Review of: Old Man Strength 

reviewed by kepow on 06/24/2009
Credited Review
OMS review Credited Review

When I got this assignment and saw the picture of the baseball players, I thought this was going to have a strong sports theme, so I was surprised to find that it did not, and in addition, actually had nothing to do with baseball at all.

Anyway, here are the notes I made as I read.

pg.2 I can't figure out what's happening here:

Chett grins.
He opens the shower door.
NINA HAMMER, 45, thin figure, sits on the bed in her bra with
a towel on her bottom.
A STUD, 24, hair wet, walks out.
She stops and kisses the Stud.

What I think I understand is, Nina is in the shower, Chett enters the room, she invites him into the shower with her, then, suddenly, we're in the bedroom and some young guy comes out of the bathroom (and shower, I assume) and Chett is also now in the bedroom.

So, was Nina not talking to Chett when she said "Come"? Was the young guy in the shower with her? Was she talking to him? I still don't know.

pg.9 During this exchange...
Oh yeah. That was fun.
Calm down, Dale.

...I feel Benny's dialogue does not fit. There is no indication that Dale was at all upset, so it doesn't make sense that Benny would tell him to calm down.

pg.15 Here's another part that could use more clarity.

He walks past Bennyís room and waves.
Do it big, Chett.
Chett stops. He walks into Bennyís room.
Letís hope so.
Chett stands in the room.

If you had Benny shout "Stop!" as soon as Chett sets foot in the room, and then ask him to remove his footwear, it would make sense sooner. As it is now, when I read, "Wait." I thought, "Wait for what? He didn't indicate that he was going to leave." I had to read it a couple of times, give up trying to figure it out, and then read on before it became clear what was happening.

Also, there is a lot of repitition with "room" being in there 3 times.

pg.16 Another example:
"PJ, Benny, and Dale sit on a green SUV."

We need more info. Is the SUV driving down the road like Chett is? Is it parked in the ditch or somewhere near the road? Again, I figured it out later when Elena climbed out, since it would have to be parked or she'd have some serious road rash. heheh

You donít have a spare and a jack?
Who said that?


Anyway, I think you get the point now, so I'll let you find the rest during your next rewrite.

pg.19 Here's another example of repitition and how you can re-word it:

A KNOCK at the door.
Chett walks over and opens the door.

Try, "There's a knock at the door. Chett opens it."

Being that you just mentioned a knock at the door, it makes sense that the "it" in my example which, Chett opens afterward, would be the door, so you don't have to mention it twice.

Also, avoid descriptions like "walk" or "sits" or "stands" as much as you can or replace them with more intersting bits like, "He saunters across the room" or "He plops himself down on the couch" or "She jumps to her feet." etc.

pg.21 "At least you have a job. More than
I can say right now."
Chett asked for the time off of work, but now he's making it sound like he was fired.

pg.22 Elena looks at a yoga class.
Iíll try this class.
I may have to watch.
Elena grins.
A lot of hot girls in that class.
Elenaís grin lessens. She walks into the class.

"Class" x4.
I'll let you find the rest of the repititive words also.

pg.23 "Chett gives PJ a dirty look."

I wasn't aware that Chett was in this scene until now. He never indicated whether or not he was interested in joining her for a workout, so when he suddenly speaks here, it's a bit of a surprise. It needs to be set up earlier in the scene, that he is there as well. He could be watching the yoga class with Elena, for example. I found this problem sprinkled throughout the scrrenplay.

pg.39 "Plus, I want you (to) know this..."

Also, "Elena and Chett sit in the room." Doing what? Are they playing a video game again, maybe?

pg.44 "We have a super, you know?" A super what?

pg.55 "Elena walks with two ices." Did you mean icees?

pg.64 "How are the
fuck you still living with him?" "are" and "the" need to be rearranged in that sentence.

pg.85 Here's a good example of action lines that are under-written:

Chett walks with Kent.

Describe the campus a little. Are there other people around? Does it have trees? Are they walking on a pathway? etc.

That's it for the page notes. A few more things:

I found the characters to be quite one-dimensional. Especially PJ. Working out, staring at himself in the mirror and hunting girls, is all that he does.

Dale is just gay, but does have a character arc, and a huge amount of the dialogue revolves around him being gay, which is nothing new these days and thus, lacks entertainment or shock value.

It's not very often I say this, but I believe this script is vastly UNDER-written. There were numerous times where I found descriptions lacking and couldn't quite grasp exactly what was transpiring. I gave an example or two.

Really, what I think you have here, is a short story that has been stretched beyond its limits to reach screenplay length, which makes the story the weakest link in the whole screenplay.

I think it has a lot to do with the lack of an active protagonist. He needs goals to strive for. As it is, he's just along for the ride. It's always PJ challenging Chett and Chett keeps beating him at everything, but beating a guy half his age in a challenge is not Chett's goal (despite what the synopsis says), so we're never left wondering if he will succeed or fail and because of that, it doesn't matter to us (the audience).

You might look into a book called, "Story" by Robert Mckee, or "Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder to help you out with the story issues. I've never read them, personally, but I hear they are very helpful.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me through my profile.

Good luck and write on...

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