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What are some of your favorite screenplays?

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As the title states, what are some movie screenplays that stand out in your mind as innovative, well-constructed, entertaining, and memorable? A few of my favorites:

 

The Fellowship of the Ring

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Dr. Strangelove

Citizen Kane

Toy Story

Jaws

 

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I really enjoyed Aaron Sorkin’s screenplays for Steve Jobs and The Social Network. They remind me that I need to watch some of his TV work.

 

It’s also hard to fault the screenplay for the talkfest that is The Bear. 😛

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Since a screenplay is something you read and I haven't read many I cannot answer. Including Jaws is bizzare since there really wasn't a set screenplay. They made it up day to day in many instances 

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Have there ever been screenplays you (addressed to anybody) read where you felt the final resulting film didn't live up to? Joss Whedon, for example, has talked about how dissatisfied he was with the handling of his screenplay for Alien: Resurrection.

 

Are there any screenplays you would be interested in reading? What would the draw be?

 

I remember reading the screenplay for Brian's Song when I was younger, and was surprised by how literary it could be in some moments, the things that no one would ever see watching the film.

 

On another Billy Dee Williams note, I remember reading the screenplay for Return of the Jedi when I was in college, and it had multiple rewrites and revisions in it. It was _hilarious_ reading how many times Kasdan tried to imbue some weight and drama, presumably being thwarted by Lucas every step of the way every time, until we got the unequivocally mega happy series conclusion we did.

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Most scripts I have read seem very utilitarian.  The movies they set up surpass them.  I have yet to read a screenplay whose filmed version has dissapointed me. 

Now, stuff like Wall-E and No Country For Old Men have a life of their own even in script form.  

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I always think Children of Paradise, Jacques Prevert was something else. I enjoy all his movies with Carne and kinda wish people talked about em more but that one gets its fair dues, masterpiece etc.

 

Back to the Future is like the most brilliantly contrived movie ever.

 

Butch Cassidy and The Sting both have great witty screenplays, well plotted, simply defined but three-dimensional characters, the two leads + ensemble and GRH’s direction make them sing of course.

 

Read/watched along with LA Confidential once, that was awesome, night well spent. Soderbergh’s two 2000 movies had very communicative screenplays that translated expertly. Lots of Billy Wilder, Sunset Blvd is brill.

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11 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

So people actually read scripts?

 

I'm basing mine on the films' structure and dialogue.

 

One more I should mention: Fight Club. Simply because it's the ultra-rare case of a film that is an exact copy of the book (it only drops two scenes, one of which was even scripted before being scrapped, and changes the ending, with book author Chuck Palahniuk saying that he actually prefers the movie ending; even the narration and dialogue is taken 1:1 from the book) and yet works perfectly the way it is.

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27 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

So people actually read scripts?

 

Its often very interesting to compare them to a finished film. Goes to show you that editing really is the final rewrite.

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2 hours ago, Stefancos said:

So people actually read scripts?

 

Well as somebody interested in writing/filmmaking, for sure. Fun to read scenes one by one, imagine my version then watch how the pros did it, you notice a lot. I would usually do it with movies I’d seen once but didn’t remember too many specifics. 

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12 hours ago, Kasey Kockroach said:

Troll 2

Have you ever answered anything without it being stupid and inane. Joe, awaiting a purile and infintile response.

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3 minutes ago, JoeinAR said:

Have you ever answered anything without it being stupid and inane. Joe, awaiting a purile and infintile response.

 

You don’t seem to grasp the concept of irony very well. 

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3 minutes ago, John said:

 

You don’t seem to grasp the concept of irony very well. 

Response #1. Irony ceases as irony when thats all a person does. You dont grasp that well do you?

Response #2. With Kasey's taste level he may be serious as that is stuff he likes.

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31 minutes ago, Corellian2019 said:

Glengarry the film seems a little too much like a photographed play for my taste, but I agree, the writing for all three is sublime

 

Do you think it's because the screenplay calls for that approach, or do you think a director could have made it more cinematic? 

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It's tough. The story mostly unfolds in an office and a restaurant, but I think a good director could have made it more cinematic, or at the very least not as obvious about its stage origins. As it stands, some of the blocking is very awkward

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The "filmed play" aesthetic is perfectly valid.  Vanya on 42nd Street is an absolutely brilliant film.  Besides, it's not really a filmed play when you have so many closeups.  Completely different kind of acting.

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3 minutes ago, Corellian2019 said:

 

Let's be real, this is where the majority of the film takes place. The other bits were added for the film adaptation, including this scene

 

Well, the office is their whole world, so it's not surprising.

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2 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

Well, the office is their world, so it's not surprising.

 

Therein lies the challenge. But the acting is so good, it almost makes you forget that it unfolds in one location for the second half of the story

 

3 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

The "filmed play" aesthetic is perfectly valid.

 

Certain directors are skilled enough to pull it off. I remember seeing bits of Richard Linklater's Tape, which takes place in one motel room, and never once feeling like it was based on a play. The problem with Glengarry is that, towards the end, a lot of the confrontations take place in lengthy wide shots rather than close-ups (ex. Pacino's takedown of Spacey)

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17 minutes ago, Corellian2019 said:

 

Therein lies the challenge. But the acting is so good, it almost makes you forget that it unfolds in one location for the second half of the story

 

 

A director's job is to take the viewer into the world of the characters. I think Foley accomplished that with flying colors. 

 

17 minutes ago, Corellian2019 said:

The problem with Glengarry 

 

You speak as if everyone agrees that the film feels too stagy but I don't think that's the case at all.

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I never said that everyone was in agreement about my opinion. I merely pointed out that certain dramatic moments could have been staged better, despite being confined to one location, as in Tape, or Bug, or Killer Joe.

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