Best Screenplay 2001

1998 through 2007

Were were the best original and adapted screenplays of 2001?

Amélie (Guillaume Laurant, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
3
6%
Gosford Park (Julian Fellowes)
8
16%
Memento (Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan)
9
18%
Monster's Ball (Milo Addica, Will Rokos)
1
2%
The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson)
5
10%
A Beautiful Mind (Akiva Goldsman)
0
No votes
Ghost World (Daniel Clowes, Terry Zwigoff)
9
18%
In the Bedroom (Todd Field, Robert Festinger)
8
16%
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Fran Walsh, Phillippa Boyens, Peter Jackson)
7
14%
Shrek (Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman, Roger S.H. Schulman)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 50

FilmFan720
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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby FilmFan720 » Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:31 pm

I see that I voted here a while ago (I think to break a tie) but never put my thoughts down.

In both cases, there is one clear choice in my book and some really good runners up. For Original, I think The Royal Tenenbaums is the cinematic achievement of the year, and the heartfelt, funny and smart script is a major reason for that. Gosford Park is the second choice here for me, a film that manages to say quite a bit while also being funny and witty at the same time. Memento is a really great gimmick of a film that I should probably revisit as I slowly become disenchanted with most everything Nolan does.

As for runner-ups, I don't think anyone here has mentioned the wonderful No Man's Land, which acts as political satire and heartfelt character study at the same time. The Man Who Wasn't There and Mulholland Dr. would have been my other nominees.

In Adapted, I think In the Bedroom is a perfect example of taking a sharp short story and deepening it through the lengthening. Ghost World is a real close second, probably the best live-action adaptation of a comic book and a really lovely film. I remember loving Shrek at the time, but I think the genre it spawned has soiled that.

As for runner-ups here, they are mostly films I love a lot more than anyone else seems to: Iris, The Pledge and Ocean's Eleven.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:27 pm

2001 was a year full of wonderfully inventive movies, and the Original Screenplay field was bursting at the seams with terrific candidates. I definitely would have wanted Mulholland Drive and The Man Who Wasn't There on the ballot, in addition to the three wonderful nominees that are deservedly running neck-in-neck in this poll.

Amélie definitely had its charms -- it struck me in some ways as a more imaginative, energetic version of Chocolat, with an ending that kept things high-spirited rather than dipping into sentiment. That opening rapid-fire voiceover, as well as a lot of the humorous details along the way, were definitely the work of writers bringing a lot of creativity to the project. Still, it was lightweight, and almost aggressively quirky to the point that by the end it felt a little exhausting, despite pleasures along the way.

I also don't hate Monster's Ball the way some do. I definitely think it piled on the misery a bit, and sometimes it wasn't always the most graceful in its details (Peter Boyle's racist just HAD to have a black roommate in the hospital; Billy Bob just had to dip into the chocolate ice cream with a white spoon, etc.). But I think the overall contours of the story were compelling, the two central characters were well-drawn, and the material had a boldness that made it stand out. I don't think it was among the most inventive scripts of the year that it deserved to place here, but I never had much animosity toward it.

The remaining three scripts are all quite wonderful, and I'm glad they've all gotten their due in our voting here. I've often found myself a bit more muted than some in my enthusiasm for Wes Anderson -- he's clearly got a singular voice, and I greatly admire his originality and attention to detail in elements ranging from dialogue/character to production design/framing. But I often struggle to connect to his movies on an emotional level, feeling just outside of his hermetically sealed worlds. I have no such issue with The Royal Tenenbaums, which I think is the director's one truly sensational picture. Here, as usual, he gives us wonderfully oddball characters, singularly inventive dialogue, and a lot of quirky details on the margins. But I think the story of the Tenenbaum clan is tremendously moving as well, and it feels like Anderson (and Owen Wilson) tapped into the way real families actually struggle to live with and even communicate with each other to very poignant effect. I keep waiting for Anderson to match this achievement.

Robert Altman got a lot of well-deserved praise for Gosford Park, but to praise him without doling out similar acclaim for the film's script seems like a distortion of auteur theory to a perverse degree. Fellowes's script is terrific, stuffed to the brim with terrific characters, handling too many separate plot threads to count with seemingly effortless ease, full of great dialogue (even if credit for a gem like "Difficult color, green. Very tricky" has to go to Maggie Smith), and it even manages to pull off a compelling murder mystery plot to boot. Altman called the film a "who-cares-who-done-it" but that almost seems to give short shrift to how well Fellowes worked out his story -- a second viewing of the film brings out all kinds of details planted earlier in the movie that one can't possibly catch without knowing the conclusion. Or maybe it's a "who-cares-who-done-it" because the ultimate outcome of the mystery is hardly the movie's chief selling point, with so many interesting observations about the class system in England between the wars, all delivered in frequently hilarious fashion. It's hard to complain about an Oscar for this script.

