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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rouge Wave Mailbag

Good morning, Wavers! Or evening, as the case may be. There are Wavers all over the world. That's what my little site meter global map tells me anyway. From as far away as Chile, South Africa and the Orkney Islands. Unless that's just a bunch of punk hackers playing tricks on me. Ha ha watch this! Iceland!

Yesterday the unthinkable happened to me. I watched Sex and the City and...couldn't get through it. Margaux and I were lucky enough to have scored the dvd so we did some home viewing. The Wave-inatrix is such a fan of the series. But the movie - for me - fell flat. It didn't lead off with the thematic question Carrie used to type into her computer screen. It lacked the edge of the series; the darkness and the poignancy. There were set pieces without cause or point - like what will Carrie pack - if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. Really? So I with a heavy heart, I must admit, I was disappointed.

But. Today we have a spirited question from the mailbag which PJ McIlvaine was good enough to answer. So here we go:

Dear Rouge Wave:

I recently saw a movie, well, to put it kindly, blew chunks. I won't say which movie to protect the innocent. The tone was uneven, the pacing was horrible, plotwise it was all over place, and the climax (as it were) was unbelievable. Talk about God stepping in to save the day! Worse, this starred an actor who really should have known better. Why does Hollywood keep making such clunkers when there are so many good scripts begging to be made?

Yours Truly,

Foaming in Fresno

Dear Foaming,

I can empathize with your sentiments. I've seen my share of dogs that toplined actors and actresses who "should have known better." But actors and actresses are often roped into doing movies that should have died a slow death in Development Hell but came back to life for reasons other than being a "good script."

The Exec Producer may owe someone a favor. The Producer may need a credit to jumpstart his lagging career. Maybe Oink Dinkledoink, the hottest actor on the planet, has a pet project that is a million short of financing, and Studio With Clout and Big Bucks will give him the dough if he does this action adventure nonsense which has no action or adventure but they've already paid two million for it and have gone through a slew of a A-list re-writers. The Director has a contract to fulfill. An Agent needs the commish to buy a new sports car.

Also, maybe at the beginning of this mess, the script was good. I mean, it had to be good for someone to option or buy it? Right? Right?

Wrong. Sometimes only the concept is good, and the rest of the script is mushola. Reservation for Rewrite City, stat! Call Alan Ball! He might say no, but there are plentyof other writers in the pipeline who will say yes. And when they do, their fingerprints will be all over the place. Don't forget the Execs who will chime in with their notes. Someone wiser than me once opined: "failure is an orphan, while success has many parents". Or something like that.

So the next time you see a crappy movie, don't blame the actor. He may have known better, but the devil (in the details) made him do it.

PJ McIlvaine

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Anthony Peterson said...

The "God stepping in the save the day" card is always a tough one to play because we want to see our hero earn his/her victory. This makes it tough writing stories about superheroes, chance, or ... God. Films like Raiders of the Lost Ark & The Passion worked for me, but Matchpoint and the Ten Commandments didnt. I'm still working out why.

PJ McIlvaine said...

I don't mind the Almighty putting his two cents in to make a Hail Mary save when it makes sense, but this was rodonkulous. Character A is at the end of his rope, no money to carry on his dream, he's about to lose everything...and then Character C dies and leaves Character A enough money to pay everyone off and more.