Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Full 2010 Black List With Thoughts!

Hey, what do you know? It’s December 14, which means a new BLACK LIST is upon us. For those new to the site and new to the list, it’s basically a compilation of the best unproduced screenplays of the year (or as they like to put it – the “most liked”). There’s discussion every year about how this isn’t a true representation of the best undiscovered scripts because a lot of them have big producers and big studios attached. Well hey, if it’s a good script, it’s going to get snatched up. The studios don’t say, “Hey, we should wait til that Black List thingy comes out at the end of the year before we buy this, just out of respect.” I mean sure, you could compile a list just of scripts that, as of this moment, don’t have a home, but I can assure you that if you did that, you’d be laughing your way through the top 10. I mean I already hear people bitching about the quality of *this* list – and that’s *with* all the scripts that were good enough to get purchased. Anyway, if you want a more pure experience, you can go check out “The Hit List,” which they compiled over at The Tracking Board and which has a lot of unpurchased scripts on it.

Taking a look down today’s list, I see some familiar script faces as well as some unfamiliar ones. I also see a lot of FBI and CIA characters, and that old Hollywood favorite, “Based on a true story.” I find this funny since I told you guys just a few days ago that the way onto the Black List is to write something quirky, and yet I don’t see a single quirky script in the Top 10. Of course, that may have more to do with the fact that there weren’t any high-profile quirky scripts written this year, but still. Now whether you like the Black List or hate everything it stands for, I think it’s an incredibly useful tool for screenwriters. Going down this list, you get a snapshot of what subject matter Hollywood is taking to. That can’t be underestimated. So now, as has been the tradition here at Scriptshadow (and by “tradition” I mean going on one year), it’s time to look at all the entries on the list!

49 mentions
“Based on true events. Aspiring politician Karl Rove runs a dirty campaign for national College Republican Chairman under the guidance of Lee Atwater, his campaign manager.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Gregory McKnight, Jay Baker
MANAGER Circle of Confusion – Ken Freimann, Greg Shephard
Anonymous Content producing.

Thoughts: I always forget how much Hollywood loves politics. Which is funny because political movies NEVER do well. Ever. Which is exactly why I’ve had no interest in reading this. But a couple of you have mentioned that Jones is trying to do something different (good) and since the last super high profile political Black List entry, Farragut North, wasn’t too shabby itself, maybe I should give College Republicans a try.

47 mentions
JACKIE by Noah Oppenheim
“Jackie Kennedy fights to define her husband’s legacy in the seven days immediately following his assassination.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Rowena Arguelles, Billy Hawkins
MANAGER Management 360 – Guymon Casady, Darin Friedman
Fox Searchlight. Protozoa Pictures producing.

Thoughts: Hmmm. I’ll be honest. This sounds boring. Like something your parent’s friends would discuss at the after-party of a parent-teacher conference. Of course, all biopics sound boring to me so that’s nothing new. If I can find entertainment in the story of a 250 year old short dead guy, who’s to say I can’t find entertainment in Jackie?

45 mentions
ALL YOU NEED IS KILL by Dante Harper
“A new recruit in a war against aliens finds himself caught in a time loop where he wakes up one day in the past after having been killed on the battlefield.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Todd Feldman, Jay Baker
MANAGER Management 360 – Guymon Casady, Darin Friedman
Warner Brothers. 3 Arts Entertainment, VIZ Productions producing.

Thoughts: The more I look back at this script, the more impressed I am with it. The premise and story are just flat-out insane, but the action scenes are what really set this apart - some of the best described action I’ve ever read – visual, kinetic, unique – You really feel like you’re inside that battlefield battling those aliens. The underdog angle is also written to perfection, creating an attachment to the protagonist that you only feel in the best sci-fi films. You want to see him win. You must see him win.

SAFE HOUSE by David Guggenheim
“A young man at a CIA-run safe house in Rio De Janeiro must help a rogue ex-agent escape assassins who want intelligence that he won't sell them.”
AGENT Agency for the Performing Arts – David Boxerbaum
MANAGER Madhouse Entertainment – Adam Kolbrenner
Universal. Stuber Pictures, Madhouse Entertainment producing.

Thoughts: I hate how much of a Debbie Downer I am about this script but I just didn’t see anything new in it. There’s just enough action and forward momentum to keep you interested but not a penny more. Then again, you’re talking to someone who thought the Bourne movies were by-the-numbers, so I’m not exactly qualified to judge this genre. I’m interested in those who really loved this script. Why did you love it? I’m genuinely curious about what I missed.

STOKER by Wentworth Miller
“After the death of her father, a teenager must deal with a mysterious uncle who returns to spend time with the family.”
AGENT International Creative Management – Nicole Clemens, Adam Weinstein
MANAGER Industry Entertainment – Eryn Brown
Fox Searchlight. Scott Free Productions producing.

Thoughts; Hey, Prison Break Guy made the top 10 of the Black List. Sweet. I wonder if that means the story is over on page 15 but we keep the script going for another 100 pages anyway. Or if all the characters speak in whispers.  Oooh, low blows. All kidding aside, I know that Roger liked this one. Kudos to Miller for writing under an alias and not depending on his fame to get this through the door. Although I’m not sure if his fame would’ve helped him or hurt him in this case.

32 mentions
999 by Matt Cook
“A gang of crooked cops plan a major heist that will require them to shoot a fellow officer in order to get away with it.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Cliff Roberts, Danny Gabai
MANAGER Anonymous Content – Bard Dorros, Keith Redmon
Anonymous Content producing.

Thoughts: Cook made last year’s list with his “High Noon meets Pleasantville” Western, “By Way of Helena.” That script also made the top 10, so there’s some pedigree here. The only thing I’ll say about this, since I know nothing about it, is I hope someone changes that logline! It reads like a 3rd grader put it together.

