Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Memoirs (Remember Me)

note: The interview originally slated for today has been moved to Saturday. Wanna make sure you guys get 5 reviews this week.

Genre: Drama
Premise: Two college students who’ve experienced recent loss fall in love and heal their fractured families.
About: Landing on last year's Black List with 6 votes, this was just recently picked up by Summit. Also Rob Pattinson of Twilight fame is attached (for context's sake, I knew none of this while reading the script)
Writer: Will Fetters

Memoirs is a strange little script that was pushed on me by one of our readers. She kept saying "You gotta read Memoirs. You gotta read Memoirs." I looked at the 50 or so scripts I wanted to read *before* Memoirs and said, "There's no way this is happening." Of course I didn't tell her that.

Well after a long day of reading 4 scripts - yes 4 - I was about to go to sleep when I said, "You know what? I still got something in me. Why not?" (sadly, I really did say this out loud) So I grabbed Memoirs and started reading. After 10 pages, something familiar started creeping over me. I felt like I had read this script before. And it was because I *had* read this script before! I had given it a shot six months ago and absolutely hated it. I never made it past page 20.

It's about a guy Tyler (I envisioned him as a sort of Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting type) who pretty much leads a miserable existence. He's depressed about the world. His father doesn't have time for him. He's got a step-father he doesn't get along with. He's got an 11 year old sister with no friends. His older brother died at the World Trade Center. About the only thing he's got going for him is his friend AIDAN, who is so over-the-top, you feel he's written that way just to compensate for the fact that everybody else is so damn depressing. He's still pretty funny though. Here's their first scene together, after Tyler wakes up with some random girl...

I sold your girlfriend a toothbrush.

You sold my who? ...What?

That voluptuous, delightfully oblivious little blondie you left in your bed this morning... I sold her a toothbrush. Got three bucks.


Are in order, yes. Because that sale inspired our newest business venture - "The SLUT"

Tyler stares blankly.

The 'Single Lady's Universal Tote'

Tyler stares blankly.

It's the one-night-stand travel pack for women. We throw in some make-up, toiletries, cell phone charger, cab numbers. Retail it at S19.95, maybe do an informercial.

And you think women would buy this? With money?

Hey one-night-stands happen... It's a part of life... like stubbing your toe. Sometimes you misjudge a corner and bend back your pinky toe, other times you wake up in a freshman dorm wearing a field hockey tee shirt wondering why your balls smell like cinnamon...

Tyler gives him a peculiar look.

And that's completely hypothetical.
(quickly moving on)
Don't underestimate the novelty gift market. Think about it...instead of giving that token slutty friend a ten-inch black dildo for her birthday, you hook her up with "The SLUT." Everyone has a laugh and the implication that she'll probably use it someday remains. What do you say? Are you in?

You need help.

Tyler finishes his cigarette.

OK... fine... be cynical... just remember at some point in history two people had a conversation just like this about the light bulb. One of them went on to fame and fortune and the other one probably went to work at Denny's or something.

I'm pretty sure they didn't have Denny's in the 19th century.
A funny scene and yet I had no idea what to think because up until this point, there wasn't a single laugh in the script. Did I miss something? When did this turn into Swingers? Anyway, Tyler and Aidan get into a late night scuffle with some street thugs that results in a police officer pulling a Rodney King and giving Tyler the beat down. Aidan insists he sue but another opportunity presents itself when Aidan finds out that the officer's daughter, ALLY, attends their college. Aidan insists that fucking over the daughter is the perfect way to get back at the officer. Tyler's reluctant at first but eventually makes his move. The two begin a relationship and start to fall for each other - the conflict of course being that sooner or later Tyler will have to meet Ally's father and the truth will come out.

Although the relationship feels manufactured at first, it eventually finds its rhythm, and you have yourself a cute little story about two people falling for each other despite their respective fucked-up-ness. It's not bad but what bothered me is the misstep it made before the relationship even started. One thing I don't like is when an important decision is made by someone other than the main character. In this case, Aidan pushes Tyler to date Ally to fuck over the officer. Tyler reluctantly agrees and, of course, later falls for Ally. When the difficult decision comes on how to tell Ally that he knew her father from before, it doesn't have nearly the punch it would've had had Tyler been 100% responsible for starting their relationship. This way it's wishy-washy. The spot he's in is kinda his fault but kinda not. You never want this. Always have your protagonist driving the story. It makes him stronger and it makes the story stronger.

Now up to this point I was thinking, "Why did she want me to read this script so bad? It's just a basic love story." There was nothing about the script that stood out. And then............the ending came. I am a SUCKER for a good ending. I loved The Sixth Sense. I loved The Others. I love anything that makes me rethink the movie I just saw. For its ending alone, Memoirs gets bumped from a "worth the read" to an "impressive". Even though I'm telling you it's coming, you won't figure it out. Trust me. So don't even try. I'm not even sure it completely fits with the story. But it's so shocking that you can't help but..........well, run out and tell someone about it. Someone told me. Now I'm telling you. Check out Memoirs. It very well may shock you. :)

edit: Lest I mislead you, this script has nothing to do with ghosts.

[ ] trash
[ ] barely kept my interest
[ ] worth the read
[x] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned from Memoirs: I said it right at the end of the review. The ending of this script bumped it up from something I probably never would've mentioned to anybody, to something I'm now reviewing on my site and would encourage you to check out. Twist endings are tricky and they're hard to pull off. But if you have a script idea with a good one, write it, because there's nothing quite like a reader finishing a script and going, "Holy shit." They absolutely have to tell someone. Now! Here's a real-world example for you. The reader who suggested this to me would not leave me alone about it. Talk about the ultimate marketing tool.

note: If you are going to discuss the ending in the comments section, please precede your post with *spoiler*. Thank you.