A Writer’s Workshop of Thor: Dark World

This movie had a lot of great moments!  Don’t get me wrong!  That’s why I have so much to say… because it has so much potential.

For example, for your second draft of this movie you need to keep in the Thor/Loki relationship.  Their relationship felt so authentic, especially when they’re arguing. 

And the juxtaposition of Loki’s projected image in his cell and his actual grief.  The vulnerability of that moment was stellar. 

And the beginning of that major fight scene with the “betrayal.”  I saw it coming… that it would be a trick, but it didn’t stop it from being a great, satisfying moment.

Darcy needs to be a part of the Avengers.  Like, today.  She’s awesome.  Here’s an idea, though it’s a little prescriptive: try writing a whole movie with just Darcy and Loki.  I’d watch the crap out of that.

Loki: I have an army.
Iron Man: We have a Hulk.
Darcy: I have a taser?

Come on, it writes itself.

I enjoyed the Dark Elf’s ships– the way they looked almost like swords and were wielded the same way through the air.  There was a definite difference between how Main Bad Guy flew the ship and how Thor did.  An object of finesse versus a blunt instrument.  It was a nice detail.

And… well– um.  Let’s go to the stuff that didn’t work as well. 

Your conflict was too overblown.  I didn’t believe that this was the one moment in 5,000 years that this destruction of the universe would be possible.  And if the universe is going to be destroyed, what are the stakes for the characters onscreen?  I get what Thor’s going to lose– he has a family.  But you never see Jane’s family. You never see Darcy’s family.  You never see the intern’s–I mean Ian’s–family.  Jane’s just going to lose Thor.  And I don’t care, because, like Loki said and Odin before him, her life is a blink compared to Thor’s.  She’s going to be lost no matter what they do, in sixty years or so.  This could be easily solved in your next draft of the movie by putting in a few scenes that showed what the rest of the group was losing with the loss of the universe.  What are they fighting for?  What is worth protecting?

Similarly, the movie makes it clear that there was something going on before the start of the universe, and something will happen after it ends.  The end of the universe is an inevitability; it’s just a question of when, and even then, the universe doesn’t truly end it just enters a different state.  So why do I care if it ends?  What am I holding onto?

The theme throughout the movie of magic illusions saving the day at the last second was a little heavy handed.  It got to the point where I could anticipate the next move, and it became a cop-out for moments of high tension.  I didn’t believe the tragedies because the movie had this Loki in the Machine in its back pocket.

Your post-credits scene was disappointing.  They kiss?  Really?  This is where you pull your best move out of your pocket.  This is your encore.  Shawarma.  Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.  Thor’s hammer in a crater.  Even The Wolverine had a better post-credits scene.  The Wolverine.

The Collector mid-credits scene was okay, though it made me lose a bunch of respect for Sif and company.  I’m not familiar with the Collector, and even I can tell that he’s shifty.

All in all, it wasn’t emotionally satisfying because when you decided to try to destroy the universe, you raised the stakes and the writing didn’t rise to the occasion to meet it.  But that’s what second drafts are for, right?  I look forward to seeing your revisions!

Advertisements

The Event that Happened During my Walk that Took Eight Years Off my Life, Probably

My powers of observation get me in trouble… though it’s usually in benign ways.  Most television writers can’t surprise me.  If I know you, one of your personal idiosyncrasies has already ended up in one of my books or stories.  Sorry. My notebooks are full of inane details, snippets of phrases, scribbled locations and scrawled names.  My imagination is best compared to William Shatner.  Overactive.  Painfully so.  And with a fantastic head of hair. 

All this is meant to give you a character. 

With all the rain, the lakes are up, swallowing up the sidewalk in places, debris pressed around the edge of the water, a weird film on the surface by the shore.

This is meant to set the scene.

So when I thought I saw a human skull on my walk, I took it with some major sodium chloride.  Except the closer I got to it, the more skull-ish it appeared.  My hand was on my flip phone, ready to call my dad and wait for the crime scene unit.  My heart was rapidly pirouetting in my throat.  Closer.  Yes.  A skull. A child’s skull.  Small.  Well-formed.  Maybe the rains dislodged it.  This is what shows what I am under pressure.  I needed to call–

This is meant to be the conflict.  The apex of the story.

A couple feet away, and I could see it clearer.  The holes where the eye sockets were are just indentations in plastic.  The nasal cavity was shaded in with paint.  It was someone’s Halloween decoration.  At the end of May.  On the shore, next to empty Whataburger cups and shredded styrofoam. 

Image

This is meant to be the conclusion.  Or  punchline, depending on your handle of the morose. 

 

Brotel California

On an old college campus, cool wind in my hair
stinging smell of cheap cologne rising up through the air.
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a fraternity den
Playing Nickleback and smoking on the porch,
and watching ESPN.
There he stood in the doorway;
I heard Call of Duty roar.
And I was thinking to myself,
“I hope that’s not blood on the floor.”
Then he turned on his iPhone and he showed me the way.
There were mumbles down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say….