31 mentions
“Based on true events, the final twenty-four hours of Lehman Brothers.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Rob Carlson, Simon Faber
Before the Door Pictures, Washington Square Arts & Films, Benaroya Pictures, and Taggart Productions producing.

Thoughts: Really liked this one. I didn’t know it was based on anything real at the time. Just thought it was a vague interpretation of what probably happened in a lot of offices throughout New York that year. It’s a quiet script that focuses mainly on the fear people have. I remember loving how we got to walk our way up the company ladder, from the smallest fry to the big kahuna, sort of like Enter The Dragon but with businessmen. I also remember everyone else in the comments being underwhelmed and thinking I was delusional for liking this.

30 mentions
AMERICAN BULLSHIT by Eric Warren Singer
“The true story of Abscam, the FBI's 1980 undercover sting operation of Congress to root out corruption which was the brainchild of the world's greatest con man.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Robert Bookman, Billy Hawkins, Stuart Manashil
Sony. Atlas Entertainment producing.
Thoughts: When I see FBI and Congress in a logline, I inadvertently start snoring. Throw me into 1980 and you might as well euthanize me. Outside of Rocky and Cyndi Lauper, is there anything good that came out of that decade?

28 mentions
ARGO by Chris Terrio
“The true story of how the CIA, with help from Hollywood, used a fake movie project to smuggle hostages out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Rowena Arguelles
MANAGER Anonymous Content – Michael Sugar, Bard Dorros
Warner Brothers. Smoke House producing.

Thoughts: This actually sounds like it could be good. I like loglines that tell me why I should be interested (unlike the previous logline). Using a fake movie project to save hostages – that’s something I’ve never seen on film before and will probably never see again. If written well, it has major potential.

“An aging outlaw convinced that there is evil in his genes goes on a journey to kill off his offspring. In the process, he discovers that his last remaining son is a terrifying manifestation of his worst fears.”
AGENT RWSG – Sylvie Rabineau
Blind Wink Productions producing.

Thoughts: There’s not enough information in this logline (by the way – I’m well aware that someone besides the writer or the people affiliated with the project are writing some of these loglines) but the reason this one interests me is that it’s the first script on the list that doesn’t come from a huge agency. That tells me it had to climb over scripts with a lot more exposure to find its way onto the list. For that reason, I’d like to read it.

FAMILY GETAWAY by Jeremiah Friedman & Nick Palmer
“A man whose family doesn't know he's an assassin must protect them during a cross-country car chase when rival killers show up.”
AGENT United Talent Agency - David Kramer, Jason Burns, Geoff Morley,
Rebecca Ewing
MANAGER Mosaic – Emily Rose, Dawn Saltzman
Warner Brothers. Mosaic producing.

Thoughts: I haven’t read this script but I get the feeling it’s supposed to be the cross-country version of Date Night. That does not bode well for the reading excitement factor. I do know someone who wrote a script with a similar premise that’s really good (e-mail me if you want the writer’s e-mail). Don’t know if I’ll ever read Family Getaway.

DIE IN A GUNFIGHT by Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari
“A young New Yorker falls in love with the daughter of his father's nemesis, setting in motion a Romeo and Juliet-like forbidden romance.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Danny Greenberg, David Karp, Mike Esola
MANAGER profilic – Stuart Wrede
Media Rights Capital. Mark Gordon Company, Ninjas Runnin’ Wild producing.

Thoughts: I know Roger didn’t flip for this one, thinking it was too much style over not enough substance. But I think the main reason he didn’t dig it was because True Romance is one of his favorite movies, so he held Gunfight up next to an impossible pedestal, a pedestal she simply couldn’t measure up to.

BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY by David Posamentier & Geoff Moore
“A straight-laced pharmacist's uneventful life spirals out of control when he starts an affair with a trophy wife customer who takes him on a joyride involving sex, drugs and possibly murder.”
AGENT International Creative Management – Adam Weinstein
MANAGER Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment – Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone
Occupant Films producing.

Thoughts: I’ve tried to read this numerous times and every time I open it, the page count reads “35.” While I’m tempted to read what would be the shortest script ever, I’m convinced it’s not the correct script. I know Aaron Kaplan, the manager, has great taste though, so I’m thinking this should be good.  And doesn't it have MILF Jennifer Garner in the lead role?  Is she the one who's going to be on the "joyride involving sex?"  If so, I'm in!

GRAY MAN by Adam Cozad
“American operative Court Gentry, also known as the Gray Man, races against time and teams of government assassins in an effort to save his family.”
AGENT International Creative Management – Aaron Hart, Doug Maclaren
MANAGER Gotham Group – Jeremy Bell
New Regency. Shine Pictures producing.

Thoughts: Cozad has made it back to the Black List. For those keeping tabs, his script “Dubai,” which I thought was pretty good but not great, made the 2007 list with 16 votes. That script was supposed to star Eric Bana, but I’m suspecting the subsequent cooling off of Eric Bana killed the project.

IMAGINE by Dan Fogelman
“A musician in his sixties tries to live his life differently after reading an old letter written to him by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Of greatest importance to him:tracking down and reconnecting with his biological son, whom he has never met.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Danny Greenberg
MANAGER Industry Entertainment – Eryn Brown
Warner Brothers. Di Novi Pictures, Carousel Productions, Jessie Nelson producing.

Thoughts: Hey, look at who it is. I’m telling you man, if Fogelman dropped the double-death problem from this script, it would have easily made the Top 10. You can’t lay that melodrama on too thick. The audience is too smart. Still, glad to see such a great writer like Fogelman make the list.

