The 2013 Black List
December 16, 2013 6:53 PM   Subscribe

The 2013 Black List has been released.  For those unfamiliar, the “Black List” is a list of the most liked unproduced screenplays circulating around Hollywood, as voted on by over 250 film executives, and past Black List scripts include The Social Network, Saving Mr. Banks, The King’s Speech, and Slumdog Millionaire.
posted by Artw (124 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Always interesting, although, as usual, log lines have a particular tendency to make things sound awful. Here are one I'd never, ever, ever watch:

A forty-something pediatric allergist, who specializes in hazelnuts and is facing a divorce, learns lessons in living from a wise-beyond-her-years terminally ill fifteen-year-old patient when she crashes his weekend trip to a conference in San Francisco.

Also, there at somehow two fictionalized accounts of the making of Jaws on this list, which is pretty weird.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:59 PM on December 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


The true story of how Carl Sagan fell in love while leading the wildest mission in NASA history: a golden record to encapsulate the experience of life on earth for advanced extraterrestrial life.

Oh yes please. If this were another forum, I would respond simply with shutupandtakemymoney.jpg.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:00 PM on December 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


Ugh I was just about to single out that Frisco movie as especially worthy of derision. HAZELNUTS.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:01 PM on December 16, 2013


A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD -- Alexis C. Jolly
Set in 1950s Manhattan, Fred Rogers journeys from a naïve young man working for NBC to the host of the beloved children’s PBS show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.


Somebody get Jack McBrayer's agent on the phone NOW!
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:01 PM on December 16, 2013 [25 favorites]


Always interesting, although, as usual, log lines have a particular tendency to make things sound awful.

Not everything:

While on a road trip to Mexico, two best friends are forced to enter a thousand-mile death race with no rules.
posted by Artw at 7:02 PM on December 16, 2013 [19 favorites]


INK AND BONE
Zak Olkewicz
When a female book editor visits the home of a horror writer so he can complete his novel, she finds that all of his creations are holding him hostage.


This one sounds like it COULD be a lot of fun. Or total garbage. Not sure.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:04 PM on December 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


An R-rated talking car from the 80s is brought back into service and teamed up with the son of his former partner, a befuddled cop looking to earn his stripes.


please no
posted by hellojed at 7:05 PM on December 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


SOVEREIGN

Geoff Tock, Greg Weidman

A man goes to space to destroy the ship that, upon going sentient, killed his wife.


That sounds fuckin' sweet as shit but okay, I guess go ahead with Madea in Hawaii.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:14 PM on December 16, 2013 [28 favorites]


A Monster Calls might become a movie? Great. I'll start stocking up on tissues now just in case.
posted by MaritaCov at 7:14 PM on December 16, 2013


So is most of this list screenplays that are too good to actually be made in Hollywood? Because many of them sound amazing.

Obviously the Sagan one. But 1969: A Space Oddyssey Sounds like it could potentially be hilarious. Assuming its a comedy...
posted by graphnerd at 7:16 PM on December 16, 2013


Artw: "Always interesting, although, as usual, log lines have a particular tendency to make things sound awful.

Not everything:

While on a road trip to Mexico, two best friends are forced to enter a thousand-mile death race with no rules."


I live in Mexico, and I'm kind of tired of the whole "Let's use Mexico as a lawless wasteland for wholesome American teens to get lost in" schtick, but apart from that, yeah, I'd watch that.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:16 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


THIS CHRISTMAS

"With the Roman empire on the brink of collapse, a 4th century bishop takes up arms to lead the armies of Constantine the Great into battle against the ruthless emperor, changing the face of Rome and begetting one of the greatest legends in history."

He's making a list
And checking it twice.

NICHOLAS

posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:17 PM on December 16, 2013 [42 favorites]


This one sounds like it COULD be a lot of fun. Or total garbage. Not sure.

Also done a million times. Also yet another Peter Pan movie - Jesus, Hollywood, let it rest, we get your obsessions.
posted by Artw at 7:17 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


POX AMERICANA, THE GOLDEN RECORD, INK AND BONE, CLARITY and EXTINCTION all sound like perfectly good ideas that would be worth a lazy Saturday evening. Fuck Hollywood, man.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:18 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


SOVEREIGN
A man goes to space to destroy the ship that, upon going sentient, killed his wife.


Wait. Is this a Mass Effect movie?
posted by mhum at 7:28 PM on December 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Some sound great, some sound like movie parodies from The Critic. Pox Americana? Really? REALLY? The concept is fine, but that title.

Line of Duty sounds bonkers and I'd go see it.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:29 PM on December 16, 2013


These descriptions make me want to know what the descriptions were for SlumDog and the King's Speech etc.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:29 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh God, there's a movie about Bill Watterson in there.

