Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I preferred “The Green Effect”


Do you remember the heat I took for my bad script review of The Happening? I’m not naming names, but a writer (whom I still consider a friend) wrote, “Wow. I don't know what to say. I'm speechless. I feel so betrayed, so hurt. So pained. It's like my wife left me for my best friend. And his name is Mystery Man. It's like the President lied an no one does anything about it. It's like my dog would prefer to play with the cat rather than me. It's like...someone I respect is totally off base with Shyamalan with his totally ludicrous comments.”

And do you remember what I said?

“Hey look, if this film comes out and it's a gigantic hit and I'm completely wrong, then I'll certainly do something fun, like post a pic with egg dripping off my face or something.”

Yeah, that ain’t Happening. Those of us who study films and have a Sixth Sense about screenwriting could see the Signs a frickin’ year ago in this little Village we call Hollywood. Because M. Night Shyamalan, Mr. Unbreakable himself, had written yet another Lady in the Water.

Have you guys seen this movie?

I watched it last night with a (really brilliant) friend of mine who loves to rip apart bad films. He had a field day. He never stopped pointing out errors during the film in the theater. An hour after we left, he was STILL coming up with new errors. “DUDE… I’m FROM Pennsylvania, man… They don’t say ‘town OF Princeton.’ They just say ‘Princeton.’ How stupid is that? Who fucking SAYS that?” He’s the only reason I had fun. Luckily, we were also in a theater that served beer. It took me 4 big ones to get through 90 minutes of that shit.

Oh, look. Here’s Shyamalan still trying to figure out how it works:


* TOTAL SPOILERS *

The most shocking thing to me was the fact that the finished film was actually worse than The Green Effect script
I reviewed last November. At least the ending to The Green Effect made sense! Because in the script, Elliot figured out the problem. The plants were like mood rings. When Elliot and Alma stepped out into the “open air,” they saved themselves because they knew they had to drum up as much good feelings for each other as they possibly could. Elliot proved himself to Alma by figuring all of this out. It was stupid, but it made sense.

Here, we’re not sure how they were saved except that they were over the hump of that peak period of toxin release. Are you kidding me? What they chose to do in the final version when they stepped out into the “open air” was not a moment of triumph for them because they figured out how to make it out of this alive, but instead, it’s a moment where they throw their hands up in defeat and choose to commit suicide together and take that little girl with them. But then they got lucky. Yeah, those are protags audiences can really get behind.

If I was that little girl, I'd ask for new parents.

My friend thought the freaky Eight Is Enough grandma-lady should’ve been the cause behind this whole crisis. By the way, grandma-lady slapped the shit out of that little girl and she didn’t even cry.

Only two words kept coming to mind as I watched this highfalutan cloud of nothingness linger in the air like a bad fart, and those two words were: STUNNING INEPTITUDE.

We do not believe one single moment of this film. Not one step, not one gesture, not one plot point, and not one single damn word of on-the-nose dialogue. Every little thing rang false. Either Shymalan’s internal shit detector needs new batteries or he was unwilling to do the hard work of getting it right before filming it. I’m guessing it’s both.

Shit detectors take double D batteries, don't they?

Plus, I love Zooey Deschanel. She’s a cutie! She could’ve shined in this film for us and Shyamalan! Yet, M. Night made her almost unbearable to be around. Her character never felt fleshed out. What did this girl want? We were never given a chance to see or understand why she was unhappy about that marriage. The stupid exposition from Leguizamo’s character about seeing her crying before the wedding was weak screenwriting. Kids, this is Screenwriting 101. Say it with me now: you gotta, what? SHOW, DON’T TELL. We won’t FEEL for the characters unless we experience WITH them their struggles and their pain. The only reason I cared to see those two reconcile was because Alma was played by Zooey Deschanel and I love to see her smile.

Smile again for me, Zooey.


God, I love your smiles. She sings, too, ya know.


Say, did you notice how Elliot and Alma reconciled in the bedroom the night before they reconciled AGAIN in those two rooms where they talked to each other? At the very least, they should’ve reached a breaking point in the bedroom and THEN reconciled the next day.

