Rise of Skywalker felt like a cross between fanfiction and a Jackson Pollack painting. Which like, was exhilarating in its way? But I still feel like it could have used a bit more focus, and I have 4 simple script suggestions that I think would have helped:
WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS. Also, lots of swearing, as it turns out. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Full disclosure: Mary Poppins was one of my favorite movies as a kid and I still adore it. It is absolutely a problematic fave but here we are.
On balance, I did really have a good time at Mary Poppins Returns. But to say I liked it might be an overstatement, or just an oversimplification. I left feeling extremely, intensely ambivalent, and I’ve been wrestling with trying to nail down my response ever since.
Visually, it was stunning (although I thought the visual interplay between fantasy and reality was much less deft than the original). I also loved the performances. Lin-Manuel Miranda was a snack, I tell you what. And JANE. Ugh. Jane was everything. The little girl broke my heart. I cried several times.
I wasn’t crazy about the songs, but they weren’t bad.
My primary problems, as they so often are, were with the script. I liked the story set-up, but in the end, the writers simply didn’t seem to have control over what things meant. As a result, the movie felt unfocused and a satisfying resolution was essentially impossible.
Here are five simple changes I would have made to improve things, ordered from smallest to largest:
I have to say, I had a great time at Venom. It was charming. It was funny. Tom Hardy was acting his little heart out. And it ended on a high note! I can’t remember the last time I left a movie feeling so satisfied. Ant-Man and the Wasp, maybe? I am a sucker for odd couple stories, and if one half of the couple is a gross, bloodthirsty, weirdly-petty-but-also-weirdly-susceptible-to-kindness monster, all the better! I also really enjoyed how in love with Eddie Venom was (WITH HIS LAST BIT OF STRENGTH HE SHAPED HIMSELF INTO A PARACHUTE MY HEART), and (look, I’m easy) I laughed out loud in the theater when Annie and Eddie agreed that it felt good having Venom inside them.
I did have some concerns about various production stuff (why is Venom shaped like that? Why are all the action sequences so choppy and dark? Why didn’t Jenny Slate have more lines and maybe Michelle Williams’s role? She is LUMINOUS) but I am here to doctor the BOOK so I will limit myself to that.
I can’t remember a recent movie that got an ad campaign like A Star is Born. When you go to a movie, the trailers tend to be targeted, although we can debate about the usefulness of the categories. For the last six months, I’ve seen “all the family drama trailers”, “all the black trailers”, “all the suspense trailers plus all the minority trailers”, “all the trailers we think middle aged women will like”, “all the comedies,” and various combinations thereof.
But EVERY SINGLE MOVIE showed the trailer for A Star is Born. I assume every movie in America showed the trailer for A Star is Born. I have no idea what that kind of ad campaign costs but it can’t be cheap!
At first the BFF and I laughed. “Who is going to see a Star is Born remake in the year of our lord 2018?” we asked each other.
Gradually, we realized the answer was—us. We were going to see the A Star isBorn remake.
Mostly, it was curiosity. The trailer gave very little indication of what kind of movie this was, or even what the plot was. It seemed to show only the early part of the characters’ relationship even though we knew the core of the movie was that she becomes a bigger star than him and he can’t handle it. Partly, it was a love of musicals and Jason Isbell. Partly, it was that Lady Gaga is a total babe with an amazing voice. (When Bradley Cooper touched her nose, I murmured breathlessly, “Living the dream…”)
Secretly, I think I was hoping for a train wreck. I wanted the movie to flop and for Bradley Cooper to have to go bankrupt, and I wanted front row seats for the disaster. (Yes, I know this is gross, but here we are. I don’t even remember why I don’t like Bradley Cooper! I think there was a reason? I do remember several things Lady Gaga has done that annoyed me which is why I haven’t listened to any of her albums since, uh….Monster? Was that the second one? But she’s also much more talented than he is.)
But also, secretly, I was hoping for a great movie with great songs, that would capture the struggles of successful women surrounded by fragile male egos.
In the end, I’m not entirely sure what I got. It wasn’t bad, exactly. I just…don’t know what it was.
Here are my suggestions to improve the A Star Is Born script.
I enjoyed Ocean’s 8 much more than Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (the subject of my first “Rose Doctors the Book” post). I think overall it was a much more successful movie. I loved all the characters, they had amazing chemistry with each other, it was charming and glamorous and attractive as hell, and I had a great time watching it.
But when the movie ended I had a moment of letdown. “Wait, it’s over? That was it?” It felt like there was something MORE I was waiting for, that never came. I didn’t leave the theater giddy.
Here are my suggestions to improve the Ocean’s 8 script.
Recently, I have seen a lot of movies with good directing, good acting, good cinematography, good production values….and terrible scripts. I don’t understand why this part of movie-making has been so incredibly undervalued, but I hate it. Great actors can sometimes transcend a bad script, but THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO.
Since I am now a freelance book doctor and research assistant (email me at [email protected] for help with your manuscript!), I’ve decided to start a new blog series called “Rose Doctors The Book” in which I fix movie scripts.
Tonight I saw Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I had a great time but wow, I could have fixed that script. You could see the much better movie it could have been through the cracks. I’m going to limit myself to 5 items because otherwise we’d be here all day.