PG Cooper: Screenplay Awards (2011)

Posted: January 6, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

*Why a totem? I wanted a physical item to represent these awards, so I decided to borrow an item from last year’s PGCMA Best Picture winner, Inception.

Best Original Screenplay

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris- The dialogue in Midnight in Paris is arguably the best of the year. The script is very funny, but it doesn’t go out of its way to tell jokes. It just is a funny script. The dialogue flows very naturally, and I love the overall message of the film. Especially that while it is a simple message, the way the film comes to it is very satisfying.

Andy Bellin, Robert Festinger, and David Schwimmer, Trust- I like how the first half of the script is dedicated to letting the audience get to know the family. In the second half, the film allows the drama to unfold. The script got me to like the characters, got me to think about some serious issues, and finally ended on a note which may not be the most viscerally satisfying, but it is the most realistic.

Mike Mills, Beginners- Beginners is a movie I really wanna watch again. The first time I saw it, I wasn’t exactly blown away, but it’s stuck with me and the more I think about it, the more I like it. It’s a very subtle script, with little being told to the audience. Everything is more under the surface, and I respect that.

Gavin O’ Connor, Cliff Dorfman, and Anthony Tambakis, Warrior- I’m not saying Warrior isn’t full of sports movie cliches (it is) but the screenplay works. Mainly because it creates characters we really like. It gives the characters genuine problems. So much so that by the end of the film, you’re rooting for both underdogs despite knowing only one can win.

Will Reiser, 50/50- Reiser’s script is based on real experiences he had with cancer. You can feel that in the film since it feels personal and real. Real in that it isn’t completely depressing, but it isn’t completely funny. A mixture of both, like in real life. It’s predictable sure, but it’s got a lot of likable characters and great dialogue.

And The Winner Is…

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Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

I’ll admit, Trust put up a good fight, but Midnight in Paris focused more on writing. Woody Allen’s script gives us a lot of fun and likable characters, a fast pace, hilarious dialogue that never feels like it’s trying for a life, and a humble, but important and touching message.

Best Adapted Screenplay

George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon, The Ides of March– I find politics pretty boring. But the script for Ides managed to be one of the most exciting of the year. The dialogue is great, all these characters sound very intelligent. The film also moves at a brisk pace and actually improves as the film progresses.

Steve Kloves, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two- Kloves has scripted nearly all the Potter films, and he certainly ended on a bang with The Deathly Hallows Part Two. Kloves balances a film with mostly action and fits in a lot of great character details. The film also balances the comedy well while still remaining an intense fantasy driven epic.

John Logan, Hugo- John Logan pulls off a lot with his script for Hugo. His script is full of fun, likable characters, good dialogue, and very clever reveals. But I think what impresses me about the script the most is the way the film seamlessly switches from being a fun adventure to being a tribute to film and art.

Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, and Peter Straughan, The Debt- The Debt was a much smarter script than I expected it to be. It’s a well-written thriller that can be incredibly tense. But more important, it’s a film that actually has something to say about human nature.

Steven Zaillian, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo- An intriguing mystery, fascinating characters, a smart plot, and a great reveal. Zaillian wrote an awesome script. I also like how Zaillian’s script wasn’t afraid to slowly take it’s time and allow the story unfold naturally. And it was a riveting story.

And The Winner Is…

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Steve Zaillian, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

When I first saw Dragon Tattoo, I loved it, but I wasn’t sure if I could award it Best Adapted Screenplay since it was the second film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel. But after seeing the Swedish film, it really solidified how much of an improvement Zaillian’s screenplay was. It features some intriguing characters, from the bizarre and extreme Lisbeth Salander, to the quiet and tired Mikael Blomkvist. What might be most impressive is how the film is two hours and forty minutes, yet remains constantly interesting in large part thanks to Zaillian’s script. Also worth noting is some awesome dialogue.

Comments
  1. Roflcopter says:

    Just pondering, have you read Larsson’s translated novel? If not, I highly recommend the trilogy.

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      I started reading it but got sidetracked with school. I certainly enjoyed it though. I’ll probably read the first one, but hold off on the sequels until the movies come out. Mainly because they’re thrillers and half the fun is not knowing what’s coming.

  2. ianthecool says:

    Hmm, interesting that you gave Dragon Tattoo the win. I am thinking I really need to check this out. I’m hearing a lot of evidence that its a pretty decent step up from the Swedish film.

    • pgcooper1939 says:

      I watched the Swedish film the day after seeing Fincher’s. and I was actually disappointed in the Swedish one. It isn’t bad but it’s just okay. Fincher’s is great though.

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