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Nick And Nora's Infinite Playlist (#110 of 2)

Understanding Screenwriting #10: Synecdoche, New York, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, & More

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Understanding Screenwriting #10: <em>Synecdoche, New York</em>, <em>Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist</em>, & More
Understanding Screenwriting #10: <em>Synecdoche, New York</em>, <em>Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist</em>, & More

Coming Up In This Column: Synecdoche, New York; Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist; The Rape of Europa; Elizabeth:The Golden Age; Till the End of Time; 30 Rock; ER; Desperate Housewives; Mad Men, but first…

Fan Mail: Maura had the same problem with the character of Sidney in Rachel Getting Married that I did. Here are some of the reasons why. After I wrote the item on the film, I came across an interview with the director Jonathan Demme in which he talked about how the actors were allowed to improvise. Generally one should discount by 10% any claim by directors or actors that they improvised, and also realize that usually the worst scenes in a movie are those that actors are improvising in. Demme mentioned that he originally wanted Paul Thomas Anderson to play Sidney, but Anderson was busy directing There Will Be Blood. The character and his family were not originally written as black and while it might be considered a very liberal thing not to mention it at all in the film, it is also not particularly realistic and, as in this case, robs the characters of texture and depth.

Theoldboy took me to task for not mentioning Dennis Hopper’s long monologue at the opening of the Crash pilot. As I said in my first column, I am going wide, not deep, so there will be aspects of the scripts that will be left out. But I figure part of what I am doing here is trying to get you thinking about the writing of films and televisions shows, which I obviously did in theoldboy’s case. Yeah for me.

Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

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Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

I have a distinct, horrified memory of a girl in one of my screenwriting classes freshman year nearly breaking into tears, trying to communicate to our teacher what it was she wanted to make; his proscriptive beats and arcs just weren’t doing it for her. She wanted to create something real, small, and true, something that showed how people really were; something, she concluded in near-hysteria, like Garden State. Zach Braff’s sincere blast of post-fame anomie—sincerely emotive, twee and stupid—was the first salvo in an increasingly deliberate wave of films that led the Sundance movie from amorphous arthouse genre into the multiplexes; the demographic had been pinned down, finally.