10 Flicks: Character Driven Movies

August 30, 2010 at 8:57 pm

10 Flicks: Movies That Explore One Character

Character studies.  Character analysis.

Character driven movies…

Movies that explore one character’s rise and/or fall fascinate me.

Movies with interesting and iconic characters that reasonate are incredible achievement.  Every movie fan has a different connection to these powerful characters and that’s what makes them unique.

Everyone relates differently.  Everyone has a favorite.

At the end of the day, movies that focus on one character’s life and the challenges they encounter are truly works of art.

Here are 10 of my favorites:

Cast Away

Chuck Noland

Into The Wild

Chris McCandless


Tony Montana

Click image to view trailer

Scarface Character Driven Movies

Taxi Driver

Travis Bickle


Rocky Balboa

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

R.P McMurphy

Kill Bill

The Bride

There Will Be Blood

Daniel Plainview

Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire

Dexter & Screenwriting

August 30, 2010 at 9:56 am

Dexter & Screenwriting

I’m currently reading the first DEXTER novel by Jeff Lindsay: Darkly Dreaming Dexter

It’s a fantastic book.

I’ve already got the second installment on standby and I can’t wait to read more about one of my favorite characters.

Obviously, I’m also a gigantic fan of the Showtime series based on the beloved serial killer.

For more than 4 years now, I’ve been completely engrossed in the groundbreaking show.  It’s unbelievable how good it is if you have yet to see it.  I know I don’t have to explain how amazing it is to those that have.

It literally gets better and better with each successful season.  I’m still shocked at how season 4 ended.

It was one of the most entertaining hours of television I’ve ever seen!

Now, season 5 has raised the bar even higher while delving deeper into the mind of a fascinating character.

This blog is normally slanted more towards the film industry and the movies that inspire me but there is no shortage of inspiring tales on the tube.  The last 5-7 years have been especially gratifying with shows like Lost, Prison Break, True Blood, Mad Men, The Walking Dead and more  grabbing a stranglehold of my imagination.

Dexter is number 1 on that list.

For me it’s all about the writing. The writing on that show is incredible.  Each new episode is so unique, original and clever.  It’s just damn good writing and I have a high level of respect for that team and what they accomplish each week.

They are constantly challenging  themselves to write Dexter into corners and lead him into inescapable situations.  Just when you think they can’t think of a plausible way to get out of it they hit you over the head with a solution you never even thought of.  That group of writers must love going to work everyday.

I’m thankful Dexter exists.

dexter & screenwriting

Last week, I was riding the subway on my way to work reading my Dexter novel.  I had a moment of inspiration just like I would if I were watching the latest jaw dropping episode.

Except this time it wasn’t the ideas and the execution (pun intended) that inspired me.

It was the language, the subtleties and the detail.

The world of Dexter is so well developed that it’s hard not to marvel at the genius of it.

It got me thinking more about word selection and precise and interesting descriptions.  I started thinking about the newest short screenplay I’ve been rewriting the last few weeks.

In that moment, as I sat on that train, my book lowered and I made a decision.

This week, I’ve challenged myself to improve the language of my screenplay.  So I’ve decided to print it out and write from scratch keeping only the absolute best of the previous draft.  The story is out there but now it’s my responsibility to make sure that it’s well told and as entertaining as possible.

I live for moments of inspiration.

Whether it’s a novel, a television series or a film, I’m always on the look out for hidden moments that kick start my need to write.

And I love to write.

All Time Worst: Movie Theme To Get Stuck In Your Head

August 27, 2010 at 9:16 am

All Time Worst Movie Theme To Get Stuck In Your Head

I got a song stuck in my head the other day.

It was the Dewey theme from the Scream movies.

Dewey Scream Theme

You know the one:

don DON don DON…  ting ting ting ting ting ting don DON don DON…

I may as well just show it to you.  The song is actually the theme from Broken Arrow by Hans Zimmer.

Note: There’s your fun fact of the day.

