he's never looked worse. And again, his sallow eyes, unshaven beard, and frumpy appearance is NEVER ADDRESSED. Because the director doesn't understand this is a story about people, he just wants to find opportunities to put in his cool shots. **When we cut to the dream sequences, THE STORY STOPS. Dead halt. They are not CRUCIAL and they rarely advance the story. That's just bad writing and bad filmmaking. **The art: If it were actually a good film, I'd see the insertion of other artist's work in the film as an homage. But since the film is shit, it just amounts to stealing. The idiots on this board who don't understand film seem to think that just because something is remotely clever or new it's automatically "cool." But it has to actually WORK in the film. It's like if your song was sampled by Dr. Dre into a really great hip-hop song, you'd be cool with that. But if Vanilla Ice sampled it and didn't bother to do anything new with it, you'd be pissed. The very idea of sampling doesn't make something automatically "cool," just like here Tarsem's "sampling" of art in his film isn't used logically or to dramatic impact so it fails. I'm not going to lie; sure there were some striking images in the film, visually stunning at times. But most of the time I'm sitting there going "Why?" and it pulled me out of the movie. Make sense? Maybe if you studied story and film more, it would. And I know Ebert loved the film -- but Ebert loves anything that breaks new ground because his life is seeing 10 bad movies a week. And remember, he had "Babe: pig in the city" and "Dark City" as number ones in their years just as he picked "The Cell" number one in its year. So he ain't the most reliable there. Ultimately, Tarsem can't hold the jock of the artists he's ripping off and I bet they're embarassed to be associated with the film. I saw the exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum with the sectioned cow -- the thought of Tarsem standing where I was, looking at that exhibit and saying "I'm going to put that in my movie because it's cool," irregardless of logic, motivation, theme, or story, pisses me off to no end. I think I've said enough.
July 2, 2002, 3:17 p.m. CST
I could hardly believe as I read it, but it's true: what you described just got worse and worse...and WORSE! Like a Twilight Zone nightmare that never ends. Fucking Whoreywood never gave a damn about writers anyway, unless they happened to be the star or director or producer with all the power needed (aquired beforehand) to make their own film. Well, that may be oversimplifying things. I would love to sell the film rights to a major blockbuster novel, but with the codicil in my contract: that, if I didn't satisfactorily approve of the final cut, the credit "Loosely based on a novel by..." would HAVE to be in the movie print.
July 2, 2002, 3:22 p.m. CST
The scientific theory is that fifteen inch penises are rarely seen because guys with such long shafts don't need to show them off, they get so much non-stop pussy that bragging would seem irrelevant to their already over-inflated ego.
July 2, 2002, 3:32 p.m. CST
by Wee Willie
Give screenwriters final cut. The Auteur Theory is bullshit.
July 2, 2002, 3:33 p.m. CST
The "serial serial-killer killer" idea isn't exactly fresh, either. The concept was mentioned in an episode of Tales From the Crypt with Eddie Izzard, I think it was called The Confession. Then there was a low-budget picture with C. Thomas Howell about a serial killer who killed serial killers. The idea is tempting in a cute sort of way, but it negates any real tension because the audience can't be all that disturbed by the killings. After all, these guys really deserve to die. Remember, in Hannibal, how Dr. Lector only killed people who messed with him or who were "bad" in some way? He wasn't a serial killer; he was a superhero. And that's what our friend O
July 2, 2002, 3:45 p.m. CST
great piece Mori. That was an insightful real life example of how a great script can go to sh$t by coming in contact with the hollywood system. Painful. Sheesh I was sucked in by the setup. I'm gonna track down tha original and at least get a good read, even if it never makes the big screen. And whats up with the lame psychic crap? WTF?
July 2, 2002, 4:07 p.m. CST
...but I've tracked down "Patient Zero" and his name is Mark Ebner.
July 2, 2002, 4:10 p.m. CST
by black sprocket
... pulled the same shit with the upcoming Renny Harlin film, MINDHUNTERS. They gutted the original script (I can't remember who wrote it) which was gritty and really fucking scary... and brought on a whole slew of writers to do a Hollywood hack job on it.