CHRONICLE by Max Landis
“Three Portland teens become exposed to a mysterious substance in the woods, and, as a result, begin to develop incredible powers. They work together to hone their skills for fun until personal and family problems begin to turn them against one another.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor - David Karp, Simon Faber, Danny Gabai
MANAGER Circle of Confusion - David Alpert, Britton Rizzio
Fox. Davis Entertainment producing.

Thoughts: Must…read… Chronicle. I guess I haven’t read it yet because I’m not a superhero guy and at least from the logline, it kinda sounds like Heroes, and we all know the taste that show left in our mouths. So, if you’ve read this, can you e-mail me and let me know how it is? Did they do anything different? Cover any new ground? I noticed it finished high on The Hit List as well, so you know he’s doing something right.

GOLD by Patrick Massett & John Zinman
“The true story of the biggest securities exchange fraud in United States history.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Matt Rosen
MANAGER Industry Entertainment - Michael Botti, Andrew Deane Paul Haggis producing.

Thoughts: Need a protagonist here. Too vague to give an opinion. Interesting note though. Zinman wrote Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

“A re-imagining of the story of Snow White in which the huntsman sent to kill her becomes her mentor.”
AGENT United Talent Agency – Tobin Babst
MANAGER FilmEngine – Jake Wagner
Universal. Roth Films producing.

Thoughts: HUUUUUUUGE spec sale. One of the biggest of the year at 1.5 million bucks. Most folks seem to think it was okay (as did I) but lacked that extra punch. Well that “punch” was that the studio wanted to make that kind of movie. That’s the real value of getting into the game – being in with people who know what the studios want to buy, as Roth does. If you remember, Daugherty won the Script Pimp competition a few years ago with his mano a mano forest duel, Shrapnel. Enter those contests people. They’re proven to lead to careers.

“A dating movie told from the male perspective about the lengths men will go through to avoid being officially in a relationship.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Simon Faber, Elia Infascelli-Smith
MANAGER Underground Films & Management – Oly Obst
Scott Aversano, Andrew O’Connor producing.

Thoughts: I love how some of these comedies sound like they could easily be beer commercials. Interesting that we’re 15 scripts down and there’s only been 3 comedies so far. I’m seeing a lot of derivative “same old thing” comedies these days. Comedy writers have to come up with something fresh. Come on guys!

FREE COUNTRY by Josh Parkinson
“The owner of a tourist mining cave kills a rich boy who finds a huge ruby. Chaos ensues when he teams up with his two dysfunctional brothers to hide the body and fence the stone with the victim's hot-headed twin on the hunt for his brother.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Dan Rabinow, Matt Rosen
MANAGER Gotham Group – Lindsay Williams
Mandate Pictures, Rough House Pictures producing.

THOUGHTS: Kind of a convoluted hard to understand logline but it hints at some intriguing situations and a boatload of conflict. Could be good.

“Amidst the corruption and chaos of 1940s Los Angeles, the LAPD’s Gangster Squad works to keep the East Coast Mafia out of the city.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Jay Baker, Shari Smiley
MANAGER Management 360 – Darin Friedman
Warner Brothers. Lin Pictures, Langley Park Pictures producing.

THOUGHTS: A couple of people have used the adjective “Amazing” to describe this script to me, which I haven’t read yet. This is the script that’s based on a bunch of articles (I believe from back in the 40s) about the corruption of the Los Angeles police department. While the source material sounds a little generic (police corruption in the 40s?), it seems like Baker and Smiley had a blank slate to work with, which allowed them to craft a cool unique story.

“After agreeing to groomsman duties at his sister's wedding, Noah Palmer realizes he may have made the mistake of his life after finding out that the woman who broke his heart is also part of the bridal party.”
AGENT HML – Bob Hohman, Bayard Maybank, Devra Lieb
MANAGER Circle of Confusion – Noah Rosen, Zach Cox
Skydance Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: I mean we have to give it Duffeld. Sure, these aggressive offensive titles are becoming as ubiquitous as Justin Bieber, but flashy titles get more reads. I mean do we really think this is getting read half as much as if it was titled, “The Bridesmaid?” Thoughts? Has anyone read this? Is it the next “I Wanna ____ Your Sister?”

“When the mother of future United States President Abraham Lincoln is murdered by a vampire, he begins a lifelong vendetta to rid the world of the heinous creatures.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Cliff Roberts, Jeff Gorin
Fox. Tim Burton Productions, Bazelevs Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: It’s Abraham Lincoln. He hunts vampires. Do I really need to dissect this sale?

“Based on the book by Suzanne Collins. In an America of the future, young boys and girls are forced to participate in a televised battle to the death.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Todd Feldman, Brian Kend
MANAGER Management 360 – Guymon Casady
Lionsgate. Color Force producing

THOUGHTS: Billy Ray, who makes 1 bajillion dollars a year doctoring scripts, and who came in and dirtied up the perfect darling that was Source Code, is back in the Black List mix with Hunger Games. I know nothing about this book. All I say is that the idea sounds really silly.

WELCOME TO PEOPLE by Alex Kurtzman, Bob Orci, Jody Lambert
“A young man whose father has recently passed away is tasked with bringing $150,000 to an alcoholic sister he never knew about and her twelve-year-old son.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Risa Gertner, Todd Feldman (Kurtzman, Orci)
William Morris Endeavor – Cliff Roberts, David Karp (Lambert)
MANAGER Mosaic – Paul Nelson, Dawn Saltzman (Lambert)
Dreamworks. Kurtzman/Orci producing.

