April 24, 2013 – As someone with a passion for writing and the movies, it makes sense that I would someday attempt to write a screenplay. I’m still waiting for inspiration, but there are several I wish I wrote, and that has to count for something.
Here are ten screenplays in no particular order that have made me crazy with envy over the years.
1. The Big Chill (1983) – William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Berenger, Mary Kay Place, JoBeth Williams
Seven thirtysomething college friends reunite for the weekend and the funeral of another college friend. It is the perfect scenario, the perfect cast, and the perfect blend of drama and comedy. Who wouldn’t want to have their name on this wonderful script?
2. Passion of Mind (2000) – Demi Moore, Stellan Skarsgard, Sinead Cusack, William Fitchner
I may be the only person who saw and/or liked this little Indy film, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth viewing. Moore plays a woman stuck between two worlds – her real life and her dream life. The problem is she does not know which one is real and which is the dream. Just when I thought all of the original ideas were gone, this clever movie was released.
3. Notorious (1946) – Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman
This is my favorite Hitchcock film, and my favorite film overall; therefore, by law it has to make this list. The script is compelling and at times witty, combining spies, romance and Nazis – and how could you go wrong with that? In addition, the acting is superb.
4. The Breakfast Club (1985) Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michal Hall
Five very different high school students spend the day together in detention and it changes their lives and their opinions of each other forever. I am willing to bet everyone can relate to one of these characters, who represent the best and worst of our high school years. A tender and heartbreaking story, and one of John Hughes best.
5. Being There (1979) Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine
A brilliant performance by Sellers highlights a unique and wonderful script. He plays Chance, a simple gardener who had never left the estate where worked his entire life until his employer dies. Sellers is thrown out onto the street to survive on his own, and runs into a plethora of people who mistake his views on gardening – which is all he knows – as pure genius. The script is a clever take on suddenly becoming famous.
6. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) Mark Duplass, Aubrey Plaza
This Indy film from last year is based on a real classified ad the writers found in a magazine that read: “Wanted – someone to go back in time with; must have your own weapons; safety not guaranteed.” Intriguing? Yes. When you find a real life gem like that, how can you not write a fabulous screenplay around it?
7. Amelie (2001) Audrey Tautou
A wonderful and heartwarming French film that focuses on a shy and lonely Parisian waitress (the adorable Tautou) who secretly does good deeds for her neighbors. The story is simple, yet it balances humor and drama brilliantly, and it will change your outlook on life forever. I guarantee it.
8. The Sixth Sense (1999) Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment
This is perhaps the best “I didn’t see that coming” screenplay in history, and although everyone probably knows the twist, I won’t ruin it just in case. In addition, with the Philadelphia connection (M. Knight Shyamalan wrote the terrific screenplay), it’s as if my neighbor wrote it, which means I am very close to his perfection.
9. Midnight in Paris (2011) Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams
Woody Allen’s fantasy about a writer vacationing in France who accidentally finds a wormhole back to the glory days of Paris in the 1920s, and the wonderful writers and artists who gathered nightly at “salons” to discuss their art. Hey, Woody, it’s my fantasy, too.
10. Airplane! (1980) Robert Hays, Leslie Nielsen, Julie Hagerty
This hilarious spoof on the disaster movies of the 1970s, is one of the best comedies ever. Each time I try to write humor, I fail miserably. Since this is the ultimate funny script, it easily makes my top ten list. It proves simple humor can be very funny, and makes me believe that one day I will succeed.