Though the original Hollywood blacklist was definitely one you would not want to be on, Today's Black List is probably not so bad to be listed on. The Black List is an annual listing of the most-talked-about unproduced scripts in Hollywood. As the list itself says, "The Black List is not a 'best of' list. It is, at most, a 'most liked' list." As such, many of the scripts on the list are...let's say...less than quality-sounding. Some of them sound like they might be good, but some...well, that's Hollywood for you. I've picked a few "gems" from this year's list and added my own comments.
ALL YOU NEED IS KILL- "A new recruit on the war against aliens finds himself caught in a time loop where he wakes up one day in the past after having been killed on the battlefield." So it's Groundhog Day, then? What kind of title is that, anyway? You just can't replace the last word of a Beatles song with "kill" and expect it to make sense. "She Came In Through the Bathroom Kill." "I'm Looking Through Kill." "Within You Without Kill." "And Your Bird Can Kill." Actually, that last one might be interesting.
THE LAST SON OF ISSAC LEMAY- "An aging outlaw convinced that there is evil in his genes goes on a journey to kill off his offspring. In the process, he discovers that his last remaining son is a terrifying manifestation of his worst fears." Eh, this one could go either way based on that premise.
FAMILY GETAWAY- "A man whose family doesn't know he's an assassin must protect them during a cross-country car chase when rival killers show up." So it's a comedy, then?
DIE IN A GUNFIGHT- "A young New Yorker falls in love with the daughter of his father's nemesis, setting in motion a Romeo-and-Juliet like forbidden romance." Didn't they already try to modernize Romeo and Juliet with West Side Story? And Romeo+Juliet? And probably a bunch of other films?
IMAGINE- "A musician in his sixties tries to live his life differently after reading an old letter written to him by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Of greatest important to him: tracking down and reconnecting with his biological son, whom he has never met." John Lennon is magic!
CHRONICLE- "Three Portland teens become exposed to a mysterious substance in the woods, and, as a result, begin to develop incredible powers. They work together to hone their skills for fun until personal and family problems begin to turn them against one another." Ah, could go either way.
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN- Hunt, hunt, hunt, he's the Huntsman, "into action" is his cry! From the forest to the city, he will get there in a jiffy to sock evil in the eye...sorry. Um..."A re-imagining of the story of Snow White in which the huntsman sent to kill her becomes her mentor." I still like the other Huntsman better, even if he does absolutely nothing.
FUN SIZE- "A high school senior is forced to take care of her weirdo brother trick-or-treating but loses track of him along the way. With the help of a few classmates, she tries to find him before his mother gets home. Meanwhile, the depraved little brother is having the time of his life."- Has he never felt this way before? I swear, is it the truth?
DARK MOON- "Using found footage, story explores the possibility that manned moon missions did not stop with Apollo 17."- Ah yes, "found footage." Although I do like the idea of a conspiracy theory about the moon landings continuing in secret rather than them being a hoax in secret.
EVERLY- "The story of one woman's struggle for redemption as she fights to stay alive and unite with her mother and young daughter, all while staving off vicious attacks by a ruthless army of Yakuzas who have trapped her in her apartment." For some reason, I'm imagining what this concept would be as a Three's Company-style sitcom. "Can this young woman live a normal life when she shares an apartment with a team of gangsters who want to kill her? Find out this fall on CBS- We'll Air Anything!"
THE GIRL WITH SOMETHING EXTRA- "A young man who has been raised his entire life to believe that he is a girl comes of age as he enters high school and learns his true gender." It's a comedy based entirely around the twist of The Crying Game! How would someone be in the dark so long about their true gender, anyway? The damning evidence is literally right in front of them.
RICKY STANICKY- "For years, three lifelong friends have used an invented character named Ricky Stanicky to get out of sticky situations. When their wives demand a meeting with Ricky, the friends hire an actor to portray him." A fictional persona with a rhyming name and the wacky situations that ensue when that persona is involved with someone's normal, everyday life. This is truly an original idea and is in no way reminiscent of anything that has made millions of dollars for a certain children's entertainment company and revived the career of a former country music star while making his daughter famous in the process.
ZOMBIE BABY- "After the zombie apocalypse, a young couple unsure about whether to start a family has the decision made for them when they take in an orphaned zombie baby they don't have the heart to kill." Zombie Baby, he makes your dreams come true/Zombie Baby, when he's not eating you...
BOY SCOUTS VS. ZOMBIES- "A troop of Boy Scouts on their weekend camping trip must protect an island town from a zombie outbreak and save the local girl scout troop." Okay, I could make a snarky comment, but this sounds AWESOME. I guess I'm just a sucker for anything with "vs." in the title. Though shouldn't the Boy Scout handbook have a section for dealing with zombie invasions? Or am I confusing them with the Junior Woodchucks and/or Fireside Girls?
HOVERCAR 3D- "Set in the future, an ex-con street racer has to transport a whistleblower across country in a high speed hovercar with an army of authorities trying to stop them." Yes, we've gotten to the point where "3D" is already being tacked on to the titles at the script stage.
FUCKING JANE AUSTEN- "Two friends angry at Jane Austen for creating unrealistic romantic expectations for women today get sent back in time to the nineteenth century. The only way for them to return home is for one of them to get Jane Austen to fall in love and sleep with them." No comment. Really, how could I add anything to that?
KITCHEN SINK- "A human teenager, a vampire, and a zombie must save their town from an alien invasion." I wonder if this script was in part written as a joke, seeing as it has everything that's popular in pop culture now- teenagers, vampires, zombies, and aliens. Even the title (as in "everything but the...") makes it seem like it was written as such.