Sometimes the best way back is a detour
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A playboy lawyer goes into an emotional tailspin after he finds out that he was the only boy in his Sunday school class who wasn't molested by the parish priest.
Other Submissions by David Muhlfelder
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Reviews of The Unbuggered (V.2) 86
by Scott Chamberlain on 03/03/2013David This was lean. Well-written. Challenging premise. Relatively good job done with a difficult protag. But, ultimately, I couldn’t invest in his story. Three things I would improve: 1. From Mid-Point to Crisis the story treads water. There’s a little too much of this: “Q: Why didn’t you molest me? A: Just Because, alright” I would swap a chunk of these pages for more... David
This was lean. Well-written.
Challenging premise. Relatively good job done with a difficult protag. But, ultimately, I couldn’t invest in his story.
Three things I would improve:
1. From Mid-Point to Crisis the story treads water. There’s a little too much of this: “Q: Why didn’t you molest me? A: Just Because, alright” I would swap a chunk of these pages for more pages on his slow rise from the abyss. That would make your protag more empathetic. At present he whines just a little too much about not being molested. It makes the Priest more likeable than him.
2. The ending felt forced. This is because his arc is under-developed. He goes from asshole to nice guy too fast. There needs to be more steps, more progression, more hurdles to dramatize the change.
3. Theme and climax not clearly related. Nor his mechanism of redemption – finding a homeless man a dog – clearly related to his central problem – the Priest didn’t molest him because he was an arsehole. So the theme becomes “we avoid molestation by being unloveable.” I doubt that’s a seriously held view…?
More General Comments
There’s a bunch of stuff here that doesn’t feel like it belongs in the same story. A divorce attorney who sleeps with his clients. A homeless man deprived by his wife of everything except his dog… and then she takes that too. A Priest who has molested everyone except the protag because he was SUCH an arsehole. A friend was leads the Molested Kids Support Group. And still our guy represents the Priest. Just to find out why he wasn’t on the hit list? This is our hero?
So, some further food for thought…
* Consider losing Mitch. If he’s such an arsehole why does he have friends from school? Makes Mitch an outright source of antagonism.
* Make Fred/Dolores/Protag the B Story. I wouldn’t let our hero out – make one of his first acts the filing of the paperwork to take Fred’s dog. He does it because he can. And because Dolores “loves” him for it.
*The Priest’s declaration that he wasn’t molested because he was such an arsehole should come at mid-point. This cracks the protag and allows for him to set about trying to prove the Priest wrong (in all the wrong ways)
* Crisis, then, would come with Fred losing his dog, the brutal payoff to the earlier set up back when we (and our hero) didn’t know who Fred was or appreciate what truly horrible thing our Protag was doing .
Final Comments About Theme
However, even with these changes, I’m not sure how to tap into the power of the story, because I don’t know what it is about.
Starting with the gag of a guy who is so self-absorbed that he’d be distraught not to be molested, what does such a story become about. What is this story really about? Love? Molestation? It’s not clear what the topic is or what your point of view is.
I guess it’s “Love”… we have a guy so in love with himself he can’t believe anybody wouldn’t love him and he’s blind to just how unloveable he is because what he thinks of as love isn’t love its duty, or envy, or possession, the shit he deals with in his work, all that gold digging and pre-nups and love built on bits of signed paper…
I think you need to tap into this. I think you need to go deeper into why the protag cares so much that he wasn’t molested, and why the Priest wouldn’t molest him. read
by ScreenTalent23 on 02/14/2013First off, I would like to say that I the courtesy that everyone on Trigger Street should give which is to read through your screenplay fully, from beginning to end. I'm sorry if my review sounds a little harsh, but I am being 100% honest and open with you and I hope you appreciate that and don't take it too personally. Ok, I'm going to do it like I did with my notes as I... First off, I would like to say that I the courtesy that everyone on Trigger Street should give which is to read through your screenplay fully, from beginning to end. I'm sorry if my review sounds a little harsh, but I am being 100% honest and open with you and I hope you appreciate that and don't take it too personally.
