Friday, September 26, 2014

Two Weeks of Leading Men

Leading men make me sigh. One of those happy sighs, of course. The past two weeks have been filled with some incredible leading men, and an actress who puzzles me.

Gran Torino
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Screenplay by Nick Schenk
Starring Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley 

Gran Torino is our critical essay this week. I did some preliminary research, but another assignment due at midnight last night pulled me away. Interestingly, in my initial search, there weren't many articles about the movie, so I'm curious to start the hunt again.

North by Northwest
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written By Ernest Lehman
Starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason

This may be one of my favorite Hitchcock films, full of adventure and suspense, with a few turns I didn't see coming. I may have enjoyed this one more because I had no reservations about watching this one, after watching some of his others. 

12 Angry Men
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Story and Screenplay written by Reginald Rose
Starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam

This one reminded me a lot of Runaway Jury with John Cusack, but without the outside influences or suspense. It still had tension, just not as much as Runaway Jury.

A Bronx Tale
Directed by Robert De Niro (his debut)
Written by Chazz Palminteri
Starring Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato, Francis Capra

We watched this movie not as an assignment but because I became a Francis Capra fan while watching Veronica Mars, and he didn't disappoint. The narrator sounds like Capra's voice as an adult, but he was only a child then, so it must be Brancato - but their accents and voices are almost identical. (I'm really an odd duck - I recognize voices almost instantly - and this one threw me.) 

One bit of trivia about this movie really emphasizes the need for research. In IMDb's list of "goofs" for this movie, they write, "It's supposed to be 1960 but the parking meters on the street where 'C' lives are the new kind with the slits for coins rather than the slots. These parking meters did not exist until 1973." This particular goof was production's fault, but the need for research applies to writers as well - when we don't research our topics, our credibility pays the price.

We're working on a spec TV script now in one of my classes. The beat sheet was due last night, and I struggled all week with it. My spec script is for an episode of Blue Bloods (season premiere tonight - YAY!) and the murder victim had a career I knew nothing about. So I had to research it to make his murder plausible. 

Tim and I continue to binge on various TV shows, studying different aspects. We're just finishing up (2 more episodes) the first season of Cedar Cove starring Andie MacDowell. The show's premise is interesting, and some of the actors are really great (Dylan Neal, Sarah Smyth, Teryl Rothery) but Andie MacDowell's performance leaves a lot to be desired, so much so, I've asked myself numerous times how she got to be such a big star. I'm not trying to be harsh - I'm truly curious. The script of Cedar Cove sometimes fails miserably, too. I haven't read the books by Debbie Macomber that the series is based on, so I don't know if the problems are from the original story or the screenplay, but it's one of those shows that doesn't live up to its potential. 

My older son alerted me to a new series starting this week, and we loved the pilot episode. Even if you're not a Batman fan, you may want to check out Gotham.

Directed by Danny Cannon, T.J. Scott, Dermott Downs
Written by Bruno Heller and a host of others
Starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee, David Mazouz

More leading men worth a few sighs.

Who's your favorite leading man? (Besides your significant other...)

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