July 2, 2002, 4:20 p.m. CST
...is some word on a movie called MORTAL KOMBAT 3: Domination. I mean, come on, Moriarty; this is your chance to REALLY explain to us how this whole Hollywood-thing works. Did people try to steal your ideas? Do you have a studio-exec voodoo doll in your closet now? Did you get paid at all? If you can, please let us know! Thnx.
July 2, 2002, 4:46 p.m. CST
What a bunch of dickheads these studio execs are! They think that the only way to justify their enormous salaries is to throw money into rewrites of a script that didn't need them (see Monkeybone . . . or better yet, don't).
July 2, 2002, 4:53 p.m. CST
Why can't Hollywood take a step back and look at themselves? Hollywood and movie making is a business. The goal of any business is to put out the best product possible so that consumers will buy it. So why would a studio ever put out crap? Why, for instance, would you take a sure-fire goldmine like the Tomb Raider franchise, and have it bomb because you couldn't spend an extra million dollars on a halfway decent script? It's called "GOOD BUSINESS"! A good script for Tomb Raider would have meant repeat business. Repeat business would mean millions of dollars more in profit. Good marketing will make movie goers see a film once. A good movie will get them to see it twice. Why not put out a good movie everytime? If you're going to make a Scooby Doo movie, why not find someone to make it good? I just find it hard to believe that after completing Scooby Doo, they showed it to the studio heads and at the end they turned to each other and said, "this is the best movie we could have possibly made." Sad. Who wants to start a new production company where the WRITER is just as important as the director and the stars?
July 2, 2002, 5:13 p.m. CST
by Neil MacAuley
but then not everyone has the story sense of Spielberg and Katzenberg. E.g... I read an early draft of Saving Private Ryan that was horrible, it read like a Sgt. Rock comic book. A friend told me he read an early Gladiator draft and it was terrible. American Beauty got much better as it was developed, shot, edited, and then re-shoots were added (the big change was ditching the framing device of the kids on trial for Lester's murder). Minority Report is just a damn well-written film. Shrek went through extensive development to get the script right, with respect to the legends it draws from. What else? They just know story. I remember when I was reading scripts for a major director based in NYC; I recommended he buy Memoirs of A Geisha; he didn't and Spielberg snatched it up. I recommended a dark, powerful thriler named "Girls," by Frederick Busche. Again, my bosses passed and Dreamworks grabbed it. I really liked Cold Mountain, they passed and now Minghella's making it for Miramax. These bonehead execs and big egos should listen to their Readers more often!!! Not all readers are idiot film school students, but most of them ARE film lovers and passionate about writing.
July 2, 2002, 5:27 p.m. CST
Say, $50,000 against half a point of the gross. You know you're nothing without me.
July 2, 2002, 7:01 p.m. CST
Isn't this plot basically Frailty, but without the cool suspense and flashbacks about what is really going on? I mean the whole plot of Frailty is this guy convinced that he is "hunting demons" in the last days. It is totally the vampire hunter theme, but with you never sure if he is crazy or not. Don't get me wrong, this might have been good if it really played up the police stuff and did it serious. Going the Frank Black route - well the problem is that its all been done. If you are going to go with it you really have to go with the ethical issues. But really, haven't serial killers been done to death now? Come on. Other than Frailty has there been an original serial killer movie in years?
July 2, 2002, 7:09 p.m. CST
by brian O' blivion
Is Thomas Mackelway 'Suspect Zero'? That would make sense.
July 2, 2002, 7:30 p.m. CST
by Neil MacAuley
Gladiator is a very tight, focused, epic action thriller, and Minority Report is a fantastic S.F. concept drama with the spine of a noir thriller. Not a single piece of information in M.R. goes unused in the story. Both films are examples of top-notch filmmaking and strong writing -- if you analyze Gladiator in terms of goals, theme, two running lines of action, multiple characters, epic scale, showing character through action, structure, etc. it's strong in every department. It's not a serious "issue" film, it's a sword-and-sandals epic; and it's better than 90% of Hollywood fare. And oh hey, in regards to M.R., you sayin' Philip K. Dick doesn't know how to come up with a strong S.F. premise?
