You know whom I can’t stand? People who constantly compare a book to the movie. And don’t even get me started on those who incessantly flap their gums on the merit of a movie’s sequel. It’s pointless babble. Of course, you can’t really blame them. These quarrels wouldn’t even exist if there were a screenwriter left in Hollywood with even an ounce of competence. I look at some of the sewage churning out of that forsaken land of materialism and plastic surgery and think, “Who in their right minds thought this was a good idea?” The answer: nobody. But it was a guaranteed money maker. That’s all that matters in Hollywood. They seem to say, “It’ll make me a few bucks? Then let’s get it going, what are you waiting for!” That’s why most of the crap in theaters nowadays is taken directly from well-known books. If the book is or was popular then you can sure as hell bet the movie will be too.
Popularity equals money. It’s a studio’s way of playing it safe. Nothing frightens a bigwig studio exec more than taking a financial chance, not even the wrinkling of their overly botoxed foreheads. And it’s not just books that are the creativity cop-out. There are sequels and remakes too, and there are entries into overrun franchises that went stale years ago. All you have to do is pull up the current movie listings to see what I’m talking about. “Paranormal Activity 4”? They should’ve pulled the plug on this one three movies ago. “Taken 2”? Kidnapped again! Talk about the the most unlucky family in the world. Also, what do “Cloud Atlas,” “Alex Cross” and “Pitch Perfect” all have in common? Yep, you guessed it. All three of them are book adaptations.
Where is the imagination? Where is the originality? Screenwriters, take a chance already! This rampant a– kissing needs to stop. Until then, at least we still have a few directors who don’t suffer from creativity-itis. Someone like David Fincher, for example—oh wait, I take that back. “Fight Club,” “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Social Network,” “Zodiac” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”—beginning to see the theme here? Looks like Fincher sure likes his books.
So if you’re reading this and you feel you’ve got a knack for creative writing, then don’t you even think about becoming an author. Hollywood needs you more than Ferrari convertibles and overpriced boob jobs. Become a screenwriter. You might not ever get your script made into a movie but I guarantee you it’s 10 times better than the load of crap headed to a theater near you.
Eric Duffert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org