ENJOY THE MOVIES
I have never been to France, but after seeing Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, I feel like I've walked the cobblestone streets and fallen in love with old Pairee. Even from my squeaky view in a cold, cramped movie theater I was swept up by the whirlwind of Edith Piaf's crackling tunes and postcard shots of the world's most romantic city. Allen's script about an engaged couple accompanying the bride-to-be's parents on a trip to Paris is charming, funny, honest, and most importantly playful. But I will make one suggestion for those interested in seeing Midnight in Paris—don't read any reviews about the film! (Except this one of course.)
Girls say the F word too. And now the whole world knows it thanks to Bridesmaids, directed by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow, a funny but far from perfect take on the raunchy adult comedy from the perspective of the ladies. I wanted to take a moment to talk about my thoughts on the film following Jeremy's review from earlier in the week. I do want to affirm that I did enjoy Bridesmaids; it was, after all, the first summer movie I had the chance to catch (sorry Thor) and I laughed a lot, but as a screenwriting student fresh off the graduation boat I have to say I was a bit disappointed.
I want to preface this review with the fact that I have never read Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and I knew nearly nothing of the plot before attending a showing of director Cary Joji Fukunaga's latest version of Jane Eyre for the big screen. Lucky me. Going into Jane Eyre completely unaware allowed for a thrilling, organic experience; the plot unraveled before my eyes, the dialogue was fresh and sharp, and the mystery remained just that until the climactic finale. Which is why I would suggest to any and all who have never read of (or cared about) the story of Jane Eyre to let this film be their first exposure. It's worth every penny.
I fancy myself a bit of a documentary nerd. When most people hear the term "documentary film" they cringe and immediately think of another word: boring. There was a time when everyone saw documentaries; the films appeared as propaganda reels during the previews of war-era pictures. Audiences initially tolerated this because it was often their only source of news, but that faded with the invention of the home television set and soon thereafter American families could chose when to watch true life documented. After a couple of decades there were enough channels of fictionalized stories that the real stuff could be completely tuned out.
Next assignment! We've all seen them. Hollywood's "Presidential Pics" which portray the leader of the free world as only the film industry truly can. Sometimes he's a heroic leader, like Harrison Ford in Air Force One, or maybe he is braving an alien invasion like Bill Pullman did in Independence Day. The President might not be the President at all, rather a comedic impersonator as with Kevin Kline's Dave, or he may be a wig-wearing lawyer of the Revolution like Paul Giammati in the HBO mini-series John Adams (which, by the way, is absolutely excellent and directed by Oscar-nominated Tom Hooper of The King's Speech, too).
Let's continue our brand new From the Page series on scripts with Aaron Sorkin's highly acclaimed The Social Network, nominated this year for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. The Social Network is a lush and lengthy screenplay, topping out at 167 pages when the average script is around 90-120 pages. But Aaron Sorkin began his career as a playwright and has an undeniable affinity for dialogue, something that easily fills the page count. I have to admit it was a challenge to even find a scene short enough in the script to fit in my post below, so I encourage you to read the entire script if you get the chance (see note below).
Welcome to From the Page, a new series on FirstShowing that takes a closer look at the original source or blueprint for some of our most beloved and despised films: the screenplay. Every week we will glimpse at the page of known, and sometimes not-so-known, scripts to view scenes in their original form (see below for an example, it'll make sense). I'll give a brief history of the story or the writer behind it. Occasionally we may even see the scene again, courtesy of YouTube, and often I will attach the link for you to download the entire screenplay (if publicly available). Let's kick this off with a look at a script nominated for an Oscar this year!
In the spirit of dedicated film students - both of the university and of the heart - I welcome you to FS.net's first ever "Weekly Assignment" - a chance to collectively watch films and collect bits of show-and-tell to share together as an assembly of cinephiles and fanboys/fangirls. Once a week I will post an "assignment", essentially a film-related activity (don't think of it as homework) and hopefully it's something that intrigues you enough to find the time to participate. The comments below will be our "class" and the place for us to discuss what we've learned! (Because the goal is to see something new every week.) It should be lots of fun!
It has been a while since we introduced a new writer, but that changes today as we're excited to introduce a new member of our team - Cate Hahneman! Cate is a film student at Boston University whose passion for screenwriting makes her a stickler for a good story. She has been an avid reader and fan of FirstShowing since being introduced to the site by a colleague on a feature film set several years ago. Before returning to college, Cate labored on several indie films, working as an assistant for producers, directors, and production designers, as well as in the Art Department of the Coen Brother's A Serious Man. Her posting begins today!