July 2, 2002, 7:34 p.m. CST
I am not going to forget that you have this script, Moriarty. That probably won't make the slightest bit of difference, but I'm still not going to forget. Both drafts of this Suspect Zero movie sound lame. I need The Fountain, and nothing else. I apologize for my whining.
July 2, 2002, 8:06 p.m. CST
middle fingers, serial killers hunting other serial killers...Is Britney Spears going to do a cameo as a the hitchiker cuz honey thats the only way I'll see this piece of shit! The Original sounds like it Could rock but really does any one in Hollywood have the balls to make films like that anymore? Or are we going to Ashley Judd it all the way til 2010 with lame ass serial killer movies co-starring Morgan Freeman? High Crimes indeed!
July 2, 2002, 8:29 p.m. CST
Makes me think I shouldn't invest too much imagination or creativity or logic into my future projects. *SIGH* Maybe I SHOULD aspire to be a script-hack instead. Then I wouldn't care if my words got butchered. I could smile inwardly and say, "Ha, you Fucks! I didn't even give you the good stuff and I still got paid me!" Heh--And the sad thing: I'm only half-joking.
July 2, 2002, 9:32 p.m. CST
As a guy who simply loves a good detective thriller type flick, and who loved everything Moriarty desribed about Zak Penn's draft, I am begging anyone who might have the power to go with the Penn version. Didn't Seven ans Silence of the Lambs prove that this type of thriller is bankable. Somebody seems to have the idea that any movie containing physcic spookiness will make money. Hey, didn't anyones notice "the Gift"'s box-office take? All I want is a solid thriller, not some crappy flick from a director who is capable of more.
July 2, 2002, 9:33 p.m. CST
by Billy Talent
Okay, I want to back off a little from my earlier post. I know that writers get a shitty deal in Hollywood, and I didn't mean to sound callous about that. But all scripts go through a development or editorial process, and it's worth noting that that keeps a lot of writers employed. If a studio only purchased the twenty or so properties a year that it produced, if they only filmed first drafts, a whole lot more writers would be going hungry. It's inevitable that actors, producers, directors and others look at a script and say "Yeah, that's good, but what if... ?" And you know what? Sometimes (not always) that can make a script better. Harry passionately hates 'Scooby-Doo' because it doesn't live up to the supposed promise of an early draft, whereas I can't imagine any version of 'Scooby-Doo' that I'd want to see. Moriarity has a hate on for 'Suspect Zero', but then he adored 'The Green Mile' and 'The Patriot'. His taste is not my taste. Most people don't read first drafts, they watch finished films. That's what matters.
July 2, 2002, 9:46 p.m. CST
by Son Of Batboy
This crap was tired to begin with. It shows its age. Not that any of those changes made it better, but this reads like yesterday's news, if yesterday were six years ago. Real scientific that shark theory. "Hey we can't disprove it, so it must be true." Sure, and I've got an invisible rabbit named Harvey and it talks to Elizabeth Smart. That middle finger gimmick sure wouldn't help weed out the likes of Dahmer, Bundy, or Gacy. Sure would help for flippin' off assholes in traffic though. One other thing. Van Helsing was too obsessed with his work to ever get lonely. Loneliness is for people with nothing to do.
July 2, 2002, 9:53 p.m. CST
The original script was pure genius. Reading how it has become a bastard step-child of it's original self has really pissed me off. Wonderful article Moriarty. Keep them coming!
July 2, 2002, 10:04 p.m. CST
maybe if a few more writers were going hungry, instead of hacking up great scripts, then a few of them might have reason to turn out original works! But I guess I can't knock 'em for getting paid! The Hollywood system and its idiot execs don't care about great scripts anyway, just marketable movies. You can tell 'em no, no, no, but a dog will still eat its own shit and slurp a pool of vomit........
