Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reader's Top 25 Favorite Scripts

A couple weeks back I got the idea for a Reader Top 25 - a sort of definitive word on the best screenplays that hadn't yet made it to the big screen. Would the choices reflect my own favorites? Would they be completely different? Well obviously, for a lot of you, this is your only source to read screenplays, so your Top 25 consists mainly of scripts I've reviewed on the site. However, there are quite a few that made their way onto the list that I haven't even read, so that was surprising.

Over 400 of you wrote in with your Top 10 favorite reads. The way I scored it was simple. I assigned 10 points to every number 1 choice. 9 points to every number 2. 8 points to every number 3. And all the way down to 1 point for a 10th place choice. I then added up all the numbers, and ranked the scripts by total points. Below you'll find the script ranking, along with the point total and premise. If there's a review, I'll link you to it. Since I've already posted scripts 1-25, today I'll post the ten (or eleven) scripts that *just* missed the cut. If you'd like to see the Top 10 scripts not reviewed on the site, go here. Otherwise, onward...

Before we get to the Top 25, these 11 scripts just barely missed the cut...

35. (155 pts) Seven Psychopaths by Martin McDonagh - Black Comedy - Reviewed by Roger - A writer’s life is violently turned upside down when his friends kidnap a Mafioso’s dog.

34. (160 pts) Nowhere Boy by Julia Baird - Drama - Not Reviewed - A chronicle of John Lennon's childhood.

33. (162 pts) Tenure by Mike Million - Dramedy - Reviewed by Me - A professor at a small liberal arts college finds his entire future depends on whether he achieves tenure.

32. (169 pts) Will by Demetri Martin - Comedy - Reviewed by Me - Set in a world where people's lives are written by angels, a guy wakes up one day to find that his heavenly writer has quit, and must go about his life unscripted.

31. (171 pts) Brad Cutter Ruined My Life Again by Joe Nussbaum - Comedy - Reviewed by me - A former high school nerd who's finally achieved success in the world, finds out that his company is hiring the most popular kid from his old school. Before he knows it, the company turns into its own high school, and once again, he's the nerd.

30. (174 pts) Prisoners by Aaron Guzikowski - Thriller - Reviewed but taken down - A Boston man kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend.

29. (175 pts) The Only Living Boy In New York by Alan Loeb - Coming-Of-Age - Reviewed by Me - Coming-of-age tale about a young man who falls in love with his father's mistress.

28. (178 pts) Happy Thank You More Please by Josh Radnor - Coming-Of-Age - Reviewed by Me - This coming-of-age tale follows six lives in modern day New York, highlighted by a 20-something aspiring novelist who accidentally adopts a 6 year old African American child.

27. Tie (183 pts) Dead Loss by Josh Baizer and Marshall Johnson - Thriller - Reviewed by Me - A crew of crab fisherman rescue a drifting castaway with a mysterious cargo.

27. Tie (183 pts) The True Memoirs Of An International Assassin by Jeff Morris - Comedy - Reviewed by Me - After a publisher changes a writer's debut novel about a deadly assassin from fiction to nonfiction, the author finds himself thrust into the world of his lead character, and must take on the role of his character for his own survival.

26. (186 pts) Passengers by John Spaihts - Sci-Fi - Reviewed by Me - A spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant planet has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he wakes up a second passenger who he's fallen in love with. (note: There is a degree of error that should be taken into account between this and the other Passengers, as some people did not clarify which one they were voting for. I tried to get confirmation from as many people as I could, but there are still probably points mixed up between the two).

And now for the Top 25!

25. (189 pts) Nightfall by Michael Stokes - Horror - Reviewed by Tarson Meads - Two US mercenaries become involved in a brazen plot to kidnap a beautiful and seductive socialite. However, they soon realize the girl they've snatched is an ancient Vampire queen, and her legion is out to get her back.

24. (213 pts) Aaron and Sara by Chad Gomez Creasy and Dara Resnik Creasy - RomCom - Reviewed by Me - Described as a "High School When Harry Met Sally," Aaron and Sara is about a nerd and a cheerleader who become best friends during their four years of high school.

23. (218 pts) Fuckbuddies by Liz Meriwether - RomCom - Reviewed by Zack Smith - A guy and a girl struggle to have an exclusively sexual relationship as they both come to realize they want much more.

22. (229 pts) Galahad by Ryan Condal - Historical Adventure - Not reviewed - A revisionist take on the tale of King Arthur, which finds the fabled leader murdered by Queen Guinevere, who in turn framed Sir Galahad for the crime.

21. (234 pts) Famous Last Words by Josh Schwartz - Coming Of Age - Reviewed on Matriarchal Script Paradigm -A teen embarks on a new life at a private school where he experiences love, life, loss, friends, and more.

20. (237 pts) To The White Sea by The Coen Brothers - Historical Drama/Action - Not reviewed - His bomber hit by anti-aircraft fire, an American gunner must parachute into Tokyo days before the great firebomb raid on the city.

19. (245 pts) Going The Distance by Geoff LaTulippe - Comedy - Not reviewed - A comedy about a couple trying to overcome that most difficult of hurdles: the long-distance relationship.

18. (250 pts) Kristy by Anthony Jawinski - Horror/Thriller - Reviewed by Tarson Meads - In the vein of THE STRANGERS. A student trapped on a deserted college campus comes under attack by a malevolent group of intruders.