I wonder if she should’ve died.

My friend thought the acting was horrific. I disagree. The dialogue was SO poorly written, scenes badly staged, and conflicts pitifully melodramatic, that the best actors in the world could not save this. Hear my words – bad
melodrama always begins on the page.

Remember the moment when the Jeep hit the tree? Can someone please – PLEASE – explain to me how, if John Leguizamo was sitting in the front seat, TWO PEOPLE managed to fly out of the windshield? Oh, and how did they also miss that big ass tree the Jeep crashed in to?

So we had in the opening scene two women sitting on a bench. They were both reading books. One woman tells the other that she lost her place. The other says something like “you were at that part where the killer shows up.” How the hell would she know this? Were they psychically reading along together? That's more amazing than toxins in the air! If I was in that scene, I would’ve done the same thing:


So Elliot gave his mood ring to that little girl. When did he take it back? A few scenes later, the ring was back on his hand! Hell, it wasn’t even HIS ring. It was his wife’s from their first date! That’s kind of rude, don’t you think, to take back the mood ring that isn't his that he gave to the little girl? No wonder Zooey was flirting with Joey over Tiramisu.

And what the hell did the colors on the ring mean?

And who the hell thinks to take along a mood ring when you have two minutes to pack before the end of the world?

So then the lady sitting next to Wahlberg in the diner says, “You’ve gotta see this” and she shows him a video of a man getting mauled by lions in a zoo. What was the point of that? Why would anyone need to share that over burgers and steaks in a diner?

If the toxins came from plants, how is it people in the CITY started dying first? Shouldn’t people in the COUNTRY be the first to go?

After seeing the shots of New York City, was anyone else confused about the fact that the scene afterwards with Wahlberg in the school was actually located in… Pennsylvania? Shyamalan used SUPERs to explain that we were in Central Park in New York City and then we were “three blocks over,” but he can’t tell us we’re in Pennsylvania?

Where was that train going? Does anyone know? Wouldn’t it be better to fly? You’d be safer with all that cabin pressure, right?

So Walhberg asked the conductor why they stopped the train. “Sir, we lost contact.” “With who?” “Everyone.” Oh. I would’ve said, “Uhh, doesn’t that mean we should go faster?” Here’s my friend: “DUDE… everything else is working, like TVs and radios, and you can’t even use a fucking cellphone? What the fuck, man? So WHAT if you can’t talk to your bosses or whatever. KEEP GOING, MAN, KEEP GOING!”

Was anyone terrified of the shots of wind blowing through trees?


So then they’re at the crossroads. By this point, they’ve figured out that the toxins must be coming from the plants. When Mark’s had enough and has to go someplace quiet to cry, where does he sit? AMONGST THE PLANTS. You don’t think, “Hey, Mark, look out, man! You’re sitting right next to the plants that are killing everyone!” No-no, instead, you think, “Hey, dumb ass, why the hell are you sitting next the plants?” Then, instead of driving down one of those roads to get away, what do they decide to do? RUN THROUGH THE FIELDS.

There was a recent article by Kim Newman in the
Guardian film blog in which she actually defends the film: “Here's the thing: The Happening is not that bad.” Are you kidding me? She concludes: “Can it be a kind of racism that the Indian-born, Philadelphia-raised auteur is hammered for his apparent character (or funny name) rather more than, say, Quentin Tarantino or Spike Lee?” Emerson replied, “Wow, so the best the ‘horror scholar’ can muster on behalf of The Happening is that it's ‘not that bad’ -- and the hostile reaction to Shyamalan must have to do with the filmmaker's ‘funny name’ or his race? That's insulting. What about his Philadelphianism? Maybe that explains it.”

Jim, he couldn’t even get his Philadelphianisms right. “DUDE… I’m FROM Pennsylvania, man… They don’t say ‘town OF Princeton.’ They say ‘Princeton.’ How fucking stupid is that? Who SAYS that?”

Hehehe

Do you know what was missing? Zooey and a gun.

47 comments:

James said...