July 3, 2002, 12:56 a.m. CST
sorry to say this, but none of you know JACKSH*T about writing scripts. i am a CREDITED, LEGIT, ACTUAL HOLLYWOOD SCRIPTWRITER. maybe you heard of a little gem in the theaters a few years back that i crafted: KRULL???? yes. it was mine. i got my start as a "script doctor" putting on the finishing flourishes onto that now classic "THE LAST STARIFGHTER". as an example of what WE PROS go thru, john boy and some of the other actors tried to alter some key lines during the shoot. well, that's why we ATTEND THE SHOOTS. after i bitch slapped him he thought he was back on walton mountain. ok it's true, i haven't had much work since then but a friend of mine wrote "THE SKULLS". i helped chisel and flesh out some of the lines. "COME JOIN ME, KEVIN, AND BRING IN A NEW GENERATION OF SKULLS INTO AMERICA".
July 3, 2002, 4:32 a.m. CST
by Max Rockatansky
July 3, 2002, 5:08 a.m. CST
by Max Rockatansky
Can anybody out there tell me what the heck happened to Shane Black? I think he is one of the best dialogue-writers araound and I am missing his hardboiled banter. Please, no "killed by the Predator" quips. Goon aiming gun at Joe:" Where do you want it? Head or gut?" Joe:" Your wife asked me the same question."
July 3, 2002, 8:20 a.m. CST
I mean isn't there anything practical that can be done (besides hoping they read this article) to influence these Hollywood twats? Because if there isn't, I would rather not have known about this whole sorry mess at all. Jesus wept. That was a good story in the making. And telepathy/dream links with the killer? Um ... The Gift, From Hell, Hideaway, 30% of X-Files shows ... that's for starters. For fuck's sake. What a heap of steaming kak they all were. Somebody do something!!!
July 3, 2002, 9:39 a.m. CST
Am I the only person who thinks a good script is the ONLY thing that matters about a film? I can forgive bits of bad acting, or bits of bad score, or shoddy camera work. I cannot forgive a shitty plot. If I'm not interested in the film on an intellectual level I don't really give a whoop in hell about special effects, direction, or any other aspect of the film. It's so depressing what they do to good writing now that it saps the strength from my fingers just to type about it.
July 3, 2002, 3:02 p.m. CST
I'll agree with you that CT,HD was a triumph of beautifully choreographed action sequences, but if you think the "story" is superior to Gladiator, or MR, (regardless of how you feel about the film itself) you're only losing credibility. There was a running joke in Hollywood that the movie should have been called, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Story, and it was right on. Whatever you're feelings are about Gladiator and MR, they are well-made films, and you have to respect that - you don't have to like it.
July 3, 2002, 4:07 p.m. CST
Good script, nice plotting, no outlandish twists, real clues, actual sleuthing, no supernatural psychic anything. The female-female lead pairing was inspired too. Better than Brad Pitt-Morgan Freeman. Or Monica Potter-Morgan Freeman. Or Ashley Judd-Morgan Freeman. Or Ashley Judd-Samuel L. Jackson.
July 3, 2002, 4:15 p.m. CST
"Starship Troopers" IS, in point of fact, the "Citizen Kane" of vacuous teenagers in space fighting critter flicks. Seriously: I challenge anyone here to name a better "teenagers in space vs. unstoppable alien force" movie. Otherwise, though, you make some excellent points.
July 3, 2002, 6:07 p.m. CST
I'm a doctor, and that middle finger thing is utter BS. Studies have shown that the prevalence of 47 XYY phenotype males in prison is higher than that in the general population. However, this genotype is not defined by long middle fingers, rather by tall structure, a tendency toward cystic acne, and problems in motor and language development. Further, studies of these males have not proved that they are more inclined toward antisocial behavior, and any such conclusions are inappropriate to make. Check your facts before you write garbage like that, Moriarty. Hollywood types love to take a fragment of medical information (or a complete misinterpretation of medical infomration), spin it into a huge wad of misinformation, and puke it into the public imagination to sell a story without any thought about what they are doing. I love the idea that morons like Spielberg are checking their kids for that telltale finger - what's he gonna do, get the kid in with a shrink if the finger is too long?