Ok, I'm going to do it like I did with my notes as I was reading it, by covering each part I made notes on. So here it goes:
The descriptions for things, especially some characters, were very good. You seem like me in the way that you already have a pre-determined vision for how you want your characters to look, whereas some other screenplays will just have a name and age and leave the character open to interpret. I like that, I like knowing exactly what I want my character to look like, from his personality to his clothing. And your character descriptions are good, especially with Eric and Mitch, and some of the non-important female characters also. I do this in a lot of screenplays, describing the person exactly how I want him/her to look, and I think it always works. I also liked your descriptions in general, like your ACTION descriptions, what the characters do and don't do, I liked how those actions were written and I can tell you have a flare for it. Ok, so there wasn't a lot of ACTION descriptions, but I guessed the screenplay was more dialogue-focused, on the comedy.
I liked some of the dialogue, conversational writing for about the first 15 pages. It shined through like you'd picture in a real movie, or a TV sitcom for that matter. But one conversation kind of annoyed me, the one where Tara and Eric are acting all mushy and stuff. I thought that conversation was too constricted, too... fake. But then when we discover that Eric is actually a "player" it kind of lets you off the hook a bit. But apart from that, the first 15 pages or so of dialogue writing is pretty good, pretty funny and pretty damn realistic, and even if its not realistic it still feels like TV comedy dialogue. I did still like some of the other dialogue throughout the screenplay but not really at the same time, and I'll explain why in a minute.
In screenwriting, not that I'm a pro or anything, there's always room for change, for something different. But I like to stick to some of the basic rules and ways of writing. For instance, in one scene you have in the scene heading at the end -- INTERCUT. Now I thought to myself usually its done where there's one scene, then another scene, then back to the first scene and INTERCUT BETWEEN SCENES, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt... until I started seeing in other parts of the screenplay someone speaking to someone else, mostly on the phone, INTERCUT and then them talking. You need to stick to one way, and not too different ways. Either choose the scene heading way or the INTERCUT between scenes way. I personally find it much easier to write and read if its done with the first scene, then the second scene, then back to that first scene and INTERCUT BETWEEN SCENES. It reads a lot simpler, and is so much easier to write.
I'm not going to headline some of these next points. A small thing that bothered me not far into the screenplay was when Eric is on the phone to Mitch and he SLAPS his own head. I thought straight away that this was very unrealistic, unless it was kind of slapstick comedy or silly comedy, which I suppose you could actually class it as. Its kind of 'Three Stooges', TV comedy sort of stuff.
In one scene Mitch says Touche but the correct spelling is Touché - just another small incorrect thing that bothered me.
I thought it was a great character surprise when you meet Eric at the very beginning and you think he's like this faithful, house husband or something, but then he's in the car on the phone and you reveal that that's not the case at all, and that he's actually a "player". I would've considered more of just a "player" rather than a sex addict, which is what you try to cross him as. But it was good, it's always good to make your character look like something and then reveal that no, in fact, he's not that person at all - it surprises the audience, and the audience love surprises!
I particularly liked the scene where Eric is talking to Bennett, the opposing council with Mr. and Mrs. Vanatter. I liked the whole feel of the scene, the way we get to see how Eric might be a pig and an idiot, but he's pretty damn good at his job. Every word of the dialogue, especially Eric's, felt so real and all-knowing. If you're not some kind of lawyer then I praise you for this scene because its written very well, and felt very realistic to me.
The comedy to me felt like a kind of slapstick comedy. It was like the 'The Three Stooges' in a way, that very silly comedy, that comedy where you'll either laugh or go "Is that supposed to be funny?", which unfortunately, was how I felt. I will admit, there were some good one-liners in there worthy of a TV comedy or of even a comedy movie, but the overall comedy just didn't do it for me. Once it reached the paedophile stage I lost all funniness and became very serious, after that it was hard for me to find ANY comedy in it at all.
Another small correction, you spelt Romania as Rumania.
I thought the scene where Eric kisses 50 year old Bea on the neck was too much, it was just kinda gross, and it made me think "Ok, did he sleep with this one too?" But again, you can probably get away with ANYTHING in slapstick comedy.
