Good News for Aspiring Screenwriters

Last weekend we watched Cold Souls with Paul Giamatti and Post Grad with Alexis Bledel.

The first had great potential as an idea. An accomplished actor is having trouble getting into a role because the troubles of his soul are so great. To lighten his load, he has his soul extracted (it is a chickpea) and put in storage for a couple weeks.

A soulless actor is not much better than one with a troubled soul, and so he looks through a catalog of smuggled souls and has implanted in him the soul of a Russian poet. Now he can really act. In the meantime, his own soul goes missing, and so the search begins.

The idea is clever, and has potential for examining all kinds of, uh, soulful themes. But it doesn’t. It is occasionally funny, but generally weak.

The second was actually one of the worst movies I’ve seen in quite a while. Bledel plays a recently graduated over-achiever who can’t get a job. Her best friend is a high school buddy who has had a crush on her since grade school, but she refuses to see it. You already know how this ends.

We are willing to accept knowing how a movie will end if the path there is fun. Romantic comedies are formulaic to begin with. But this one pushed the conventions to their most trite extremes. Every stock idiocy of the genre is brought to play. Honestly, it comes across as a first attempt in a beginning screenwriting class.

Which tells me that there is hope for aspiring screenwriters. If you have a good idea that you can’t fully mine, no problem. And if you want to play the RC game, you don’t need to have a knack for dialog or characterization or anything of the sort.

If these movies can get made, so can yours.