.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Just Saw [Insert Movie Title Here]...

...or how my MFA in screenwriting ruined any chance of enjoying a movie like a normal person. If I apply what I've learned to existing films, would it have made a better film?

SPOILER WARNING: Please be advised, I plan to discuss plot points in detail so if you haven't seen the movie and don't want the surprise ruined, stop here.

My Photo
Location: California, United States

Monday, February 06, 2006


Logline: James Franco endures trials and tribulations to survive his first year in the Naval Academy.

The good idea:

It's "An Officer and A Gentleman" only different.

What didn't work:

Jake Huard is set up as a hot headed, anti-authority misfit. However, neither in his home life nor in his plebe year does he demonstrate this trait to the level where we can believe it has held him back.

The first half of the film is interminably episodic. Scenes happen to Huard. Nothing happens as a result of his drive or determination.

The film stretches believability. Plebes are thrown out of the academy for lying about a shower and failing to run an obstacle course in under 5 minutes. Yet, Huard remains in the academy despite punching a superior officer.

The character parrot all the necessary bon mots (you'll never make it, you're not tough enough) required in a coming of age film but the actions don't reflect this. Despite Huard's protestations that his father stands in his way, his father really doesn't. He benignly stands by and lets Huard kill his own dreams.

What could have been a touching moment where Huard returns to his old job dressed in his navy whites is tepid at best. This is because the film never builds up to this point. We never get the feeling that this act is important to him.

The most important thing to Huard is getting into the academy to fulfill a promise to his dead mother. This accomplishment is handed to him in the first ten minutes. The dream of completing the academy is one that he abandons and reclaims with no motivation.

What makes this film ordinary is that there is no exploitation of naval culture, specifically customs, rituals, hazing and the sense of honor and patriotism that pervades a military institution. What makes this film less than ordinary is its liberal use of tired and worn cliches.


Post a Comment

<< Home