What frustrated me the most was the structure of the screenplay. It started off interestingly enough and then by page 12 I was kind of like "Ok, where's the inciting incident?" I lost track and just started to zone out inbetween scenes. I mean your first 9 pages should lead up to the inciting incident for page ten, then carry it from there. But you, literally 20 pages, of just absolute senseless stuff. I didn't understand what was going on until the inciting incident on page 20, when Eric sees the news broadcast about Father Joe. And by that time I was like "Are you fucking kidding me, this is the inciting incident?!" If an audience was watching this film they'd get bored by page 20 and when page 20, the inciting incident, finally came they still wouldn't get the point of it. Your inciting incident needs to be something that draws your character into the story, and places him or her on a journey. And ok, maybe Eric setting out on his ridiculous quest to find out why he wasn't molested was his journey, but truly was a ridiculous one at that.
Another spelling/grammar correction when you speak about the church. It's should be Its because you're talking about the church and the church is a place. You got the grammar right through the rest of the screenplay so I'm sure this was just a slight hiccup.
I didn't understand this scene: Eric says "Aren't you supposed to minister to me for that?" I thought maybe it was a mistake and you meant "Aren't you supposed to minister me for that", which even if it was that you need to have him say it better.
By page 15 all we really know about Eric is that he likes girls and sex and is a smartass. This doesn't suffice. You need a character, especially a central character, who people can relate to. He needs to have human emotions, traits, values etc. And he certainly needs a better personal and private goal than trying to find out why he WASN'T molested. By the way, this is the most unrealistic and STUPID goal a person could have. No one could relate to this character because NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, could relate to the goal of being pissed off for NOT being molested. Your character needs more depth and needs proper human idiosyncrasies, but with this story no character can have that, because its built mainly on trying to be funny rather than the story and the character's journey.
Early on in the screenplay when Eric first goes to church and speaks to Father McNally, he says that he feels guilty. But I don't detect ANY guilt at all while he's sleeping with these women, and if the first 19 pages are leading up to him finding out he was the only one that wasn't molested, then it seems pointless to have him feel guilty, unless his guilt is going to be some how connected to the story, which it isn't. And I mean let's be honest, sex addict or not, who would complain about getting too much sex. Sure, he sleeps with women who have husbands, but although he says that he feels guilty I never detected a single feeling that he did in fact actually feel guilty. To me he wasn't a sex addict, just someone who loved sex and women, like all men.
I thought the name Consuela was a bit too much. I've seen too many movies with that name, especially as a maid. Try something different, try to out-do yourself, pick a name that you've never heard for a maid in a movie, give that maid some life. The same goes for Father McNally. Speaking as an Irish person, not every single priest that went to America are Irish. Sure, there are a lot, but don't do that stereotypical American writing thing where you write the priest in as being Irish with an Irish name and an Irish accent, do something different, make him an American priest, that'd really surprise people. Like Robert DeNiro in 'Sleepers', not your typical Irish-speaking priest.
Ok, this is by far the most important thing of the whole entire screenplay, and what I consider to be a HUGE issue. Now, in my country right now the paedophile thing is VERY big, especially with certain secrets coming out and old victims coming forward. But its also a big issue all over the world, even in America. I found the idea of a guy running around wondering WHY he WASN'T molested to be absolutely ridiculous, and what some may consider disgusting. No person, as I said before, would care that much for why they weren't molested, never, even with this made-up character. And if so, no audience would EVER relate to a character like that, never in a million years. This issue is very delicate, you have to be very careful. I mean you have all kinds of subject matter and jokes about molestation that I don't think any film company would ever let be released, let alone the fact that some people would arrest you for it (JOKE!) Its just not an issue you can make fun of, not for 107 pages, and sometimes it boards absolute insanity. Its all just TOO MUCH. Its too much of a harsh subject matter, even to lighten moods, to make fun of. I mean come on, Eric helps a man who was accused of molesting over 100 children, possibly more! I know there would be some slime ball lawyers out there like that, but not many. I mean the whole screenplay is kind of ridiculous, Eric running around talking to victims, asking why it wasn't him, being an insensitive prick for absolutely no true human reason. And in one scene he goes to a "group" of sorts, which you quote as being SURVIVORS? Really? I'd be careful with that term SURVIVORS. VICTIMS, yes, but not SURVIVORS, that's just too much. They've suffered a horrible ordeal and priests who molest never really kill their victims, so the word is also realistically incorrect. Like the courtroom scene, also, UNRREALISTIC by a MILLION MILES. No judge would ever, EVER let a paedophile who has molested over 100 children into their lawyers custody, even for a week let alone a day, or a few hours even. I know in slapstick nothing really matters, not realism, story or characters, but that also has a limit. I mean why represent Father Joe? I thought it was to get information out of him but really as the story progressed it made absolutely no sense. Why would he go to those lengths just to find out why he WASN'T molested? I can't imagine a single soul wouldn't be extremely grateful that they weren't molested, and there's nothing shown in Eric's character that tells us he would care if he WASN'T molested. You know? This, from the courtroom onwards, is where the structure tumbles and explodes. From that scene onwards it starts to make even less sense, the structure I mean, and you have Eric just carting Father Joe around, looking after him and trying to top him for molesting any more children. That's when any hint of structure you might have had just goes right out the window, then gets run over by a HUGE truck.
