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Screenwriters we love 
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Post Re: Screenwriters we love
This thread died too young.

Although he hasn't many scripts under his belt, I liked everything Lem Dobbs wrote -- The Limey, Dark City (with Alex Proyas and David S. Goyer possibly doing much of the work), and The Score in particular.

Scott Frank is another good writer that has more versatility than Mr. Dobbs but has a greater volume of misses in his resume as a result of his jack-of-all-narratives abilities. He knows how to write good melodrama without suffocating the story with pseudo-pathos (although I've not seen Marley and Me).

I've been catching up on my Kieslowski and it looks like the writing partnership between he and Krzysztof Piesiewicz was among the most valuable of the past twenty years, rivaled by Paul Schrader and Martin Scorsese's ouput. The films that came out of the partnership were all immensely perceptive studies of human interaction, snapping the long-held belief (on my end) that movies must be about extraordinary people in ordinary situations or the converse thereof. Kieslowski and Piesiewicz wrote quiet, ecstatic stories about fully realized people interacting with one another; the films are like great big breaths of fresh air that force the audience to work their hardest to find a way into the minds of the characters. Wonderful movies that have so many layers of meaning and complexity that it would be unthinkable to omit them from the list of Greatest Screenwriters of All Time.


Fri May 22, 2009 5:29 am
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Jim Uhls did an amazing job getting Fight Club to the screen. I thought at the time that the book was unfilmable.

I agree in regards to Koepp as a solid writer.

Mamet is fantasic.

Paul Thomas Anderson also.


Fri May 22, 2009 10:21 am
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Post Re: Screenwriters we love
I like Tony Gilroy. His works are mostly consistent and watchable: The Cutting Edge, The Devil's Advocate, The Bourne Series and Michael Clayton


Sat May 23, 2009 9:35 am
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Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Paul Schrader is the best screenwriter alive today. He's an artist, craftsman, and student of human nature altogether.

I also think Coppola's screenwriting is criminally underappreciated. His directorial work gets so much attention that people forget about it.


Sat May 23, 2009 8:02 pm
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Ken wrote:
Paul Schrader is the best screenwriter alive today. He's an artist, craftsman, and student of human nature altogether.


That he is. Not just in his being in the most impressive relationship in screenwriter/director history with Martin Scorsese but in his command of pathos -- a true student of humanity, as you've said. He took an average book (Bringing Out the Dead) and distilled something truer out of it. It's second nature to him.


Sun May 24, 2009 1:47 am
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
I'll watch anything Joss Whedon writes. He's only written one movie that's been released (Serenity), but he has two movies coming out in the next few years, and his track record with writing television is as solid as any screenwriter.

I think Darren Aronofsky is a very good writer. His movies are more known for his unique visual style, but the writing in each of his films has been strong (yes, I'm aware he didn't write The Wrestler, although Robert D. Siegel, the man who did, may be one to watch in the next few years), especially in Pi.

Definitely in agreement with Paul Schrader, the Coen Brothers, Charlie Kaufman, among others already listed.


Sun May 24, 2009 11:44 am
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
mkratzer21 wrote:
I'll watch anything Joss Whedon writes. He's only written one movie that's been released (Serenity), but he has two movies coming out in the next few years, and his track record with writing television is as solid as any screenwriter.

I think Darren Aronofsky is a very good writer. His movies are more known for his unique visual style, but the writing in each of his films has been strong (yes, I'm aware he didn't write The Wrestler, although Robert D. Siegel, the man who did, may be one to watch in the next few years), especially in Pi.

Definitely in agreement with Paul Schrader, the Coen Brothers, Charlie Kaufman, among others already listed.


Whedon writes other things like Speed, Waterworld...some other things but yeah Serenity is the only one that he's actually credited on.


Sun May 24, 2009 3:34 pm
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Patrick wrote:
mkratzer21 wrote:
I'll watch anything Joss Whedon writes. He's only written one movie that's been released (Serenity), but he has two movies coming out in the next few years, and his track record with writing television is as solid as any screenwriter.

I think Darren Aronofsky is a very good writer. His movies are more known for his unique visual style, but the writing in each of his films has been strong (yes, I'm aware he didn't write The Wrestler, although Robert D. Siegel, the man who did, may be one to watch in the next few years), especially in Pi.

Definitely in agreement with Paul Schrader, the Coen Brothers, Charlie Kaufman, among others already listed.