"Oh, look. Here’s Shyamalan still trying to figure out how it works:"

One of the best "make up your own captions" I've read in a long time. Made me lol.

Matt said...

Give me the REDBELT script - by a writer we both love - and I can find lines that are equally as absurd out of context as "town OF Princeton." Which is, by the by, a quirk that is not repeated at any other point in the film. As a phrase, yes, it's bizarre - but it's a bizarre film filled with bizarre quirks. Internally consistent bizarre quirks.

Listen, I'm not going to defend the movie in any real way, and I reserve the right to abandon this post at any time I feel. Because at the end of the day, THE HAPPENING is a failure. A beautiful and poetic failure, but just the same, the average person will have more fun at IRON MAN/HULK/HANCOCK/et al, and who am I to judge? But I personally found the film to be exciting and all together unpredictable - even though I had that copy of THE GREEN EFFECT.

But it depresses me that you seem to have joined the group of critics (most of them online-based) who have decided to turn their HAPPENING reviews into a giant snarky slam-dunk contest without giving any consideration to the content of the film.

All of the ideas in the 'mood ring' draft are intact, just in a different form - that's why the attacks start in the city, and not the country. There's a reason Central Park, and later Rittenhouse Square and it's stated in the film - they are the most concentrated areas of fauna in their respective cities. Marky Mark says it!

And of course the other reason that it starts in those places is because it's established that as the 'event' continues, the toxin can emit in smaller and smaller groups, finally targetting Betty Buckley. And it is reacting to the negative energy that she's projecting, but NOT Marky Mark, Zooey, and the kid. Which is the beauty of the climax. Marky Mark hasn't 'figured it out' or found out how to beat it - but he was willing to take a leap of faith. To get out there and see his wife face to face before he dies. He and the wife are pure of heart, and in true Shyamalan fashion, that purity, tied to belief, saves him, even if the result feels like a Deux Ex Machina.

And although I hate to be that guy, I must correct you and say that there most definitely was a legend to set up that Marky Mark was in Philadelphia. Let's just blame it on the beers. ;)

"Where was that train going? Does anyone know? Wouldn’t it be better to fly? You’d be safer with all that cabin pressure, right?"

The train was going to Leguizamo's mother's house. Does it matter 'where' on a map? And sure it might've been better to fly, but maybe that's not always an options, especially in a situation like that.

I mean, I can counter-argue every little point you made, but the bottom line is the film didn't work for you. When I see a film I don't like, I have fun poking holes in it too - and no amount of counter-argument will change the option that I didn't like the film. Which is I suspect the case with whatever I would spend my precious time writing here - to no fault of either of us.

Like I said the film has tons of flaws - huge structural and character issues. It cast a lead known for tough guy pricks and tried to make him play against type as a sensitive teacher - without much luck. It had a lead actress who was unable to handle Night's poor female characters with as much aplomb as those that came before her. It's goofy and silly and eye-rolling at times, but at the end, I enjoyed the throwback to the 1950s Paranoia Sci-Fi film, and even though there were missteps, they were tonally consistent. But I still support Night and THE HAPPENING won't change that.

When I saw IRON MAN, five minutes into it I felt like I had seen this EXACT FUCKING MOVIE and I could have stopped right there and given you a detailed summary of the film - and I'd have been right. But I never felt that way during ANY of M. Night Shyamalan's films, so I'll gladly fork over my $10.75 (!!) for this film, and whatever else he has in his arsenal.


--Matt

Carlo Conda said...

So, matt, you admit the movie's core bad aspects, yet you say "but I liked it!"
That's fine, but why leash at MM for saying he didn't like it for the core bad aspects? It makes more sense to not like the film for it's crappiness than to like it for it's "unique Shyamalanian" crappiness.

Anybody can make a funky unpredicable movie with atmosphere. However, making a GOOD one is a different case altogether, and this is NOT something Shyamalan has done here.

Of course, I haven't seen the movie, but I can envision how bad it is just by taking previous Shyamalan films and B films into account.
Funny how unpredictability works.

OJ (not that one) said...