I didn't understand when Eric says "I bet there's paedophiles out there who would've given their eye teeth to tap my ass" - I'm guessing this is just another spelling/grammar mistake? It made no sense to me.
Ok, so look, I've been completely honest which is what this process is all about. I'm not trying to destroy you or your work because you have some good things to take away from it; description, dialogue, some strong comedy points. I mean your slapstick comedy would work perfect in TV comedy, and I mean perfect, because its so suited to TV, or it seems to me anyway. I mean when you're handling a delicate subject like this, you can never win. You just can't make a mockery of something so disgraceful because no audience (maybe a few people will) will ever find it funny. You need a proper solid structure, solid characters with solid goals, traits, values etc, and you need a story that isn't so... crude, unfunny, harsh, ridiculous. I like your writing very much, and some of your comedy, especially your one-liners, but I can't for the life of me get around this screenplay or ever enjoy it, I'm sorry but I just can't.
So overall, you've got some strong points that I think have actually encouraged me and my style of writing. But, in the end, this screenplay is all wrong. Sorry, but I'm being honest and that's just how I feel. I noticed you have some other screenplays and one of them is on my list, with better-sounding plots, so I look forward to reading them next. Good luck:)
by Mario Davis on 08/07/2011I'll start off by stating how funny this was to me. There were lines of dialogue in here that just had me bursting with laughter. You've taken a concept that surprisingly isn't really explored. I love the twist in the concept, though, as how the main character was the only one who wasn't "touched" by the priest as opposed to the only one who was. The fact that Eric is somehow... I'll start off by stating how funny this was to me. There were lines of dialogue in here that just had me bursting with laughter.
You've taken a concept that surprisingly isn't really explored. I love the twist in the concept, though, as how the main character was the only one who wasn't "touched" by the priest as opposed to the only one who was. The fact that Eric is somehow emotionally scarred by the fact that he doesn't feel loved is hilarious.
One big thing you did here that I appreciated was how that aspect wasn't dropped from the plot later on. Eric feeling unloved wasn't just a one-time gag. It played out and impacted the story greatly.
The character Tara is a minor one, it seems. Which is completely fine because it doesn't seem like she would add much to the plot. I like how you kept her presence scarce. One thing that can usually kill a movie is a weak love story that is only there to fill a void.
I would have loved to see more of the other Sunday school folk, now in there 30s, involved just a bit more. Maybe not as much as Mitch was, but I felt there was potential for something more.
Mitch reminded me of Russel Brand for some reason. I don't know why, but I kept imagining Russel saying his lines. That's not a bad thing.
The first 2/3 of the movie are completely solid and fun. The last third seemed to drift away from the major story. While I do agree that Eric needed some traumatic event to change his overall consensus of the situation involving the priest, I thought it should have happened some other way. Or maybe just work on that last third a bit more.
