Hidden Movie Gem: “Adam and Paul”

October 6th, 2013 by

Here is a Hidden Movie Gem courtesy of Lydia Mulvey:

Title: Adam and Paul

Year: 2004

Written By: Mark O’Halloran

Starring: Mark O’Halloran and Tom Murphy

Director: Lenny Abrahmson

Plot Summary: This movie follows a day in the life of two Dublin heroin addicts, Adam and Paul. Adam is the taller and slightly smarter of the two while Paul is his sidekick. Since they were small boys, Adam and Paul have withered into two hopeless, desperate Dublin junkies, tied together by habit and necessity. A stylized, downbeat comedy, the film follows the pair through a single day, which, like every other, is entirely devoted to the business of scrounging and robbing money for drugs.

The difference today is that Adam and Paul, already near rock bottom, have finally run out of luck, credit and friends.

Why I Think This Movie Is A Hidden Gem: Written by and starring Mark O’Halloran as Adam and the wonderful Tom Murphy (who died in 2007 at the age of 39) as Paul, the movie is set in contemporary Dublin, Ireland and tells the story of two hapless and wretched heroin addicts as they try to get through a day that’s filled with petty crime, vicious thugs and the endless, desperate search for their next fix.

Sounds bleak. Well, it is. Director Lenny Abrahmson expertly paints a grim picture of drug addicts in a capital city but what sets this film apart from the usual depressing, hard-hitting fare is the relationship between the two men as they stagger from mishap to mishap, dragging chaos and destruction in their wake.

Adam is the brains of the operation and Paul, as his sidekick, is the heart. They are two sides of the same coin and without each other, they wouldn’t survive. Spiky and cynical Adam is routinely frustrated by Paul’s stupidity and recklessness but he provides a sounding board for Adam, a mate who brings meaning to his empty and hopeless life. In Adam, the childlike Paul finds someone who can take care of him, because he himself is simply not up the job.

There is an almost Beckett-like flavor to the tone. Adam and Paul are a sort of 21st Century Vladimir and Estragon, waiting endlessly for their lives to start. Or end.

The acting is top notch (particularly Tom Murphy as Paul and Louise Lewis as Janine) and the script and direction are top drawer. This movie grips your emotions and doesn’t let go even after the final haunting image has played out. At once grim, heart-breaking, hysterically funny, violent, sweary and affecting, Adam and Paul shows the dark underbelly of Dublin’s serious drug problem but does so in a way using characters that audiences can, if not relate to, at least invest emotionally in.

My Favorite Moment In The Movie: Completely down on their luck, our two heroes go to visit Janine, a friend who has recently got herself clean. Janine’s not there but the front door is left open. They go inside and find Janine’s baby in a cot. They pick up the baby and spend a few moments cuddling it and cooing over it. Janine comes home, sees the two men and greets them like the old friends they are. The scene is dreamy, heightened, almost stylized. And not real. This is only the scenario Adam and Paul imagine happening.

What really happens is that Janine comes home to find these two filthy, drugged-up guys in her house. She’s not best pleased and wants them to leave.

I love this scene because there’s a fairytale quality to the “dream” sequence. The lighting is beautiful. The emotion is palpable. These three people love each other. They’ve got a history together. Then we get a sharp 180 degree shift into the harshness of the “real” scene that follows and it simply and effectively shows the contrast between how Adam and Paul view the world versus how the world views them.

My Favorite Dialogue In The Movie: This snatch of dialogue is part of a longer exchange between Adam, Paul and a Bulgarian man they encounter, who they first mistake as Romanian.

PAUL: It’s just like… Bulgaria is a shithole.
BULGARIAN MAN: No, it is not.
PAUL: No but, in comparison, like…
BULGARIAN MAN: In comparison with what?
PAUL: Well… Dublin…
BULGARIAN MAN: You fucking Irish. You think I’m going fucking crazy? You listen to me, now. Bulgaria is not a shithole. Beautiful. It is beautiful. And now Dublin, it is the shithole. Full of liars and maniacs and fucking Romanians.
ADAM: Yeah well, why are you here so?
BULGARIAN MAN: Because… I have to leave Sofia…
PAUL: Oh right.