I think The Independent, Ink and Bone, 1969, Randle is Benign, Nicolas, and Line of Duty sound interesting.
posted by painquale at 7:29 PM on December 16, 2013


Reading this list always reminds me of my favorite book when I was growing up: Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. I want to watch all of these movies right now, and I can't, but now that someone else has claimed the idea, I can't write my OWN screenplay about a man who travels into space to kill the ship that, upon becoming sentient, murdered his wife. WORST OF BOTH WORLDS I TELL YOU.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:31 PM on December 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


> A forty-something pediatric allergist...

Yeah, a lot of these look legit and sound like plausible movies even if the pitch isn't playing its strengths... and then the hazelnuts pitch makes me wonder if some of these were thrown into the pool by some producer whose son-in-law is trying to break into the biz, or something.
posted by ardgedee at 7:31 PM on December 16, 2013


Now I want to describe everything as a log line. It's addictive. In a small Southwestern desert town, a scientist finds bizarre phenomena that threaten the structure of the universe itself, and a local public radio host finds love . . .

Pox Americana? Really?

That was the name of a popular history book on smallpox and the founding of America. The premise of the film is promising, but I doubt it would be done well. If Hollywood couldn't even make a movie about Navajo code talkers that starred a Navajo, how could it possibly get a movie like that right?
posted by Countess Elena at 7:32 PM on December 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Counterfactual stories involving real people are real big, which I guess follows on from Saving Mr. Banks - though I do wonder if there is a less, um, bullshitty version of that from before Disney getting their hands on it.
posted by Artw at 7:33 PM on December 16, 2013


ZOMBIE PIRATES

Two undead pirates, adrift and without quarry for hundreds of years, suddenly find themselves in the middle of the 21st century as one of them gets his foot all tangled up in one of those plastic six-pack holder things.


RETURN OF THE SCREW

A sequel to the Henry James novel. Quint is back, and molestier than ever!


THE DAHL-LOVECRAFT LETTERS

A fictionalised account that asks the question: what if these two cult literary figureheads wrote mildly racist letters to one another, and a young black Jewish boy found them?
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:34 PM on December 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


The spaceship one is going to be 9/10ths Moby Dick rip-off, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 7:34 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some sound great, some sound like movie parodies from The Critic. Pox Americana? Really? REALLY? The concept is fine, but that title.

Worst title has got to be Section 6.

I hope that movie doesn't ever get made, because if it does, every time I see an ad for it I'll go off on a mental tangent about housing vouchers. Least GLAMOROUS SPIES! kind of title I can imagine.
posted by rue72 at 7:35 PM on December 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


SECTION 6

BECAUSE SOME SECTIONS

COME IN SEXTETS
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:36 PM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hope that movie doesn't ever get made, because if it does, every time I see an ad for it I'll go off on a mental tangent about housing vouchers. Least GLAMOROUS SPIES! kind of title I can imagine.

Have you seem The Sandbaggers?
posted by Artw at 7:39 PM on December 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Reading these is disorientating because for each of them I can imagine either a great film or a terrible one. I thought the story mattered, but I'm beginning to doubt it, which feels weird.
posted by Segundus at 4:21 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Markov generator for blurbs, please. Store word likelihoods based on relative position, number of clauses in sentence, and clause membership, then produce the chains based on relative likelihoods. Now replace particular roles with 'Adam Sandler' and call it AWESOM-O. You're welcome, Hollywood.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:59 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


The true story of Jack Goldsmith, a young attorney who took charge of the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel, then courageously took on Vice President Cheney and his powerful inner circle when he discovered they were running a number of illegal activities through their so-called “Special Program.”

If this got made and "illegal activities" means waterboarding, that would be "aces". If it means "waterboarding and illegal wiretapping", double aces. If it means "waterboarding, illegal wiretapping, and summoning Cthulhu", triple aces.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:04 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


SUPERBRAT
Eric Slovin, Leo Allen
Temperamental tennis champion John McEnroe is sucked into a dangerous and ludicrous law enforcement sting during Wimbeldon in 1980.


You cannot be serious!
posted by graymouser at 5:26 AM on December 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Here's an informative piece on the Blacklist from 2011:

...It was the idle creation of a “midlevel studio executive” who wanted to read some good scripts, and so emailed other Hollywood executives to ask for suggestions. “It became a thing very quickly,” that executive, Franklin Leonard, has said: He created the first such list in 2005, and it was in EW by March of the following year. But because the scripts on the list had not yet become movies—and some were not even terribly close to doing so—when the list reached the general public, it had the feel of privileged information (aided, perhaps, by the clever name: The scripts have not, in fact, been blacklisted in any fashion).

Another factor in the Black List’s early reputation: In 2006, two of the top three scripts—Juno and Lars and the Real Girl—were fairly quirky by Hollywood standards. The Beaver, the odd and ill-fated movie that eventually starred Mel Gibson, topped the list in 2008, adding to the impression that the scripts on the Black List were beloved but challenging, precisely the kind of screenplays that needed the sort of underground championing that the Black List seemed to do.