July 3, 2002, 9:04 p.m. CST
I too was aware of the "hot" nature of this script and I thought we were in for a cool flick with Merhige(sp?) and Aaron Eckhart and Ben friggin' Kingsley starring in it but...eeew I lost all hope at the psychic cop thing. That instantly takes the film out of realism and into "Cinemax presents..." territory. Yucky.
July 3, 2002, 11:40 p.m. CST
by Johnny Ahab
You truly rule this site, Professor. In laying out the first script, then the second, I shook my head at the BULLSHIT d-notes that derailed what coulda been a cool film. The fucking wave. What d-girl/boy thought up that shite?? Or maybe it was the brilliant Mr. Cruise himself? The same creative genius who thought up "Days of Thunder". Hey, pretty boy, stick to acting, okay?? Let the writers write, and not dilute them with your or your legion of lackeys' crappy notes. When actors get too uppity and want to write films, look out, here comes another "Hudson Hawk"!
July 4, 2002, 12:19 a.m. CST
July 4, 2002, 12:55 a.m. CST
But, the new version sounds like cliche shit. Give the new version a good trailer and pre release press and it might make 50-100 million with a good date and strong opening weekend. Youd better believe itd drop like a rock. The original version had potential to be a real hit. No one wants to take chances anymore, it sucks.
July 4, 2002, 5:57 a.m. CST
by Zefram Mann
Attacking the intelligence of people for liking Gladiator is first and last act of a desperate man screaming at the top of his lungs because nobody is listening. All you do is make yourself sound like a pretentious asshole. No one here wants to here how they "lack a single firing nueron" because they liked Gladiator. It must really suck to be you if you can't enjoy a movie through its faults, but I guess you can, because CT,HD had faults as big as China itself that you neglect to mention. You're nothing but a lame-ass flamer troll with too much free time and a half-assed opinion that nobdy gives a crap about in real life, so you torture people on the net with it.
July 4, 2002, 7:33 p.m. CST
by Billy Talent
I've come to an interesting conclusion; in real life, Freddie Prinze Jr. is almost certainly a more pleasant, likeable and hygienic individual than Harry, Moriarity, or most of my fellow talkbackers. I happen to like 'Minority Report', 'Gladiator', 'A.I.', 'Starship Troopers', 'Attack of the Clones' and lots and lots of other films. And based on your incomprehensible rantings, I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that I'm smarter than you are and I don't need to defend my tastes to your like. Undoubtedly your favorite movies encompass what I would consider to be some real crap. But that's neither here nor there, what matters is that I like what I like and you like what you like and everything's coming up sunshine and lollipops and none of us has any particular monopoly on good taste.
July 4, 2002, 10:56 p.m. CST
There's nothing that ruins a movie nore than when a psychic shows up. I don't mind ghosts, goblins, or monsters. But when film makers use psychics it not only ruins the film, it's a real sign of laziness. For example, I really liked Jeepers Creepers, until the psychic showed up! She was a lazy way for the writer to explain everything about the bad guy. This original script for Suspect Zero sounded great. Why did they have to stick all this psychic crap into it? Hollywood execs are such morons!
July 5, 2002, 11:15 a.m. CST
Did he push the car to the middle of one of those big-assed bridges? Because that's the only way to be on the state line between Texas and Oklahoma. And those bridges are so damned busy it's ridiculous. No, wait, it could be a panhandle state line. Yeah, that could work. Never mind.
July 5, 2002, 12:20 p.m. CST
I believe reading scripts in Hollywood is the equivalent to Butt-Head's reading anything at length. "Uuuhh... words... words... uuuhhh... This is too long. Let's go!" That's what coverage is for. The CliffNotes of modern Hollywood. They probably thought the "Middle Finger" image was merely gesture of flipping off someone. "We've seen that a thousand times in movies. Cut it!" Heaven forbid we ask these "Industry Wheels" the allegorical references in these stories. "What's this script have to do with reptiles?!!"
