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Week In Review: 11/24/00

Week In Review, Upcoming Movies, and DVD Reviews.

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The Week In Review: 11/24/00

(More information for all of the films and projects discussed below can be obtained on our site by doing a search or reviewing our news section.)

Discussion Forum

As the year draws to an end I think it's a good time to talk about the best writing of 2000. Who separated themselves from the pack this year? One thing is certain, I think it's been a bad year. Very few movies have really distinguished themselves, and with ERIN BROCKOVICH and GLADIATOR as the top best-picture hopefuls right now, I can't help but wonder whether voters should recognize such obviously commercial films. Both were good films, and I have to say GLADIATOR was one of my favorites, but best picture? I dont know.

We've come to a point now where the idea of what a Best Picture is may have to be redefined. Just because a film made a lot of money and is defined as commercial does not make it unworthy of such an award, I'll admit. Yet, a Best Picture film should accomplish so much more than just making money. What happen to art? How it does in the Box Office, as many would disagree, is a factor I feel, despite art. How can any movie that does poorly be considered? THE SHAWSHANK REPEDMPTION though not a strong Box Office film, was highly regarded and nominated. The film was not big, but made money. That a movie is accepted at all by an audience is indicated, to a degree, by how well it does at the Box Office. This is not a rule obviously.

When a movie is panned by a reviewer inevitably the screenwriter is as well. It is always assumed that the screenwriter is to blame. But I am here to tell you, it's never the screenwriter's fault. When a move is terrible it is the fault of the director, actors, and the producers. Chances are the director demanded rewrites (hell, will probably rewrite it himself), the actors demanded rewrites, and the producer was too weak to keep the script intact, or also wanted the script rewritten. The script is purchased, the original writer is given hopefully a nice check and then is dumped.

Bad scripts don't get made, and if they do it's still not the screenwriters fault. Hey, if some studio is dumb enough to make a bad script into a movie, more power to the screenwriter I hope he or she made a killing.

If they want something "special" written, what happens is the studio pays an ungodly amount of money for a professional screenwriter to sell his soul and write something like CHARLIE'S ANGELS, or some goddamn thing. In movies like that the art of screenwriting doesn't matter. They might as well hired me to write the damn script, it wouldn't have mattered, it still would have done well. Remember, T and A.

Without further ado, here are my hopefuls for:

Best Original Screenplay:

THE GIFT, by Tom Epperson and Billy Bob Thornton

UNBREAKABLE, by M. Night Shyamalan

THIRTEEN DAYS, by David Self


STATE AND MAIN, by David Mamet

BLACK AND WHITE, by James Toback

ALMOST FAMOUS, by Cameron Crowe

Best Adapted Screenplay:

TRAFFIC, by Stephen Gaghan

ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, by Cormac McCarthy and Ted Tally

THE WONDER BOYS, by Steven Kloves

PAY IT FORWARD, by Leslie Dixon

HAMLET, by Michael Almereyda

QUILLS, by Doug Wright

Admittedly I am a little weak on my Adapted selection, not much has really caught my attention. I think I'll do well with my selections for Original, if you have an opinion let us know.

Upcoming movies:


I played D&D as a kid, the best role-playing game of all-time, the classic. Though the game has less fans, it most likely will garner interest. Still, I really don't like what I've heard and seen with this film. I think it's a tough sell today. Ten years ago, man, would have been a hit.


Don't know how good the directing or writing (Robert King, Terry Hayes) is, but the trailers I've seen are awesome. Could be a surprise hit. The story is, basically, about a group of mountain climbers on K2, the second tallest mountain in the world, who get trapped in a "vertical cave." Then there is an extreme rescue attempt. Very cool.


Our script reviewer, Darwin, was pretty hard on this one. Hey, lighten up Darwin! Regardless of how lacking the writing may or MAY NOT be, it will be a hit. How do I know this you ask? I give you two words: Tom Hanks. Enough said.

DVD Review:

Russel Crowe plays Maximus, a Roman general who is betrayed and enslaved as a gladiator. In order to win his freedom and get revenge he must fight in the Coliseum. It's a much bigger story than that, love, honor, family, and of course heros. David Franzoni (screenwriter) pitched the movie to Ridley Scott (Director) by first showing him a painting of a Gladiator standing in the middle of the Coliseum. Sword drawn, standing motionless, sweat and blood dripping from his brow. Then he went into his pitch. When he was done, Scott paused, and said, "I can do this." (or at least this is the rumor.) It's a great movie, but not for the entire family as it is rated "R" for strong graphic content.

Move Rating: Excellent

Wow! This is one of the best produced DVDs, next to THE MATRIX, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, AMERICAN BEAUTY (all of which I'll talk about soon.) All of the basics are on it: commentary by the director (Ridley Scott), trailers, production notes, biographies, etc. Additional footage, very cool. You can watch the footage with or without commentary. There is also a "Treaure Chest," which is a montage of extra footage cut to the movie's score by Hans Zimmer. There are two documentarys, the "making of the film," is the HBO documentary that everyone has already seen. But still, a must for the DVD. There is also a great hour long doc on the real gladiators. There is a slide show, concept art and storyboards. This 2 disk DVD collection is fantastic.

DVD: Excellent

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