THOUGHTS: This is going to be Kurtzman’s directorial debut and that may surprise you since this is a really low-key drama. I read it a couple of weeks ago and I thought that overall, it worked. It’s very inspired by Rain Man which is probably why I didn’t rate it higher (It never quite reaches the heights of that film) but it’s a funky little script that does things differently than you’d expect it to.

“In a world where families are allowed only one child due to overpopulation, a resourceful set of identical septuplets must avoid governmental execution and dangerous infighting while investigating the disappearance of one of their own.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Stuart Manashil, Matt Rosen
MANAGER EML Entertainment - Eva Lontscharitsch
Vendome Pictures. Raffaella Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: Okay so far, this is easily the most fucked up sounding premise of the bunch. It actually sounds like there’s some imagination and voice behind it, that the writer was going for something different. However, while I’m assuming the missing sextuplet’s name is “Monday,” that title doesn’t really go with the logline.

THE BUTLER by Danny Strong
“The story of African-American White House butler Eugene Allen, who served eight United States presidents from 1952 to 1986.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Risa Gertner, Maha Dakhil
MANAGER Gotham Group – Lindsay Williams
Sony. Laura Ziskin Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: I remember hearing about this one a long time ago, maybe even last year? Does sound like a unique situation. I’m assuming they’re going to take the Forest Gump route as far as telling the story?

THE ESCORT by Justin Adler
“A ‘flight escort’ responsible for overseeing the safe transport of a spoiled, wise-ass child must find alternate means of getting the kid home to Boston after their plane is grounded.”
AGENT United Talent Agency – Julien Thuan
MANAGER Kapital Entertainment – Aaron Kaplan
Dreamworks. Tom McNulty producing.

THOUGHTS: YES! I love this script. I don’t care if all of you hate it. You’re crazy. The Escort forever!

FUN SIZE by Max Werner
“A high school senior is forced to take her weirdo brother trick-or-treating but loses track of him along the way. With the help of a few classmates, she tries to find him before her mother gets home. Meanwhile, the depraved little brother is having the time of his life.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Danny Greenberg, David Karp
MANAGER Anonymous Content – Bard Dorros
Paramount. Anonymous Content, Fake Empire producing.

THOUGHTS: This sounds a little bit like last year’s Black List script, The Sitter. Played out during Halloween, this could work if the writer’s funny.

“A young arsonist falls for a woman in the art world that he desperately wants to be apart of.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – John Campisi, Craig Brody

THOUGHTS: Need more info please. Still, the arsonist angle is that quirkiness that seems to have eluded the Black List this year.

LOOPER by Rian Johnson
“In the present day, a group of hitmen are sent their victims from the future.”
AGENT Featured Artists Agency – Brian Dreyfuss
Endgame Entertainment. Gordonstreet Pictures producing.

THOUGHTS: I have not read this but I know many who have. They basically tell me that the first half is the greatest script ever written. And then a weird twist happens and the second half just can’t live up to the setup. Rian Johnson of Brick fame doing a sci-fi movie though? Hell yeah, I’ll be there.

MURDOCH by Jesse Armstrong
“As his family gathers for his birthday party, Rupert Murdoch tries to convince his elder children to alter the family trust so that his two youngest children by his newest wife will have voting rights in the company.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Gregory McKnight

THOUGHTS: Someone said it best in the comments sections from last post. This will only become a movie if Murdoch’s lawyers don’t know how to read. Still, the ties to Citizen Kane are uncanny. How awesome would it be to get a modern day telling of a modern day Citizen Kane? I wonder what Murdoch’s rosebud would be? Points for the best suggestion.

ONE DAY by David Nicholls
“Dexter and Emma meet for the first time on college graduation day in 1988 and proceed to reunite one day a year for the next 20 years.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Robert Bookman, JP Evans
Focus Features, Film4. Color Force, Random House Films producing.

THOUGHTS: I tried to write a movie like this once and it just – didn’t – work. That probably has more to do with me than the premise, but as high-concept and fun as the one day a year thing sounds, it’s really hard to pull off a cohesive non-gimmicky story while sticking to that rule. Here’s to hoping Nicholls pulled it off!

PERFECT MATCH by Morgan Schechter & Eric Pearson
“Twenty-eight year old male and female roommates who are longtime best friends and unlucky in love decide to try an internet dating service which promises to introduce them to their ‘perfect match.’ In the process, they discover that they're each other's perfect match.”
AGENT United Talent Agency – Rebecca Ewing (Schechter)
International Creative Management – Doug Maclaren (Pearson)
MANAGER Circle of Confusion – Ken Freimann, Britton Rizzio (Schechter)
Michael De Luca Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: Okay, I’m just going to be honest. That logline sounds reaaallllly generic. But hey, if the execution is there, ya never know.

THE 13TH MAN by Enio Rigolin
“An unlikely codebreaker is thrust into the role of a hero when he discovers a secret code being sent through comic books during WWII.”
AGENT The Kaplan Stahler Agency – Shan Ray
MANAGER Heroes and Villains Entertaiment – Mikhail Nayfeld, Markus Georg
Dick Hillenbrand

THOUGHTS: This sounds like a geek-fantasy-orgasmatastic-circus, Kickass meets Saving Private Ryan? Not my thing but at least it’s different.

DARK MOON by Olatunde Osunsanmi
“Using found footage, story explores the possibility that manned moon missions did not stop with Apollo 17.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Billy Hawkins, Ben Kramer
MANAGER Caliber Media – Dallas Sonnier
Dark Castle Entertainment. Weed Road Pictures producing.

THOUGHTS: Couldn’t get into this one. Someone I know absolutely loved it but I’ve read a lot of sci-fi over the years and there was nothing new that came up in this script. Plus it’s plagued by that often-found problem where the characters are simply wandering around for the middle 60 minutes with very little to do besides occasionally become surprised. There wasn’t enough structure here to rope me in.