All in all, this is an enjoyable story that never takes itself too seriously, which is the strongest thing about this story for me. Some witty dialogue and great characters that aren't too over-the-top and never feel like mediocre placement fillers. Good job, man. read
by LeeCFritz on 07/27/2011'The Unbuggered' is a breezy comedy about a hot-shot lawyer's unraveling in the aftermath of passing unmolested through the hands of a pedophile priest. The protagonist's feelings of alienation at being left out of the child-abuse that touched the rest of his parish stem from a deep vanity, which - in keeping with third act redemptions - is cured by the film's finale. This... 'The Unbuggered' is a breezy comedy about a hot-shot lawyer's unraveling in the aftermath of passing unmolested through the hands of a pedophile priest. The protagonist's feelings of alienation at being left out of the child-abuse that touched the rest of his parish stem from a deep vanity, which - in keeping with third act redemptions - is cured by the film's finale.
This character arc, unfortunately, hinges on the character's inherent unlikability. Introduced as an Esquire magazine photoshoot personified, with sexy girls on his arm and a bluetooth in his ear, Eric's fratboy type A is simply not that pleasant to spend time with. This is compounded by the fact that his problem ('why didn't Father Joe want to touch ME too?') does not really evolve from its first utterance until Father Joe's abrupt reply ('you are egocentric and vain') at the end of the film puts it to rest. That Eric reforms at the end, wanting to know what it feels like to do the right thing, is even countered by his intensely egocentric final line.
But perhaps that is the point: the film is a comedy, powered more by keeping the funny flowing than by having convincing character psychology. To that end, the author writes a number of memorable comic sequences with a flair of prose and rapid-fire dialogue (the tree-punching appeal to become Father Joe's lawyer, and the 90-minutes-since-last-confession scenes come to mind.) Other sequences (the Joad family? the burning hobo viking funeral?) feel episodic and tangential.
Perhaps another consequence of Eric's problem's failure to evolve, much of the film plays like slight variations on a common theme. How many different ways can the question of why a man laments being untouched by a child molester be staged? read
by Newwriter1 on 07/26/2011This is my very first review, so forgive me if I don't have the format down right. The concept is a good one. The story started out well and pulled me in to keep on reading. I was very interested to find out where the story was heading. However, I got lost in the middle of the story. For the most part, there was an average line-up of characters. I found that there could have... This is my very first review, so forgive me if I don't have the format down right. The concept is a good one. The story started out well and pulled me in to keep on reading. I was very interested to find out where the story was heading. However, I got lost in the middle of the story. For the most part, there was an average line-up of characters. I found that there could have been a better name for the psychiatrist. I did not think that "Dr. Fine" fit the bill as I'm sure that was probably taken from The Three Stooges. Dialogue flowed nicely for the most part. However, the whole questioning of why the priest did not molest Eric was very strange to me and did not seem like something that really made sense in the story. I also felt that the conversation between Eric and Yvette after the news broke out about the priest was a bit strange and unlikely to be a real conversation between a mother and a grown son. I was lost from about mid-way into the story and felt that I could not be pulled back in.
I don't have any experience really in screenplay writing, but I must say that the structure was pretty good. Though the format is good, the story is lacking. read
by molloy on 06/04/2011While there are some funny quips in this script I found it begging one to suspend belief too many times. From the priest, the minister and the rabbi in the cocktail lounge to Yvette saying "Just because he's a degenerate, that doesn't make him an idiot." to the premise that Eric could be insulted that he wasn't molested, it was just too much for me. And the epiphany moment... While there are some funny quips in this script I found it begging one to suspend belief too many times. From the priest, the minister and the rabbi in the cocktail lounge to Yvette saying "Just because he's a degenerate, that doesn't make him an idiot." to the premise that Eric could be insulted that he wasn't molested, it was just too much for me. And the epiphany moment on p.79, where Father Joe tells Eric he should do something "...simply because it's the decent thing to do." just doesn't make it for me. You've got a very good sense of humor as evidenced by lines such as p.8 Alice's face shows the strain of thinking." and p.9 "Who's next?" and p.45 where Yvette starts removing the childhood photos of Eric. I just wish that the script was a straight comedy without any attempt at redemption or character arc.
You are obviously a talented writer--that much I get. So best of luck with this and your future screenplays. read
by wopdom on 05/31/2011THE UNBUGGERED is a very interesting script with a great title and original premise. It was a fun read, especially the first half or so, and the writer should be commended for taking on the subject matter. If a comedy is funny, an audience will forgive anything, and there are definitely a lot of funny moments in the script. However, the laughs largely come from tiny moments... THE UNBUGGERED is a very interesting script with a great title and original premise. It was a fun read, especially the first half or so, and the writer should be commended for taking on the subject matter. If a comedy is funny, an audience will forgive anything, and there are definitely a lot of funny moments in the script. However, the laughs largely come from tiny moments and marginal characters, rather than the protagonist himself.
