Review of: Last Week 

reviewed by mijorico on 04/14/2008
Credited Review
mijorico
Last Week Credited Review
As a first draft, I think this is pretty good. You've laid out a basic framework and given yourself something to work with. Here's where I think you can concentrate your efforts.

First of all, I felt that that whole Kate storyline took too long to hit its stride. You set it up early on, but don't continue to develop it throughout the entire second Act. We only get to see bits and pieces of their relationship, and it is not until the end that you really give them much to do together. I think it would help if you got to that earlier.

Also, there were aspects of the friends' storylines that I felt could use some fine-tuning. I found it hard to believe that they wouldn't push Ray more about why he's doing all of these crazy things. They just went along for the ride, without asking too many questions. I didn't buy that. And when they do find out why he's doing it, it was almost a non-issue.

You take some chances with this script. And, while I applaud the effort, I'm not so sure all of those risks pay off. Breaking the fourth wall is especially hard to pull off on film. Most stories that attempt to do that fail. Ferris Bueller is the gold standard. I didn't feel your use of it was on par. It felt more like a crutch, more like the easy way out. It made your story less visual and too talky. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy films with a lot of dialogue. I just didn't feel all of the dialogue here was necessary and I didn't feel much was gained by having Ray speak to us. I think you could have gotten the same information across without the use of that device.

The dialogue, on a whole, I thought could have been better. At times it was overly expository, at other times unauthentic. For example, I couldn't picture Bobby saying "If you don't mind me asking, what in the hell is the famous Kate Nash doing back in Baypine?" on P.24. You've set the guy up as a petty criminal. Does he really care if she minds him asking?

I also felt that many of your scenes went beyond optimum length. Such as the opening scene, the karaoke scene, and when Bobby runs into Kate. I believe the story would flow much better if you trimmed those. But I know that since this is only 95 pages, you may be reluctant to do that. To be honest, I would have liked to have seen there be more to this story. If you can further develop Ray and Kate's relationship and get into that earlier, I believe that would help keep this story at a good length. Then you wouldn't have to worry about those cuts.

Other Notes:

P.2 - "Not bad Doc." Not bad, Doc. It's an error made throughout the script.
P.4 - Sky is blue is bad example. We know it's blue because we can see that it's blue, not because we just know.
P.6/7 - "Bucket List" reference unnecessary. Dates the story. Same with all of the Iraq war references.
*Why does Ray ask for the week off if he believes he's going to die anyway? If he's dead, what does it matter if he gets the time off or simply doesn't show, or quits?
P.16 - "Like their gonna release you..." they're
P.19 - "A table full of doubtful looks look back at him." Repetitive with "looks look"
*If Ray has sung before, what's the big deal about him doing this task?
P.25 - "my brains fried" brain's
*The mention of specific songs is going to draw criticism from many reviewers. Personally, I don't care so much. If you have to change it, you change it. So long as the story's not dependent on that one song. Likewise, having a main character who wants to be a filmmaker will draw similar criticism.
*I like the description "If he would have died twenty years ago, he would have died an old man." Might be a little bit too similar to the description of the dog, though.
*The Ray/Kate flashback is a bit too long. And that whole exchange where they map out their mock paths in life gets old fast.
P.39 - No apostrophe needed on "DVD's"
*The scene where Ray and Kate see each other for the first time in 8 years seems like it's lacking. I was left with a feeling of "that's it?" afterwards.
*You may want to indicate when flashbacks end, too.
*A lot of discussing events that have already occurred, that's we've already seen. Running into Kate, scattering Forrest's ashes. Try to avoid that, if possible.
P.57 - "They toss it over the cliff" Makes it sound like they throw it, when that would be an impossibility considering the bike's weight. Maybe use a different word. Also, I would have liked to have seen more conflict in that sequence. We don't even get to see the biggest asshole in town.
P.61 - "Let me stop the about to begin riot." Reads awkward.
P.92 - "I don't why."

I hope my criticisms do not discourage you. It really is good for a first draft. I'm just trying to do my part to help.

Good luck.

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