Whedon writes other things like Speed, Waterworld...some other things but yeah Serenity is the only one that he's actually credited on.

You mean listed in the actual movie?
Because check out IMDB, he is credited with having some part in writing Titan A.E., Alien Resurrection, and Toy Story as well.

Funny how he has a hand in a bunch of mainstream movies, yet his own projects seem to play to a very limited audience.


Mon May 25, 2009 3:48 pm
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Trevor wrote:

Funny how he has a hand in a bunch of mainstream movies, yet his own projects seem to play to a very limited audience.


He's one of the more fired screenwriters in recent memory. I think he received story credit for Alien: Resurrection and has had a few movies completely repurposed after his departure. He was writing Wonder Woman and it was bouncing around for years before the dust collection started. He's a very good writer that can make bringing on the depth look easy. His undistilled visions won't sell to a great big audience because, presumably, he doesn't shy away from brutalizing his heroes to the point where audiences begin to wonder if they're too flawed to be called hero any longer.


Mon May 25, 2009 11:21 pm
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
majoraphasia wrote:
Trevor wrote:

Funny how he has a hand in a bunch of mainstream movies, yet his own projects seem to play to a very limited audience.


He's one of the more fired screenwriters in recent memory. I think he received story credit for Alien: Resurrection and has had a few movies completely repurposed after his departure. He was writing Wonder Woman and it was bouncing around for years before the dust collection started. He's a very good writer that can make bringing on the depth look easy. His undistilled visions won't sell to a great big audience because, presumably, he doesn't shy away from brutalizing his heroes to the point where audiences begin to wonder if they're too flawed to be called hero any longer.

I also think he needs some reining in before he is at his best.
I'm not sure Tim Minear had to do with Firefly, otherwise that could be the exception.

But often his projects feel like they all have a similar tone. A little too self-conscious. Everyone kind of talks the same way (as if they were Joss Whedon). He can craft interesting characters, but they all have the same sense of humor. He's kind of like Aaron Sorkin in that way. I don't know if he'll ever again reach the apex which was Firefly, where his quirks were easily explained away as quirks of the time period/culture in which Firefly took place.

I think maybe he will always be at his best as a writer of first drafts or re-writes--he seems like someone who needs an editor.
And, really, I say this as someone who truly loves almost everything he does.


Tue May 26, 2009 5:45 am
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Trevor wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
Trevor wrote:

Funny how he has a hand in a bunch of mainstream movies, yet his own projects seem to play to a very limited audience.


He's one of the more fired screenwriters in recent memory. I think he received story credit for Alien: Resurrection and has had a few movies completely repurposed after his departure. He was writing Wonder Woman and it was bouncing around for years before the dust collection started. He's a very good writer that can make bringing on the depth look easy. His undistilled visions won't sell to a great big audience because, presumably, he doesn't shy away from brutalizing his heroes to the point where audiences begin to wonder if they're too flawed to be called hero any longer.

I also think he needs some reining in before he is at his best.
I'm not sure Tim Minear had to do with Firefly, otherwise that could be the exception.

But often his projects feel like they all have a similar tone. A little too self-conscious. Everyone kind of talks the same way (as if they were Joss Whedon). He can craft interesting characters, but they all have the same sense of humor. He's kind of like Aaron Sorkin in that way. I don't know if he'll ever again reach the apex which was Firefly, where his quirks were easily explained away as quirks of the time period/culture in which Firefly took place.

I think maybe he will always be at his best as a writer of first drafts or re-writes--he seems like someone who needs an editor.
And, really, I say this as someone who truly loves almost everything he does.


This is all true. I've called him good and stick by it -- he's too reliant upon cleverness for his material to reach greatness. When taken as a whole. But, project to project, I can't think of anyone who is willing to make great big leaps of faith as often as Whedon. Jane Espenson claimed that even though many of the writers were getting credit it was Whedon who was responsible for 90% of the scripts. The Buffy episode "Earshot", with Espenson as the credited writer, was handed over as Whedon's property during her commentary track on the same. I've gotten so used to his dialogue that every time I hear something as knowingly spoken (the entirety of Juno springs to mind) I assume Whedon's spirit, at the very least, has been channeled.


