Writing Can Be Murder

March 10, 2008

How movies show why writers need editors

Filed under: Uncategorized — love2wryte @ 7:46 pm

I have a confession to make. I don’t go to the movies (which I know is odd since I write screenplays) so I’m always “behind” on what everyone else has seen. Netflix is my friend.

The last three movies (because I refuse to count the last Pirates movie as anything other than commercial sequelism with no point besides making money, it certainly didn’t entertain) I saw were:

 THE PRESTIGE, GONE BABY GONE,  and IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH

 All of these movies were good, but I’m of the opinion they could have been great, if only the writer had gotten the hell out of the way.

The Prestige  written and directed by Christopher Nolan was interesting — not the best movie (I didn’t find a single character to be likable) but a beautifully constructed puzzle (which is what he is best at — remember Memento?)

Gone Baby Gone convinced me that Ben Affleck really did write at least part of Good Will Hunting — the dialogue had such a distinctive cadence that I double-checked the credits to make sure I wasn’t going crazy and that he did co-write this film.  Unfortunately, the pacing of this movie helps to cement my theory that writers should not be allowed to direct their own scripts.  BUT the ending left DH and I arguing (which is always a good thing — art that can entertain and make us think deserves kudos) I’ve now added Dennis Lehane’s book to my To Be Read list.

 In The Valley of Elah —  Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Walker, Texas Ranger — had to toss that one in there) is one of the best writers out there. This script is full of interesting ideas and raises interesting issues, but the execution was flawed.

 I’m in awe of all of these writers. The scripts are brilliant, but the films could have used the perspective of someone else in order to spot their weak spots. That’s where a director, or in the case of a novelist, an editor can help to make the final product stronger.

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