Beat.

PAUL: Was she pregnant?
BULGARIAN MAN: What? (laughs) You fucking crazy, stupid Irish. Why am I here? Did you ever ask yourself the same question? Why are you here, huh? Why the fuck are you here?

Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie

The brilliant locations, including the Millennium bridge over the River Liffey, where Adam and Paul go to shoot up.

The film really captures the clear and lucid sunlight that Dublin gets during Spring and Autumn. It can make the city appear simultaneously surreal and hyper-real.

The engaging character moments that make these guys so believable and heart-breaking, including a tiny skit with a missing straw from a milk carton, being super-glued to a mattress in the opening scene and how, just when you think things can’t get worse for Adam and Paul, they do, culminating in a wretched out-pouring of grief while sat atop an old kitchen appliance in an alleyway.

Movie Trailer:

You can see the movie online for free here.

Thanks, Lydia! To show our gratitude for your guest post, here’s a dash of creative juju for you. Whoosh!

Tomorrow: Another Hidden Movie Gem!

Hidden Movie Gem: “Ball of Fire”

October 3rd, 2013 by

Here is a Hidden Movie Gem courtesy of Traci Nell Peterson:

Movie Title: Ball of Fire

Year: 1941

Writers: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Thomas Monroe

Lead Actors: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck

Director: Howard Hawks

Plot Summary: A group of ivory-tower professors commissioned to create an encyclopedia. Stuck on the letter “S” the handsome professor realize he needs to hear how real people talk, for his “Slang” entry, and ends up helping a beautiful singer avoid police and escape from the Mob.

Why I Think This Movie Is A Hidden Gem: We are all familiar with Hollywood’s obsession with retelling/remaking of a good story–superheroes, novels, plays and fairy tales are common go-to sources. This obsession has led to some real stinkers, some so-so adaptations and occasionally a true gem.

In 1942, Ball of Fire was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, Barbara Stanwyck was nominated for Best Actress, and Billy Wilder/Thomas Monroe nominated for Best Original Story. The Best Original Story (not screenplay, story) competition was fierce: Here Comes Mr. Jordan, The Lady Eve (also starring Barbara Stanwyck), Meet John Doe (yet another Stanwyck/Cooper pairing), and Night Train to Munich. That nomination is significant, because Ball of Fire is a masterful retelling of Disney’s: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Seven of the professors are elderly men with the same personalities of the fairy tale dwarfs, with the younger, handsomer eighth professor, Bertram Potts (Cooper) as the valiant, uber-moral prince.

One twist to the classic tale; the mobster boss serves as the evil nemesis along with another brilliant twist–“Snow White” isn’t a puerile naiveté. No, this Snow White version could teach the wicked stepmother a thing or two, as her name, “Sugarpuss O’Shea(Stanwyck) implies.

This two-handed Romantic Comedy gives the audience two character arcs, clever-charming dialogue and the ever important CHEMISTRY! The supporting cast is a veritable Who’s Who: Oskar Homolka, Henry Travers, S.Z. Sakall, Tully Marshall, Leonid Kinskey, Richard Haydn, and Aubrey Mather.

My Favorite Moment In The Movie: Sugarpuss is in a tight spot. On the lam from the District Attorney, she has taken refuge at the professors’ home. However, her feminine influence has caused disruptions and she’s being asked to leave. Now, while Snow White used her cooking and cleaning to woo the dwarfs, Sugarpuss uses a slightly different, but just as effective, method.

My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie: The moment Sugarpuss gives up the wealthy mobster and professes her love for the adorable professor is great:

Sugarpuss O’Shea: [about Potts] Yes, I love him. I love those hick shirts he wears with the boiled cuffs and the way he always has his vest buttoned wrong. Looks like a giraffe, and I love him. I love him because he’s the kind of a guy that gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk, and I love the way he blushes right up over his ears. Love him because he doesn’t know how to kiss, the jerk!

Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie: All of the Snow White “easter egg” dialogue is wonderful and so wickedly suggestive.

Movie trailer:

Thanks, Traci! To show our gratitude for your guest post, here’s a dash of creative juju for you. Whoosh!

Tomorrow: Another Hidden Movie Gem!

Hidden Movie Gem: “Diva”

October 2nd, 2013 by

October is Hidden Movie Gem month at Go Into The Story. Why? Because we all need to — say it together with me…

WATCH MOVIES!!!

I have asked members of the GITS community to write guest posts about their favorite Hidden Movie Gems and many of you have responded. Today’s guest post is courtesy of John Hörnschemeyer:

Movie Title: Diva

Year: 1981

Writers: Daniel Odier (novel, as Delacorta), Jean-Jacques Beineix & Jean Van Hamme (adaptation), Jean-Jacques Beineix (dialogue)

Lead Actors: Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez … Cynthia Hawkins, Frédéric Andréi … Jules, Richard Bohringer … Gorodish, Thuy An Luu … Alba, Jacques Fabbri … Jean Saporta

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix

Plot Summary: Against a haunting backdrop of Paris, Opera, and the ultimate in laid-back philosophy, two audio cassette tapes transform the carefree life of a young Parisian postman into a desperate fight for survival. When he illegally tapes the concert of an American opera diva who refuses to be recorded, and unwittingly comes into possession of another tape, implicating Saporta, a high-ranking policeman, as the boss of various rackets, Jules, postman and avid opera  fan, becomes the target of  killers working for corrupt police officials, and Taiwanese gangsters seeking to obtain the priceless Diva tape. Aided by an enigmatic bohemian philosopher, Gorodish, and his young muse Alba, he seeks to survive, before eventually succeeding in pitting his pursuers against each other, and fortuitously forming a romantic relationship with Cynthia, the Diva.

Why I Think This Movie Is A Hidden Gem: Diva is a breath of fresh air… a thriller that succeeds in combining so many potentially incompatible, and un-thriller-like elements, while proposing a haunting visual masterpiece. Who better than Roger Ebert, who gave it four stars, to encapsulate the quality of the movie…

“The movie is filled with so many small character touches, so many perfectly observed intimacies, so many visual inventions—from the sly to the grand—that the thriller plot is just a bonus. In a way, it doesn’t really matter what this movie is about; Pauline Kael has compared Beineix to Orson Welles and, as Welles so often did, he has made a movie that is a feast to look at, regardless of its subject. [...] Here is a director taking audacious chances, doing wild and unpredictable things with his camera and actors, just to celebrate moviemaking.”

Ebert also wrote that the film’s extended motorcycle chase scene, “deserves ranking with the all-time classics.”

My Favorite Moment In The Movie: Dawn. The almost empty streets of a rainy Paris begin to stir, as Jules, Cynthia and an umbrella stroll around the City, accompanied by Vladimir Cosma’s magnificent piano instrumental ‘Promenade Sentimentale’. A feast for both eyes and ears.

This said, Gorodish listening to opera music while lying in his bath in the middle of his loft, comes a close second, without forgetting, of course, the chase through Paris, and the metro.

My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie: In his vast, almost empty loft, Gorodish, wearing snorkeling headgear (!), butters a ‘baguette’ while Alba roller skates around the floor of the loft. Crazy normality!

Gorodish: Some get high on airplane glue… detergents… fancy gimmicks. My satori is this: Zen in the art of buttering bread!

Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie: Over and above the visual poetry of the movie, it is interesting to note how Beineix clearly separates the violent brutality of  Jules’ fight for survival from the scenes involving his relationship with Cynthia, the diva. Perhaps Beineix wanted Cynthia to represent Jules’ inner need, untarnished by the dramatic goal of survival.

