Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Romantic Comedy

This film is over twenty years old. Mary Steenburgen and Dudley Moore? That pairing feels like it's from another century.

Oh. Right.

This isn't really a funny movie. It didn't ever make me laugh out loud. But don't take that the wrong way. I actually was charmed by this rather gentle story with an oddly subdued Dudley Moore and Mary Steenburgen in a (not surprising) quietly ditzy role. I don't think anybody plays that better than she does.

I knew nothing -- absolutely nothing -- about the story before I started watching it. Thus, as the plot unfolded I was caught up in it, wondering which way it was going next. It didn't go where I thought it would. I like that in a movie.

I can see this being remade and being a lot funnier. I can see it going the other way, and being a lot more intense. As it is, I like its subtleties and its willingness to lay back from the obvious.

I like Romantic Comedya lot.

Friday, March 31, 2006


The romantic comedy viewathon continues....

I like Hitch. A lot of it's smart. The parts that weren't were tolerable.

I find Will Smith a little on the annoying side when he's being goofy, but luckily most of this film he was non-goofy. For example, when we see the flashback that shows his "history" and why he is the way he is ... goofy. Luckily, as I said, not too much of that so I can forgive it. Eva Mendes held her own with him, making their evolving relationship fun to watch.

Adam Arkin was terrific as her boss. I really liked the way his character was written, with a little more sensitivity than that role would typically have.

But to me the heart of the story was the subplot with Kevin James and Amber Valleta. Perfectly cast -- I found their unlikely love story charming and oddly believable. I'm not a fan of King of Queens so was caught off guard by James's sweetness in this role.

A nice movie, fun and sweet.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Getting Things Done

Okay, so I read this book and cleaned my office.

And organized it.

Now there is a floor. And things have a "place." And I can even put things in their place. And I even do it.

If that doesn't scare you, then keep reading.

Getting Things Done -- I read the book and then downloaded it from audible (see sidebar) and it's terrific.

Try doing a google search for "getting things done" or "gtd" and you'll see how many people love this book and system.

While you're at it, go to flickr and put in "gtd" and just see what people are taking pictures of and posting.

Don't forget to check out some of the sites dedicated to implementing GTD in all its variations. There's the obvious (the author's own site and then the first site I actually stumbled across, 43 Folders.

If you need to get control of the "stuff" in your life -- whether it's physical stuff, or the stress that weighs you down and the commitments you can't keep up with and the things your brain is always nagging you about -- check out this book.

It might be what you're looking for. It's sure been a revelation to me.


I wish I'd seen this before the Academy Awards so I'd know what I thought about it beating Brokeback Mountain without my judgment being sullied by the irritation I feel toward Annie Proulx and others who are so convinced that the only reason Crash could win Best Picture is because the Academy is homophobic.


Crash is a wonderful film. I've read the pros and cons and I appreciate the differences of opinion, but I happen to think it's a worthy winner.

I responded to the complexity of relationships and plot, to the performances, portrayals and characterizations.

But don't pay any attention to me. See for yourself, and feel free to tell me that I'm wrong.

What can I say? I liked it a lot, I'm happy that it won, and would have been happy to see Brokeback win, as well. They're very different but both compelling and while I don't pretend to know how and why every Academy member voted, I think it's ridiculous to presume that a vote for Crash could only mean you hate gays.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

You know, I was going to put the picture here like I always do and for some reason it wouldn't load. And after I tried a few times it hit me --

I don't even want to see the picture here on my site of those (fill in the blank with the most disgusting and insulting terms you can muster) who are responsible for raping and pillaging the economy, the State of California, and their own employees and stockholders.

This is definitely worth seeing, and I'm particularly pleased that Dallas's own Mark Cuban played his part in getting it in front of America, but you'll want to wash your eyes out with bleach afterward.

And you won't want their pictures on your blog, either.

Enron - The Smartest Guys in the Room

Must Love Dogs

Here's what I suggest.