I will do my best to detail the things that stood out as both funny and things that could be worked on. Notes as I read:
6 – the priest, minister, and rabbi actually sitting at the table confused me.
9 – “Who’s next” was funny
11 – Father Tim mouthing “shit” was funny
18 – Yvette’s disbelief and assumption is funny
24 – all of page 24 is very succinct and well done.
28 – Rich’s last line is very funny
31 – “You were an ugly kid, huh” is a great line.
33 – Eric’s line, “On the gate!” confused me
36 – Eric is extremely unstable at this point. It is a bit hard to empathize with his character as a real person.
42 – the cub scouts bit is good
45 – the removal of the childhood photos is funny
50 – Mitch driving by struck me as hilarious for some reason
54 – the “tap my ass” line is much more overt than the rest of the humor and is, in my opinion, a less funny style
77 – by this point I made a note that things seem a bit repetitive. It seems like the third time we’ve heard a conversation about not being molested. The second act sort of plateaus – with very similar things reoccurring rather than a build.
78 – the kiss/grope moment in the tent seems out of character for both Eric and Father Joe to me. The action and the reaction seem unreal.
79 – “Thirty-nine year old lawyers don’t run away from home.” This line is funny but brings up dangerous ground because they also don’t do most of the things that Eric does throughout the story.
80 – Yvette’s line about her car is very funny
102 – Father Joe’s line about the suit seems like a laugh at the expense of the narrative. Would he really make a joke about clothes after seeing someone that he thinks is dead? This is four minutes from the end of the script, so things should have a bit of weight to them – even in a comedy.
I don’t usually bother with typos but wanted to point out the only two tiny ones that exist. Page 89, “The” should be “They” and page 100. “aginst” should be “against.”
Overall, there are many funny elements to this script, but it feels like the comedy is set free in the peripheral characters, and the protagonist’s journey is a bit confusing. Also, he wonders why he was untouched, but there is no payoff to this. I understand that nothing that he could hear would help, but it seems like an odd goal for him to have for the entire film – since it becomes unimportant. Toward the end, the bits with Fred and Father Tim have more emotional weight than the trial. Perhaps if there were more to reveal throughout the second act, this would have more of an impact.
Considering the subject matter, there are a lot of laughs within this script, which is a testament to the writer’s great skill. read
by snoopy1239 on 05/28/2011With subject-matter like pedophilia, this script is always going to be like Marmite: you either love it, or you hate it. I'm somewhere in the middle. Although I admire your bravery, I couldn't help but feel the story was a little hollow in some ways, and lacked a warmth that was required to counteract the harsh nature of the topic in question and make us look at the child molestation... With subject-matter like pedophilia, this script is always going to be like Marmite: you either love it, or you hate it. I'm somewhere in the middle. Although I admire your bravery, I couldn't help but feel the story was a little hollow in some ways, and lacked a warmth that was required to counteract the harsh nature of the topic in question and make us look at the child molestation as a vehicle in expressing a bigger message. In the end, I felt as though the 'douche-turned-good' kind of line was too thin, with the spine being centred around this one gag that gradually lost momentum. Even when that revelational moment did arrive, it seemed to come out of nowhere and lack the conviction required.
This doesn't mean that your comic timing isn't top drawer, because it is - the vandalised office in particular was brilliantly described, as were many of the early gags which had me laughing out loud, and I adore mocking the ignorant in that satirical, almost Borat-esque kind of way ("People like you eat eggs, don't you?") - but once the main joke had been told, and we lurked towards more dangerous waters, my laughs were of the more nervous, hesitant ilk, and the comedy became slightly uncomfortable. Scenes like the scouts at the Holiday Inn and the Michael Jackson nods do have their humorous side, but it's super difficult to laugh for too long when you consider the reality behind it all.
