REVIEW- GODLESS – Scott Frank’s Netflix Western shows that a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do.
Following a mining accident, the women of LaBelle have been left manless, which might have been an alternative title. They’re getting along okay, though the Sheriff is going blind and a local rancher Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery) is something of an outcast. Things take a perilous twist however with the arrival of Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), a son-like protégé to bloody-minded gently spoken outlaw Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels). Moore has betrayed Griffin and now the outlaw and his band of thirty murderous psychopaths are scouring the Western frontier, promising to massacre any town that harbors Moore.
Okay. We’ve been waiting all this time for a Deadwood third season or TV movie or whatever. And here it is. Godless isn’t as muddy or profane as Deadwood. But it dusts off the western in a way bullshit like the Magnificent Seven remake notably failed to. The miniseries looks like cinema, widescreen and bad ass. The action is directed with a verve and invention which is continually rewarding. The acting is exceptional. Michelle Dockery breaks out of her Downton Abbey corset and Jeff Daniels breaks bad, in a way analogous (and name-checked) to Henry Fonda’s casting in Once Upon a Time in the West. He’s something between a Cormac McCarthy bad man – Blood Meridian – and a gentle paterfamilias. The script has the vim of a Larry McMurty novel – Lonesome Dove. And yet there’s also time for the sublime landscapes and beauty.
Much has been said of the feminism or otherwise of the piece. Is it a feminist western, or just a western that passes (or surpasses) the Bechdel test? To tell you the truth either one of those is a win-win. Especially when the show is such bloody fun.
HOW TO WRITE A SCREENWRITING – Is a new feature that will lead you through the process of writing a screenplay in the tradition of the great gurus Robert McKee, Syd Field and Damon Lindelof.
Part 1. Story – camera – action.
A man walks into a room. That’s a story! A woman eats a peach that’s too big for her small mouth. That’s a story! A dog has worms and keeps rubbing its rear end on your new carpet. That’s not a story. You just need to take the dog to the vet and buy a new carpet. The point is we are surrounded by story. Story is everywhere. It is in the food you eat, on television, in the newspapers, in the conversation of your co-workers. Story is the warp and woof (there’s that dog again) of life, the rich tapestry from whence we all come, the undiscovered country to whence we all go.
But how do I write a story? Which story should I choose? What story do people want to hear? And what’s the difference between a story in a book and a story in a building?
All these questions will be answered in this 23 part on line course on How to Write a Screenwriting. Whether you want to be the next J.K Rowling and die under the weight of all the money, or you want to be the next Charlie Kaufman and die under the weight of everyone going ‘what?’, How to Write a Screenwriting is the ONLY online resource you need as a screenwriter who wants to write a screenwriting.
Of course writing is not easy. Look at the title to this whole course that I’m writing. Have you looked? Okay, the more perceptive among you will have noticed that there is something not quite right, something that the unkind might refer to as ‘wrong’. Of course, I wanted to write ‘How to Write a Screenplay’ but I was also thinking of ‘A Guide to Screenwriting’ and so accidentally I wrote ‘How to write a Screenwriting’, erroneously combining to the two titles because I was hungry and I was thinking about dinner – I’m thinking lasagna specifically. So do I go back and change it? NO. Why not? Well, for one thing it’s more work. But the more important reason is that LIFE DEPENDS ON MISTAKES.
Think about it.
All multi-cellular life comes from errors in replication of DNA. If there weren’t any errors, if everything was perfect, then no evolution. No evolution then no complexity; no complexity, then no us. No us, no cinema. No cinema and we’re out of a Goddamned job, just because the asshole DNA worked too damned well. Perfection is the death of life and the death of story. Do you think Jonathan and Christopher Nolan wanted to write Memento? No, they just kept forgetting the story-line and had to keep going back. Do you think Larry McMurty wanted Brokeback Mountain to be a heart-breaking gay love story? No, the original novel has the two cowboys fighting but a slip of the pen and fellatio as all over the page! Do you think Quentin Tarantino meant to write The Hateful Eight? No, his original screenplay was supposed to be called The Careful Eight, but one accidental slip of the fingers and suddenly he has to write something violent to justify the wrong title.
You NEED to make mistakes. And I promise you if you follow this EXCLUSIVE online Screenwriting course, you will be making tons of them.
HOLLYWOOD – Brokeback Mountain was a breakthrough film for its two young leads Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, an Oscar winner and an immediate seminal film for the gay community and now Ang Lee – talking to French cultural magazine Chapeau – has hinted that he might be interested in filming Brokeback Mountain 2.
When asked about future projects, Mr. Lee first told the interviewer about his project based on the Little Book of Calm starring Joe Pesci (for more on that story CLICK HERE), but pushed to look further ahead, the Hulk director said the following:
I’ve always wanted to go back to the world that Annie Proulx and Larry McMurty created for Brokeback and revisit those characters. It’s especially fitting that we should see how Jake’s character responds to Ennis’ death, seeing how Heath is no longer with us.
Je ne comprends pas! C’est ridicule! It is the Ennis character who is alive at the end of the film and Jack Twist who dies.
Was it? Jesus. Really?
I suppose I’ve always wanted to revisit the world of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I wanted to find out what happened to Chow Yun Fat’s character, having to deal with Michelle Yeoh’s death.
Brokeback Mountain 2 will be released in 2015.