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Complications Ensue:
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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Q. In Crafty TV Writing you mention that you and some friends "fixed" A Knight's Tale after you watched it. Can you share what you did to it?
Oh lordy, no. That would involve remembering the movie.

I did watch Nine Months last night, as research. (I'm adapting a book in the same territory.) It seemed to me that the Big Thematic Problem -- Hugh Grant's character's unwillingness to change his life for a baby -- was resolved about 15 minutes before the end of the movie, which was about 10 minutes too soon. 'Cause after that they had to have a wedding, and then some comic stuff that went nowhere in a restaurant. I thought Hugh Grant's big speech about how he wants her back ought to have taken place in the car driving like crazy toward the hospital, so she's screaming and going into labor while he's proposing to her. Trying to propose to a woman in labor -- now that's comedy.

And I thought The Return of the King ought to have ended when Frodo and Sam come back to the Shire, and it's exactly the way they left it, and no one has any idea that a monstrous power nearly conquered and enslaved it, and Frodo and Sam are extremely happy that they don't. Because the whole reason they went on the adventure was to save the Shire just the way it is.

What are your movie "fixes"?



Ha! Where to start...

I do this with family and friends as soon as we get out of the theater, and if I get annoyed enough at missed potential I'll post "Armchair Director" fixes of movies I've seen at forums I frequent. Sometimes they get extensive, i.e. "Superman Returns" and the last episode of "Heroes."

I generally only find myself "fixing" movies and shows if I really liked them but saw what appeared to me to be glaring, easily fixable flaws. This is easy for me to do, since I don't have to deal wtih studios, producers, directors, stars, budgets, test screenings, or egos.

By Blogger C. A. Bridges, at 11:44 AM  

Alex, I'm curious about your RotK change. Going back to the books, I've always felt that the denouement in the Shire was off, though I understood what Tolkein was trying to say about the soldiers coming home from the big war to a place that would forever feel a little smaller to them (and then effectively acting out the war in miniature). So I agree that dropping that whole section out would make for a more compelling story.

But what about the final ship out to the Western Lands? The sorrow in that ending makes me tear up when I read it (and did in the movie). Would you still jump ahead to that, or would you just end with the return to the Shire?

By Blogger R.A. Porter, at 12:24 PM  

Fixing STAR WARS Episodes I, II & III...Lord, where do I begin?

By Blogger Kelly J. Crawford, at 12:34 PM  

A plot would be helpful.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 12:41 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Elver, at 12:51 PM  

Hey! I appreciate the sentiment, but let's keep it clean, k?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 12:58 PM  

I thought that the weak second half of Tarantino's script for "From Dusk 'Til Dawn" could have been strengthened by having Clooney's character insisting on sticking by his brother Richie even after he'd turned into a vampire.

I mean, in the first half, Richie rapes and murders a woman and his response is basically, "This is my brother; I can handle him, no matter what's wrong with him." And then in the second half, Richie is turned into a vampire and Clooney's character responds essentially, "Well, shoot, can't have him hurt anybody. I'd better put him down." If we'd seen that conflict played out again on a supernatural level it would have tied the two disparate halves of the movie together. Of course, eventually he'd have to kill Richie anyway to be a hero, but if there'd been hesitation...

By Blogger Unknown, at 2:13 PM  

Heh. Mostly I make things shorter. One of my first ever screenwriting teachers could be counted on to cross out every other sentence in your script, usually while muttering the words "get to the point". I still do the same thing when I go to the movies.

By Blogger nadia*, at 3:25 PM  

Smokin' Aces would have been a much greater movie had the final "twist" not been used so late in the game. Rather, I would have used it either before or immediately after Ray Liotta's death. Ryan Reynolds sold his character so well that I think the twist should have been personal, not about the plot, but the twist is how he reacts to it.

Probably would have cut Andy Garcia's character out. I don't think he needed to be there - he was basically Mr. Exposition, and I hate that. The character could have simply been off-camera. Through contacts, ingenuity or simply brute force Reynolds' character finds out exactly what the FBI was up to, and he can still end up in the exact same place, without any of the contrived explanations so late in the game.

By Blogger Logan Rapp, at 5:28 AM  

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