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« Rom-Com Truisms # 1 | Main | Rom-Com Truisms # 3 »



This is my nightmare.

Do all smart, funny spec scripts get turned into mildewy pieces of cliche?

...Because it sure seems like this happens 89 percent of the time. And I can't...quite...understand it.


J, this is one those "don't get me started" topics. One simple thing I can report to you about Development is that the sheer number of different people (and their different agendas) involved with a given project exerts its own exhaustive energy.

But no, not all good goes to crap, and the System actually does work the other way. I need to do a post highlighting an instance of the studio helping/saving a movie, which happens more often than you hear about.


Huge fan of your blog billy. Your post/interview with shane black is what gave me the balls to actually give man-birth to my first screenplay. It sucks, but hey, even hemingway's first drafts were all shit (at least that's what he said).

Were could one get a copy of the fuckbuddies script? I did google it, but most of what came up was porn. (not that im complaining)

E.C. Henry

Great job getting to the core of what doesn't work in "No Strings Attached." Haven't seen it, don't plan too. BUT I always love reading when you're breaking a movie down, Billy.

HUGE fan of Natalie Portman AFTER seeing her portray of Nina Sayers in "Black Swan." Now THAT was some acting. Best acting I've seen since Daniel Day Lewis in "There Will Be Blood."

Making the ballet world interesting to a mass audience is a herculian task, yet Darren Arronofsky, screenwriters: Andres Heins, Mark Heyman, and John McLaughlin, and actress Natalie Portman pulled it off beautifully.

What I loved the most about "Black Swan" was this is a cautionary tale; an artist's persuit of perfection needs to be ballanced. And that's a post topic the merrits further investigation. (hint-hint) I think it's very easy for people with a bend on working their ass-off to achieve greatness in the arts to get off-kilter, and actually do themselves harm. Which is what the audience watches unfold in heroin, Nina Sayers' life in "Black Swan."

Sorry about going on about "Black Swan" when your post was about "No Strings Attached," Billy. But I think you'd agree that "Black Swan" is an infinately more interesting movie than "No Strings Attached." Can't wait to see what Natalie Portman does next!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA


Tom: Glad the Shane Black post activated your mojo. And the F-Buds SP may be available on-line, specifically if you look for Black List entries from 2008 or 2009, I think it was...

EC: Interesting thoughts. I agree that BLACK SWAN was a hoot and a half.

Rob in L.A.

Just dropped by to say something off topic: I’m really getting tired of all these movie websites beating up on “Shakespeare in Love” — which had an absolutely terrific script and played hilariously with the historical record — in order to proclaim that “Saving Private Ryan” should have won Best Picture for 1998. Wasn’t Spielberg’s directing Oscar good enough? Grumble ... grumble ...

No Strings Attached online

I enjoyed reading your insights... but maybe there is a need to see the movie as self-reflecting. The irrationality of the protagonist may be explained as an exception, out of the genre conventions, which makes it a sort of a hybrid-mixed up movie, and not just a romantic comedy. just something to think about...

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