But it doesn't get my vote, because I think Memento is an even more world-class writing achievement. I have a similar feeling to Christopher Nolan's career as Mister Tee -- I enjoy a number of the films in his more recent output (though I could do with less Batman in the future), but none of them reach the amazing dramatic heights as Memento. We've seen other films do the storyline-backwards thing (heck, even a Seinfeld episode did it), but I don't think it's ever been done as skillfully as in Memento, which, as Mister Tee says, manages to be hugely gripping in reverse order, while at the same time feeling like an extremely well-thought out narrative when examined in chronological order as well. It doesn't transcend its gimmick so much as weave this device so intrinsically into the DNA of its material, so that Guy Pearce's affliction becomes not only the basis for a twisty narrative, but part of a very moving character study, full of thematic complexity to go along with the plot turns.

.it gets Memento end the in but, vote close a is this so, year competitive very a is 2001

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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:59 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:The post I wrote was mysteriously deleted when I pressed Submit, so I will be much shorter now,


I've found when that happens if I press the backspace key the message will re-appear and I can re-submit it.



I think I did that, but I will certainly try it next time it happens.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:56 am

ITALIANO wrote:The post I wrote was mysteriously deleted when I pressed Submit, so I will be much shorter now,


I've found when that happens if I press the backspace key the message will re-appear and I can re-submit it.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:09 pm

There are some good nominees on the Adapted side, but the field wasn't especially deep, certainly not compared to the bountiful Original options this year. I could get enthusiastic about A.I. and The Deep End among alternates, but that's about it.

I think the selection of A Beautiful Mind is one of the worst outcomes given available options in this category ever. I, too, thought it started off okay -- it wasn't anything special, but it was a decently engaging and well-acted biography. But by the time we got to The Big Twist I was almost actively annoyed, as it seemed to reduce Nash's serious mental illness to a cheap movie trick GOTCHA! And at that point, we just hit the mother lode of mawkishness, with scene after scene wallowing in sentiment that verged on the ridiculous, with some really clunky dialogue. Easily the worst nominee, and a really dreary winner.

It's a little tough to evaluate Shrek from this vantage point. I remember watching the musical a few years back and thinking, how could material that I found so funny on film seem so leaden on the stage? Do I actually hate Shrek and I just didn't know it then? Or have too many unexciting sequels and a ho-hum musical just made me tired of its shtick? It's probably only fair to report on my reaction at the time: I thought its fractured fairy tale saga had a lot of laughs, the plot had some unexpected narrative turns (mostly involving Princess Fiona's true character), and in the end, it had its moments of poignancy too ("I'm supposed to be beautiful!") That said, even at the time I thought it didn't have quite the originality or humanity of the best Pixar efforts, and some of the jokes (like The Matrix-style fight) were the kind of pop cultural references you knew wouldn't age well even back in '01. Ultimately, it's still not a script I would consider choosing here.

I, too, think The Fellowship of the Ring is the best film in Peter Jackson's trilogy. It really takes the audience on a grand narrative journey, from the haunting mystery of the opening voice-over, to the warm and wondrous early scenes in the Shire, to the frightening sequences of danger once our heroes depart on their journey, and even to moments of great power, like Gandalf slipping off the ledge. As with the entire trilogy, Jackson and his collaborators balance the epic and the intimate with surprising ease, making sure that none of the humanity of the story gets lost beneath all of the effects. As I said with Return of the King, it's about as well-written an entry as these kinds of films go...but these kinds of films also aren't primarily writing achievements either. So I'd give it tech prizes, but my screenplay vote goes elsewhere.

Roger Ebert praised In the Bedroom in a way I thought was really smart -- he said he loved the way the movie kept reinventing itself, as it went from a sharply observed small-town drama, to a devastating account of grief, to an unsettling story of revenge. I think it's a pretty wonderfully written script, full of the kind of rich character details and realistic portraits of a specific place that honor its short story origins. (I also didn't interpret the ending as an endorsement of Tom Wilkinson's actions either, but more as a bleak portrait of the cycle of violence now tragically plaguing this small town). And individual moments -- like Tomei's testimony, or the endlessly-played plate smashing fight -- were pretty smashingly written pieces of scene work. I think it would have been a very honorable choice.

Sometimes a movie comes along that's just the right movie for you at the right time. And for my 14-year old self, few films struck as much of a chord with me as Ghost World. I thought it was outrageously funny, full of laugh-out-loud one-liners, characters behaving badly (often in supremely relatable ways), and terrific visual gags (until my dying day, and probably for many years thereafter, I will remember "Mirror, Father, Mirror.") And then, just when you least expected it, it snuck up behind you and hit you with a ton of emotional resonance -- I couldn't believe the movie that had me in such fits of hilarity could then land a scene like the one with Enid and Seymour in the hospital, as she's showing him her sketches. I haven't seen the film in over a decade, and I do worry that my 27-year old self might find it a little small. But it's a movie that meant a great deal to me at the time, and the script's blend of snarky humor and deeply human sadness is most of the reason why. It gets my vote for Best Adapted Screenplay with ease.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Aug 22, 2014 3:25 pm

The post I wrote was mysteriously deleted when I pressed Submit, so I will be much shorter now,

In Original, there are three good - and truly "original" - nominees. I've picked the one which I found most mature and, most importantly, least forced, Gosford Park. But I can't deny that Memento and The Royal Tenenbaums are very worthy candidates.

