In less than a week, Feast will assault our senses, a movie that will likely be Project Greenlight’s third and final strike at granting starry-eyed amateurs their chance at a movie-making career. For fun, I was going to post a script review of Feast but what’s the point of reading it again when you know that so much of the script has changed?
However, Justin Clark, over Ugo Screenwriter’s Voice posted an excellent review:
“…considering how thousands upon thousands of scripts were submitted, and Feast is the best script that came out of it all, there are only two acceptable theories: Either the guys at the production level just plain chose the wrong script, or the basements of America aren't so wizened as to the nature of fear as one might think, and this really *is* the best script of the bunch. Both theories sadden me. But the former one makes more sense.
To say Feast is derivative is an understatement… [It] doesn't have an original bone in its 116-page body. When the sentiment while reading goes from "that's kinda like..." to "this is a LOT like..." to "yup, it's ripping off...", you know something's wrong. And in this case, there isn't a single thing here that Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight didn't pull off first, with a hell of a lot more style, wit and energy…
James Cameron once said, in reference to his work on Aliens, that gore isn't fear. It's disgust, a totally different emotion. No matter how gory your film is if there isn't anything more to it than that, it's no different than watching people drink sperm-tainted beer in American Pie. It's getting to the point now where the true art of dread, of terror, of watching people, characters and things be threatened by a truly frightening menace has taken a back seat to "safe" thrills…”
I couldn’t agree more.
I’m sorry to say that, as a script, Feast is a sad little exercise in banality. And the trailer just screams “AWFUL,” doesn’t it? One boy yells, “S.O.S! S.O.S!” Others say, “Get down!” “They’re gonna eat us!” A girl (presumably “Heroine”) says, “There’s something… out there.” And of course, Henri Rollins’ line, “Of all the bars to get stuck in.”
Ho hum. Pardon me while I yawn…
If Feast somehow avoids a spectacular belly-flop at the box-office, you will actually have to thank director John Gulager for that miracle, certainly not the writers.
And while you gotta love and appreciate Ben and Matt and Chris on their well-intentioned Project Greenlight endeavor, I think that this contest / reality-series did more to keep newbie writers OUT of Hollywood than anything else. I mean, come on, thousands and thousands of scripts submitted, 3 finished films, and what have we discovered?
That amateurs write shit.
That the Hollywood system is so hopelessly FUBAR, it is incapable of actually discovering the truly talented new writers.
None of us should feel the least bit envious of Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, the two writers who won the contest. Just because their movie got made does not mean that this will advance their screenwriting careers. In fact, it’s very possible that this may keep them from getting another writing gig. Tell me, what happened to Erica Beeney after The Battle of Shaker Heights? Nothing. What happened to Pete Jones of Stolen Summer? Nothing. Well, a $700,000 movie he made called Outing Riley, which got screened at the 2004 Chicago International Film Festival. It never got picked up. By all accounts, Outing Riley was a total disaster. (You can read a review here.) Pete cast himself in the lead role as a gay man and TALKED TO THE AUDIENCE.
What’s the point? Before you step into the spotlight on the world stage with your screenplays, you had better a) possess a God-like knowledge of every facet of screenwriting b) already be a master craftsman, and c) have awesomely executed scripts under your belt that will stun the world and have them begging for more. Period. You have to be THAT good. And, in this day and age, you’re only as good as your last script, which means that you have to deliver something incredible every time you’re at bat.
If there’s any truly scary monster in this film, it is Project Greenlight itself, and we can only hope that this beast is finally dead.