Really, though? The list is voted on by Hollywood development executives, and for a script to top that list, it needs to have been read by many of those people. In other words, these are screenplays that are already making the Hollywood rounds. And while, as a rule, they have not yet been produced, many of them are already in production. In 2009, the year after The Beaver was #1, the second-most popular script on the Black List was The Social Network, by an up-and-coming scribe named Aaron Sorkin, who was hired to write the screenplay by Scott Rudin, only one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood. The movie was a Best Picture contender one year later.

posted by mediareport at 5:27 AM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


In the past, Mefites have helped other Mefites obtain the scripts on the Blacklist. Anyone got anything this year? Memail me, please! I've come up empty so far. Thanks!
posted by dobbs at 5:27 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


They Fight Crime!

(a tribute site, as the original site appears to have broken up over "creative differences" or some such shit.)
posted by Naberius at 5:28 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought the story mattered, but I'm beginning to doubt it, which feels weird.

It's the *writing* that matters, not the story.
posted by mediareport at 5:31 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


(ok, the story matters too, but without good writing it dies screaming)
posted by mediareport at 6:14 AM on December 17, 2013


I'm disappointed, although not at all surprised, that very few of these were written by women and even fewer have women as the main character(s), particularly up in the first half of the list.

I don't know what I expected, other than a collection of log lines focusing on straight (no race specified so probably white) men and one tragic story of Oscar Wilde. But I'm still irritated to have been so completely right in my assumptions.

Come on, Hollywood, make me look like an unfair cynic every once in a while.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:17 AM on December 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


The spaceship one is going to be 9/10ths Moby Dick rip-off, isn't it?

That doesn't have to be all bad.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:24 AM on December 17, 2013


>SOVEREIGN

>Geoff Tock, Greg Weidman

>A man goes to space to destroy the ship that, upon going sentient, killed his wife.

That sounds fuckin' sweet as shit but okay, I guess go ahead with
Madea in Hawaii.

Also maybe going with "Not getting the studio's ass sued off by EA for infringing on the Mass Effect franchise."

That aside, I think there's one thing that the majority of these scripts have in common: absolutely zero commercial potential. I mean, a movie about a journalist interviewing Mr. Rogers after Columbine? And a Fred Rogers biopic? Two social outcasts donning outfits and taking revenge on their bullies, written by none other than Bo Burnham? A conspiracy theory about Chaney's activities in the Bush II White House? Two Japanese guys contemplatively talking each other out of killing themselves? A writer with OCD who Learns How to Love? You'd need a seismograph to measure the commercial impact of these films were they to be made.

I mean, there are probably a handful of films in here that are going to wind up getting made, but most of them are on this list for a reason, and that reason is they read more like art projects than pitches for major motion pictures.
posted by valkyryn at 6:27 AM on December 17, 2013


It's weird to me that everyone is mentioning Mass Effect. Other than the "Sovereign" name, I'm not seeing the connection. Event Horizon seems much closer to the mark to me.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:35 AM on December 17, 2013


CLARITY
Ryan Belenzon, Jeffrey Gelber
What if the world woke up tomorrow to scientific proof of the afterlife?

This one, please.
posted by aintthattheway at 6:38 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can only accept Randle is Benign if it's filmed to look exactly like any computer-room scene in any 80s-era film or television show.

I demand giant beige boxes, slightly grainy stock, and she has to have those huge glasses with the vaguely octagonal shape.

I also want wireframe computer graphics, green text, and least one beige station wagon in the background.
posted by Katemonkey at 6:41 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's already Heaven is Real, which looks TERRIBLE.
posted by Artw at 6:42 AM on December 17, 2013


Other than the "Sovereign" name, I'm not seeing the connection.

It's a sentient ship called "Sovereign" that kills people important to the protagonist. Which sentence is also a not-unfair summary of the first game in the series.
posted by valkyryn at 6:43 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gay Kid and Fat Chick and 1969: A Space Odyssey sound intriguing. Of course, the most intriguing concepts are also often the easiest to get horribly wrong, and since they got about a third of the votes as the highest-ranking scripts on the list, maybe they do need more work before they’re ready for the green light. However, the best and the worst movies have that element of risk-taking in common.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:43 AM on December 17, 2013


In a world where explosions are illegal, two bros find a bag of dynamite while on vacation in Mexico. After leaving their mark on the local environment they must now flee the police and the sexy bounty hunter tasked with reclaiming the missing contraband.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:45 AM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh God, there's a movie about Bill Watterson in there.

Plausibility be damned, Bill Watterson must be played by Sam Waterston.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:48 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I heard a really touching account of the Sagan thing from his wife, maybe on This American Life
posted by thelonius at 6:54 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]



SWEETHEART
A young hitwoman tries to escape the business but finds herself in more danger after a high school reunion and a one night stand.


So, a Grosse Point Blank remake, then?
posted by dortmunder at 7:10 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Needs more female lead characters.

