Monday, June 20, 2016

TODAY'S NUGGET: Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) - Annoyed, Petty, REAL

[Quick Summary: Lonely, mismatched museum worker and parking lot attendant fall in love.]

This is a messy story about two misfits falling in love.

I like misfit characters. I love falling in love stories.

However, I admit I would've passed on this script because I couldn't see it as a film.*

Robert Towne put the dilemma this way:
The only way a screenplay can be evaluated, almost by definition, is not on the page, but by viewing the movie it caused to be made. It certainly can be read and even enjoyed, but you're stuck with the inescapable fact that it was written to be seen.
So what do you, as a writer, do?  Find a director and producer who can see it.

Luckily in this case, the writer was the director, John Cassavetes, who was generating some heat at this time in indie films.

I think Cassavetes was aiming to show two maddening, contradictory characters trying to work out a relationship.  It's annoying, petty, and REAL.

He succeeded, as I felt annoyed, petty, but satisfied that these two did belong together.

ex. "Seymour puts his arm around Minnie.

MINNIE: I can't do those dances.
SEYMOUR: What dances?
MINNIE: It's very important to me that when we go inside there I don't feel like a fool...because...
SEYMOUR: You're with me. You don't want to go dancing, we don't have to go dancing.
MINNIE: I want to go dancing.
SEYMOUR: Okay."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I respect scripts that make me feel, regardless of the rest.

Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
by John Cassavetes

*I like more narrative structure. This is mostly a loose and free character study, which I could see as very attractive to actors.

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