17. (259 pts) The Ornate Anatomy Of Living Things by Matt Spicer & Max Winkler - Drama - Not Reviewed - A New York bookstore clerk discovers a museum dedicated entirely to his life.

16. (287 pts) Up In The Air by Jason Reitman - Drama - Reviewed by Me - A professional who specializes in "career transition counseling" is on the verge of accumulating 5 million frequent flier miles.

15. (343 pts) Winter's Discontent by Paul Fruchbom - Comedy - Not Reviewed - A sexually frustrated widower moves into a retirement community with one objective in mind: to get laid.

14. (352 pts) The Beaver by Kyle Killen - Black Comedy - Reviewed by Scott and I - A manic depressive family man finds a beaver puppet in his garbage. When he puts it on, his life takes a dramatic turn for the better. Or does it?

13. (353 pts) The Many Deaths Of Barnaby James by Brian Nathanson - Horror/Dark Fantasy - Reviewed by Roger - A teenage apprentice in a macabre circus for the dead yearns to bring his true love back to life, but not before encountering the many dangerous and gothic characters that stand in his way.

12. (374 pts) I Want To ____ Your Sister by Melissa Stack - Comedy - Not Reviewed - A stock trader's hot younger sister takes an entry level position at his work. Now he must fight off all the men who desperately want to ____ his sister.

11. (406 pts) Sunflower by Misha Green - Thriller - Reviewed by Me - Two women are held hostage in a prison-like farmhouse.

10. (418 pts) Passengers by G.J. Pruss - Sci-Fi - Reviewed by Me - Microscopic proteins/aliens ride human beings as passengers for their own personal enjoyment.

9. (433 pts) Buried by Chris Sparling - Thriller - Reviewed by Me - A man wakes up in a coffin with no idea how he got there.

8. (476 pts) Everything Must Go by Dan Rush - Black Comedy - Not Reviewed - A recently fired man finds himself locked out of his own house by his estranged wife, his furniture and things left outside. With nowhere to go, he sets up and starts living on his front lawn.

7. (480 pts) Salt by Kurt Wimmer - Action - Reviewed by Me - A CIA agent discovers there's a Russian spy deep inside the organization.

6. (518 pts) The Brigands Of Rattleborge by Craig S. Zahler - Western - Not Reviewed - Set in the days of the old West, a sheriff and a doctor seek revenge against three ruthless thugs who robbed them and terrorized the town.

5. (525 pts) Killing On Carnival Row by Travis Beacham - Horror - Reviewed by Roger - In the city of The Burgue, a police inspector pursues a serial killer who is targeting fairies.

4. (567 pts) The F Word by Elan Mastai - Comedy - Not Reviewed -
A young man and woman try to stay friends after developing intense feelings for one another.

3. (602 pts) The Dogs Of Babel by Jamie Linden - Drama - Reviewed by Me - When a dog is the only witness to a woman’s death, her husband tries to teach the dog how to talk so he can find out what happened to her.

2. (689 pts) The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin - Drama/Bio - Reviewed by Me - A look at the rise of Facebook and the effect it's had on its founders.

1. (1435 pts) Source Code by Ben Ripley - Sci-Fi - Reviewed by Me - A man wakes up on a train that is being targeted by terrorists, a train that has already blown up hours ago.

My thoughts on The List!
No, that is not a misprint. Source Code received more than twice as many points as the number two script on the list. So pumped to see that because the movie desperately needs to be made. It's just an awesome script.

Not surprised about The Social Network. An awesome unique script. Not to mention it seems like every writer out there admires Sorkin's work. A big surprise to me is The F Word. I love that script but figured the concept was a little too simple for some. Glad a lot of people out there liked it as much as I did.

Another surprise for me is The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things. I thought I'd be the lone guy holding the torch on that one. Thought it might be too obscure for others' tastes. So it was satisfying to see you guys respond to it. Not surprised to see Salt and Buried in the Top 10. Both are edge-of-your-seat thrillers that leave a big impression. Glad to see Everything Must Go in the Top 10. Such an odd story, I thought it would fare worse. Nice to know others dug it.

I Want To ____ Your Sister sorta surprised me. I like the script but I can't help thinking that if it would've been titled something like, "Me and Sis" that it wouldn't be so high on mine or your lists. Never have I seen a script so dependent on its title. Of the ones I haven't read, I think I'm going to give "To The White Sea" and "The Many Deaths Of Barnaby James" a read. Neither is up my alley, but you guys seemed so passionate about them that I have no choice but to check them out.

Finally, the biggest shock and the choice that makes me the happiest, is Dogs Of Babel. When I put that script in my Top 25, I thought you guys would think I was crazy. It's a straight drama. It's a tearjerker. I figured, "Well, I know I love this script. But is everybody going to think I'm nuts?" So to see that you came out in droves to not only support the choice, but elevate it, makes me ecstatic. I actually talked with the writer, Jamie, recently, and he said to me he doesn't think it will ever get made. That it's too weird and not mainstream enough. I told him, "There's no doubt this will get made. It's too good of a script." Now that you guys have proved that there's an audience for the material, maybe they'll realize they have something special and get the ball rolling.

This was a great exercise. Discuss the entire list below! :)