Monday, April 10, 2006

Top 100 Screenplays

by Jackrabbit Slim
The Writer's Guild list can be found here:

The problem with Casablanca as number one is that it was written as it was shot, the happiest accident in movie history. If we're talking about transcripts of finished films, yes, I can buy it as number one, but if we're talking about shooting scripts, well, no.

My choice would be Hannah and Her Sisters. Of all Woody Allen's screenplays, this one is the most rich and novelistic. I would also rank Pulp Fiction, The Godfather, A Hard Day's Night and Fargo high on the list.


Blogger Nick said...

I don't get the Casablanca choice either. What are they thinking exactly? Everyone knows the film started shooting with an unfinished screenplay, and was patched together over time. Like you said, a happy accident. Some kind of hint?

And Singin' In The Rain? Seriously?
And Tootsie gets placed 17, but La Grande Illusion 85? And what the hell is Rocky doing here?

It's a bullshit list.

4/10/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Eternal Sunshine is before Adaptation and Being John Malkovich? I guess I'm just glad to see Charlie Kaufman's writing get the credit it deserves.

David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch belongs
on this list. It was an impossible book to adapt, so Cronenberg re-wrote the book on adaptations to make it work. He wrote it as a sci-fictional account of the events in Burroughs' life that influenced the writing of Naked Lunch. The way he managed to work in characters from the book as well as people from the writer's life was incredible. He managed to capture the true spirit of Burroughs' work while creating something completely different.

Personally, I've always seen Kaufman's Adaptation as an homage to Cronenberg's Naked Lunch.

Like Wells said, this is really just a re-packaging of the 101 greatest films list. There is a huge difference between what makes a great film and what makes a great script, and this list doesn't seem to take much of that into consideration.

4/10/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Is Lawrence of Arabia really that great of a script? It's always seemed like more of a director's accomplishment than a writer's.

Star Wars is really a stretch, too. Even aside from the dialogue, I think the story is fairly disorganized and choppy.

Overall, though, I don't think it's that bad of a list, at least if you ignore the rankings and just focus on what's there. It's pretty predictable and there are some groaners, but a lot of these kinds of lists turn out much worse.

4/10/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

The inclusion of "Forrest Gump," a cinematic turd at best, renders this list completely useless ... Personally, I would make Woody's Manhattan No. 1, and would have moved Cool Hand Luke into the top 10.

4/13/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

But how could you deny such timeless nuggets of hallmark-card wisdom as "life is like a box of never know what you're gonna get."

And they totally made that dude's legs disappear, now that is good writing!

4/14/2006 10:53:00 AM  

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