In Adapted, I can't vote of course, but even without cartoons in sight I'd probably abstain - none of the nominees is really that good. Even In the Bedroom, which is probably the best of the four I have seen, has those terrible last 20 minutes, where all the humanity displayed since then suddenly disappears and in its place we get a conventional "American revenge" ending. Too bad.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby Heksagon » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:24 am

For once, the Original category is stronger than the Adapted one.

Two great films in Original - Gosford Park and Memento - two good ones - Amélie and Tenenbaums - and only Monster’s Ball is really sub-par. My vote goes to Memento, which is my favorite film of the year overall.

In the Adapted category, Ghost World, In the Bedroom and The Fellowship of the Ring are good films, and my vote goes to The Fellowship. A Beautiful Mind is weak and Shrek barely mediocre.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby FilmFan720 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:28 pm

So many great screenplays this year, so many bad nominees.

The Royal Tenenbaums is, in my opinion, one of the great achievements of this new millennium of cinema and an easy vote here. In a year when we also had The Man Who Wasn't There, No Man's Land and Mullholland Dr., we were stuck with nominations here for Monsters Ball and Amelie, two of the more inept screenplays to gather votes from the Academy in the decade.

In Adapted, In the Bedroom and Ghost World are the clear frontrunners, and I'll lean In the Bedroom, which mixes narrative twists and character exposition almost flawlessly.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:01 pm

It seems I screwed up again. L.I.E. was indeed eligible in 2001.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:08 pm

Big Magilla wrote:OMG. I was thinking of L.I.E. when I "advocated" for Bully from a list of 2001 films. I actually don't recall anything about Bully, though I do recall being repulsed by Kids. L.I.E. would have been a good choice except that it wasn't eligible until 2002. Still there had to be something better than A Beautiful Mind.

The Shipping News I stand by. I recently re-watched that one having "re-discovered" Kevin Spacey in House of Cards. It's one of Lasse Hallstrom's best films after My Life As a Dog and What's Eating Gilbert Grape.

I'm reassured -- I found it impossible to believe Bully would be your kind of film.

Fully agree on L.I.E. -- I almost mentioned it as one of my replacements. Didn't realize it was ineligible.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:33 am

OMG. I was thinking of L.I.E. when I "advocated" for Bully from a list of 2001 films. I actually don't recall anything about Bully, though I do recall being repulsed by Kids. L.I.E. would have been a good choice except that it wasn't eligible until 2002. Still there had to be something better than A Beautiful Mind.

The Shipping News I stand by. I recently re-watched that one having "re-discovered" Kevin Spacey in House of Cards. It's one of Lasse Hallstrom's best films after My Life As a Dog and What's Eating Gilbert Grape.
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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:20 pm

I'm having BJ's "403" problem. That simple post below had to be broken up into parts to post. Start it by reading the first one entered (if it's worth the trouble).

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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:18 pm

Everybody is this movie seems to get naked at the drop of a hat (they apparently live in a clothing-optional community), and they're such brain-dead characters it's impossible for me to care about them. Kids was a pretty fatalistic film, but it captured something about how life can look when one is in a fully misanthropic mood. Here, though, I thought Clark descended to show-off nihilism -- rubbing your nose in shit and daring you to deny it's reality, with no sense of any art behind any of it. I really hated the film.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:15 pm

Well, I'll start one discussion: do you really advocate for Bully? I find that a thoroughly vile film -- Larry Clark at his perviest. His use of actors is reminiscent of those NYC bus Calvin Klein ads a decade or so ago, that most thought bordered on kiddie porn.

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Re: Best Screenplay 2001

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:30 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Any possibility we could start the once-weekly schedule a bit sooner? Look at the results: the last two years have only two responses each (one with no actual text)...what's the point of starting yet another thread in two days, when we know people (especially the most verbose of us) won't have caught up? Regardless of how familiar these films may be (and, after more than a decade, they don't feel as familiar as I expected), there's a guaranteed ten films to discuss in each thread, which requires more time than most seems to have right now. Yes, we can always "go back", but the whole point of these is to have some sort of contemporaneous discussion during slack season, and it's hard to feel engaged in any discussion when you're piping in a week and a half late and no one's likely to respond to even an interesting point.

Except that there hasn't been much give and take in any of these recent year discussions. It's more like the same people saying the same things they've been saying for years with nobody new chiming in.
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