Another interesting point can be seen at the beginning of ACT 3, when Gorodish metamorphoses from Jules’ mentor into the antagonists’ nemesis. Forsaking the need for backstory, Beineix transforms Gorodish, the philosopher, into Gorodish, the Machiavellian manipulator, the man who plots the downfall of the bad guys.

Movie Trailer:

Stroll through Paris at dawn

Thanks, John! To show our gratitude, here’s a dash of creative juju for you. Whoosh!

Tomorrow: Another Hidden Movie Gem!

Note: At this point, we have 20 guest posts. We are shooting for 31. If you’d like to submit a post for one of your favorite Hidden Movie Gems, please use the above template and email to me.

Hidden Movie Gem: “The Missionary”

October 1st, 2013 by

October is Hidden Movie Gem month at Go Into The Story. Why? Because we all need to — say it together with me…

WATCH MOVIES!!!

I have asked members of the GITS community to write guest posts about their favorite Hidden Movie Gems and many of you have responded. Today’s guest post is courtesy of Barbara Thomas.

Movie Title: The Missionary

Year: 1982

Writer: Michael Palin

Lead Actors: Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliot, Trevor Howard

Director: Richard Loncraine

Plot Summary: In 1905, after 10 years of missionary work in Africa, the Rev. Charles Fortesque is recalled to England, where his bishop gives him his new assignment – to minister to London’s prostitutes. Charles hopes Deborah, his fiancee, will object and give him an excuse to say no to the bishop. But she is so imperturbably innocent that she totally fails to understand what he is being asked to do, and urges him to do his best. Wealthy Lady Ames is expected to fund the work, but once she makes it clear to Charles that there will be no contribution unless he shares her bed…

Why I Think This Movie Is A Hidden Gem: A comedy about sex that is neither silly nor crude, a comedy about religion that isn’t strident or pushing an agenda, The Missionary was Michael Palin’s first solo project post-Monty Python. His script is smartly funny, reminiscent of Ealing comedies. If you expect Python levels of silliness, you won’t get it. If you want to see Palin proving he’s an actor, not just a comedian, you will.

My Favorite Moment In The Movie: The final scenes, in which secrets are revealed and nefarious plots foiled with surprising results.

My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie: Lord and Lady Ames discuss their hopelessly confused butler, Slatterthwaite:

Lord Ames: He really is the most disastrous butler. Can’t we get rid of him?
Lady Isabel: Of course we can’t. He’s been here for 25 years.
Lord Ames: I don’t know why we ever got rid of Marcheson.
Lady Isabel Ames: You know perfectly well why we got rid of Marcheson.
Lord Ames: That was only a bit of harmless fun.
Lady Isabel Ames: Not for the parents.

Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie: Michael Hordern’s absentminded butler, the emotionally tortured maid who lingers in the background of several scenes, a young Timothy Spall and the end credit sequence.

Movie Trailer:

Thanks, Barbara! To show our gratitude, here’s a dash of creative juju for you. Whoosh!

Tomorrow: Another Hidden Movie Gem!

Note: At this point, we have 15 guest posts. We are shooting for 31. If you’d like to submit a post for one of your favorite Hidden Movie Gems, please use the above template and email to me.

October: Hidden Movie Gem Month!

September 21st, 2013 by

Got a great response from this post the other day:

In my never ending quest to motivate folks to watch movies, why not a Hidden Movie Gem Month? What’s more, what if I reached out to the GITS community and offered any of you interested to write a guest blog post? Do you have a favorite movie that deserves more attention than it gets?

Perhaps an older film hidden in the shadows of time.

Maybe a cult classic.

How about a foreign film.

I’d like to gauge your interest in taking this on. If I can get 25 people to commit to writing a brief Hidden Gems guest post, I think that would be totally cool. Imagine the variety of movies we could amass. I would create a post template to make it easy on you, all you’d have to do is plug in the information, provide a couple of paragraphs about why you love the movie so much and why we should all watch it, and you’d not only be doing a public service, you’d also get your name in some bright bloggy lights!