Here it is:

I’m not saying I dislike the song. I’m just saying it was stuck in my head for the entire day and lets face it, any song will grow old eventually.

That’s how I feel.

I’m thankful it’s gone.  Hopefully it doesn’t get stuck in your head now.

Movies That Changed Everything: Pan’s Labyrinth

August 24, 2010 at 9:56 am

Movies That Changed Everything: Pan's Labyrinth

I’m an aspiring filmmaker.  Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.  This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.  Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…

Pan’s Labyrinth

Movies That Changed Everything: Pan's Labyrinth

How did Pan’s Labyrinth change everything for me?  One word:


Guillermo Del Toro has one of the most original and artistic imaginations in the world.  The pic above is a perfect example of this.

Pan’s Labyrinth was one of those movies that looked so amazing that I bought it without having seen it.

I literally left my apartment, purchased it and watched it that night.  Fantastic decision on my part.

Pan’s Labyrinth essentially reignited my love of fairy tale movies.  I was blown away.

It’s such an original and dark story set in essentially TWO worlds I’ve never seen before.  The first being Spain during a civil war and the second being the fairy tale world.

The movie is a perfect balance of the two and overflowing with imaginative characters and imagery.  Above all else, the director ties everything together with incredible characters and a story that has stuck with me every since.

It’s strange saying this but I can never make it through the movie in one sitting.  I mean that as a compliment as I always end up stopping it and writing for a while before returning to finish the film.

I’m extremely thankful of every film that gets me in front of a computer to write.  Especially one with so much originality and imagination.

Pan’s Labyrinth makes me want to be a better writer.  It makes me want to create better characters and stories.  It makes me want to work harder and set my goals higher.

It’s definitely a movie that changed everything.

A Last Minute Dinner For Schmucks

August 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm

A Last Minute Dinner For Schmucks

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to see Inception in theaters for the second time.

Instead I chose to see Salt. Bad idea.

Still, the universe corrected itself and I had another opportunity to watch some corporate dream based espionage.

Except there was a mix up in start times and we missed it.

My friend and I had to think quickly.

“No I do not want to see Salt again thank you for asking.”

We settled on Dinner For Schmucks.

Worst movie of 2010?

Close call.  It was really bad.

So unfortunate.

I thought at the very least Steve Carell and Paul Rudd would provide some big laughs. I was mistaken and ultimately disappointed.

Especially where Carell is concerned. Add this awful showing to Date Night and I’m thinking his decision to leave the office might need to be reconsidered.

I’m a massive fan of his. I think he’s one of the funniest actors working today.  Paul Rudd is up there too.   Their genius didn’t shine through this time around but I’m still a fan of their work.

So… Dinner For Schmucks…

Bad. Really bad.

I’ll be completely honest and say that I did laugh at times but the story killed it for me. It didn’t make any sense.

  • Giant corporate figures get together to make fun of ‘idiots’?  Aren’t they busy?
  • Who has time to go out and locate strange people and then invite them to an even stranger dinner?
  • Why do people’s jobs depend on the dinner?
  • If you can’t find a good idiot why is your job is at risk?

Nope.  Not buying it.

No wonder the company needs saving.  Look how they run things.  An employee gets a good idea and they can’t promote him until he proves that he can find someone weird on the streets.

Note:  Someone he ‘happens’ to hit with his car.  Convenient.

Maybe I missed something but when the basic premise doesn’t work, the movie has no chance.  The dinner doesn’t even happen until the final 10-15 minutes.

Instead we are treated to a series of ‘funny’ misunderstandings that frustrated the crap out of me.

I lost interest long before the schmucky dinner got started.  It was literally a circus.  A really dumb circus.

Apparently these high paid execs live for these dinners…  Really?

Yeah…  Didn’t make sense to me either.

In summary…

I did not care for Dinner For Schmucks.

Wait a minute. ..

I get it!!!!!

The boss’s were the schmucks!!!!!!!!  They were the real idiots… Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh…  Because of the way they treated people.

Makes sense.