But, the script isn’t good. It’s barely competent.
My recent string of reading misfires is threatening to indict my “good” name. Soon people will say… that Joel Barish guy never has anything good to say about List Scripts. The fact is, however, I would debate any one of the people who contributed the 32 votes to this script, about the merits of this script. I would win. It wouldn’t be close.
Look at this exchange from page 52:
Do you — do you wanna come back
for dinner on Thursday –
Oh I’d love to.
So, I know the writer is aiming at awkwardness, but I wrote lines this obvious when I was 14.
Is it too much to ask that ANY list of unproduced specs that wishes to be anything like a list of prized examples of writing not contain lines that Joel Barish could have written when he was 14? Is that really too much to ask?
You might wonder if I am just picking the very worst stretch of dialogue in the story and then making an extra big deal about it. I’m not. Anyone want to defend this from page 33:
I love the smell of Champaign in
the morning. Alright, let’s light
up this shit hole and go party.
Which school did he have to go to write that? Was that USC or AFI? I mean no one could do that Apocalypse Now joke without having gone to AT LEAST USC, right?
So, yeah, the dialogue in this script is awful. No subtext, no anything. And the derivative way Rothchild speaks is almost as bad as the Apocalypse Now joke. Awful.
How about structure? Maybe this script makes up for its clunky dialogue with great plotting? Nope.
The script is 127 pages long [ridiculous] and the first 27 pages are all exposition. Except, today’s author is really clever (2), he sets us up on page 1 with this:
THERE ARE NO OPENING CREDITS, JUST A
MAXIMUM SECURITY JAIL CELL – NIGHT
So he can pay that little structural nugget off on page 22 with this:
And, in a movie full of pianos and harpsichords, bloodthirsty
HEAVY METAL rips to life as
OPENING TITLES APPEAR.
We follow the arrow as it RIPS through the painting. RIPS
through the wall behind it. And BLASTS like a missile down
the street and:
That is FUCKING brilliant. I mean you’d have to go to USC or AFI to think of putting your opening titles on page 22. Holy shit, I am blown away by the AUDACITY.
There is nothing interesting in this structure. Summed, it is… kill a list of people until you get near the required number of pages. The author thinks his ending is a twist. It’s not. What is shocking about a sociopath acting like a sociopath?
It’s a watered down version of American Psycho. The movie, not the book. I’m pretty sure today’s author doesn’t read books. I would love for anyone to also try and justify this structure. Please, one of the people who voted for this script come on here and tell me why this structure works.
Alright then, how about theme? A script which has been this bad so far, must pay everything off with a great theme, right? RIGHT?
The theme of this script is:
Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure is cool to have it.
I’m out of words. I think I went back in time and wrote this when I was 14. For realzo.
Rating: Not worth your time.
1 The capitalized emphasis on the conjunction does not come from me. I am quoting someone else who was impressed by these credentials.
2 Today’s author is a lot of things, but clever is not one of them. That was me being cruel, twice.