July 5, 2002, 5:32 p.m. CST
Highlights from another rewrite that almost happened: Yeah, we like this story, Mr. Spielberg, but we're thinking of going a different way. We're gonna go without a shark. Now, here's how we see it ...
July 5, 2002, 7:35 p.m. CST
by Neil MacAuley
I'm not going to bother to refute every one of your asinine points one by one, even though I can, because it's a holiday weekend and I've got better things to do. Just two small examples of how much of an idiot you are: ****1) the ENTIRE POINT of the ending of Minority Report ***begin spoilers*** is that ultimately the system does NOT work! the final Max Von Sydow shooting proves that. And we were told this earlier by the 'inventor' herself: sometimes the pre-cogs disagree. Thus, there are flaws. That's the point. Sure, they could have ended on it being absolutely infallible, but that would have reinforced the same point we learned when Anderton ended up shooting Crow! Thus, no turn in direction, no surprise in the end, static plot, boom, it's over, how boring. You might want to learn something about screenwriting to know that it's kinda a good thing to end on a climax that SURPRISES the audience! Dillweed. ***end spoilers*** 2) And your Gladiator rambling about how the Emperor should have ASSUMED his bumbling son would MURDER him the moment he told him he wouldn't succeed him to the throne?! Yeah, of course, why wouldn't he assume that, considering the kid has never fought in a single war and by all accounts is a clueless fuckup. Why would an Emperor with absolute power NOT assume he'd be smothered to death spontaneously by his own son in his tent 20 feet from his guards and the entire Roman legions? Dirk you idjut: the whole point is WE didn't know Commodus would do that on our first viewing of the film, it was a surprise to us. The point is to make the audience feel the right emotions for the story at that particular moment. And on that basis, that scene (and pretty much every other one in Gladiator) was a success. Something Spielberg excels at (most of the time) because he understands story. ********And now, in light of earlier posts, I leave you with a fantastic quote from Roger Ebert from the final paragraph of his RIGHTFULLY GLOWING review of Minority Report. Geeks take heed: "American movies are in the midst of a transition period. Some directors place their trust in technology. Spielberg, who is a master of technology, trusts only story and character, and then uses everything else as a workman uses his tools. He makes "Minority Report" with the new technology; other directors seem to be trying to make their movies from it. This film is such a virtuoso high-wire act, daring so much, achieving it with such grace and skill. "Minority Report" reminds us why we go to the movies in the first place."
July 7, 2002, 1:24 p.m. CST
OK everyone, I'm looking for the title of one of the coolest damn Martial Arts movies I've seen. It was made over seas a few years ago and it has amazingly badass fight scenes. At the end of the movie, it is a duel between 2 masters,1 from Japan, the other from China. They battle with swords on a cliff next to the ocean. They jump to amazing hieghts by bouncing off of their swords. At the end, the Japanese warrior dies, but before he does, he stabs his sword through his foot so he dies standing, facing Japan. The movie pits Shaolin monks versus Japanese Ninjas. It has the word Death in the title. WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS MOVIE? please tell me. I'm dying to know. I just saw a clip of it in the Bruce Lee AMC documentary, so thats what made me think of it.
July 7, 2002, 7:13 p.m. CST
What happens if you have a middle finger that's an inch and a half SHORTER than the rest of your hand? (I'm missing two bones). Does that make me a really nice person?
