Oscar History

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Entries in Blueprints (24)


Blueprints: "American Beauty"

Last month we dove into one of the most iconic shower scenes in cinema for April Showers. For May Flowers, Jorge takes a look into one of the most famous thematic uses of a flower in film.

American Beauty was at one point supposed to be titled American Rose. This is neither a coincidence nor an appropriate alternative. The film, a satire about American suburbia and the layers of darkness that society hides underneath their pretty but rotting exteriors, heavily uses the recurring image of rose throughout. Not just in the now iconic nude sequence with Mena Suvari. 

Roses appear through the script in many key parts, usually in places where a character is putting up a façade for the world, or when they are completely submitting to their darkest impulses. Or when those two collide. Let’s take a look at where the flowers ominously represent both the attachment and the repulsion against society’s “pretty” standards...

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Blueprints: "Tully"

For this upcoming Mother’s Day weekend, Jorge takes a look at the depictions of the hardships of motherhood in Diablo Cody and Jason’s Reitman’s latest joint.

At this point it may be an overstatement, but motherhood is not easy. As it turns out, taking care of another, much smaller living and breathing human being requires more time, attention and energy than one sole human being is able to provide. Tully, among many other things, is an examination of the mental toll that motherhood takes on a person.

Let’s take a look at the tools that Diablo Cody’s script uses to portray the everyday hassle, tediousness and exhaustion that Charlize Theron’s Marlo has to endure, before Tully comes in and rescues her...

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Blueprints: "Thoroughbreds"

This week, Jorge goes into the stables to talk a murderous teenage girl rampage.

Films come from many sources - novels, comic books, video games. The stage has been one of the largest pools of not only source material for the screen, but also of playwrights that eventually make the jump to Hollywood. 

Thoroughbreds was conceived and thought of as a play. It tells the story of two teenage girls (one without empathy; the other one with too much) plotting the murder of one of their abusive stepfathers. As the project evolved, writer-director Cory Finley realized it would be better told as a film. However, its stage roots are still very much present in the text.

Let’s take a look at a particularly theatrical moment, a monologue in which one of the girls recalls her actions, and in doing so puts forward her entire character...


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Blueprints: "A Quiet Place"

This week, Jorge dives deep into the unconventional formal elements inside the screenplay of the number one film in the country right now. 

A Quiet Place is an immersive experience. The film centers around a dystopian future, in which creatures that are attracted to sound have taken over. In order to stay alive, a family has to stay totally silent through their everyday lives. 

The film utilizes sound (the lack of, its intensity, its threat) as a formal device to guide us through the narrative. There is barely any spoken dialogue. Everything is conveyed visually, using alternative devices than those we are used to seeing in film. It is an experiment in form.  Its screenplay is much the same. Using devices that are rarely found in a regular script, the writers create an immersive, completely different experience that lets the reader know right away that this is not your regular horror flick...

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Blueprints: "Love, Simon"

This week, Jorge takes a look at an early version of two of the most emotional moments of the groundbreaking teen movie.

“You get to exhale now.” This has become the phrase that has encompassed Love, Simon the best. The loving, healing words of a mother that allows her son to finally be himself. This, alongside the other heart-to-heart Simon has with a parent, is the most moving moment of the movie. 

However, as discussed before in this column, the road from page to screen is a long and arduous one. A screenplay goes through many different forms and iterations, gaining and losing things along the way. Let’s take a look at these two sequences, Simon’s conversations with his parents, and see how differently they began and how emotionally similar they remained in their finished form...

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Blueprints: "Psycho"

The April Showers series is back at The Film Experience, here's Jorge on how the most famous shower scene in cinema histor was written on the page.

One thing about iconic cinema sequences is that back when the script is written, before the movie is shot, released and gains critical acclaim (sometimes before it is even developed), they are not conceived to be iconic. They are simply a piece in a puzzle; one more segment in a longer story. 

But sometimes sequences transcend. Sometimes they become essential pieces of the cinema mosaic. And few scenes have stood the test of time better than the shower scene in Psycho. It has been recreated countless times, spun hundreds of homages and parodies, and changed the way horror scenes are shot, and what audiences should expect of the genre. Let’s take a look at how it looked in the page, before it acquired icon status, when it was merely three pages of a script…

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