Welcome to the Brotel California.
Such an okay place (such an okay place).
Totally debased.
Plenty of room at the Brotel California.
Any time of day (any time of day).
You can join the fray.

He was in a fedora, and an ironic tee.
He’s got lots of sexist thoughts
’cause of the patriarchy.
How they troll youtube comments, make casual threats.
Some hunt OkCupid, “M’lady, don’t be upset.”

So I said to the leader,
“You should work on your game.”
He said, “I got friendzoned again; girls are all the same.”
And all the dudebros are whining from all around,
and if you listen real hard, you can hear the sound….

Welcome to the Brotel California
Such an okay place (such an okay place).
Totally debased.
They’re living it up at the Brotel California
They are so surprised (they are so surprised)
if you chastise.

Then they act like we’re objects,
like we all have our price.
And he said, “Girls don’t date gentlemen, because we’re too nice.”
And in front of the t.v.,
they list what they hate.
They go on about misandry,
but they just can’t get a date.

Last thing I heard from them, I was
running for the door
I had to find the hallway back
to the place I was before
“Chillax,” said a young bro,
(we had no rapport),
“You’d be so much prettier
if you smiled more!”

Beak’s Manifesto

Dear Marvel Comics,

I mostly love your work, okay?  With an exception made for Wolverine’s origin movie — which is an abomination, I think we can all agree, I actually use it in my scale for terribleness (on a scale from Wolverine to Avengers, I thought the new Captain America was a solid X-Men First Class). 

But there’s one thing your movies have been seriously lacking. Beak

Image

I read his stint in Xavier’s Institute of Higher Learning when I was still in my formative years.  Back when I was first learning to be a writer.  Back when my high school library had just gotten a graphic novel section.  Back when I was embarrassed that people might think I was reading smut because of basically every page that Emma Frost was in.  And Beak’s been my favorite X-Men ever since. 

Here’s why: he’s grotesque.  And it’s not even that his bulging eyes and taloned fingers are hiding a superior intellect (Beast, beneath the blue and fur, for example, is still kind of attractive and he’s usually the smartest mutant in the room).  Beak is funny, but not Deadpool funny.  This is the man who brought us: “Keep your beer and cigarettes — I’m straight-edge hardcore. My body is a temple” and “I’m totally naked, self-conscious and crazy in the head. Please, I deserve pants as a basic human right.”  Underneath everything, he’s sweet, sometimes kind.  But severely messed up.  A freak in a school of freaks.  The underdoggiest of all underdogs.  The bottom of the barrel.

He’s not a person with a flaw.  He’s a flaw with a person.  That’s how I try to write my characters.  I’m tired of beautiful women with perfect bodies in skintight outfits.  I’m done with dashingly attractive men with wide shoulders and muscles on top of muscles.  I’m so over special snowflakes with pouty lips who have every reason to believe they’re the focus of the story.  And I hate ugliness hiding great brilliance and nobility.  That’s a cliché that needs to die– not Jean Grey style, but legit, with a big granite headstone and a padlock on the casket for good measure.

You have to put Beak in a movie.  Come on, guys.  Pander to me, and I’ll never complain about plot holes again.   Beak literally has nothing going for him except for his vague moments of heroism and occasional crushing guilt. I don’t expect him to have his own movie, but he can surely have a cameo.  Maybe with Angel and his brood of freaklings.

Image

How can you even say no to this face?  He’s perfect. For varying definitions of the word.

With love, and also begging,

Heather Pedoto

An Open Letter to Beauty Products

Dear beauty products (and the people who peddle them),

With all due respect, what made you think that I gave a gooey cat turd how I look?  Was it the rumpled Batman shirt?  The jeans that don’t fit that I have to keep tugging up?  The tennis shoes, or the not-trendy-messy messy ponytail?

91% of the time the way I look doesn’t even cross my mind.  The other 9% is because, despite popular opinion, I’m not a robot from the future, and I have feelings. A few feelings.  Like, five feelings.  I get insecure in the morning when I put on clothes, before (during and after) a shower, when I’m being photographed, and when I’m talking to beautiful people.

I only ever wash my face in the shower.  I could stand to lose about 25 pounds, but I’m going to do that the old-fashioned way… exercise and trying to eat less candy.

The only time I wish I looked different is when I wish I could be Batman, or a princess in Disney World because how awesome would it be to have a job where I get to play dress up and be nice to kids?  To be honest, I like that I’m a little awkward.  It’s very… me-ish. 

Not to say that I hate compliments.  Just that, 91% of the time I’m a mind inside a body, and I don’t put all my worth in that body.  I don’t hate it, though I used to.

All of this is to say, I don’t really care if the salt came from the dead sea.  I don’t care about the newest foundation, or the nicest face-applicator– I have paintbrushes for that, if I decided I felt like wearing makeup, which happens a couple times a year.  I know it’s not your fault.  You’re probably taught to target people who look like they have low self-esteem.  Which is fine. Whatever.  Being grumpy about that is not one of my five feelings. 

I just wonder if you paint targets on guys the same way.

Love,

H.P.