Kim Newman has a Wikipedia entry with a picture that might be of interest to you. ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Kim_Newman.jpg

(Just pointing that out. I'm not a fan of his or anything, and don't even share his taste in movies, usually.)

screenwriterguy said...

I attended this movie on opening night with a group of people who all enjoy being haters. They all thought it was, "an affront to thinking people... a waste of two hours I could have spent giving myself a lobotomy... responsible for the first Gulf War..." We spent quite a while circled up in the lobby afterwards just complaining about how cheated we felt.

Sometimes it's a fun experience to gripe about a movie. I tend to be less vocal, because I think there's almost always SOMETHING to enjoy or learn (even if it's what not to do) and because I recognize that filmmaking is a ridiculously HARD art form. We tend to be spoiled, pecking at every imperfection. That said, bitching about movies is a part of why people have blogs, and if that's what MM wants to do today, leave him to it.

For myself, I thought Shyamalan showed a lot of skill as a director. The Happening kept me engaged for quite some time, and was everything I can ask for from a thrill-ride. I actually really liked Marky-Mark's performance as a timid anti-hero, and I give Shyamalan at least some of the credit for directing that out of him.

Unfortunately, the writing wasn't of the same caliber, so we leave very unsatisfied. The dialogue was cringe-inducing. ("You're like me. You don't like to show your emotions." After which, she did nothing but.)

However, I fixed the movie in my head, as I watched it, by having it stop at the moment the couple comes outside into the plants. If you do that, then it wasn't that the grass just stopped being mad. Instead, their love for each other made them immune, or the grass didn't see them as a threat, or whatever. End on that note, and there's some mystery, but it's cool mystery, and I'm satisfied. Plus, then all of the mood ring stuff would be a variation on a theme.

Instead, however, they told us that the threat ended coincidentally just as the two walked out. (I so, so, so wanted to hear that the event ended well AFTER they walked out...) And then you get this ham-fisted, tacked-on, force-fed message ending. Suddenly you can't help but reject any of the fun you might have had for the past two hours, and it's easy to want to go off blowing twelve bucks to see a once-promising hack--

OK, I guess I'm turning into a bit of a hater, too.

Joshua James said...

I love Zoey. Sigh.

Kevin Lehane said...

Damn, I wanted to be the one to tell MM, Kim Newman is a man, and a reviewer from Empire magazine. The best film magazine there is.

Oh, and I also reviewed the Happening script on my old blog and hated it as much as you. I have yet to see the film, though. I think I'll pass.

heathtom said...

I saw the movie. Plants releasing toxins? Well, on the one hand, jump-on-the-GREEN-bandwagon cheese factor: high. On the other hand, almost clever and sorta intriguing. I just wish it could have been handled more skillfully. I'm sad for M. Night, because his earlier films do show such talent. I'm not done being a fan of his yet, and I'm hoping for better in the future. Maybe he just needs a good producer (or screenwriting group!).

Micmac said...

I saw it opening night (of course). I loved it! Great fun. Good scares. Effective tension. And some really nice shots that have stuck in my mind since I saw them. It had that Shyamalan tone and feel that I just simply love.

I'm starting to really get a kick out of the ubiquitous anti-Shyamalan rhetoric. It's too funny. And MM, what schmuck wrote that quote you referred to at the beginning of your bombastic review? :)

Can't wait for the DVD! And also the first installment of "The Last Airbender".

Long live Manoj!

Mystery Man said...

James – Thanks, man.

Matt – Are you telling me that I gave no consideration to the content of his film? Did you read my article? Granted, he did explain through verbal exposition how the toxin can target large groups (and yet also single individuals), although in the fields Marky Mark talked about how the toxins dissipates over a certain square mile or something, didn’t he? So I’m still not sure how the construction workers could’ve died three blocks away from Central Pak if the toxins dissipate. I don’t know, man. Was there a Pennsylvania SUPER? That’s hilarious! I didn’t see it. My friend was confused where we were and didn’t see it and Jim Emerson didn’t see it either, so I thought he must not have given us a SUPER. The train was going to his mother’s house? Does she live at a depot? With respect to Redbelt, I had strong reservations about his ending, and sure enough, it just rolled over and flopped right before my eyes. But ya know, I believed the characters and the conflict between the leads. Thanks for those comments, man.

