Thursday, August 25, 2005

Truth is Faker than Fiction

The film industry has put out a lot of crap in recent years. As a “screenwriter” I’m very sensitive to it. When I see something bad I often think to myself, “could I do better than that?”

Could I write something better than Ocean’s Twelve?

If you’d ever read one of my screenplays, you would know that the answer to that question is “probably not.”

The problem is that there are very few ideas out there that are fresh and new. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that if you ever went to see a movie that didn’t have a plot similar to any other movie you’ve ever seen then you would be thoroughly bored out of your mind.

That’s not to excuse the endless strings of remakes. I remember a time when The Dukes of Hazzard were cool and Bewitched had a hot leading lady. And hey, don’t miss I Dream of Jeannie, in theaters soon starring Jessica Alba and Jimmy Fallon.

I gagged a little when as I typed that last sentence.

But with such a dearth of intelligent fiction in Hollywood it’s no wonder that the film industry has started to embrace the documentary with such fervor. Now we can see penguins waddling like precious little prom kings, paraplegics play rugby and a delusional idiot get himself and his girlfriend eaten by a bear. That’s entertainment!

But other wonderful genres that have received the star treatment these days are the bio-pic and the non-fiction (films based on actual events).

Thank god for the non-fiction. I’m sick of seeing unlikely plots and characters. Finally, movies that have that necessary apparatus…truth. No more crazy, far out characters in plots that twist so much that they even confused the writer. Nothing but simple reality. Real things that happened to real people. Because we all know that everyday life can be more complex than even an M. Night Shyamalan script (well, not mine, but maybe yours).

That’s why I can’t wait to see the Exorcism of Emily Rose.

It’ll be nice to see something that actually happened up there on the screen.

Fun Fact: I wasted a lot of effort just to bash a stupid movie. But all is not lost. I have a present for you.

A couple years ago my cigarette habit used to pay off periodically. The nice people at Marlboro used to send me presents. Recipe books (for the BBQ, none of the recipes contain cigarettes), lighters (a necessity), playing cards (I’ll need something to help me pass the time when I’m in that iron lung), dice (same), coupons etc…

But, by far the best thing they sent was a CD. A compilation of unknown bands from across the country (incidentally, H is Orange, linked to on the right, almost made the cut). And I was introduced to one of my favorite songs. It’s by a band called Alva Star from Minneapolis.

The song is “Unhappily Yours.”

Go here to download it free from The version on their album is a bit different from the version that I have on the Marlboro CD (Marlboro had them all re-record the songs especially for the Marlboro release) but it’s still the same great song.


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