Character Blog 6

Leave a comment

INT. SUBWAY – NIGHT

JASON (25) is sitting, by himself, on the subway. He looks tired. He looks as wore as his old pair of jeans. He leans his head back against the subway window, sitting still, as the subway stops. He gets up and leaves.

EXT. PARKING LOT – NIGHT

Jason walks outside towards his car, an silver sedan. The car is standing in the middle of an empty parking lot. He gets in and quickly drives away.

INT. CAR – NIGHT

James looks on as he drives on a highway. He puts some electronic music on.

EXT. HIGHWAY – NIGHT

Jason drives past a large city. We see large buildings, colorful lights, and bright billboards. They surround the highway.

INT. CAR – NIGHT

Jason doesn’t look at the city. He just looks ahead, focusing on his driving.

EXT. FAST FOOD RESTAURANT – NIGHT

Jason drives up to a fast food restaurant. He gets out of his car, and walks towards the restaurant’s doors. He then hears a YELL. Jason turns around and sees a YOUNG MAN being chased by a couple of other young men across the streets. Jason immediately sees a look of panic on the face of the young man. They run and disappear behind an alley way. Jason waits. He hears a couple more SCREAMS so he begins to walk to them. Then he stops. The SCREAMS stop. Now Jason can just hear the other young men YELLING. He waits, hesitates, and turns back to enter the fast food restaurant.

INT. FAST FOOD RESTAURANT – NIGHT

Jason is just finishing eating his meal. He gets up to leave. He sees that the young men from across the street are coming into the restaurant, without the person that they were chasing. He opens the door for them, takes a quick look, and leaves.

Amadeus (1984) Directed by Milos Forman, Written by Peter Schaffer

Leave a comment

After watching One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (and enjoying it immensely), I immediately wanted to see Milos Forman’s other best picture winner, Amadeus. I knew very little about the film, but decided to watch it anyway. My first impression was that I absolutely loved it and to my surprise, I felt that this is the better film over Cuckoo’s Nest.

Amadeus is a period drama about a 18th century composer, Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) who recounts his past relationship with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce), one of history’s greatest composer’s.

So first off, Amadeus is told in a three act structure that heavily relies on the flashbacks of the 0ld Salieri. The film starts off as Salieri tries to cut his throat. We find in in a mental hospital afterwards, where he is visited by a priest. This is the first plot point of the story. The priest wants to talk with Salieri about why he wanted to kill himself. Salieri confesses that he feels that he killed one of the greatest composer of all time, Mozart. The story is then told through flashback, where we see both the lives of Salieri and Mozart. The second plot point is when Mozart dies, which also is the end of the flashbacks. Mozart dies just after he was writing the Requiem with Salieri. Mozart was sick that night (after heavy drinking), but still worked through the whole night to try to finish his last masterpiece, with Salieri.

Amadeus is an experience driven film. While it tells a large story that spans over many years, it is told through Salieri’s point of view. Because he is telling this story of his past to this priest, Salieri can’t help but become apart of what he is telling. His emotions and thoughts affect the story that we see. It his his experiences and point of view that we are watching.

Salieri is a very intriguing protagonist. The fact is, he is a very unsympathetic character. He truly appears to be an unpleasant man. His main conflict through out his entire life is why can’t he be a great musician like Mozart. He is jealous of him, he loathes him, but man, does he respect him. On the surface, Salieri’s body language and behavior make him appear to be swift, stern, calm, and proper. He’s a true aristocratic, and a passionate musician. His dialogue shows this very well also. He speaks kindly and properly with every single person that he encounters. But on the inside, he is holding back very strong hateful feelings toward Mozart.  In one scene, Mozart’s wife begs Salieri to help Mozart get commissioned to make a new concert. She seems very desperate. He agrees, only if she comes later by that same evening. That evening she comes, and assuming that Salieri wants sex, she begins to strip. Just as she is undressing, Salieri purposefully calls in his butler, to embarrass a now topless Mrs.Mozart. Salieri’s hate towards Mozart extends so much that he even wants to put his wife through emotional pain. This scene is a fantastic example of Salieri’s internal become external.We see what he really is thinking about.

Now, Salieri’s background is explained in the beginning of the second act. As a kid, young Salieri loved music and wanted to become a musician one day. His father didn’t approve. So one day, young Salieri prayed to God, that one day, “please, let me become a great musician”. We then see that Salieri’s father chokes to death and that a career as a musician was now inevitable. Salieri’s background really helps us to understand how much he loves music. He feels that it is a gift (and a curse) from God. Really, it is his life.