I think the problems are two fold:
(1) The characters are very unlikable and hard to get behind in any way. Eric perhaps needs a more gradual change of heart so that he is developing through the script, whilst Father Joe seemed a little flat and lacking any direction. One thing that you may wish to consider is making him innocent (maybe even with Eric unaware somehow or non-believing), as that may give us something to vie for and also make for an easier sell commercially, as a lawyer defending a priest who has tinkered with 100 kids is going to be tough for even the most courageous of production companies to gamble with.
(2) The story sometimes meanders. We go places, but little happens in terms of action. This made me feel that the story was trying to fit around the joke rather than the other way around and, as such, there was a slight sense of receptiveness with Eric asking the same questions, and the same kind of gags being told, but just in a different scene/setting.
There also seemed to be a few implausible moments: Why does Alice just stand out in the rain? Would bail really be that easy for this guy? Why does his mother let him stay with them and cook his meals? Would someone like Eric really let his work go down the pan to pursue this one question? Why does he remain his lawyer throughout the whole film? Why does he suddenly care about Tara when he couldn't remember her name at the start and barely gave her a passing thought until the final scene?
To add balance (I fear I'm being overly critical when, in fact, I did enjoy the script), I should say that, in many ways, this is a fantastic script, written by someone who clearly knows their craft. The dialogue is natural, descriptions are easy to read and the writing is so fluent that turning the page is never a chore. If a beginner asked me which scripts to download, yours would be the first port-of-call.
So, overall, your talents as a writer are undoubtedly endless and this is a very well written script with some clever, interesting angles/ideas and some genuinely funny moments. However, I would like to see the characters have more shape and direction and for the story to take us a little further rather than focus on the primary hook. If these issues were rectified, then I could envisage this being a first class script, although due to the nature of the material and the potentially tough sell, I would use 'The Unbuggered' to showcase your talents and move onto another script rather than invest too much time in revisions.
title - I'm not a fan of the title - it seems a little too crass
page 2 - not sure who Ozzie and Harriet are
page 2 - why would he leave the random woman in his house?
page 20 - he wouldn't listen to the whole message again
page 21 - this plan of meeting the other guys seems a little hasty/rushed
page 21 - I get the crotch gag, but I'm not sure it's effective
page 21 - riffles/rifles
page 34 - I don't think the tree tirade scenes work
page 40 - pennance/penance
page 42 - some may find the scouts joke a step too far
page 46 - that's one hell of a 'U' turn
page 54 - what's 'eye teeth'?
page 60 - chaplin/chaplain
page 62 - she wouldn't just quit
page 68 - showing breast - very weird
page 69 - 65-yr man wouldn't say 'threw up in my mouth a little'
page 72 - 'bang shit, etc' seems out of character
page 79 - didn't like that scene - felt like we were spelling things out
page 86 - 'ernie' too close to 'eric' name-wise
page 89 - the/y each take
page 91 - who is Jed Clampett?
page 98 - Im/ I'm prepared
page 99 - doesn't seem a point to the truck scene
page 104 - advisng/advising
page 106 - why does he suddenly care about this girl? read
by phil.laaveg on 05/16/2011This was good. Really good. One of the best screenplays I've read here. Comedy is hard and you have written a pretty damn good comedy. This would be a perfect Joel McHale vehicle. Lots of good dialogue and good jokes, though there were a handful that took the low hanging fruit ("threw up in my mouth" is officially over used at this point). Eric is a great character. Sleazy,... This was good. Really good. One of the best screenplays I've read here.
Comedy is hard and you have written a pretty damn good comedy. This would be a perfect Joel McHale vehicle. Lots of good dialogue and good jokes, though there were a handful that took the low hanging fruit ("threw up in my mouth" is officially over used at this point).
Eric is a great character. Sleazy, but charming and funny. He has a pretty decent arc as well. Nice work pulling in the subplots to mean something at the end.
I do think there's some slapstick and sight gags (Eric hitting the tree) that could be replaced for more emotional/relational humor. Your dialogue is strong and I'd rather see Eric interacting with these people - Mitch and the other victims, Father Joe. Plenty of opportunity to flesh things out even more while maintaining the comedy.
I did feel events needed to start moving a bit faster around the mid-point. Eric's ultra-vanity started feeling pretty one-note around this point and more of the plot needed to kick in by now.
