SINGING THE BLUES: Dope and What Happened, Miss Simone?


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Warning: SPOILERS
dopeIn 1983, a suburban high school teen was left alone for the weekend by his upper middle class parents whereupon he danced in his undies, pumped up the volume on the hallowed stereo, hired a prostitute and through a series of farcical complications ended up having to open a bordello in his home in order to pay off a pimp of whom he had made an enemy. He ends up using said bordello to get himself accepted into a prestigious university.
In 2015, an inner city high school teen doesn’t dance in his undies, but through a series of farcical complications ends up with a shitload of drugs in his backpack, and gets caught between a variety of guys of the not so good variety who all want what he’s got. He opens a drug lab in his high school and uses the sale of the illegal substances to get himself accepted into a prestigious university.
However, the background to the story is not the only difference between these two basically similarly structured films.
No, the 2015 film, Dope, has characters much richer; dialog much wittier, smarter and crisper; and a plot much edgier and more exciting than the rather white picket fence blandness of the Tom Cruise Risky Business.

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PEOPLE COME, PEOPLE GO. NOTHING EVER HAPPENS: The Grand Budapest Hotel


grand-budapest_2813768bThe Grand Budapest Hotel, the new demi-farce written by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness and directed by Anderson, is like a box of chocolates.  The outside is lovely to look at, even entrancing, and when you open it up, the chocolate itself gleams with droolful anticipation.
And then you bite into one and sometimes you get the deep, rich double chocolate you have always dreamed of, and sometimes you get the sour cherry cream (or whatever ingredient you consider to be the one you grimace at and throw back in the box after taking one quick bite). Continue reading