Now moving on to the antagonist of the film, Mozart. He is the complete opposite of Salieri. He is energetic, eccentric, a risk taker, and a rebel in an aristocratic society. He also is truly obsessed with music. In a great scene, we get introduced to who the real Mozart is. He is meeting with the King of Austria, who wants Mozart to put on a concert for him. At first Mozart is clumsy, walking in, trying to act proper. Then after a bad joke, he laugh’s (his weird laugh). The King doesn’t seem to be impressed, same with Salieri, who is also at this meeting. However, Mozart then plays a bit of music on the piano. It was beautiful, absolutely flawless. The king is impressed and wants Mozart to put on his next concert. What this scene shows is that Mozart is somebody who does not fit in the world that he lives in. He stands out. He stands out to Salieri, who hates him because of his uniqueness. However, what stands out the most about Mozart, is his music.And that is what counts. It counts because it is Mozart’s music that really causes the conflict in this film. Salieri can’t stand to listen to it. It just hurts him to hear a true genius perform his music.

The lesson that I learned in Amadeus, has to do with the film’s conclusion. After telling the priest his story, Salieri realizes that he in fact is not responsible for killing Mozart. In fact, God is. How can God be evil enough to take such an amazing musician away from us so early? Why couldn’t Salieri have the same skill as Mozart? He has the desire which God gave him. Salieri than mocks the priest, and strolls through the hospital, preaching to the other mental patients. First off, this is just a fantastic ending. What I learned in this scene is that self-realization can be a powerful way for a character to fully develop, and that it can help them understand a solution to their conflict.  Going through his whole history with Mozart made him realize that he was in fact was not responsible for Mozart’s death. While if it was God’s fault, that just Salieri’s opinion. The ending of this film works well because Salieri loses the guilt that he once had. While he is still probably a bit crazy, he has given himself some peace, knowing that he didn’t kill Mozart.

I hope that you enjoyed my film reviews. I love all of these films very much so I had a lot of fun writing them:)

Character Blog 5

Leave a comment

Here, I will list the external and the internal goals for Jason.

Jason’s External Goals

To have a nice car.

To have nice clothes.

To have a good job.

To get a new house.

To have more money.

All of these goals have to do with money. The fact is that Jason does not make a lot of money and that he is not a position to get a job that will get him a lot of money. Or at least that is how Jason feels. For Jason, these goals seem unattainable.

Jason’s Internal Goals

To feel content with himself.

To not have to worry about money.

To meet a partner.

To live somewhere else.

To be different than he is right now.

To be happy.

Overall, Jason is very uncomfortable with himself. He is not happy, he is not content with his life so far. He has become pessimistic, depressed, and angry. His thinking is totally negative. He has developed a terrible attitude about his life. He can’t stand looking at himself in the mirror.But the thing is, he wants to change. He knows that this is not the way to live, but he doesn’t have any desire to change.

He feels that if a nice girl came into his life, things might change. She would open his eyes, re-energize him, and change his life for the better. But he doesn’t date.

Also, sub-consciously anyway, we are all looking for happiness in our lives. The fact that Jason isn’t happy, only makes him feel only worse.

Conclusion

For Jason, while he does have external struggles, it is the internal ones that dominate his life. He is trying to suppress those internal struggles with material things. All of his external goals are based on material things. He wants things that he has never been able to have (A nice car, wealth). He believes that if he does get those external goals, that the internal ones will go away. The thing that he doesn’t understand is that they won’t.

Character Blog 4

Leave a comment

Three influential events in Jason’s life…

1. This event would obviously be the death of Jason’s father. At 19, Jason felt that he lost his father to early. It was a devastating tragedy for him. Not only did Jason lose a parent, but also a mentor, and a person to look up to. This was a huge turning point in his life. This event did not just fill Jason with sadness and grief, but also with confusion. He simply doesn’t know what to do next in his life without his father. He looked up to him in every aspect of his life. Jason still misses him, and it just hurts him to realize that his father will never come back. Unfortunately, Jason isn’t able to realize that it’s time for him to take control of his own life. His father would have wanted that.

2. This event, while not as significant as the first one, is an event that is a great example of what Jason has had to deal with as a child in a poor household. One winter day, Jason came home from school to realize that his house if freezing. He soon realizes that the power has been shut off in his house. For two days, Jason and his family are left without power. They simply couldn’t afford to pay it. It is simple but powerful events like this in his childhood that have developed Jason’s attitude into being a pessimistic one.