Hush
A woman must keep herself and her 9 month old son alive in a post-zombie apocalypse world.

The Bird's Head
A field linguist in the linguistically divided Bird's Head Peninsula region of Indonesia must find a way to convince villagers of a coming danger that threatens to kill everyone in the area.

The Hunter
An ordinary woman must stalk and kill her mentally ill brother's tormentor in the rural Georgia woods.

CROATOAN
Language barriers and pride doom the Roanoke colony to extinction from the creature that is hunting them.
posted by Alison at 7:12 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd be interested in the biographies if they were solid documentaries, not "based on a true story" crap.
posted by pracowity at 7:13 AM on December 17, 2013


This page can make any movie premise sound corny as fuck.
posted by cellphone at 7:17 AM on December 17, 2013


Going To Maine: "If it means "waterboarding, illegal wiretapping, and summoning Cthulhu", triple aces."

Summoning Cthulhu is ill-advised, but I don't think it's actually illegal.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:29 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Summoning Cthulhu is ill-advised, but I don't think it's actually illegal.

Yeah, they'd have to write it so that they were specifically using illegal methods to summon Cthulhu, like tampering with the U.S. Mail to obtain a copy of the Necronomicon.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:34 AM on December 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


THE .
A darker and more realistic reboot of the . series. Starring Logan Lerman as the .
posted by Iridic at 7:35 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


My Mother, The Mastadon: A young paleontologist discovers he's related to the remains of a gigantic prehistoric beast. Life lessons are learned.

Girl Trouble: A indie punk girl group from Olympia, WA are turned into killing machines using secret weapons built from Etsy cosmetics.

The Christmas Sweater Contest: Life in a juvenile cancer ward for orphans just got a little cheerier.

The Philatelist: An English lord must deal with royal societal censure over his stamp collecting at the expense of the Realm.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:41 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Grrl Girl Trouble: A indie punk girl group from Olympia, WA are turned into killing machines using secret weapons built from Etsy cosmetics.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:45 AM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I thought the story mattered, but I'm beginning to doubt it, which feels weird.

An interesting remark in this interview of Shane Carruth (previously):
The trailers tell you everything you need to know about ... whether [Upstream Color] is a candidate for you or not. They tell you the tone of it, they tell you how it moves, they tell you how you're going to get information. ... And that's, in my mind, more important than a synopsis. Because if somebody were to ... ask me if I want to watch a movie about a college graduate that has an affair with an older woman, I would say, no thank you, absolutely not, I'm not interested in that as a plot — and yet The Graduate is ... one of my favorite movies. Because it has nothing to do with the plot; it's how the information is conveyed ...
[around 22:05 in the link]
posted by stebulus at 7:56 AM on December 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


I guess go ahead with Madea in Hawaii.

I hear the rewrite contains a a cutting edge CGI replication of Red Foxx as the ghost of Fred Sanford that only Madea can see, who's soul is trapped in a Tiki idol Madea picked up at a junk store and can't leave this world until he can get someone to make amends by returning the idol that Fred picked up on his trip to to Hawaii in 1976. Fred's nonstop haunting, mocking of, and bickering with Madea finally convinces her to make the journey, and along the way they find themselves actually becoming friends. Demond Wilson also returns to reprise his role as Lamont, and joins the quest, and Madea plays matchmaker with somewhat amusing results.

-OK, that started out as a joke, I've never wanted to see a Madea movie before, but I might actually want to see this.
posted by chambers at 7:58 AM on December 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


chambers, I would totally watch that movie. You had me at "CGI ghost of Fred Sanford".
posted by jason_steakums at 8:02 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


And a Fred Rogers biopic?

I could totally see this if they built it off of the false legends around his life in a completely over the top way. Like _Confessions of a Dangerous Mind_ but on even more crack, the story of Fred Rogers: 007.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:08 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also it would have swearing that would make MalcolmTucker blush.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:08 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


the story of Fred Rogers: 007

This must include a scene with a sniper rifle, wherein he says "Let's see what Picture Picture has to show us" just before he looks into the scope.
posted by chambers at 8:12 AM on December 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


All gearing up in his tactical equipment for an assault on a Russian spy nest in an echo of putting on his cardigan and sneakers in the show intro. "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, comrades - and you're mine."
posted by jason_steakums at 8:23 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


This must include a scene with a sniper rifle, wherein he says "Let's see what Picture Picture has to show us" just before he looks into the scope.

