Best Screenplay 1998

1998 through 2007

What were the best original and adapted screenplays of 1998?

Bulworth (Warren Beatty, Jeremy Pikser)
Life Is Beautiful (Vincenzo Cerami, Roberto Benigni)
No votes
Saving Private Ryan (Robert Rodat)
No votes
Shakespeare in Love (Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard)
The Truman Show (Andrew Niccol)
Gods and Monsters (Bill Condon)
Out of Sight (Scott Frank)
Primary Colors (Elaine May)
A Simple Plan (Scott B. Smith)
The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick)
Total votes: 49

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Re: Best Screenplay 1998

Postby Greg » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:55 pm

Big Magilla wrote:The Truman Show was fine, but went on too long. As I remarked at the time, The Twilight Zone used to do this sort of thing week in and week out and do it in 30 minutes with commercials.

I got that impression more for Shakespeare In Love than for The Truman Show, that Shakespeare In Love was something that would make a very amusing 45-minute short; but, it was stretching its concept to fill up a feature-length film.
Bernie Sanders for President:

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Re: Best Screenplay 1998

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:45 pm

Ah, 1998, for so many here our FIRST year together...

Now everyone will start shouting again - or maybe not, we are all a bit older after all - but yes, I think that Life is Beautiful is a good screenplay. Like it or not, it has a strong central idea and, once you accept the (obvious) fact that it's not a realistic or dramatic movie, it's done with a lightness of touch, a grace even, which reminds one of the great comic movies of the past (though, of course, the movie itself may be not as great). I've seriously thought of voting for it. After all, I found Bullworth very boring, and Saving Private Ryan is certainly more a director's than a writer's movie. Then there's The Truman Show, which also has a strong central idea, but it never really knows how to develop it - and especially from the emotional point of view, it's quite flat while it could have been much more involving.
So I didn't vote for Life is Beautiful only because there's Shakespeare in Love here. And Shakespeare in Love isn't a great or memorable movie, yet its script - with all its metaphors on acting (on stage and in life) and its tribute to the great Elizabethan theatre - is quite smart, cleverly constructed, not very profound of course but the most technically and expertly constructed of these five.

The Thin Red Line is, for once, a movie written by someone who not only has read books - but most importantly has read the right books, the great books. The classics. When I heard Nick Nolte in the movie quoting Homer in Greek ("eos rhododactylos"...) I almost applauded. The richness, the depth - even TOO literary sometimes, but never too much for me - the way individual characters, each with its own voice and destiny, merge into a collective, complex portrayal of War (and in this case yes, a capital w must be used)... I mean, this is obviously an award-caliber script (and no, I dont care if the voice-over was added later or whatever - we judge all these scrreenplays in their final form, the movie itself). And honestly... I dont want to start a fight, but I've read so many - sometimes even intelligent - posts here praising the virtues of scripts for cartoons, fantasy movies, Eternal Sunshines... and of course they usually win on this board, and I accept it but... I mean, don't you realize how infantile these movies are? And how, by praising them, you become also a bit infantile? I'm worried, really - for America, because honestly - no, no, no, there's a critical limit that objectively can't be crossed, there IS a difference between a video game - even intelligently conceived - and Art. Real art. The Thin Red Line belongs to Art.
If you really don't want to vote for The Thin Red Line, the only alternative is A Simple Plan. Intelligent, well-made, quite entertaining yet not superficially so, and with some interesting characters. Not bad I'd say.

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Re: Best Screenplay 1998

Postby mlrg » Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:41 pm

voted for Truman Show and Out of Sight

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Best Screenplay 1998

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:31 pm

On the theory that everything old is new again, let's see if we can find something new in re-examining the year we've probably spent more time discussing than any other on the various boards that have comprised UAADB thus far.

I have no real argument against any of this year's nominated originals. The WGA had included Don Roos' script for The Opposite of Sex in place of Life Is Beautiful, which was ineligible, but if I were to include it I would take away the nomination that went to either Bulworth or The Truman Show. I haven't seen Bulworth in fifteen years, so maybe I'm being unfair but I remember it as a one-joke film. The Truman Show was fine, but went on too long. As I remarked at the time, The Twilight Zone used to do this sort of thing week in and week out and do it in 30 minutes with commercials. Todd Solanz's Happiness and Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson's script for Rushmore might also have been worth considering.

For the win I'll go along with the cleverly written winner, Shakespeare in Love.

The WGA also nominated four of the five Oscar nominees in the adapted category. They wisely omitted Terrence Malick's largely discarded script for The Thin Red Line but replaced it with the disappointing courtroom drama, A Civil Action. I'd substitute Mike Van Diem's screenplay for Character.

For the win I still like Gods and Monsters. As I said then, Bill Condon's film captures both 1950s and 1930s Hollywood, the latter where its flashback scenes take place, in ways that modern films set in those decades don't always do. The only other nominee I really like is Scott Smith's adaptation of his own A Simple Plan.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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