July 7, 2002, 11:54 p.m. CST
Plainly put, Minority Report's ruminations work because although certain events are predictable, their significance is not, and other events in between bring new understanding to the audience. The collaborators on that project figured out what the important elements of the arguments for and against were, and then made their case for why it wasn't such a good thing not by giving us more of their opinion, but instead giving some notion of just why, despite all the lives saved, the system was ultimately a faustian bargain. even in a system of seeming predestination, things like minority reports (which suggest alternate futures, just as possible), ambiguities in information (the man outside the window), and the machinations that the plot ultimately hangs on creep up to make the point: because the system involves humans, involves our informal capabilities of thought, it cannot be reduces to perfection. That is the same thing as how the movies are. Too many executives have some idea of formal (meaning predestined) success, which they attach to certain kinds of plots, like those with psychic flashes and everything. And what they don't see is that at the very heart of what movies are about is that step the writer took that set the ideas of the movie apart. The idea of someone being predestined to become a serial killer, of a serial killer hunter, of some serial killer being practically unstoppable are ideas that haven't so saturate the marketplace of ideas like the "psychic flash" notion. Because of that, there is more that a filmmaker (and an audience) can explore with these concepts than just the tired old supernatural manhunt idea. I agree with Moriarty's opinion on this one- return to the old script. It sounds twice as interesting as the supernatural thriller that's been developed from it.
July 8, 2002, 12:42 a.m. CST
A while back, the guy who directed The Contender was considering whether or not to put music behind the end of the speech that he has the president make at the end of the film. Spielberg asked the guy whether he believed in what the guy was saying. The director (I think his name is Rod Lurie) said yes, and Spielberg said that's your answer. There are some who would disagree with him, who would say ambiguity would serve the story better, but does it? The point of what Spielberg said was pretty simple: at some point, there is a necessity to make a point, to take some kind of stand. All too often, films either offer muddled mixed messages, or make points that are just formalities of the kind of story that is offered there. This relates to some of the criticism that Minority Report has garnered for not leaving Anderton in the lurch he is in near the end of the film: Some said that it wasn't true Film Noir. And they'd be right. However, that shouldn't count as a cut against the film, because Spielberg wasn't willing to take the pessimistic worldview of such films that far. You see, film noirs are quite heavily steeped in a sense of existentialism, the problems of living a life just to exist from day to day. No right, no wrong. But Spielberg did not make his movie with such ambivalence towards morality. Instead he made a film where morality itself was a matter buried in the subjective experience of the story, that in order to get through the story alive, he had to change from the person who believed he had a good system going. Spielberg, for better or worse simply refuses to take an existential attitude towards the way his films proceed. He instead proceeds with moral ideals in mind, and acknowledges the complexity of how they play out as he elaborates the story.
March 25, 2003, 4:20 p.m. CST
I know, this script does sound cheesy and too hollywood, but there are a few other things to take into consideration: 1. As someone else on this board mentioned earlier, I judge a film by the finished product, what I see and hear when all is done. That is a problem with this site, great as it is, you do try to pre-empt things a bit too much. Lots of valid points are made about the state of the business in this article and it's responses. But let's give it a chance, see what comes out of the machine. I like the look of the cast very much, and if its done properly, it may well be pulled off. 2. that psychic thing, it may be wierd and stupid, but it actually happens. I know a member of the cast who went to see how it is done. The FBI use it, but don't make a big fuss of it. They use it to find missing kids and stuff. that week, theyd found a girl buried under someones garage apparently. Now for some down sides 1. E. Elias Merhige is, apparently, a bit of a wierdo. Sometimes that's a good thing, other times, it can just result in a wierdo's film. 2. I've heard people say that they were a bit worried it would turn out to be 'just another' serial killer film. Anyway, we'll see, I've got mixed feelings, I'll probably go and see it anyway! Ferdie
May 16, 2003, 7:58 p.m. CST
M, In reference to Suspect Zero: The "psychic" part in this movie is referring to Remote Viewing. Remote Viewing is a real science. Do your research. The Pentagon created RV and developed it for the soul purpose of spy work. It was used during the cold war to locate nuclear subs and did so with shocking accuracy. Even that part of the movie was well researched. I heard they used actual Remote Viewers in the movie. Very interesting plot and intelligently put together. Not expecting to be disappointed. Hell_Kitten
May 28, 2009, 4:20 p.m. CST