For those who don’t know, Hollywood’s “Black List” is an annual compilation of the hottest/best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. Deadline has the full list, and the Times Union’s CJ Lais shares his thoughts here.
My thoughts on the Top Ten, which are wholly premature and/or unfair:
1. THE IMITATION GAME by Graham Moore.
A biopic of British World War II cryptographer Alan Turing, who cracked the German Enigma code. He later kills himself after being arrested as a homosexual.
THOUGHTS: Turing’s story is one that’s ripe for a biopic and is, fittingly seeing as how it tops the list, the hands down most intriguing of all the screenplays on this year’s List.
2. WHEN THE STREET LIGHTS GO ON by Chris Hutton & Eddie O’Keefe.
An 80′s-set story of a town dealing with the murder of a high school girl and her teacher.
THOUGHTS: The synopsis reads like a prototypical film grad treatment.
3. CHEWIE by Evan Susser and Van Robichaux.
Seven-foot tall Peter Mayhew is the protagonist.
THOUGHTS: This sounds like garbage. Typical masturbatory geek bullshit; the kind of thing that will get praise and excitement from blogs and websites devoted to the Comic Con crowd and be heralded as the type of thing that should be more successful and/or should get a wider release despite its objectively poor quality.
4. THE OUTSIDER by Andrew Baldwin.
A former U.S. prisoner of war rises in the criminal underworld of post-World War II Japan.
THOUGHTS: I think I have a new favorite movie that’s never been produced. It’s a setting rarely tackled in contemporary North American cinema and one that’s ripe for intrigue (see Akira Kurosawa’s work from the period). I love me some noir. Let’s do this shit.
5. FATHER DAUGHTER TIME: A TALE OF ARMED ROBBERY AND ESKIMO KISSES by Matthew Aldrich
A man and his 11-year-old daughter go on a three-state crime spree.
THOUGHTS: Remember “A Perfect World”? Apparently The Black List doesn’t. Or does and just thinks it’ll work again.
6. IN THE EVENT OF A MOON DISASTER by Mike Jones.
APOLLO 11 gets an alternate history retelling.
THOUGHTS: Alternate history? No thanks. Makes for shit books and, I bet, worse movies. The title doesn’t give me too much faith that there’s something more in the script. Why not just call it ALTERNATE HISTORY RETELLING OF APOLLO 11 WHERE BAD STUFF HAPPENS?
7. THE CURRENT WAR by Michael Mitnick.
Edison and Westinghouse race to perfect electricity and get their patents.
THOUGHTS: This I can get behind, but the most interesting character in that entire story – Nikola Tesla – is conspicuous by his absence in the summary. What gives?
8. MAGGIE by John Scott
Ubiquitous zombies get the human touch as a farm family helps the infected eldest daughter come to terms with transition to the undead.
THOUGHTS: This makes maybe a good Young Adult novel, but fucking enough with the zombies already.
9. THE END by Aron Eli Coleite
Four people in Michigan, London and Shanghai spend their last six hours before an interstellar event ends the world.
THOUGHTS: One of those projects that attempts to trick people into seeing a human story in the guise of a big-budget backdrop. Yet not only are people never fooled by this, but it almost always ends up being complete crap. Why? Because if it’s a good enough story, it’ll get made without the ridiculous premise. Otherwise you sit there watching it and thinking “boy, just think of all the cool stuff I’m missing that they won’t show me.”
10. BEYOND THE PALE by Chad Feehan
Teenage siblings go after the undertaker they believed ripped them off, only to find something even darker.
THOUGHTS: Hm. I’m intrigued.
EZEKIEL MOSS by Keith Bunin
A mysterious stranger who possibly has the power to channel the souls of the dead changes the lives of everyone in a small Nebraska town, especially a young widow and her 11-year-old son.
GRACE OF MONACO by Arash Amel
Grace Kelly, age 33 and having given up her acting career to focus on being a full time princess, uses her political maneuvering behind the scenes to save Monaco while French Leader Charles de Gaulle and Monaco’s Prince Rainier III are at odds over the princi¬pality’s standing as a tax haven.
THOUGHTS: I’ve been wondering when this movie was going to get made and surprised it hasn’t been snatched up already.
HE’S FUCKIN’ PERFECT by Lauryn Kahn
A social media savvy girl who is pessimistic about love finds the perfect guy and decides to use her internet research skills to turn herself into his perfect match.
THOUGHTS: In case you didn’t hate this personality enough in real life, now there’s a movie being made about one! Lauryn, if you’re reading this, you might be a very good person and godspeed and all that, but…no. Just no.
BETHLEHEM by Larry Brenner
A group of people struggling to survive a zombie apocalypse make an alliance with a vampire, trading themselves as food in exchange for protection since zombies don’t eat vampire.
THOUGHTS: NO. NO NO NO. NO. NO. NO. STUPID. NO. BAD SCREENWRITER. BAD.
THE THREE MISFORTUNES OF GEPPETTO by Michael Vukadinovich
A prequel to the story of Pinocchio in which Geppetto endures a life of misfortune, war, and adventure, all to be with Julia Moon, his true love.
THOUGHTS: I feel like I’ve heard of this project before. I’m not sure from the pitch where exactly the hook is; it being Geppetto, sorry, just isn’t enough.
POWELL by Ed Whitworth
Based on the true story of Colin Powell questioning the Bush administration leading up to his United Nations presentation where he made the case for going to war with Iraq.
THOUGHTS: This is a story that needs to be told but boy, I can’t wait for Powell himself to tell it.
THE KNOLL by Christopher Cantwell, Christopher Rogers
A rookie cop and his potential flame witness JFK gunned down from the grassy knoll on November 22, 1963. Within hours, they’re on the run from the murderers who desperately need them silenced.
THOUGHTS: Boy, can’t wait for the 9/11 “inside job” action-thrillers in ten years!
HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY by Ed Solomon
A child prodigy tries to take control of his life away from his demanding parents.
THOUGHTS: Hey, I like the Radiohead song this is named after. So this can’t be TOO bad. Right?
DESPERATE HOURS by E Nicholas Mariani
A small town crippled by WWI and the Spanish flu finds itself facing major moral questions and a brutal invading force when a young girl shows up on a rancher’s doorstep covered in blood.
THOUGHTS: Yes! Post World War I Western! Now THIS I want. Good show, E. Nicholas.
A MANY SPLINTERED THING by Chris Shafer, Paul Vicknair
When a charming heartbreaker finally meets a girl he can’t have, he discovers the true meaning of love by living out other people’s love stories and writing his own.
THOUGHTS: Can’t wait to see which charisma-impaired dullard they cast as the writer!
FLARSKY by Daniel Sterling
A political journalist courts his old babysitter, who is now the United States secretary of state.
THOUGHTS: “It’s An American President…except less interesting!” – The guy who’s been pitching this unsuccessfully for years.
BLOOD MOUNTAIN by Jonathan Stokes
After his team is ambushed and killed in Pakistan, a young army ranger must escort the world’s most wanted terrorist over dangerous terrain in order to bring him to justice. While being hunted by both of their enemies, they must find a way to work together in order to survive.
THOUGHTS: Yes, this is essentially “3:10 to Yuma” in Pakistan. What of it? I like it and want to see this done.
- Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…
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