Meow meow headshot meow.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:35 AM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The climax of this film had better take place in the crayola factory.
posted by cmfletcher at 8:42 AM on December 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


The Crayola Factory: Agent Rogers rebels against the military-industrial machine and devotes his life to teaching children independence, wisdom, and survival techniques.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:49 AM on December 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Anybody got a link to .PDFs of these?
posted by alby at 8:59 AM on December 17, 2013


Also, all of the location-to-location transitions in the movie should be done with the camera slowly panning across a miniature scale model of say, the Ukrainian consulate, or a Central American presidential palace, all to a sprightly jazz score.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:11 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Neighborhood of Make-Believe = a mental construct created by CIA conditioning and populated with alternate personalities useful in the various aspects of fieldwork: X the Owl for infiltration, Cornflake S. Pecially for demolitions, Lady Elaine Fairchild for close quarter assassination.
posted by Iridic at 9:18 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Rogers follows the trail of conspiracy and corruption thanks to an anonymous tipster that keeps him one step ahead of the baddies. At the end of the film he finds out the tipster is his longtime neighbor Special Agent McFeely.
posted by cmfletcher at 9:25 AM on December 17, 2013


The Neighborhood of Make-Believe = a mental construct created by CIA conditioning and populated with alternate personalities useful in the various aspects of fieldwork: X the Owl for infiltration, Cornflake S. Pecially for demolitions, Lady Elaine Fairchild for close quarter assassination.

YES. And every child who watched the show was programmed to be a sleeper agent, and you have a scene of some 30-something office worker going through the daily drudgery when suddenly he hears the Trolley theme, quiet at first, distracting. He tries to shake it off, goes to grab some water from the water cooler. Throughout the day it sporadically recurs, getting increasingly louder each time, overwhelming him in the middle of conversations and causing him to freak out and pull over to the side of the road on the drive home. Later, he's lying in bed, it finally seems to subside, when suddenly the theme comes blaring back and a hallucination of Trolley cuts across his ceiling like the baby from Trainspotting as he lies there, catatonic, staring straight up. He has been activated.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:27 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anybody got a link to .PDFs of these? In a world where file transfers are illegal, one man must make a living on the run - by smuggling screenplays around the city encoded into carefully-husbanded braille goosebumps on his right shin. Nicolas Cage stars as Portable Document Format.
posted by forgetful snow at 9:31 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ink and Bone sounds like it should be a Stephen King novel
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:33 AM on December 17, 2013


GAY KID AND FAT CHICK
Two high school misfits become costumed vigilantes and take out their frustrations on the students who have bullied them throughout high school.


Isn't GAY KID AND FAT CHICK pretty much a variation on Kick-Ass?


FULLY WRECKED
Jake Morse, Scott Wolman
An R-rated talking car from the 80s is brought back into service and teamed up with the son of his former partner, a befuddled cop looking to earn his stripes.


This explains so very much about the current state of Hollywood today.


CAPSULE
Ian Shorr
A young man’s life is turned upside down when he mysteriously begins to receive metallic capsules containing messages from his future self.


Yes please, get Shane Carruth (Primer, Upstream Color) to direct it.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 9:33 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


chambers, I would totally watch that movie. You had me at "CGI ghost of Fred Sanford".

HELLS, yeah! He's Fred G. Sanford, and the "G" is for "Ghost!"

"I come all the way from the Great Junkyard in the Sky just to get hollered at by some Godzilla in a housecoat, makes Aunt Esther look like Raquel Welch? Hang on, 'Lizabeth, I'm comin' back to you, honey!"

"Come on, Pop, what about the spirit of Christmas?"

"Spirit of Christmas? Ain't no spirits passed my lips since the day I died twenty years ago, with a glass of Champipple in one hand and my head face-down in a bowl of menudo!"

And then in the end, Madea dies, and everyone leave the theater rejoicing.

Where's the Kickstarter?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:39 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


MAKE A WISH
Zach Frankel
A fourteen-year-old boy with terminal cancer has one last with—to lose his virginity—and convinces his reluctant football star Make-A-Wish partner to help him score.


There was a really good British short film Wish 143 with the same idea
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:40 AM on December 17, 2013


The Black Lust
A young screenwriter discovers a secret list of scripts that were never produced and decides to join a monastery where he meets the love of his life, communicating with this man through rapid eye blinks.
posted by perhapses at 10:00 AM on December 17, 2013


It's kind of striking how many of these are about violent revenge of some kind or another.
posted by kewb at 10:11 AM on December 17, 2013


It's kind of striking how many of these are about violent revenge of some kind or another.

I think that speaks to the inner rage of unproduced screenwriters.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:18 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fetch Happens: People in a Canadian town go murderously insane when a new slang term is loosed upon the children.


King Koko: Millions are terrorized as Conan O'Brien swats planes out of the sky in mid-town Manhattan

posted by Lipstick Thespian at 10:19 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


in an echo of putting on his cardigan and sneakers in the show intro

Now all I can think of is the "gearing up" scene from Commando.