3. I am not sure exactly what this event will be but it will be in this story, when he finally decides to leave the city and start a new life. Jason is going to a personal struggle with the people around him, the city that he lives in, and with himself. In this story, Jason will finally realize a couple of things. First, that he has the power to control his own life. Second, that his father will never come back. And finally, that the way things are right now will not change, unless he himself changes first. By being put through difficult circumstances, Jason will face and get through these struggles and hopefully start a new life.

Character Blog 3

Leave a comment

To start this post of, first I just want to empasis the fact that while these people are important influencing characters, they don’t matter to Jason as much anymore. Jason is lonely. He has also chosen to become lonely (sub-consciously) as a way of trying to forget his past. He chooses to have as little contact with these people as he can.

Jason’s Mother (Will not be in the film)

She was a great mother to Jason but after her husband got cancer and eventually died, she has not been the same. She is now unemployed, and on welfare. She lives with Jason because she couldn’t afford to live in her own house anymore. She is even becoming an alcoholic to try to cope with her husband’s death. She is trying to suppress all of her feelings of grief and loss inside, which is tearing her apart. She is also a physical reflection of how Jason is beginning to feel about his life emotionally.

Jason’s Best Friend, Paul (Might be in the film)

He is Jason’s best and only childhood friend. They met in elementary school, and went through elementary and high school together. He is the only real friend that Jason really had. Also, Jason is seeing Paul less than he used to. Paul was able to go to college, get a job, and make a decent living. Paul has even has his own house. They still occasionally see each other, but they are slowly becoming more distant. Paul is disappointed with who Jason is becoming. Jason knows this, but doesn’t care.

Jason’s Father (Will not be in the film)

Jason’s father died when Jason was 19 years old. He worked as a cook in a hotel restaurant. He worked as a cook for his whole life, and died from lung cancer when he was in his mid 50’s. His death affected Jason because Jason was very close to his father (probably more than his mother). Jason looked up to his father, because his father had a great attitude was caring, and never complained about life. Jason wanted to be like his father.Jason’s hope to one day own his own restaurant died when his father passed away. Of these people, Jason’s father was the most influential.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – Written and Directed by John Hughes

Leave a comment

As a kid, I was a big fan of John Hughes’ films. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Uncle Buck, and the Home Alone films were all great films that I enjoyed. It was probably two years ago that I watched this film and I immediately loved it. It’s actually my favorite John Hughes film to date.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a comedy about a middle aged advertising executive Neal Page (Steve Martin) who is trying to get home to his family for Thanksgiving. He is in New York, his family is in Chicago. On this disastrous trip, he encounters his worst nightmare, shower certain ring salesman Del Griffith (John Candy).

So, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles follows a three act structure. The protagonist of the film is Neal who is in desperate need to get home. The antagonist of the film is Del. An unusual thing about the structure of this film is that the plot points are at the very beginning and the very end of the film. In the very first scene of the film, we see Neal impatiently trying to get out of work, while his boss can’t make up his mind about what advertisement they should use. The last scene of the film is when Neal finally arrives home. This film is also both a narrative and experience driven film. While the story is a series of events that keep Neal from going to his family, it becomes a very emotional story. It reveals a lot about both Neal and Del, with Del’s story becoming the main focus for the ending.

As a character Neal is very angry, honest, and hysterical through out the film. His behavior and actions show this. When he gets left alone at the car parking lot with no car, he yells, and throws his ticket away in anger. His dialogue only shows us the same thing. He is mean to Del, right to his face. In one scene when they share a room in a motel, he criticizes Del for being terrible at telling jokes. He’s literally deteriorating through out most of this film. Everything that can go wrong for Neal, does. The only thing that keeping him from completely losing it is the thought of being at home with his family for Thanksgiving. His background is created  with cut away’s of his family at home, waiting for him. This is important not only to show us how his family looks like, but to emphasize his main goal, and to have the audience be able to sympathize with him. While Neal may seem like a bad person for most of this film, we realize that he’s not. He’s just very desperate to get home.

