Review of: America Lost 

reviewed by silverberetta17 on 04/19/2008
Credited Review
silverberetta17
No, this Screenplay is Lost. Credited Review
This review is especially difficult for me because while I agree with the message here, the story and characters do not work for me at all. Overall, there was way too much talking, nothing really going on that moved me, and stock characters that didn't do anything for this material. A huge disappointment.

I couldn't get over your heavy-handedness of this argument here. Let me explain it this way: remember when critics said the film "Crash" pulled at your heartstrings too much? Well, this screenplay practically rips out your soul. It's almost too pretentious with its overbearing "evil" Republican congressmen.

When we began with the Oval Office, I thought this might be some sort of satire in how a case for war is justified. I even got excited when we cut to the Hollywood scene thinking this could be a quirky dark comedy with both politics and entertainment mashing together.

Problem is, this is more reality than satire. As the story moves forward, things get so ridiculous that I was at the point where I thought this was all a bad joke. Leland asked to appear in court? Pardon my language- but give me a fucking break- that's just going into the absurdity. Earlier you referenced Joe McCarthy and his Communism trials- so this hearing is so preposterous because IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN TODAY.

And when he's locked outside the studio, I wanted to laugh even more. You need to realize that when you set your story is a realistic world like ours, you cannot change things so easily. Let's say this Leland guy was - I dunno- supposed to be Michael Moore or Tim Robbins. Would producers lock them out because they disagreed with Bush and the Iraq war?
Of course they wouldn't.

Some things here do in fact mimic events that played out. This Teri girl no doubt was based on the Dixie Chicks and what happened to them after they dare speak out. Nothing wrong with imitating history again, but make sure things don't get out of hand, eg. burning down Malloy's Bar? That's another silly scene I advise you to cut.

Like I said, there is so much unnecessary dialogue here it's painful. You keep hammering us with this rightful but redundant message of freedom of speech during a war- that it becomes old fast.

The scene of Adrianna with Cody and the Christian woman is a good example. Stop lecturing us about gays and get to the point. I myself agree with the actress that sexuality isn't a choice but decided early on- yet why do you rub it in our faces so much? So many long conversations are exactly what I'm talking about here- you don't need so much BORING DIALOGUE- just give us the damn idea and move on. (On another note, this scene is pointless in this story.)

Go examine Clooney's film "Good Night and Good Luck". The message there parallels what you have here- but the difference is that there's SUBTLETY in that script. Your script will drive everyone- including me- away because it's beating us over the head with its message.
And that was the 1950s, a time when America was so unified after WW2 that evil men like McCarthy was able to rant on about citizens he believed were Communist. In today's world, especially 2008, NOTHING IN THIS SCRIPT WOULD EVER HAPPEN. This makes me wonder when you wrote this script? Was it around 2004, when there was still much support for the Iraq war?

Now of course we all know the Iraq war was a mistake and many of America's stands on habeas corpus and privacy and freedoms were stripped apart and used accordingly by Bush and his cronies. But don't let me lecture, because I could go on and on here.

You need to make big decisions here. First of all, decide what world you're setting this in. The future could set a strong parable, for instance if government has become so power-hungry that events in this script could be plausible.
Also decide if you'll actually be satirizing the current state of affairs instead of just replacing the actual politicians with actors.

You need to find a way to deliver your message without beating us senseless? [Is my point sinking in, now? Good! This is how I felt when I read YOUR SCRIPT! Hehe....]

And for heaven's sake cut all that cliche and overwritten dialogue about freedom of speech and blah blah blah. Everyone agrees with you, man! Relax! Cheer up! America is not ALL LOST, yet! Us screenwriters can maybe save it from its sad state.

Then again, maybe not.

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