This speaks to a bigger problem with these scripts: everything is generic, not specific. Nowhere is this more clear than in the defining quality of this script: the violence. These scripts always have a lot of squishy, bizarre violence, and I could pick any (including ones that involve, yes, excrement), but let’s go with the first scene...
Both the original script and the finished movie begin with a later crisis and then flashback to the beginning, but the choices of scene are instructive. The opening scene of the screenplay plays like someone made a teen spoof called “Tarantino Movie”: Mel is called brought before a sinister but blasé mobster, who recommends the cheese from his local village in Sicily. Our cocky hero responds:
You could plug any lippy hero from any thriller into this scene. Compare this to the scene that begins the finished movie: The big moment of violence is when one man touches another man’s hair…and yet the impact is tenfold! We’re only five minutes in, and we already understand that a hair touch is worse for this guy than a mere stabbing. Write scenes that are specific to your characters!
Presented without comment, two actual lines from this screenplay:
- “Only the existentially terrified play to break even, Max.”
- “What'd you pulling the pit off Polk have to do with your family?”