Tue May 26, 2009 6:50 am
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
I have to second Kevin Smith. He may not have much aptitude as a director, but he's excellent - and occasionally brilliant - as a writer. His ability to combine crude raunchy humor with sharp, witty dialogue is unparalleled (seemingly only Judd Apatow has come close). Better yet is Tarantino and the fact that he knows how to direct his movies makes it even better. I will also mention David Mamet based on the few movies of his I've seen. Now I'm gonna go on a limb here and also mention James Cameron. No he doesn't write very witty dialogue but he is a master storyteller and he understands character development so he's in. I could mention others but most would be repeats of what others have said on this thread so that's all for now folks.


Tue May 26, 2009 12:44 pm
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Wow, apparently we don't love our screenwriters that much on this board because no one has made any posts to this thread for two days now! :lol: Allow me to add some more to the list. For those who appreciate animated films, I think that Andrew Stanton and Brad Bird are amongst the best, if not the best in this arena. Their combined filmography, which includes Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and WALL-E speaks for itself. It's really tough to write scripts for these sorts of films that will not only appeal to children but are intelligent and clever enough to be an equally big draw for adults (and not just those with children either) but these guys have a perfect batting average when it comes to this! All hail PIXAR!


Thu May 28, 2009 9:57 pm
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Ernest Lehman
Akira Kurosawa
John Patrick Shanley
David Mamet
Atom Egoyan
John Sayles
Woody Allen
Hayao Miyazaki
Fridrik Thor Fridriksson
James Agee (he deserves mention if only for his work on The African Queen and Night of the Hunter)
David Webb Peoples
The Coens
Spike Lee (he's hit and miss, as are many of these, but when he's on . . .)

and the finest screenwriting duo has already been mentioned: Kieslowski and Piesiewicz.


Last edited by Tuco on Fri May 29, 2009 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri May 29, 2009 1:13 am
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
oafolay wrote:
Wow, apparently we don't love our screenwriters that much on this board because no one has made any posts to this thread for two days now! :lol: Allow me to add some more to the list. For those who appreciate animated films, I think that Andrew Stanton and Brad Bird are amongst the best, if not the best in this arena. Their combined filmography, which includes Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and WALL-E speaks for itself. It's really tough to write scripts for these sorts of films that will not only appeal to children but are intelligent and clever enough to be an equally big draw for adults (and not just those with children either) but these guys have a perfect batting average when it comes to this! All hail PIXAR!


Gah! You're right! Animation completely slipped my mind. I'll heartily second your additions of Stanton and Bird. As stated in the Pixar thread, Hayao Miyazaki has to be put on the list. For reasons unknown to me I never think of animated films as scripted... ridiculous! Those writers are definitely among the best of the best.


Fri May 29, 2009 1:17 am
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Geez, now I see so many other names . . .

Scott Frank is indeed a good choice
Coppola
Paul Schrader
The Pixar guys
I think Robert Altman deserves some credit; although his strength was clearly more directing, he set the framework well for the improvisation in a lot of his films.

One more that I think deserves more credit than he gets is Terry Gilliam.


Fri May 29, 2009 1:41 am
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Tuco wrote:
One more that I think deserves more credit than he gets is Terry Gilliam.


Another oversight. His directing strengths are what people (at least those that like him) seem to buzz about but he knows how to write -- especially children. I think of his masterful, and universally loathed, Tideland which takes the energy and trouble to understand the mind of a very, very young and mistreated girl. It's my favorite of his movies even if it isn't remotely enjoyable. One of the few films out there that understands kids as kids, not little future adults. It's hardcore truthful... Gilliam is as perceptive as they come, at times.


Fri May 29, 2009 1:57 am
Post Re: Screenwriters we love
majoraphasia wrote:

Tideland made me glad that I don't own a gun. Thanks for bringing back those memories though. Off to purge now.


Sat May 30, 2009 4:49 pm
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Post Re: Screenwriters we love
I agree with the following previously mentioned ones:

Charlie Kaufman
Paul Schrader
Quentin Tarantino
The Coen Brothers
David Mamet
Kevin Smith (May not have much visual aptitutde. But he is good at dialogue)
Paul Thomas Anderson
Spike Lee

Here are a few unmentioned ones

Robert Towne
David Lynch
Steven Soderbergh
Alexander Payne
Richard Linklater
Wong Kar-Wai

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Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:44 am
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Post Re: Screenwriters we love
Wong Kar-Wai is a very improvisational director as well; if he'd stuck by the script, In the Mood for Love would have ended up a very different movie. Which would be a shame since its, you know, perfect.


Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:40 am
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