Hollywood's black list looks grey
I've just seen Hollywood's Black List for 2008, the list that has the scripts read by executives and their assistants that have been the best received of the year. Now be careful on that, it means the executives and assistants of all levels, and it's their personal likes.
Looking at the list though I find myself recognising little, and the ones that have been highlighted by those in the know sound dull, idiotic, or done before.
This is not a list that inspires hope for the year to come, at least not in the scripts that have been talked about.
The top mentioned script, with sixty-seven mentions out of two hundred and fifty, is The Beaver from Kylie Killen. It tells the story of Walter Black, a toy manufacturer who is down on his luck, has lost his family and his business, and is struggling with the remains of life.
One day he tries on a hand puppet called The Beaver, apparently a British rodent which actually would make it a mouse or a rat, there are no native beavers in Britain, anyway, technicalities aside, once he tries it on his personality is transformed and he feels much better about himself.
However the puppet starts to take over his life and won't let go. Avoiding the obvious beaver and puppet jokes, I can't believe this is the most liked script of the year, really. Then of course the news is that Steve Carell is attached to play the lead.
Looking through the top ten list there's not a lot that's really showing itself off, however there are a couple more interesting ones down the list.
Big Hole by Michael Gilio is the story of a grumpy ex-cowboy who loses US $30,000 to a company running a fraudulent sweepstakes. He's pissed so he heads off to punish the people who have taken his money, then throw in a Hollywood twist in that his son is the local sheriff and he is the one that has to stop him before he does anything illegal...or anything else illegal.
That sounds okay, it's still nothing too exciting though, not by that blurb anyway.
The Low Dweller by Brad Ingelsby is about a hard-assed ex-convict who returns home to find his girlfriend has left him and his brother has some serious gambling debts. His brother then gets beaten to death, possibly because of the debts, and the ex-con heads off to get revenge.
That sounds okay, but nothing really new. The hope I have here is that the good guy is going to be thoroughly bad really, and there's a feeling of any means necessary about it.
Broken City by Brian Tucker is the story of a private detective pulled into a case that implicates him in a murder. He's hired by the New York mayor to investigate if his wife is cheating on him. She is, and with the man running against him, I guess in more ways than one! Before the PI knows it the man he saw is dead and it could be down to his case.
Finally there's Our Brand is Crisis by Peter Straughan which tells the story of a group of American political operatives who head to Bolivia to try and resurrect a struggling political campaign which is loosely based on a documentary of the same name.
Now that sounds interesting, and it's being produced by George Clooney's company, so that promises some political commentary worth listening to.
However the rest of the list, provided by Deadline Hollywood Daily with the top ten blurbs from Entertainment Weekly, isn't that exciting, although some titles do give some intriguing images, I just wish we had the blurbs for some of these:
Sequels, Remakes and Adaptations by Sam Esmail
Twenty Times a Lady by Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden
The Amazing Adventures of the Monogamous Duck by Neeraj Katyal
Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Eric Aronson
Grand Theft Auto by Jason Dean Hall
Your Dreams Suck by Kat Dennings & Geoffrey Litwak
Ballad of the Whisky Robber by Rich Wilkes
The How-to Guide for Saving the World by BenDavid Grabinski
Serial Killer Days by Mark Carter
Interesting? Well the titles are, but if they're anything like the blurbs from the top ten list I wouldn't be surprised if you would just pass over them on the way to something a little more interesting.
Oh, and Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino just misses out on the top ten spot by hitting eleven with twenty-one mentions.
Yeah I'm really not excited by this list, are you? Let's face it if the number one spot is taken up by a Steve Carell film about a man taken over by his glove puppet, I wonder what the quality of the rest of the list is like.