HOT MESS by Jenni Ross
“Four girlfriends make, and then break, a list of rules devised to get the guys of their dreams and discover their inner hot messes in the process.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor - Simon Faber, Elia Infascelli-Smith
MANAGER Tom Sawyer Entertainment - Rachel Miller, Jesse Hara
Endgame Entertainment. Goldsmith-Thomas Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: Great title. Capitalizing on any buzz phrase will usually get you script reads. And who says the girls aren’t representin? Jenni Ross may have something to say about that. True this sounds like something I’d rather murder myself than watch, but I’m thinking the ladies will like it.

EVERLY by Yale Hannon
“The story of one woman's struggle for redemption as she fights to stay alive and unite with her mother and young daughter, all while staving off vicious attacks by a ruthless army of Yakuzas who have trapped her in her apartment.”
AGENT Verve – Adam Levine, Bryan Besser
Anonymous Content producing.

THOUGHTS: This is one of the more interesting entries on the list. You have a female action lead. And you have Yakuzas attacking her…in an apartment. It sounds like it would be too contained so I know they open it up somehow. Not really my thing and yet I’m still intrigued by this one.

“An aging, semi-retired hitman recalls his murderous career while trying to kill the billionaire who has put out a contract on his life.”
AGENT United Talent Agency – Tobin Babst
MANAGER Energy Entertainment - Brooklyn Weaver, Adam Marshall, Angelina Chen

THOUGHTS: Being honest here. I don’t see one unique aspect in this entire logline (aging, retired, hitman, billionaire, contract on life). I guess the billionaire angle hints at some possible coolness, but I’m really hoping there’s more to this.

THE IMPOSSIBLE by Sergio Sanchez
“After a major tsunami hits a beach resort in Yokohama, Japan, a Spanish family on vacation with young children gets separated and must find each other amidst the wreckage.”
AGENT United Talent Agency – David Flynn, Rich Klubeck
Summit Entertainment. Apaches Entertainment producing.

THOUGHTS: Despite this sounding like it could be melodrama-central, and despite the bad taste that ultra-melodramatic super slow Hereafter left in our mouths, the premise here is pretty strong. I’d like to give this one a read.

MURDER OF A CAT by Christian Magalhars & Robert Snow
“A darkly comic noir about a guy trying to unravel the mystery around the murder of his pet cat.”
AGENT The Gersh Agency – Carolyn Sivitz
MANAGER Madhouse Entertainment – Adam Kolbrenner, Chris Cook

THOUGHTS: Okay, I’ll admit it, I think cats are funny. And someone looking into the murder of one is even funnier. I want to read it.

“Based on the books of L. Frank Baum. The story of how a con artist from Kansas became the Wizard behind the curtain.”
AGENT HML – Bob Hohman, Bayard Maybank, Debra Lieb
MANAGER Fineman Entertainment – Ross Fineman
Disney. Roth Films producing.

THOUGHTS: I’m a fan of a lot of things connected to The Wizard Of Oz - one of the weirdest mainstream movies ever made. This is why “Oh Spectre, Never Leaf” won my screenplay competition. But it sounds like we’re stretching here. Origin story of Oz? Do we really need to see that? Are we at a point now where we just do origin stories of every person who’s ever lived? When is Snooki’s origin story coming?

ROAD TO NARDO by Mike Gagerman & Andrew Waller
“Two guys drive to Mexico to rescue their best friend who is broke and without an ID.”
AGENT Agency for the Performing Arts – Debbie Deuble, Sheryl Petersen
MANAGER Circle of Confusion – Britton Rizzio Sony. Original Film, American Work Inc. producing.

THOUGHTS: They should change the title of this to “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo” and let A Tribe Called Quest score the film. Everyone would go see it. I want 5% of Top Dollar gross if this works.

ABDUCTION by Shawn Christensen
“When a teenager who has always felt distanced from his parents discovers that he was,in fact, kidnapped as a child, he is thrust into a vast conspiracy and must go on the run in order to survive.”
AGENT Verve – Bryan Besser
MANAGER Caliber Media – Dallas Sonnier
Lionsgate. Vertigo Entertainment, the Gotham Group, Tailor Made Entertainment producing.

THOUGHTS: This is the one that has Team Taylor Lautner attached as his first big post-Twilight starring vehicle. I liked Christensen’s previous million dollar sale, Karma Coalition, but have had a tough time getting up the enthusiasm to read a Taylor Lautner vehicle. Plus several people have told me they didn’t like the script.

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? by Megan Martin
“After a woman spills her secrets to a stranger during a turbulent plane ride, she shows up at work to discover that he is the recently returned CEO of her company.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Simon Faber, Craig Kestel
MANAGER Principato/Young Management – Susan Solomon
Seed Productions, Laurence Mark Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: Heh heh. I like this premise. Yeah it sounds like a higher concept version of the opening scene in the first season of Gray’s Anatomy, but it could be good. And yes I saw the premiere episode of Gray’s Anatomy. I was out of shows to watch on the treadmill okay!

CINEMA VERITE by David Seltzer
“Based on the PBS series ‘An American Family,’ cameras follow a family as they go about their daily life.”
AGENT International Creative Management – Nicole Clemens
HBO Films. Pariah producing.

THOUGHTS: I’m all for the power of not-for-profit TV, but if you’re trying to get me excited about anything based on a PBS show, you’re going to spend a long tiresome time trying to get me excited.

THE CLAIM by Damien Chazelle
“A father with a criminal past must save his kidnapped daughter, even as he fights the claim of another couple who insist the girl is theirs.”
AGENT The Gersh Agency - Sandra Lucchesi, Frank Wuliger
MANAGER Exile Entertainment – Gary Ungar
Route One Films producing.

