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SCREENWRITING EXPO 4 & PITCH TO AMERICA

BD21298_.gif SCREENWRITING EXPO 4 is set for November 11-13, 2005, to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. EXPO 4 brochure is available online and tickets and EXPO DVDs are, too.

THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY (“If Roast Beef Could Fly“) LENO will be there to film another version of their recurring PITCH TO AMERICA segment.

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6 C O M M E N T S

  1. justaguy says:

    *raises hand*

    Hey Paul…I’m justaguy…I just had a quick question about “Million Dollar Baby.” WHAT IN THE HELL WERE THINKING WHEN YOU WROTE THAT 3RD ACT?????!!!!!

    Thank you….

    *sits down*

  2. -S- says:

    Hahaha.

    Eastwood as Director (not performer) is responsible, to my view, for the third act…supporting characters’ peformances just fell apart. If there hadn’t been Eastwood and Morgan Freeman…well, you’re right, the third act was not saved even — perhaps barely — by those two.

    The film is difficult to watch. It’s just a hard story. Difficult. Now that I try to discuss this, I can’t decide if it’s the script or the supporting actors or the intensely difficult issue of the story itself.

    The supporting characters in the film really bother me — it’s as if they’re trying to be badly done — and that’s even before we get to “what was Haggis thinking” part, what with that Third Act.

  3. -S- says:

    Random first responses here, but, yes, I agree that the film is irritating. I am not fond of it, although I do like Eastwood as director otherwise — the moodiness he visually captures beyond dialogue — while this film isn’t among my favorites of his.

    The priest character confounds many, I agree. It’s not a well thought-out character (maybe more a case of an unfamiliar character who was not researched thoroughly and consequently, was portrayed as completely one-dimensional and shallow, even, to the point of antithesis), as are also the family members AND that hanger-on-boxer-guy at the gymn, who was so insincere in character and performance as to make me wonder, honesty, what the heck was Eastwood THINKING there. The family, same, terribly not enacted well, if almost badly done to the point of charade.

    We get the point that the family and the priest characters are protagonists but they went into an extra layer of irritation as characters that renders the characters artificially. Just not enacted well, not believably presented, and therefore, not well directed.

    I don’t know, decidedly, if this is the fault of Eastwood badly directing the performances or if the script literally wrote them up as to be badly enacted (which, latter, I doubt, although the roles seem to have demanded bad performances…the actors in those roles, however, fell down, so, as I wrote earlier, I hold Eastwood-as-Director responsible for a lot of this acerbic, insincerity of character). But I’d really doubt that the script describes any of the supporting characters as being “badly acted” and unbelievable in their portrayals of people of weak courage and poor character, in the moral sense — people weak in courage and character, yes, but badly acted…that’s the realm of the Director.

    About the plot point of the letter in voice-over read by Freeman’s character, as it’s written to Eastwood’s daughter, revealing the murder/suicide that implicates Eastwood, the point I took there was that Eastwood’s character was obvious in his actions to the point of not caring who knew what he’d done, suggesting that: the woman/lead character (Swank’s character), who he’d murdered in her suicidal venture, was not of “worth” or importance enough to even merit a police pursuit afterward (did they even NOTICE she was murdered/committed suicide, the story development said to me, and I think I concluded that no one had noticed, or cared to investigate), AND, that Eastwood’s character had, literally, disappeared into anonymity, thus making any possible interest in his whereabouts difficult to more difficult for anyone to pursue, and thus, combined with the lack of interest in the victim, Eastwood’s character relied on remaining outside the pursuit of law enforcement…and that’s what the voice-over surely was also aware of, sharing in the same general social outcasting as did Eastwood’s and the now-deceased female boxer characters’ sub-societal desolatory carelessness as to any follow-up to the mortal deeds committed.

    Swank’s character as having “taken the easy way out” is a mystery to me, too. The option taken suggests a reflection upon her (Swank character’s) awareness of her sparse worth, if there’s any at all, to anyone else other than to Franky (Eastwood) and only to the public in that she is held in regard only when she was physically competitive and now that that’s gone, she’s not worthy. Unfortunately, this is more an option of consideration for the physically disabled than many others are aware, so in that sense, I took her “option=out” sincerely, however disagreing with it morally and spiritually. I just mean it made sense to my understanding of Swank’s character, along with the harshness known to Swank’s character (and to Eastwood’s and Freeman’s characters, too, if not also that priest) as to their knowledge of how little they were valued by others. There was no heroic message here, no heroic character, and everyone was lost.

    Eastwood’s character remains most in need of more explanation, to my view. That and far better directing of the foolish waste of supporting character sub-par performances. He failed as Director in that last category and seems to have enacted the character of Franky with far less concern than I’ve yet to see him display on screen…he didn’t work too hard in actually performing any sincerity in that character, failed to deliver any truth except in one or two scenes. I really wanted to support the guy, as I did Freeman’s and Swank’s but I found myself wondering why the actors failed to deliver and let the ghastly story conclusion run the film.

    I haven’t read Haggis’ script, is the point here, so I don’t know how much of what was seen was the Director and the performers versus the print on the pages. It just might be a story that would make an audience cheer and sob but what was finished on screen didn’t, it just made us flinch. Me, anyway.

  4. justaguy says:

    1. What was the point of the priest? Was he purely for comedic value? At the point in the script…which the priest would have had value (near the end…in the Church — Clint asking for advice)…Paul completely drops the ball. The priest said he (Clint’s character) would be lost forever if he killed Swank. Clint’s character never shows up back at the gym, etc. thus giving the audience the conclusion that he’s lost.

    2. Why did Swank’s character not sign her assets over to her family (whom we are made to hate)…only to commit suicide? In the event of
    her death…all her money is going to go to her family anyway.

    3. Morgan Freeman through out the entire film is writing a letter apparently to Clint’s daughter…and in the letter he records the fact
    that Clint kills Swank…which is a felony…so we have an admitted felony on paper?

    4. Through out the film…there is the underlining msg to keep fighting till the fight is done…but Swank’s character takes the easy way out.

    —-

    Possible ways to fix the script….

    1. When the family leaves…Swank could have asked the lawyer to stay…then Swank could have asked for complete privacy. We wouldn’t have
    known until later…that Swank at this point..made a will…leaving the cash to Clint’s character and also the guardian to make all
    decisions in regards to life support.

    2. Have the priest in the advice scene…stress the hardships of life…hope, etc. Make the priest’s part stronger.

    3. Have Hillary go in a coma…and Clint make the decision to pull the plug…have him whisper in her ear the meaning of her boxing name.

    4. Have Clint by the restaurant and name it after Swank’s character…as well as building a cabin nearby.

    I dunno…the more I think about the film…the more it irritates me.

  5. -S- says:

    Yes, agreed, as to my reaction, just as yours.

    I took the euthanasia act/theme change to be a form of alliteration of the “knockout” effort…”beating the odds” as in, grimly and sickly, knocking oneself out as the opponent to life.

    It was not a well developed story line and certainly a disappointment in filmmaking. I’m not sure that the issue itself could have been included “well” or successfully, as you also suggest in finding it offensive (I did, too, both as moral and literary choice).

  6. justaguy says:

    Also, the whole Euthanasia…Assisted Suicide aspect of the film…seemed to come out of left field…99.9% of the film was about boxing…and fighting the odds, etc….then suddently WHAM…a liberal political commentary on Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide…combination thereof. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.