As for Del, he is quite the opposite character. He seems like a positive, caring person, with only good intentions. Del might be clumsy, but he is trying to do his best to get to Chicago himself. Everything Del says and does reflects this. He sells shower certain rings when he and Neal are desperate for money. He offers Neal a motel room out of the goodness of his heart. The only thing about Del that we can’t immediately see is his main conflict, his inability to deal with his past. By the end of the film, we realize that Del doesn’t have a home, and that he was married but his wife died. For most of the film, Del has Neal believing that he has a wife. Del hid this information, but we are able to see signs of this with his body language, and even with some of the things that he says like “I haven’t been home for years.” He just laughs it off as a sarcastic joke. Unlike Neal, Del also doesn’t have such a strong main goal. Unconsciously, he just wants to travel with Neal. He’s lonely, he just wants some company for the holidays.

A lesson that I learned in this film come from the famous f – word scene. (This is the scene that gave the film an R rating instead of a family friendly PG one). It is the scene when Neal is left in a large parking lot with no car. He manages to walk back from a very long distance, where he then confronts a car rental employee about this problem. This is when he totally loses it and yells about 20 “fucks” in about 30 seconds. What I learned in this scene is that great comedy is not only unexpected, but it must also have a purpose. Up to this part of the film, Neal has been bottling up his anger. He has made little progress on his trip home so it is inevitable, and only natural, that he would finally lose it and behave this way. I totally buy his behavior. The scene itself is funny, but seeing Neal reach his breaking point is why this scene is so memorable.

Well now for the conclusion for the film. I can’t get much better, really. Neal finally gets to Chicago with Del. As he rides the subway home, Neal realizes that Del doesn’t have a wife and that he didn’t say where he was going for Thanksgiving. He remembers some of the things that Del said about “Not being home in years.” So he goes back, and sees Del alone in the subway station. What Neal thought was true. So he invites Del to his home, to have Thanksgiving with his family. While this ending might sound cliched, it isn’t (watch the movie to see why). The reason why I feel that it works so well is that while the film can be a bit ridiculous at times, these characters seem like real people. They are so well written that it works. You can’t help but get caught up in how emotional this ending is. Especially at the very end, when Neal gets home, meets his family, and introduces Del, you can’t help but get choked up (at least I couldn’t). This is why having relatable, detailed characters is so important. Characters are what people relate to in a film, so by having them be so strong, you can turn a slapstick comedy into a beautiful film.

Character Blog 2

Leave a comment

All I know of Jason’s background is that he had a so so childhood. He had parents that loved him but they never had much money. His father is now dead, his mother lives with him and is on welfare. I don’t know too much more than that right now.

Now I am just going to list the five W’s that make up Jason.

Who – Jason is single and lonely, he’s struggling to make a decent living as a driver/enforcer in organized crime, he’s quiet but not shy, he has no real interests other than maybe listening to music, he has no real strong desire to get up every morning.

Where – He lives in a crumby apartment in a mediocre part of the city. He has lived in this part of city for his whole life. He has never gone far outside from his home (he’s never been on a vacation).

What – Jason’s main dilemma is one that he has with himself. While this is not a love story, Jason’s conflict has to do with love. He doesn’t truly love himself. He feels that he needs to achieve a certain status in life (more wealth, a partner, etc.) in order to fill this void. He is lacking that self love, and he is always unconsciously seeking it. A lot of this has to do with his childhood. He was born into a family that barely had enough money to survive. He doesn’t want that problem. His dream as a child was to own his own restaurant, but that looks like its not going to happen.

When – We find Jason in his Mid 20’s, just as he is beginning to settle into a life of crime, and just as he is beginning to lose all the hope in all of his childhood dream.

Why – Jason is now  part of organized crime. With everyday that passes by, he is slowly losing his desire to live. He’s not suicidal, but depressed. He is beginning to feel worthless, because there is no need for him to exist. The world won’t be different without him. In this story, Jason will be forced to deal with a moment in his life where he will have to regain his confidence, and challenge himself to accomplish something important (I don’t know what yet, unfortunately). You see, what I want to show with Jason is that only he himself, has the power to fix his problems.

The reason why I want to write a story about a character like this is because I feel that at my age, most people have to make a decision of what you want to do with your life. While Jason is an extreme example, I feel that I relate to him because of this. I want to be a filmmaker. I know that it will not be easy and that I will struggle with some hardships, but I will persevere in order to do what I love. For me, taking that step to becoming a filmmaker was scary, but I have accepted it. Taking that next step is the main inner struggle that both me and Jason face. The only difference between me and Jason however is that he hates himself for not achieving his main goal yet.

Older Entries