THOUGHTS: Taken will never end. Ever! Here’s something you gotta remember though. The loss of a daughter is a story device that an audience will always connect with on some level. It’s why every lost girl makes the national news. You just have to make sure you provide a new twist to it. Adding the second family here at least gives this a semi-fresh take.

CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE. by Dan Fogelman
“Straight-laced, forty-something Cal Weaver is living the dream – good job, nice house,great kids, and marriage to his high school sweetheart - but when Cal learns that his wife, Emily, has cheated on him and wants a divorce, his ‘perfect’ life quickly unravels.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Danny Greenberg
MANAGER Industry Entertainment – Eryn Brown
Warner Brothers. Di Novi Pictures, Carousel Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: What the FUCK is this doing this low on the list?? Crazy Stupid Love, the 2.5 million dollar sale from Dan Fogelman, should be in the Top 5 easily. And this should at least be higher than Fogelman’s other effort on the list, Imagine. Come on readers, are you smoking crack!??

GET A JOB by Kyle Pennekamp & Scott Turpel
“A comedy about a father and son struggling to find a job in the current job market.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Gregory McKnight, JP Evans
CBS Films. Double Feature Films producing.

THOUGHTS: I coulda swore this was on the previous Black List and it wasn’t a father and son looking for a job but four friends. I remember being very underwhelmed by that effort, so hopefully these rewrites have steered the script in the right direction.

“A young man who has been raised his entire life to believe that he is a girl comes of age as he enters high school and learns his true gender.”
AGENT Original Artists – Chris Sablan
MANAGER Media Talent Group – Chris Davey

THOUGHTS: I just burst out laughing after reading this premise, but I’m still unsure as to why. Is this going to be American Pie type humor or a quirky but serious melo-dramedy about transgenderism a la Transgendermerica (or whatever that Felicity Huffman quirkfest was called?). The tone will determine the success of this puppy.

HOW IT ENDS by Brooks Mclaren
“When an apocalypse strikes, a man halfway across the country from his pregnant wife goes on a dangerous and desperate journey to get back to her.”
AGENT International Creative Management – Adam Weinstein, Emil Gladstone, Aaron Hart
The Schiff Company producing.

THOUGHTS: People getting split up and having to find each other is the hot new trend in Hollywood! Jump on it! I’m sure I’m not the first one who thought of The Day After Tomorrow while reading this. The good news is that the bar hasn’t been set high to have the best movie in this sub-genre.

HYDE by Cole Haddon
“An allegedly rehabilitated Dr. Jekyll is pulled out of prison to help hunt a new monster who seems to be using an improved version of the Hyde serum.”
AGENT International Creative Management - Lars Theriot, Ava Jamshidi
MANAGER Anonymous Content - Alex Goldstone
Dark Horse Entertainment, Mark Gordon Productions, Skydance Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: Okay, a new spin on the Jeckyll and Hyde tale. I guess I can buy it. At least it’s not an origin story.

KEEP COMING BACK by Michael Gilio
“When an adrenaline-junkie interventionist attempts to save a troubled woman, he nearly loses everything in the process.”
AGENT United Talent Agency – Julien Thuan
MANAGER Industry Entertainment – Eryn Brown
Fox Searchlight. Ad Hominem Enterprises producing.

THOUGHTS: Yeah baby! 2012’s Risky Business?

“With the population of witches and warlocks on the brink of a major explosion, one witch hunter must stop them before it's too late.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Mike Esola
MANAGER Aperture – Adam Goldworm
Summit Entertainment. Aperture producing.

THOUGHTS: I don’t know anything about The Last Witch Hunter but let me say that I just saw the trailer for Season Of The Witch, the Nicholl-winning script which I loved, and they turned it into a fucking Harry Potter movie with big colorful text to let us know that everything’s going to be just fine. That script was so dark. What the hell happened??

RICKY STANICKY by Jeff Bushell
“For years, three lifelong friends have used an invented character named Ricky Stanicky to get out of sticky situations. When their wives demand a meeting with Ricky, the friends hire an actor to portray him.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Mike Esola
MANAGER Smart Entertainment – John Jacobs
Summit Entertainment. Michael De Luca Productions, Smart Entertainment producing.

THOUGHTS: We’ve seen versions of this before but of the 7 or so comedies I’ve seen so far on the list, this premise ignites the highest probability for laughs. Can someone tell me if this is worth reading? Is it any good?

EASY MONEY by Noah Oppenheim
“Based on the film Snabba Cash, a business school student with substantial ambition works in strategy for a New York City criminal enterprise.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Rowena Arguelles, Billy Hawkins
MANAGER Management 360 – Guymon Casady, Darin Friedman
Warner Brothers. Atlas Entertainment, Ninjas Runnin' Wild Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: Snabba Cash is a great title. Makes me want to check out the original film. But unless there’s something extra they’re not telling us about, the logline alone sounds boring.

ZOMBIE BABY by Andy Jones
“After the zombie apocalypse, a young couple unsure about whether to start a family has the decision made for them when they take in an orphaned zombie baby they don't have the heart to kill.”
MANAGER Alan Gasmer & Friends – Alan Gasmer, Daniel Vang
Unnamed Yorn Company, Alan Gasmer & Friends producing.

THOUGHTS: Just the fact that somebody wrote an entire movie called “Zombie Baby” means I’m going to have to read it. However, this confirms my theory that we need to start finding new subjects and genres to make movies about because there are only so many fresh angles you can find on a tried and true genre!