Carlo – You should see it Carlo. It’s a lesson on how not to write.

OJ – That’s hilarious! Thanks for pointing that out. I had no idea.

[KIM, IF YOU’RE OUT THERE, I’M SO SORRY, MAN.]

Screenwriterguy – At one point, I said, “well, let’s talk about the good parts.” We struggled. But I remember us standing in the bathroom and I said that I liked Leguizamo’s character, because made the most of his lines and I could almost believe him. My friend commented that, unfortunately, he wasn’t in the film for long. I said, “He could see how this film was turning out and decided to cut his wrists.” The guy peeing right next to me said, “Yeah, I wanted to cut my wrists, too.” Hehehe… But you’re right, man, it IS a ridiculously difficult artform. And we’re not haters here. But I will be merciless to anyone so vain as to write a role for himself in his own movie to play the part of a brilliant writer whose writings will change the world. That’s the height of vanity and if you pull a stunt like that, the world will happily put you in your place. Other directors like Cameron and Tarantino are surely just as vain, but they’re not that stupid. Shyamalan showed a lot of skill in his earlier films, I think, and if he had written something truly great, I would’ve happily called it.

Josh – Me, too, man.

Kevin – Learning about Kim made me laugh out loud. You should see the film! It’s a lesson, I’m telling you!

Heathtom – I wasn’t going to say this, but acid rain would’ve been more interesting.

Thanks, guys, for your comments.

-MM

Mystery Man said...

Peter - Oh yeah? Who's writing the ludicrous comments now? I'm glad at least one person liked it.

Hehehe...

Loyal to the very end. That's why you're a good man.

Hope you're well.

-MM

Seeing_I said...

Kim Newman might have long, luxurious hair, but he's definitely a dude.

Kevin Lehane said...

Saw the movie. What was creepy on the page was so silly on the screen. Mark Wahlberg was terribly miscast and the dialogue, with all the pregnant pauses, is so much worse than skimming it as you read. My audience were just laughing when they should have been spooked. Shame.

Mystery Man said...

Seeing_I - Yeah, he could be cute as a girl, too, I'm sure. Hehehe...

Kevin - I know! What made me cringe the most was the interaction between Mark and Zooey. The dialogue was SO bad and SO melodramatic. It made me uncomfortably embarrassed. It's valuable to watch it because, as a writer, you bring that kind of experience with you as you sit down to write a script, because you just want avoid bad mistakes like that. That's a good thing. I've always found that I learn more from failures than successes. It's so easy to see how something succeed. You can point at all of its obvious strengths, but why and how does something fail? You take those lessons with you.

-MM

Carlo Conda said...

Alright MM, I'll see it.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen The Happening and probably won't. The only Shyamalan offerings that worked for me were The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable - the rest are too gimmicky and lack any real depth.

Shyamalan's work has grown progressively worse over the years and has me thinking he should focus less on the "Twilight Zone" ending and more on telling a good story with believable characters and a convincing plot.

MM - you do come across as an arrogant ass sometimes, but you do make a good argument.

Mystery Man said...

Carlo - Great!

Anon - Hehehe... "Arrogant ass" made me laugh out loud. I won't argue with that.

-MM

Anonymous said...

MM - here's a thought: you should make one of your own screenplays available for review and remove your name if you want to retain anonymity, which in this unforgiving business, you may want to consider.

You have a gift for ripping a part works... but is your talent for writing just as gifted?

I'm not being smarmy here... but it's much easier to destroy than create... and with the level of expertise you show here... your screenplays must be masterworks.

Or is it a case of... those who can't... criticize?

Carlo Conda said...

What would be the point if his name was removed?
Or did you mean he should say the script was written by "Mystery Man" and not "Mike Hunt".

bob said...

oh, believe me when I say you have read his stuff. Also, if he revealed his name, he'd no longer be a mystery to us. And what's the fun in that.

Carlo Conda said...

