Thursday, February 1, 2007

Does a Good Script = A Good Movie?

I’ll answer this by telling you that my favorite script in the whole, entire world is Rocky - I even have a full-sized poster of the movie on my office wall as inspiration - but the movie itself would not even make it on my top 10, top 20, or even top 50 favorite movies - okay, okay, maybe 47.

Why? Uh, let me think.

The script engaged me. It was a solid piece of writing. The characters all well-defined . The plot tight. The read never difficult or needing explanation. I clearly understand the protagonist’s/main character’s goals, his needs, his fears, his failures. I know who and what stands in his way. The secondary characters’ roles are clearly defined and they never step outside of them. I see the images that are painted for me - the gym, the pet store, the ring, the blood, the guts.

So why the hell don’t I like the movie?

Maybe for the same reason that some writers submit a strong, solid script to an agent or prodco and they are told, “great writing, what else do you have?” There is a strong level of subjectivity in this industry. It’s part of the human make-up. We bring to the table our own misgivings, beliefs, and fucked-up background. Some people don’t have the stomach for blood and gore, so they find themselves unable to sit through certain movies, no matter how great the story might be. Others may have a low tolerance for excessive violence and may refuse to see a Tarantino movie, no matter how much it’s praised.

But you want to know the plain, simple truth? It’s like reading a great book. It’s YOUR imagination that the writer has awoken. It’s the places and people you create in your mind’s eye that endears you to a great piece of writing. But when someone else intrudes on what we have come to hold endearing, we turn away.

That wasn’t my gym, or pet store, or boxing ring. Simply, that wasn’t my Rocky.

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