ATM by Chris Sparling
“Three co-workers end up in a desperate fight for survival when they stop to use an ATM.”
AGENT United Talent Agency - Charlie Ferraro, Doug Johnson
MANAGER Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment – Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone
Gold Circle Films, The Safran Company producing.

THOUGHTS: Chris Sparling, who wrote the ultra awesome Buried, is back with ATM, which believe it or not, I still haven’t read. Here’s why. I loved Buried so much that I’m afraid ATM can’t live up to my expectations. It seems like Chris made a smart career decision, writing something similar enough to his breakout script to get purchased, but I’m so worried ATM will feel like a not-as-good version of Buried that I can’t open it up. I know some of you have read it. What did you think?

BOY SCOUTS VS. ZOMBIES by Carrie Evans & Emi Mochizuko
“A troop of Boy Scouts on their weekend camping trip must protect an island town from a zombie outbreak and save the local girl scout troop.”
AGENT HML – Bob Hohman, Bayard Maybank, Devra Lieb
MANAGER Brucks Entertainment – Bryan Brucks
Paramount. Broken Road Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: This definitely needs to be combined with Zombie Baby in some sort of cross-promotional zombie madness extravaganza. Also, there needs to be a zombie midget involved. I’ll let you guys chew on that.

“In a dark metropolis populated with characters from classical folklore, detectives Tom Thumb and Rachel Riding investigate a murder that brings them into contact with the city's most dangerous inhabitants.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Mike Esola
MANAGER prolific – Will Rowbotham

THOUGHTS: I’ve read these kinds of scripts before and there’s always something missing in them, like the writers are more concerned with finding the clever little folklore connections than they are the story itself. Let’s hope Fried doesn’t make the same mistake.

HOVERCAR 3D by Blaise Hemingway
“Set in the future, an ex-con street racer has to transport a whistle blower across country in a high speed hovercar with an army of authorities trying to stop them.”
AGENT International Creative Management – Harley Copen, Ava Jamshidi Disney. Beacon Pictures, Millar/Gough Ink producing.

THOUGHTS: Hmmm. Part of me wants to say, “No.” A script titled “Hovercar 3D?” Could it be any more geared to 13 year olds? Then again, before Robocop became Robocop, that title was laughed out of the room as well. Just please don’t be like Death Race 3000.

LOLA VERSUS by Daryl Wein & Zoe Lister-Jones
“A twenty-nine year old woman has to reevaluate her life after her long time boyfriend calls off their wedding at the last minute.”
AGENT The Gersh Agency – Carolyn Sivitz
MANAGER Management 360 – Daniel Rappaport
Fox Searchlight. Groundswell Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: Come on now. I say this with love but this is why romantic comedies are getting such a bad rap these days. This logline is Generic Central.

PROM by Katie Wech
“High school students prepare for their prom.”
AGENT International Creative Management - Nicole Clemens, Todd Hoffman
Ava Jamshidi Disney. Idealogy, Inc. producing.

THOUGHTS: I read someone complaining about this in the previous post and I know I just put a logline down for being too generic, but a script that focuses specifically on prom might work. In every one of these high school movies, prom is always the logical finish line for the story, but I’ve never seen an entire movie dedicated specifically to prom.

REPLAY by Jason Smilovic
“Based on the Ken Grimwood novel. A man dies, wakes up in his 18-year old body, and gets to relive his life over and over. With his original memory intact, he takes the opportunity to travel down roads he passed up the first time around.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Risa Gertner, Jay Baker
MANAGER Madhouse Entertainment – Adam Kolbrenner
Warner Brothers. Goldsmith-Thomas Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: I can see this as a movie. You know who they should get to play the lead? Zac Efron. He’d be perfect. Okay, easy joke. I’m sorry. Yeah, it’s a body switch movie but body switch movies tend to be the perfect genre for high concept fare.

SIDNEY GRIMES by Brian Helgeland
“A man just out of prison seeks revenge on his former partner who got him locked up.”
MANAGER Brillstein Entertainment Partners – Missy Malkin
Todd Black, Billy Gerber producing.

THOUGHTS: Oh wow, mega-millionaire writer Brian Helgeland creeps onto The Black List with six votes. I hadn’t heard about Sidney Grimes so I’m wondering if this leaked out to only a few select people, and those people voted on it? Has anyone read this?

ALIVE ALONE by Khurram Longi
“A London-based suicide bomber is having a crisis of conscience as he and his cell are planning an attack in the city. His female next door neighbor, a drug addict and prostitute, has men who want to kill her after witnessing the murder of her john. These two find solace in each other as they try to survive their respective situations.”
AGENT Creative Artists Agency – Robert Bookman, Martin Spencer
Sarah Radclyffe producing.

THOUGHTS: Here’s something surprising. There still hasn’t been a good terrorist movie made. I don’t know if they’re too much of a downer for audiences or someone just hasn’t figured out the formula yet but these films have all struggled. Alive Alone sounds like it could be interesting, if a little…depressing.

“Two friends angry at Jane Austen for creating unrealistic romantic expectations among women today get sent back in time to the nineteenth century. The only way for them to return home is for one of them to get Jane Austen to fall in love and sleep with him.”
MANAGER Brucks Entertainment – Bryan Brucks
Brucks Entertainment producing.

THOUGHTS: This is the first logline I genuinely laughed at. I don’t know if it’s any good but the premise is funny enough where I’m willing to check it out.

THE FLIGHT OF THE NEZ PERCE by E. Nicholas Mariani
“The true story of Chief Joseph and his resistance to his tribe's relocation to a military settlement in Idaho during the 1800s.”
AGENT United Talent Agency - Charlie Ferraro, Jenny Maryasis
MANAGER Circle of Confusion - David Alpert, Britton Rizzio

THOUGHTS: This script might be amazing. I really have no idea. But this definitely takes the cake for most boring sounding script on the list.