If MM is Darabont, I'm gonna smack him. LOL
Talk about EGO. :P

Anonymous said...

Bob - I find it hard to believe that any professional screenwriter working today would spend so much time maintaining a blog like this and not spending his/her valuable time writing scripts.

And if MM is indeed a pro... then the only question is... what the fuck is he doing here, answering to a handful of wannabes who hang on and defend his every word?

Carlo Conda said...

Cause hardly any screenwriters have blogs, right? John Rogers's blog, Levine's blog, Denis's blog, Epstein's blog, Jame's Moran's blog, and so forth must be frauds as well.

And look at Emily Blake. She's a full time teacher and writes during her spare time, yet writes a blog post every day. She must be a fraud too.

Carlo Conda said...

Of course, there's always the chance that "Bob" is just MM trying to keep us believing he's a pro scribe.
Lol
Such is the power of mystery.

Anonymous said...

But the fact he is anonymous, and writes whatever the fuck he likes without repercussions... is fraudulent itself.

David Alan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Alan said...

Anonymous said:

"But the fact he is anonymous, and writes whatever the fuck he likes without repercussions... is fraudulent itself."

Man, I love irony.

Anonymous said...

My point being... if you're going to criticize, then at least have the bollocks to stand behind your words with name and face intact.

But MM knows just as well as I do that you don't bite the hand that feeds you... because Cthulhu forbid one should be able to speak his/her mind without risking it all. But feelings are too easily hurt and egos too easily bruised in this business plagued by chronic fear and anxiety.

But if you're going to be a rebel... then wear the colors with pride and fuck the consequences.

bob said...

Or maybe Bob is a pro-scribe pretending to be a wannabe, who is really Mystery Man, who is really a pro-scribe named Bob who poses as a wannabe named Bob on the boards because he rues the day he bought a 69 Jaguar XKE and has to spend all day at the f'ing mechanics (who shall remain nameless), but who thankfully has a wifi hot spot in the customers lounge. Only in Brentwood, baby.

Seriously, I don't know if MM is famous, soon to be famous, or whatever. But I've read his screenplays, and he can talk the talk because he walks the walk.

And be careful who you call a wannabe and in what tone, because you never know which one of them wannabe's is gonna have the chance to make or break you. Which I guess explains the anonymity for you, right?

I dig MM's candor about screenwriting, what works, and what doesn't. To paraphrase Hemingway, his bullshit detector has batteries. If you want to call people like me wannabe hanger's on, be my guest. I could be in much worse company.

Anonymous said...

"And be careful who you call a wannabe and in what tone, because you never know which one of them wannabe's is gonna have the chance to make or break you."

I'll risk it, mate.

bob said...

anonymously, of course, mate.

Anonymous said...

There's no mystery about my identity, "Bob". Ask MM, he'll tell you who I am.

Carlo Conda said...

The irony is strong in this one.

There isn't any anonymity in MM's name either, then, because I'm sure a few people here know who he is, too.
However, you are still anonymous, as is MM. It doesn't matter if one person knows who you are, nobody else does. You're hiding behind a veil to everyone else, Anonymous.

bob said...

I'm judging from your use of the words "bollocks" and "mate", that you are Prince Harry? Am I close???

Anonymous said...

I'm hardly hiding behind a veil...I just can't be bothered to register a name... it's easier to check "anonymous".

I'm Rob Smith, author of "Sons of Darkness", and MM and I go way back.

But I wasn't attacking MM... just being direct and candid. We've made our peace.

I was just pointing out that MM faces no real consequences of his words... and it's easy to be an arrogant ass when there's no risk to your career.

I wonder if MM is this hardcore in real life -- where it matters. Because I would kill for somebody with his smarts and moxy behind the scenes. Perhaps we could cut down on the shit being produced today.

David Alan said...

Anonymous -- I was only messing with you, man. I should've clarified I was only joking.

And if Mystery Man isn't digging what you're saying, I'm fairly certain he's capable of taking you to task without comments from the peanut gallery.

MM -- Who is this Shyamalan guy you speak of? The name isn't ringing a bell. Should it?