Mr. Rogers offing bad guys with table saw blades? Yes please.
posted by mrbill at 10:22 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's probably just because I'm hung over but the fact that the one script is called "Bury the Lead" rather than "Bury the Lede" enrages me.
posted by whir at 10:22 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


During a journey of sexual awakening one hot Austin summer, a teenager is drawn into a web of seduction and desire when he discovers the manuscript of a lost David Foster Wallace novel proving that Jaws was faked by Stanley Kubrick as cover for an international meth smuggling plot involving the producers of "Cosmos." The action culminates in a climactic shoot out between Bill Watterson and a mysteriously undead Lewis Carroll. On the moon.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:23 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


A promising young writer is urged by family and friends to step outside her comfort zone to experience the excitement and vulnerability of truly living.

Heartwarming families - DO NOT DO THIS! That writer is working, back the fuck off.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on December 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Would this be a good place to mention my recent joyous discovery that "Story of Your Life" -- the crown jewel of Ted Chiang's magnificent oeuvre and one of the best short SF stories of all time -- is getting a big screen adaptation in the near future? (And by people with an actual passion for the source material?)
posted by Rhaomi at 10:31 AM on December 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


You should have said so last night!
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on December 17, 2013


I did! But it was apparently TOO AWESOME NEWS and crashed the server. Sorry!
posted by Rhaomi at 10:47 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes please, get Shane Carruth (Primer, Upstream Color) to direct it.


Oh like Shane Carruth would ever direct a movie that he didn't write the screenplay for. (and also write the score, produce, edit, shoot, distribute and star in)
posted by octothorpe at 10:54 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


whir: "It's probably just because I'm hung over but the fact that the one script is called "Bury the Lead" rather than "Bury the Lede" enrages me"

They're synonyms. "Lede" is a neologism invented to avoid confusion with the element. "Bury the lead" is completely acceptable (as long as you pronounce it to rhyme with "need").
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:02 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


BEAST
Zach Dean
With the hope of starting over, a reformed criminal with an ultra-violent past returns home, but when he finds his own family leading his teenaged son down the same path of destruction, he will stop at nothing to save his child.


Hard to believe it's been over 20 years since South Central...
posted by playertobenamedlater at 11:04 AM on December 17, 2013


John McEnroe gets more than he bargained for when he discovers irrefutable scientific proof of the existence of fairies during a warmup match at Wimbledon in 1980.
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:04 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ooh, I don't think I want to see a movie based on a Ted Chiang work. Those stories are remarkable for their being so meticulous and tightly controlled. Having other artists pry them apart will turn them into just so much genre fiction.

Especially Story of Your Life. I cannot imagine them making a good movie out of that story, which is filled with so much mysterious interiority.
posted by painquale at 11:09 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Seventy-Two Letters" would adapt pretty cleanly. The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate too, though I'm not sure Hollywood could resist adding a villain who wants to use the gates for EVIL.
posted by Iridic at 11:20 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait. Is this a Mass Effect movie?

I would watch this so hard. You could even use some of the voice cast in the films! Yvonne Strahovski as Miranda! Seth Green as Joker!

Jessica Chastain as FemShep? oh god pls.
posted by Justinian at 11:37 AM on December 17, 2013


Rhaomi: "Would this be a good place to mention my recent joyous discovery that "Story of Your Life" -- the crown jewel of Ted Chiang's magnificent oeuvre and one of the best short SF stories of all time"

Holy shit, that's good. (Which is what I usually say when I read something by him, but still.)
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:58 AM on December 17, 2013


Jessica Chastain as FemShep? oh god pls.

Uhh, maybe I'm crazy, but why not Jennifer Hale?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:01 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tearjerker
A bedridden 13-year-old with a terminal ocular condition must have her tear ducts manually expectorated by her blind younger brother.

Tramp
June, 1973. West Virginia. A young widow has lost her husband but finds herself through his prize trampoline. As the national Trampionships approach, she doubts whether she can lead her trampnastics team to victory.
posted by clockzero at 12:04 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


We're talking about a major motion picture here. Hale does great voice work but as far as I can tell has done absolutely no film or television acting (non-voice) and even if she had she is completely unknown. There's no way she would ever get the lead in a Mass Effect film.

Strahovski, for example, is well known and an actress with plenty of experience in both television and film. Hale, not so much.
posted by Justinian at 12:05 PM on December 17, 2013


I just don't see the point in a Mass Effect movie with someone else's voice. It would be like having Mordin not sing. Why bother with an ersatz Shepard?

If it ain't Jennifer Hale, just dump some other non-Shepard story into the universe.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:10 PM on December 17, 2013


I understand what you're saying but given that even most Mass Effect players played as MaleShep I'm not sure that would be a widespread view.
posted by Justinian at 12:22 PM on December 17, 2013


I put it to you that Jessica Chastain would be a terrible DudeShep.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:26 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


How dare you point out the inherent contradictions of my position.
posted by Justinian at 12:31 PM on December 17, 2013


OTOH, I would totally see a ME movie that randomly flipped Shepard between 20-50 different actors and actresses.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:52 PM on December 17, 2013


hellojed: please no

CosmicRayCharles: This explains so very much about the current state of Hollywood today



Almost this bad. Almost.