Really great job. This was a fast, enjoyable read with lots of laughs. Think it has tons of potential.
My notes as I read:
p.10 first ten pages fly by. nice, succinct writing. good characterization. funny stuff. great start.
p.21 transition to andy mcdonald is jarring. a little set up would be good. let us know eric's plan is to contact former friends. the scene itself is so short. I think a solid, funny establishing scene that really plays out and reveals eric's exasperation at not being molested would work best followed by the short montage-y bits.
p.32 "I sympathize with your situation." boring line. perfect spot for something funnier - that would drive me insane, what a mind fuck, etc.
i'm totally seeing Joel McHale from Community as Eric
p.34 i'd rather see more emotional and relational comedy than the sight gags at this point. it's getting pretty cartoonish.
p.42 ha! cub scout gag is great.
p.50 not sure how the marines factor in. seems like over kill.
p.54 lots of funny stuff, but eric is starting to seem pretty one-note. time for a new layer to be added to this.
p.69 the "threw up in my mouth" line has been done to death read
by capper on 05/10/2011Congrats on completing such an entertaining screenplay. I don't have many notes to provide as your formatting and writing style is pretty much spot on. Below are my reading notes PAGE 7: "Some nice silly comedy so far!" PAGE 20: "Maybe he was working alphabetically." Hahahaha! PAGE 22: "He looks down at Andy's crotch." Very funny! PAGE 42: "That's great, but..." Is Eric... Congrats on completing such an entertaining screenplay. I don't have many notes to provide as your formatting and writing style is pretty much spot on.
Below are my reading notes
"Some nice silly comedy so far!"
"Maybe he was working alphabetically."
"He looks down at Andy's crotch."
"That's great, but..."
Is Eric trailing off, or is Joe cutting him off? If it is. Cut off, use -- instead of ...
"Not quite. The Cub Scouts are having their mini-jamboree here."
Hahaha. You are Abadan man! Very funny stuff
"ERIC I bet there's hundreds of pedophiles out there who would've given their eye teeth to tap my ass."
"I just threw up in my mouth a little."
There were many more funny gags, but I couldn't list them all.
I would have liked a slightly more climatic 3rd act. You satisfied Eric's arc, but there wasn't a real feeling of "high stakes" for him. There was no feeling that his whole life, or more importantly, career, was over. In fact, it kinda was with his clients walking out, and that wasn't really reconciled either. Maybe he decides to change career, maybe he decides to become a "good" lawyer, I don't know, but I do know that there was no real urgency for Eric in the third act. Who cares if he didn't learn his lesson and stayed the same?
Look at liar liar. Jim carey's character was a liar, a prick, like Eric pretty much. His arc was that he learned to be nice, etc, like Eric, BUT he had that big court case he needed to get right, that provided the high stakes. With your story, the priest already knows he wants to plead guilty, we already know the outcome pretty much, so there is no "unknown", suspense, conflict.
Apart from the above, it was very well done. Your dialog, characters and beats were spot on. You have a real knack for comedy.
Even though, as you said in your prod notes, it doesnt tease victims, marketability wise, I think it will be a struggle, considering the subject. Nothing is taboo to me, so I found the jokes very amusing, and had thought of many more you could have added, but I know there are many more conservative folk who will have an enurism because of the sensitive subject you "touch" ... See what I did there?
I hope my ramblings were of some use to you.
- Writer: David S. Muhlfelder
- Uploaded by: David Muhlfelder
- Length: 106 pages
- Genre: comedy
- Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on the first draft. Special thanks to miriamp for helping me locate a missing story beat. This is a comedy about the fragility of the human ego that touches very tangentially on the serious issue of pedophilia. It is NOT ABOUT pedophilia. It does not mine humor at the expense of victims of pedophilia. If you can't get past that idea, pick another assignment.
- Bio: From the age of 16 months until 6 years old, I lived on the grounds of a state mental hospital in Harrisburg, Pa. My father, a German/Jewish psychiatrist and refugee from Nazi Germany, was the clinical director at the hospital. I played in the sprawling fields, hills and gullies. We got our food for free from the hospital grocery. We ate steak almost every night. I was happy there. One day I hope to return to a place just like it. I think I'm well on my way.
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