So who’s up for PROJECT HIDDEN GEMS?

Here is the list of people who responded:

14Shari
Ange Neale
Aurélien Lainé
Barbara Thomas
Ben Odgren
bigjonslade
Bretton Zinger
David Joyner
Despina
Es
hoernsch
igetsbuckets
jwebb66
Jeff Messerman
Jeffrey Field
John Arends
Jon Stark
Lydia Mulvey
Mark Walker
NB
plinytheelder_t
robbie
SabinaGiado
Steve Enloe
Traci Nell Peterson
UpandComing
Vera Mark
Zach Jansen

That’s 28. I’m happy to take more as we could go up to 31 and post a Hidden Movie Gem each day for the entire month.

So here’s the deal. If you want to do this, please contact me via email to confirm your interest: GITSblog at gmail dot com. Indicate the Hidden Movie Gem you want to write about.

Here is a template you can use for your guest post:

Movie Title

Year

Writers (both screenwriters and any authors whose books were used as the basis for adaptation)

Lead Actors (Just the main ones)

Director

IMDB Plot Summary (You can find that directly under the Your Rating box. If you don’t feel the summary does the story justice, feel free to write up a logline of your own.)

Why I Think This Movie Is A Hidden Gem (Feel free to write as much as you’d like up to a half-page or so.)

My Favorite Moment In The Movie

My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie (IMDB has a Quotes section for almost every movie, so you can find key dialogue in your movie’s site.)

Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie

If you can find a YouTube clip from the film or its trailer, please include that URL.

If anyone can think of something to add to the template, please post your suggestions in comments. I’ve tried to keep it succinct so it won’t be too much of a time-suck for you to write a post.

When you are done with your guest post, you may simply copy and paste the content into an email to me.

The movie choice is strictly up to you, this is an exercise in democracy.

If anyone else would like to join in the fun, email me.

I will run the posts in the order I receive them.

Thanks, everyone! Should be a great monthly series!

UPDATE: Here is the list of people who have confirmed their participation via email:

John Casu
Despina
childdogcats
Zach Jensen
M
Chris Chun
Mark Twain
Vera Mark
Mark Walker
Lydia Mulvey
Joshua Caldwell
j webb
Sabina Giado
April
Sutinder Bola
Emily Cracknell
Jeff Messerman

Already sent in their Hidden Gem post:

Barbara Thomas: The Missionary
John Hörnschemeyer: Diva
Traci Nell Peterson: Ball of Fire

To volunteer, send me an email with your choice of hidden movie gem:

GITSblog at gmail dot com

October: Hidden Movie Gem Month!

September 20th, 2013 by

Got a great response from this post the other day:

In my never ending quest to motivate folks to watch movies, why not a Hidden Movie Gem Month? What’s more, what if I reached out to the GITS community and offered any of you interested to write a guest blog post? Do you have a favorite movie that deserves more attention than it gets?

Perhaps an older film hidden in the shadows of time.

Maybe a cult classic.

How about a foreign film.

I’d like to gauge your interest in taking this on. If I can get 25 people to commit to writing a brief Hidden Gems guest post, I think that would be totally cool. Imagine the variety of movies we could amass. I would create a post template to make it easy on you, all you’d have to do is plug in the information, provide a couple of paragraphs about why you love the movie so much and why we should all watch it, and you’d not only be doing a public service, you’d also get your name in some bright bloggy lights!

So who’s up for PROJECT HIDDEN GEMS?

Here is the list of people who responded:

14Shari
Ange Neale
Aurélien Lainé
Barbara Thomas
Ben Odgren
bigjonslade
Bretton Zinger
David Joyner
Despina
Es
hoernsch
igetsbuckets
jwebb66
Jeff Messerman
Jeffrey Field
John Arends
Jon Stark
Lydia Mulvey
Mark Walker
NB
plinytheelder_t
robbie
SabinaGiado
Steve Enloe
Traci Nell Peterson
UpandComing
Vera Mark
Zach Jansen

That’s 28. I’m happy to take more as we could go up to 31 and post a Hidden Movie Gem each day for the entire month.