WARNING: cannot be unwatched.
posted by emptythought at 1:10 PM on December 17, 2013


showbiz_liz: "INK AND BONE
Zak Olkewicz
When a female book editor visits the home of a horror writer so he can complete his novel, she finds that all of his creations are holding him hostage.


This one sounds like it COULD be a lot of fun. Or total garbage. Not sure.
"

It actually was an episode of a TV series, starring Woody Harrelson. Can't recall if it was the new Twilight Zone, Night Shadows, or what...
posted by IAmBroom at 1:18 PM on December 17, 2013


The trailers tell you everything you need to know about ... whether [Upstream Color] is a candidate for you or not. They tell you the tone of it, they tell you how it moves, they tell you how you're going to get information. ... And that's, in my mind, more important than a synopsis.

PRIMER
Feel vaguely awed by a discovery, confounded by its mechanics, and then very, very confused. But also intrigued. At the very end, feel a little mad, and a little sad, and ominously worried, anticipating that the story continues but knowing that you don't really want a sequel.

PRIMER 2
Two day laborers employed to build a room become suspicious that their boss is an evil time traveler.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:33 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh man i missed this one too

CosmicRayCharles: Isn't GAY KID AND FAT CHICK pretty much a variation on Kick-Ass?

Don't you also get the feeling it would be a gigantic ripoff of, at least parts, of Super?

WHERE ANGELS DIE

A street-tough, white social worker in the slums of Detroit acts on a dangerous and violent personal vendetta when he protects a young girl and her mother from her recently incarcerated, AIDS-infected boyfriend after he abruptly massacres a seedy strip club in a rage.


Does this strike anyone else as some bizarre ass fucked up white savior complex "detroit is mad max lol" bullshit? Everyone would be fucked without that white dude there to save them! Black people are totally fucking eachother over in detroit lol!

Follows a woman in the 80s who works at an IBM-like company and is at the forefront of artificial intelligence research. When her project (named RANDLE) hits a major milestone indicating that she may have actually achieved AI, it is unexpectedly hijacked by the agenda of the company’s mysterious CEO. As she dives deeper into the corporate agenda, she learns that there may be a connection between her project and the 1981 assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan.

How has no one mentioned this one? this sounds pretty sweet. Same with "the company man", could be some badass jason bourne shit.

I'm also in for "the crown" if it's like a 90s the net/hackers type CHEESY hacker movie. People better be "hacking" with fingerless gloves on and shit.

Also, "Beast" sounds like a Denzel Washington movie my mom would drunkenly text me about after watching on netflix at midnight.

I'm also kinda surprised there's more than a couple stupid "making of" movies on there, like the kubrick 1969 and the jaws one. and what the fuck, there's TWO stupid jaws making of movies? what???
posted by emptythought at 1:37 PM on December 17, 2013


Louis Carroll?
posted by ckape at 1:37 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


this whole thread works way better in Heptapod B
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:41 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


No spoilers, Lipstick Thespian.
posted by nubs at 1:42 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


A street-tough, white social worker in the slums of Detroit acts on a dangerous and violent personal vendetta when he protects a young girl and her mother from her recently incarcerated, AIDS-infected boyfriend after he abruptly massacres a seedy strip club in a rage.

Does this strike anyone else as some bizarre ass fucked up white savior complex "detroit is mad max lol" bullshit? Everyone would be fucked without that white dude there to save them! Black people are totally fucking eachother over in detroit lol!


Yeah, I posted about that last night but it got eaten by server gremlins - Googling the screenplay a bit, it sounds like it might just be a really unfortunate log line summary for a genuinely good script, but I haven't read it. It really is a problematic summary, though.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:43 PM on December 17, 2013


The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate too, though I'm not sure Hollywood could resist adding a villain who wants to use the gates for EVIL.

I love The Merchant and the Alchemists Gate. But your point is bang on, and is in fact what I would worry about in an adaptation of any of Chiang's stories, because they are often without a "villain" in the traditional sense.
posted by nubs at 1:54 PM on December 17, 2013


Yeah, I posted about that last night but it got eaten by server gremlins - Googling the screenplay a bit, it sounds like it might just be a really unfortunate log line summary for a genuinely good script, but I haven't read it. It really is a problematic summary, though.


I've read it. It's 100% ridiculous, absurd, white savior fantasy. Just terrible.

Most of the scripts are good, however. A MONSTER CALLS, MISSISSIPPI MUD, THE SPECIAL PROGRAM, SUGAR IN MY VEINS, SPOTLIGHT, and REVELATION are all very, very good. HOLLAND, MICHIGAN, the top script on the list, is a really odd black comedy that is a very unique piece of writing... that doesn't quite work in the end -- but it's easy to see why so many people liked it. A MONSTER CALLS is brilliant and beautiful and tragic and probably the best script here.
posted by lewedswiver at 2:29 PM on December 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Seriously? Most of these are either near carbon copies or just slight tweaks of well-known movies that have already been made. Ridiculous.