Remember that word of mouth on this movie has been kind of bleah. Remember that the reviews were pretty lukewarm, too. Remember that some of my savvy, smart, sassy friends thought it was very disappointing.

Then when you finally get around to seeing it, you may have the same reaction I did.

"Hey, I like it!"

Must Love Dogs is not great cinema, but I loved the family relationships, the performances, the little plot details that played against expectations, and seeing Christopher Plummer.

Diane Lane, John Cusack and Dermot Mulroney all did great jobs, but the supporting cast that delighted me just as much.

So don't go in expecting much, remind yourself that after all you didn't spend a bunch of money for tickets and popcorn and you get to see it in your jammies on the sofa, and maybe you'll be delighted, too.

Friday, March 17, 2006

50 First Dates

Yes, I'm catching up on romcoms that the rest of the world has already seen. And I can't figure out why it always catches me by surprise how much I love Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler together. They simply are magic.

50 First Dates is easily my favorite of the romcoms I've watched recently. A kind of raunchy romcom with lots of heart -- okay, I'll admit I could do with a bit less of the raunch but it's worth it to get to the sweet corny cuteness.

I didn't even recognize Sean Astin, though. In fact, I'm going to have to go look again. How did I not notice? Wow.

But my faith in the romcom is redeemed.

Next up, His Girl Friday.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

There's not a lot to say about How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days except that I fell asleep on the couch watching it, woke up to find it had ended and I didn't care enough to pick up and watch it again.

The initial problem is the setup -- that two people just coincidentally fall into strange situations (she volunteers to meet a guy and lose him by doing all the wrong things while he claims he can meet a girl and make her fall in love with him -- to prove a strange point about diamonds, I think? -- and both just happen to have to do it in the same ten days). Now it would have been much simpler and cleaner and more believable had their friends set them up instead of all this being a coincidence.

Kate is cute and Matthew is from Texas. This should be a winning combination, right? Evidently not so much. (yawn) Better luck next time.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Save the Cat

In Save the Cat Blake Snyder has written the first book that I have been tempted to sit down and USE. Meaning, not use bits and pieces of enlightenment and tips, but actually use the whole book.

Now maybe part of this comes from the fact that plot has always been the most difficult part of writing for me. I've been knocking heads with plots since I wrote my first novel.

"But Carol, I'm on chapter seven and I don't even have a plot!"

"Just keep writing, it'll show up sooner or later!"

I somehow managed to write eight books (five published) by guts, trial and error.

Then I decided to write a script, bought Screenplay by Syd Field, and almost fell off my chair.

He told how plots were constructed. Three act structure, page numbers, etc. Now, I'll admit it was too rigid, but I didn't even care about page numbers -- I was overwhelmed by the idea that there was a specific structure I could follow because -- and this is vital -- every one of my published books fit that structure. If I'd understood structure when I wrote them, instead of following a general storyteller's instincts, I could have made them better. So whether or not it's everybody's cup of tea, I realized that what he was talking about in that book fit the way I tell stories.

There have been other books, particularly Making a Good Script Great where Linda Seger picks up where Syd Field left off, and I've picked up lots more from talking to screenwriters, attending conferences, watching movies, etc.

But I reached the point where I was ready to read what Blake Snyder has to say, and ready to throw myself onto the tracks and just DO it. I've tried various outlining techniques from no outline at all, to 3x5 scene cards, but never have I tried a system as clearly defined as his.

I am using his system to write my current script. So far I'm pleased with it. But the script isn't written yet and hasn't gone out into the world to be tested. So all I can say is, if plot is my toughest challenge in any script, Save the Cat seems to be my strongest weapon to combat it.

I'll update when I'm through with the script.

And for those who are interested, I'm blogging about the writing process "next door" at guiltyofbeing. In the sidebar you'll find links to the posts about writing, most of which involve Save the Cat.