So here’s the deal. If you want to do this, please contact me via email to confirm your interest: GITSblog at gmail dot com. Indicate the Hidden Movie Gem you want to write about.

Here is a template you can use for your guest post:

Movie Title

Year

Writers (both screenwriters and any authors whose books were used as the basis for adaptation)

Lead Actors (Just the main ones)

Director

IMDB Plot Summary (You can find that directly under the Your Rating box. If you don’t feel the summary does the story justice, feel free to write up a logline of your own.)

Why I Think This Movie Is A Hidden Gem (Feel free to write as much as you’d like up to a half-page or so.)

My Favorite Moment In The Movie

My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie (IMDB has a Quotes section for almost every movie, so you can find key dialogue in your movie’s site.)

Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie

If you can find a YouTube clip from the film or its trailer, please include that URL.

If anyone can think of something to add to the template, please post your suggestions in comments. I’ve tried to keep it succinct so it won’t be too much of a time-suck for you to write a post.

When you are done with your guest post, you may simply copy and past the content into an email to me.

The movie choice is strictly up to you, this is an exercise in democracy.

If anyone else would like to join in the fun, email me.

I will run the posts in the order I receive them.

Thanks, everyone! Should be a great monthly series!

October: Hidden Gem Month?

September 17th, 2013 by

Note: I intend this post to gauge your interest in taking on what I think could be a cool series, but I take my damn sweet time getting to that point, so please be patient and read through my musings until you hit the payoff toward the end. Thanks!

Here in the Wonderful World of GITS, I’m always trying to think of ways to provide information, inspiration and insight for readers. That was the driving force behind my commitment to doing interviews with screenwriters on a regular basis, a weekly series that judging from the email and Tweets I get, is quite popular. As well it should be. What better way to learn about how to write and think like a professional screenwriter than hearing first-hand from professional screenwriters.

Another thing that emerged this year is a rotating monthly series of daily posts occupying the Noon (Eastern) 9AM (Pacific) slot. Thus far this year, we have had the following:

April: Story Idea Each Day for a Month

May: Movies You Made

June: 30 Days of Screenplays

July: Movie Story Types

August: Scene Description Spotlight

September: Scene-Writing Exercises

I look at that list and I think that’s pretty good, as it c0vers a lot of ground. But what to do for October?

Then it hit me: In my never ending quest to motivate folks to watch movies, why not a Hidden Gem Month? What’s more, what if I reached out to the GITS community and offered any of you interested to write a guest blog post? Do you have a favorite movie that deserves more attention than it gets?

Perhaps an older film hidden in the shadows of time.

Maybe a cult classic.

How about a foreign film.

I’d like to gauge your interest in taking this on. If I can get 25 people to commit to writing a brief Hidden Gems guest post, I think that would be totally cool. Imagine the variety of movies we could amass. I would create a post template to make it easy on you, all you’d have to do is plug in the information, provide a couple of paragraphs about why you love the movie so much and why we should all watch it, and you’d not only be doing a public service, you’d also get your name in some bright bloggy lights!

So who’s up for PROJECT HIDDEN GEMS?

I can think of so many hidden gems I’d love to promote. Here’s one:

That’s right, Repo Man, a cult classic if there ever was one, the 1984 movie written and directed by Alex Cox, starring a who’s who of great character actors including Harry Dean Stanton and Tracey Walter, where many of the key characters are named after beer (Oly, Bud, Miller, Lite), and featuring a musical appearance by none other than The Circle Jerks doing an acoustic version of “When the Shit Hits the Fan.”

How about you? Surely you’ve got a hidden gem you would love to brag on. Here’s your chance.

Can I get 25 movie loving souls to step up for this project? And to sweeten the pot, each one who participates will receive a special batch of GITS creative juju!

So whaddya say? Are you in… or are you in?