A forty-something pediatric allergist, who specializes in hazelnuts and is facing a divorce, learns lessons in living from a wise-beyond-her-years terminally ill fifteen-year-old patient when she crashes his weekend trip to a conference in San Francisco.

So, a non-comedy version of What About Bob?

When a traditional Midwestern woman suspects her husband of infidelity, an amateur investigation unravels.

Fletch 2

An exploration of Great Britain’s secret intelligence agency, Ministry Intelligence, Section 6, known more commonly as MI6.

The Good Shepherd - British Edition (or just Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy not written as well as Le Carre' could)

A teenager’s life spirals out of control when he befriends the town’s rebel, falls in love, and gets entangled in selling drugs over one summer in Cape Cod.

One Crazy Summer

A man goes to space to destroy the ship that, upon going sentient, killed his wife.

By the time this is actually made, it will be tweaked a bit to be a re-make of Event Horizon.

An “archeologist” whose technology allows you to relive your past finds himself abusing his own science to find the missing love of his life.

This is like 20 movies already, isn't it? Somewhere In Time, for example?

Temperamental tennis champion John McEnroe is sucked into a dangerous and ludicrous law enforcement sting during Wimbeldon in 1980.

I Spy (2002)

A young hitwoman tries to escape the business but finds herself in more danger after a high school reunion and a one night stand.

Grosse Pointe Blank

After an American doctor has his identity stolen by a covert operative, he must assume the dangerous mission of the one who stole it in order to clear his name.

So, a stupid, hackey version of North By Northwest.

After a young teenage girl is murdered, her stepfather falls back on his dark and violent past to find her killer.

Seriously? Another super competent fighter/killer dad on a rampage movie is some great un-produced secret?!? I assume the reason this is not being made is that every male action star in the world has already done a virtually identical film, and Jason Statham (the only one not averse to making the same movie over and over again) was busy that weekend?

After his brother is found brutally murdered, a man hellbent on revenge returns to his decrepit Irish fishing village home armed only with a mysterious list of names his brother left behind.

Hey, if they find the right Irish actor, they could combine that one with the previous one. It's like Doug Simon and Declan O'Dwyer independently sat down and thought "I'm gonna get rich by writing a Liam Neeson movie!"

Two high school misfits become costumed vigilantes and take out their frustrations on the students who have bullied them throughout high school.

Kick Ass 3?
posted by The World Famous at 3:01 PM on December 17, 2013


These descriptions make me want to know what the descriptions were for SlumDog and the King's Speech etc.
Slum Dog Millionaire
“An illiterate kid looks to become a contestant on the Hindi version of Who Wants to be A Millionaire in order to re-establish contact with the girl he loves, who is an ardent fan of the show.”
The King's Speech
“George VI, also known as Bertie, reluctantly takes the throne of England when his brother, Edward, abdicates in 1936. The unprepared king turns to a radical speech therapist, Lionel Logue, to help overcome his nervous stutter and the two forge a friendship.”
PDFs of previous blacklists.
Bonus - 2013 Black List Word Cloud Logline Challenge!
posted by unliteral at 6:22 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's 100% ridiculous, absurd, white savior fantasy.

Or, as a friend of mine calls these plots, "What This Situation Needs is a Honky."
posted by KathrynT at 10:47 PM on December 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


TURMOIL IN THE CHINESE ENCLAVE

When an ancient sorcerer abducts an exotically beautiful young immigrant, it falls to a passing honky to save the day.
posted by Iridic at 2:31 AM on December 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


When an ancient sorcerer abducts an exotically beautiful young immigrant, it falls to a passing honky to save the day.

i.e. The Smurfs
posted by The World Famous at 10:32 AM on December 18, 2013


Fantasy Honky vs. Magical Negro
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:44 AM on December 18, 2013


i.e. Rocky
posted by The World Famous at 10:55 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


this whole thread works way better in Heptapod B
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:41 PM on December 17 [1 favorite +] [!]


No spoilers, Lipstick Thespian.
posted by nubs at 4:42 PM on December 17 [1 favorite +] [!]


Actually, writing spoilers in Heptapod B is the ideal solution, because everyone who could read them would already be aware of what is being spoiled, since they would see all of time simultaneously.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:19 AM on December 18, 2013


THE BEEF

Shia LaBoeuf

A hot-shot young actor begins plagiarizing the work of other artists as he tries to break into the worlds of indie comics and direction. He thinks it's fine because no one's complaining, but then one cartoonist, tipped off by fans on the Internet, decides to fight back.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:05 PM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually, writing spoilers in Heptapod B is the ideal solution, because everyone who could read them would already be aware of what is being spoiled, since they would see all of time simultaneously.

I was just trying to encourage those of us fluent in Heptapod B from providing spoilers to the rest of the non-fluent readers.

But then, you knew that.
posted by nubs at 1:32 PM on December 21, 2013


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