Friday, September 15, 2006


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.



kjb said...

I read only an opening scene of Feast, which I thought was funny. What I've heard about the rest of it does indeed sound derivative.

The process of selecting the script in the last PGL leads me to believe that the studios may not be doing the best job recognizing talent or picking projects. As I recall, there were several in the room who thought the time travel script was the best of the lot -- that it was the funniest and the most original. Feast was chosen because it was "horror" and that's what the money people wanted to do.

Maybe if the focus had been on choosing the best screenplay with the best story, the results would have been much better. Maybe that goes for Hollywood too. Perhaps focusing less on targeting a picture to particular demographics would yield better films.

Unknown Screenwriter said...

Uh... I couldn't even read it, really.

OUTSTANDING POST! Gotta send some readers your way for this one...



wcdixon said...

Okay - being devil's advoc here (my role?)...I would say that as much as Project Greenlight was a 'contest', it was as if not more importantly a tv series. A tv series that needed to be entertaining. So I would say that if "Feast' is a dud but the series depicting the making of that film was successful (as in entertaining and garnished viewers), then the producers picked 'the right script' (with all of its inherent drama or personalities that most surely had to be considered in the evaluation opposed to just 'the best script'.

Just saying...

Anonymous said...

Posted by Daryl

I actually went to a screening of the film in Toronto at the film fest there and guys i must say, THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME. The last two Project Greenlight movies were weak, but this one, FEAST, is really entertaining. I agree the script is so-so, but that Galagher director guy did an amazing job. Both funny and suspenseful. The audience in Toronto all agreed and gave the movie a standing ovation which hardly ever happens. I strongly recommend seeing this movie.

Mystery Man said...

kjb - I'm with you about the opening. I did enjoy it, particularly the girl scouts. When they introduced the main characters with the freeze frame and the SUPER'D dossier with Name, Age, etc, was humorous at first but too wordy and by the time you get to the fifth guy, you'll never remember who's who and I started getting antsy and was ready to move on. And ya know, I was thinking that there was another script that everyone felt was better, but they went with Feast because they thought it would sell more, but I can't remember which script it was. A travel scipts? Hmmm... I could review the other one, if I knew the name...

Unk - Thanks, buddy!

Dix - When you're responsible for, and have to answer to your bosses about, a million dollar movie, well, to hell with the TV show. You better make some damn money or at least break-even. So that's the big question, isn't it? What guarantees that you'll make money? It all boils down to STORY, doesn't it?

Daryl - Thanks so much for that comment. I passed up a chance to go to a sneak preview. I hope I'm wrong about it. And if I am, I will certainly admit it. Hehehe...

kjb said...

The one that many on the show agreed was the best screenplay was "Does Anybody Here Remember When Hanz Gubenstein Invented Time Travel?"

What I recall of the comments suggested that it was a very funny script. I haven't read it myself, however.

kjb said...

And, oh yeah, the Girl Scouts were hilarious. The bit when the leader stuck his head in the hole to show everyone that it was safe had me howling -- and my wife calling me a sicko.

Feast seems to have been at least okay for the writers. imdb lists Marcus Dunstan as director and co-writer (along with Patrick Melton) for something called "Midnight Man." It's listed as being in pre-production.

Mystery Man said...

If I'm not mistaken, they were working on Midnight Man back when they were filming the show. It's STILL in "pre-production.

I actually still have "Does Anybody Remember...?" I might review it.

GimmeABreak said...

Having participated in PGL one year, I can say that via the peer review process used to advance through the various rounds, a mediocre script had the best change of making it. The truly bad scripts were generally rated accurately. The very good scripts floated momentarily but the torpedoes always sank them. The scripts that raised no ire or accumulated no accolades had the best chances of getting through. Perhaps the producers selected the best of the crap that made slid under the radar.

moviequill said...

March 23, 2005 Does Anyone Here Remember When Hans Gubenstein... was picked up

"Script was one of three final scripts under consideration to be produced for the third season of "Project Greenlight." Ben Affleck, Matt Damon & Neo’s Joel Soisson & Mike Leahy will produce. "

Mystery Man said...

Thanks for that!