Top Eight Movie Scripts of 2011 - So Far

by Isabella Woods

There's a great deal of difference between best movie and best screenplay. Some box office favorites are not great movies, but have directors and actors that fill the theaters. It's easy to argue that some screenplays for the top dollar movies are distinctly sub-standard. The opposite can also be seen where great screenplays have a regular director and the movie only sells moderately with the screenplay talked about by academics rather than the theater going public.

For every Diablo Cody there are hundreds of screen writers trying to emulate her style. The million dollar screenplay deal still exists, but with free movie writing software, everyone and his dog believes they can write a better script than the one you've just seen at the theater. Here's a review of those who have hit the heights so far in 2011.

1. Crazy Stupid Love

Dan Fogelman is usually a screenplay writer you associate with children's movies after Cars, Bolt and Tangled. This movie obviously takes him out of his usual safe habitat as the drama deals with everyday family life where everyone is linked to someone else in the plot.

Sometimes you just feel and know a screenplay is great - this is one of those occasions. It would a really good screen writer to better this for the January awards month. If you're new to writing screenplays, then study the careful plotting in this script.

2. Bridesmaids

Annie Mumolo and the star of the movie Kristen Wigg collaborated to get this screenplay to the big screen. Intelligent lines are sometimes lost as the actors try to bleed them dry. Some of the scenes are over long, but this remains one of the few Hollywood movies in the comedy genre that stays funny all the way through and isn't just three mild jokes spread over 90 minutes.

3. Horrible Bosses

The screenplay by Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein is an excellent study aid for new writers. It took years to take it through different drafts. The first draft available on the internet bears little resemblance to the final version.

Where this screenplay wins is the way the six different characters are clearly defined which allows them to stand out against their competitors. This is a rare screenplay in the way it allows farce to be acted out on screen, but not disintegrate into a total mess.

4. Page Eight

Bill Nighy 2780-1

David Hare is known for his stage plays; the UK royalty knighted him. His movie screenplay doesn't look like a stage play transferred to the big screen. This plays out as though the writer knew he'd have a quality actor like Bill Nighy to convey the lines as the actor has a very special delayed style of delivery.

This screenplay shows the type of dialogue that film schools suggest. Of course real people don't speak like Page Eight, but it does allow the ticket purchaser to be fully involved with the scenes.

5. The Beaver

The Beaver is written by Kyle Killen. Who in the world would have a logline where a disturbed husband and executive adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his solitary means of communicating with his wife, children and employees? It couldn't work, could it? It did.

Of course, having Jodie Foster act the writer's lines is always an advantage, showing that skilled actors can take good lines and make them great. This movie included another actor out of favor with the US community so didn't score well at the box office, but if you can get past the public view, the writing is simply brilliant.

6. Sucker Punch

The screenplay by Zack Snyder and Steve Shibuya lurches between the understandable and the incomprehensible. It lures the audience into places they didn't know they were going, but like any tense drama, all is revealed and understood by the closing credits.

7. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

To be able to better the previous set of Apes movies, the script needed to be exemplary. The manner in which it takes sympathy with the apes against the humans is an example of the screenplay manipulating the spectators. The writing urges the audience to want to see the next part of the trilogy.

8. Hanna

Seth Lochhead and David Farr's screenplay cleverly uses show and not tell so any audience who values brain food rather than switching off and sitting back will be pleased with the murder and assassination scenes. Many movies have too much dialogue. Hanna has the least possible that ensures a great connection between the screen and the audience. Everyone has an opinion, but these eight examples prove that quality writing is still around in abundance, so sit back in your recliner and watch your downloads.

in Film


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    1 Comment

    Thank you for giving Sucker Punch some recognition. I'm so tired of all the internet nerds who love to bash Snyder.

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