Really, he should put his name in BIG BOLD LETTERS at the beginning and end of his movies. Maybe then we'll know who the fuck he is.

Hehehe...© Mystery Man, Inc.

-- David Alan

Mim said...

I think the thing that people like about Shyamalan movies is the quiet intensity he manages to create between his characters.

In Signs, there was the scene with the vomiting on the girl at the party story, and then the dual stories of how the kids were born. There was also the dinner where everybody got what they wanted and then didn't want it.

In those scenes it doesn't matter so much what people say as how they say it. His strength as a director is creating that emotional resonance between people.

I think that's what keeps the core members of his audience coming back. That's why they talk about the Shyamalan "vibe."

And I think if you look at movies like Transformers and Speed Racer and the latest Indy, audiences are getting used to overlooking lack of story and dialogue as long as they have those moments of clarity to hang onto.

Matt said...

I'm not saying that you gave no consideration to the content of the film - that's not your style ;). Maybe for the both of us, it's hard to see the forest for the trees - I liked the film/filmmaker, so I'm willing to overlook the flaws, and you can't see anything but flaws. Like I said, the film's a failure. But I still think you're not giving it enough credit.

Carlo, I disagree with you that "[a]nybody can make a funky unpredicable movie with atmosphere." Finding a tone and keeping it consistent is one of the hardest tasks when you're working on a film, and whether you like it or not, THE HAPPENING is interally consistent, in both tone and acting style.

I think Mim really put a fine point of what the hardcore Shyamalan people like about his movies - that even though they have these big backdrops, they're really about getting the characters to a certain moment in time. The worldwide alien invasion in SIGNS allows this broken family to repair itself and come to grips with the past, etc. And likewise, THE HAPPENING is really about getting these two people to the point where they're willing to risk their lives to spend one last moment with each other - which saves their damaged marriage. Which is why that stupid ADR'd line at the end of that scene damn near killed it for me. I can't decide it puts too fine a point on it, or if it was a studio mandate. But either way, in Night's movies, the specifics of why they didn't die don't matter. In his movies, people take a leap of faith, and are rewarded with a miracle.

Joshua James said...

I am a screenwriter, and I have a blog too!

Actually, MM has put his scripts up for peer review, on Trigger Street. So he has done that. TS is free for anyone, too.

I still love Zoeey. I ain't paying to see the movie, but I still love her.

bob said...

Amen to getting rid of the shit on the screen, Rob. See, isn't it a liberating experience to shed your anonimity?

MM has been a huge mentor to me, so everyone will have to excuse my "hanging on", "commenting from the peanut gallery", and what ever else I do to stand up for my friend. Regardless of whether I ever "make it" as a writer, he's been a huge help to me.

Anonymous said...

"Amen to getting rid of the shit on the screen, Rob. See, isn't it a liberating experience to shed your anonymity?"

Sure is "Bob". ;)

But it wasn't trash talk on my part. Just a reality check.

And perhaps all of you... "Bob", "Matt", "James", "Mim", etc... should also experience the glory and liberation of shedding ones anonimity.

In other words... practice what you preach, mate. ;)

Love,
Rob

bob said...

oh hey Rob, I thought everybody knew who I was. ;) I'm Bob Thielke. MM's blogged about me a couple times and I'm a regular schmo on Triggerstreet, got a couple things optioned, one hopeful one dead in the water.

There, no anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Nice to meetja, Bob.

So, you too know the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

We're a pathetic bunch, aren't we. ;)

Carlo Conda said...

Hi, I'm Carlo.

"Hi Carlo)"

And I'm no longer anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I just checked out Triggerstreet... and while I'm all for the collective experience and social networking... bloody hell... there's just so many of us clawing at the thin ice these days that it fills this long-timer with great sadness... because we can't all be professional screenwriters... the market won't support it.

Yet... despite the lotto-like odds... we hammer away... every day... and dream of that soaring moment when we see our names on the big silver screen.

Shit... vanity and obsession are killing us. And neither one pays the rent.

Carlo Conda said...

Hey, you're still alive and kicking, aren't you? Then keep writing. :p

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