A primer on great screenwriting: using characters as they existed in the book but doing what you have to do to compress the story and get it to come out right on scene. In other words, there is no scene like this in the book.

My Top 10

  1. L.A. Confidential
  2. The Sweet Hereafter
  3. The Ice Storm
  4. Jackie Brown
  5. Oscar and Lucinda
  6. The Wings of the Dove
  7. Wag the Dog
  8. Donnie Brasco
  9. Absolute Power
  10. The Winter Guest

note:  A great Top 5 and very good Top 10.  My list continues down at the bottom.

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“Then Renton was hit by a wave of shock which threatened to knock him incoherent.  A girl came into the room.  As he watched her, a coldness came over him.  She was the double of Dianne, but this girl looked barely secondary school age.  It took him a few seconds to realize that it was Dianne.”  (p 145)

My Top 10

  1. Trainspotting
  2. The English Patient
  3. The Crucible
  4. Cold Comfort Farm
  5. Emma
  6. Hamlet
  7. The Birdcage
  8. Romeo + Juliet
  9. Mother Night
  10. Star Trek: First Contact

note:  A fantastic Top 5 and a strong Top 10 with a few more listed down at the bottom.  A rare year in that it’s also fantastic for Original Screenplay.  This year has the highest average score for the two Screenplay awards in history. (more…)

“His words were echoed with unspeakable astonishment by all but Elinor, who sat with her head leaning over her work, in a state of such agitation as made her hardly know where she was.”  (p 335

My Top 10

  1. Sense and Sensibility
  2. Les Miserables
  3. To Die For
  4. Leaving Las Vegas
  5. 12 Monkeys
  6. Get Shorty
  7. Richard III
  8. Clockers
  9. An Awfully Big Adventure
  10. Il Postino

note:  It’s a decent (but not great) Top 5 and a more solid Top 10.  My own list is much longer and continues down at the bottom though Dead Man Walking (my #12), Apollo 13 (#15) and Babe (my #24) are reviewed because of award nominations. (more…)

This didn’t come straight from the book but neither did anything else in the film.

My Top 10

  1. Ed Wood
  2. The Shawshank Redemption
  3. Quiz Show
  4. Nobody’s Fool
  5. Grave of the Fireflies
  6. The Madness of King George
  7. Little Women
  8. Death and the Maiden
  9. Vanya on 42nd Street
  10. To Live

note:  There will be more to say about this in the Awards post which comes next. (more…)

One of the most disturbing scenes in film history and it’s not in the book at all.

My Top 10

  1. Schindler’s List
  2. The Age of Innocence
  3. The Remains of the Day
  4. In the Name of the Father
  5. Shadowlands
  6. The Snapper
  7. Much Ado About Nothing
  8. Short Cuts
  9. Like Water for Chocolate
  10. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

note:  A very strong Top 5 and Top 10.  There are several more movies on my list at the bottom though The Fugitive (#13) and Strictly Ballroom (#17) aren’t included because they’re reviewed below as award nominees. (more…)

“The air was white, and when they alighted it tasted like cold pennies.  At times they passed through a clot of grey.  Mrs. Wilcox’s vitality was low that morning, and it was Margaret who decided on a horse for this little girl, a golliwog for that, for the rector’s wife a copper warming-tray.”  (p 60, Norton Critical Edition)

My Top 10

  1. Howards End
  2. The Player
  3. The Last of the Mohicans
  4. A Few Good Men
  5. Flirting
  6. Glengarry Glen Ross
  7. Raise the Red Lantern
  8. Enchanted April
  9. Aladdin
  10. A River Runs Through It

note:  The list goes well past 10 as listed below though none of the other films on my list earned nominations (so they’re all in the top list at the bottom) and the rest of the list is all fairly weak.

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“She stood again in front of Lecter’s cell and saw the rare spectacle of the doctor agitated.  She knew that he could smell it on her.  He could smell everything.”  (p 25)

My Top 10

  1. The Silence of the Lambs
  2. JFK
  3. The Commitments
  4. Beauty and the Beast
  5. Europa Europa
  6. The Indian Runner
  7. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
  8. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  9. My Own Private Idaho
  10. Fried Green Tomatoes

note:  Down at the bottom are the other films in my list which don’t make the Top 10 but the list is much shorter than the year before (even accounting for the fact that one of them, The Prince of Tides, is reviewed because of award nominations).  This is one of those years where the Original screenplays are fantastic and Adapted aren’t nearly as strong (certainly after the Top 5).

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