HIT AND RUN by Owen Yarde
“A young man discovers that the undertaker who recently hired him as his driver is actually a hit man for the mafia.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Cliff Roberts, David Karp

THOUGHTS: The undertaker angle sounds like it could be good, but it’s not clear how that plays into the story.

KITCHEN SINK by Oren Uziel
“A human teenager, a vampire, and a zombie must save their town from an alien invasion.”
AGENT International Creative Management – Harley Copen
MANAGER Circle of Confusion – Britton Rizzio

THOUGHTS: Oren is a great writer! He wrote one of my favorites scripts from last year, Shimmer Lake, which won the Austin screenwriting contest and was a story told backwards that actually worked! (usually the backwards thing is a gimmick – whereas here it added to the story). It’s good to see that Oren is once again trying something weird and kooky. I always poo-poo zombies, vampires, and aliens in the same script, but if there’s anyone who can pull it off, it’s Oren.

NESS/CAPONE by Grant Myers
“The true story of young Elliot Ness taking down Al Capone.”
AGENT Paradigm – Mark Ross
MANAGER Gotham Group – Jeremy Bell

THOUGHTS: I refuse to read this unless it’s an origin story.

O.K.C. by Clay Wold
“An ambitious legal aide working for the Timothy McVeigh defense team tries to get to the bottom of what really happened during the Oklahoma City bombing.”
AGENT United Talent Agency - Charlie Ferraro, Barbara Dreyfus
MANAGER Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment – Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone
The Safran Company producing.

THOUGHTS: Don’t know anything about this one but once again, I rarely disagree with manager Kaplan, so I’ll be scooping it up and giving it a read.

PAINT by Brit McAdams
“A Bob Ross-esque PBS painting show host must fight for his career when his station brings in a rival painting host.”
AGENT United Talent Agency - Blair Kohan, Geoff Morley
MANAGER The Collective – Sam Maydew
Rip Cord Productions producing.

THOUGHTS: This actually sounds kind of funny. I take back what I said about PBS earlier. It turns out good ideas can stem from the public network.

“After sabotaging another family vacation, a travel agent who's afraid to fly battles his irrational phobias in order to win back his wife and daughter.”
AGENT William Morris Endeavor – Mike Esola
MANAGER Madhouse Entertainment – Adam Kolbrenner

THOUGHTS: I like the inherent irony in the premise. A travel agent who’s afraid to fly. Good title too. I guess all that’s left is, what’s the genre? If this is some schmaltzy family comedy starring Tim Allen, I’m out. But if it has a little more weight and stars, maybe, Ryan Gosling, I’m in.

POINT A by Chris Rubeo
“An unconventional romantic comedy between a thirty year old magazine writer and the subject of his newest piece, a witty, wise beyond her years teenage video blogger.”
AGENT International Creative Management – Aaron Hart, Adam Weinstein
MANAGER Tantillo Entertainment - John Tantillo

THOUGHTS: Gotta represent for my fellow bloggers yo. If it’s a script about a blogger, I gotta give it a what-what. You may set me on fire if you ever see me for writing those last two sentences. What number are we at now? Is the Black List a list of the top scripts or every script ever written?

SERENA by Chris Kyle
“In 1930s North Carolina, George Pemberton, with the help of his father's money, owns and runs a logging operation in the Smoky Mountains. George meets and marries Serena,a strong-willed, scheming, ambitious woman.”
AGENT International Creative Management – Robert Lazar
Nick Wechsler Productions, Exclusive Media Group producing.

THOUGHTS: Isn’t Robert Lazar the guy who worked at Area 51 whose identity was destroyed by the government because he told the public about aliens? Now if you wrote a script about Area 51 Robert Lazar trying to be a lit manager in LA, THAT’S a movie I’d go see. Annnnnnnnnd…SCENE.

Suffice it to say I was going a little batty there at the end. If you’re a writer on the Black List and I didn’t give your logline its due props and a thoughtful soundbite, I apologize profusely. Honestly, everyone who made this list, CONGRATULATIONS! It’s a major accomplishment and outside the big sale and the Oscar, the most accurate representation of well-written material out there.

This list has a little something old and a little something new. First of all, the CIA-FBI spy thrillers will always do well on this list AND tends to do well in the marketplace. If you have one of those scripts, and it’s at least kinda a unique take, you’re in good shape. I’m still surprised by the lack of quirk here. Where are all those weird writers? Maybe the unthinkable has happened and we’ve all truly become homogenized and will never have an original idea again.

College Republicans number 1. I think this is a result of a politically obsessed Hollywood, and not representative of a script that would do well in the mainstream. Then again, you could say the same thing about The Beaver, which looks even more bizarre in trailer form than it did at the top of this list. What the hell is the deal with CR? Can someone tell me why it’s number 1 and if I should read it? The logline puts me to sleep.

I think the scripts to take note of here are the ones from all the smaller agencies (like Featured Artists, Original Artists, etc). Those guys don’t have the backing of a huge company who likely passes their scripts around like pancakes, so for them to fight their way onto the list says something. I’ll surely be checking out some of those scripts for that reason.

As for the scripts I personally want to look at just from their logline (or what I know about the writer), I’d say Gangster Squad cause I heard it’s great, The Butler, Everly, Murder Of A Cat, Can You Keep A Secret, Ricky Stanicky, Fucking Jane Austen, Kitchen Sink, Paint, and Paper Airplane.

What about you guys? Which ones do you want to read? Which ones have you read and what did you think? Anything you think I need to read – like – now? Get your opinions out there!