Not a flux capacitor in sight

No LUCY update today because my computer decided to show me how often it could show off the phrase “Not responding.”  That and updating some of my software took mind-numbingly too long.

I’m also working an extended shift for the next few days, which allows me a little downtime to read some of my Black List scripts before I settle in at the producer’s desk.

Today’s selection: LOOPER, by Rian Johnson.  Johnson did the very-good BRICK and the never-saw-it THE BROTHERS BLOOM.

It’s not easy to write a decent time travel script. BACK TO THE FUTURE is still the standard.  STAR TREK IV made it a key plot point. I saw PRIMER, but didn’t care for it much. And all those years watching the original DOCTOR WHO taught me a thing or two.

LOOPER’s concept is pretty original, but the logline “In the present day, a group of hitmen are sent their victims from the future,” really falls flat.  This is about ONE hitman and his ‘victim’.  And the story focuses more on the aftermath of time travel, rather than the act itself.

After time travel is invented (about 30 years from now), it is outlawed, so only criminal organizations have access to the technology.  They get rid of their victims by sending them back in time, where an assassin, or “looper”, kills them and disposes of the body.

But if the bad guys in the future are caught, they get rid of all evidence connecting them to the past, and if the looper is still alive in the future, his older self is sent back and killed by his younger self.  Thus, the “loop” is closed.

The story focuses on Joe, a looper.  There’s a ton of voiceover exposition in the beginning, but I suppose it’s really necessary to explain how everything works.

We get a glimpse of his life for about the first ten pages, then things really get rolling.  That’s all I can really say, because although a lot of the writing is jaw-droppingly amazing, there were times I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on.  Every once in a while there’s a lot of jumping around in terms of events unfolding, or something that happens in the present having an immediate impact on the future (including a well-done but disturbing scene of a man’s future self slowly losing body parts.  Draw your own conclusions).

I may have to go back and read it again, just to see if there’s something I missed.

There was a plot payoff I should have seen coming, but was too focused on trying to keep track of everything that was going on.  And one of the subplots didn’t seem to serve much purpose.

I suspect what appears on the screen may not match what’s on the page.  The writing is that good; almost poetic in some places.

According to Scriptshadow: “I have not read this but I know many who have. They basically tell me that the first half is the greatest script ever written. And then a weird twist happens and the second half just can’t live up to the setup.”

I don’t know if I agree with that “greatest script ever written” claim, nor would I say the twist is necessarily weird.  This is a time travel movie; there are only so many potential twists to come up with.  I also enjoyed the second half, partially due to the dual storylines that eventually converge.

I will say that the ending really caught me by surprise.  It was unexpected, and also worked that time travel aspect very nicely.

If anybody else has read this, I’m curious to know what you thought.

This started production in January with a tentative 2012 release date, but nothing more specific than that.

-Post-Oscar commentary. I liked Anne, was disappointed with Franco.  Somebody tweeted that he looked like he lost a bet.  I’d agree with that.

I thought there was a time limit on acceptance speeches.  Some of them went WAY TOO LONG. I’m looking at you, Amidala.

Sandra Bullock and Kevin Spacey would make great co-hosts.  That Billy Crystal/Bob Hope thing was pointless.  Sad to see what’s happened to Kirk Douglas, but glad he’s able to take part despite being 95 years old.

Of all the Best Picture nominees, I’ve only seen INCEPTION and TOY STORY 3, but will work on seeing the rest soon. Definitely TRUE GRIT and SOCIAL NETWORK, leaning towards THE KING’S SPEECH and WINTER’S BONE, maybe for THE FIGHTER and 127 HOURS.  Still not sure about BLACK SWAN and THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT.

I’d also really like to see THE ILLUSIONIST and the rest of the Animated Short nominees (since DAY & NIGHT played with TS3).  I’ll also check out Live Action Short winner GOD OF LOVE, since the wild-haired director said it was on iTunes (also liked his speech a lot).

And did anybody notice Jack Nicholson wasn’t there?  Did anybody care?

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