On trial: Does the hero (and/or villain) get to have a little fun at this point, in a way that exemplifies the appeal of the concept?
Why it was added: It’s tricky. I never set out to craft an entirely new structure. At first I was just tweaking others’ models, and this is one step that appeared in others’ lists that I agreed with, so I didn’t give it much thought.
How do the checklist movies answer this question?
- Alien: Yes, we enjoy the gory deaths, the creeping dread and final reveal of the creature.
- An Education: Very much so. They have delightful trips to Oxford and Paris.
- The Babadook: We get traditional horror movie things: the book shows back up, scary phone calls. The Babadook is toying with his prey.
- Blazing Saddles: He enjoys bamboozling them, and makes a friend in the Waco Kid.
- Blue Velvet: Yes, he enjoys his voyeurism, and even gets to have sex with his target.
- The Bourne Identity: Yes, he discovers what a badass fighter and driver he is.
- Bridesmaids: Bridesmaids bond somewhat.
- Casablanca: Not Rick, who’s miserable, but we do get a long flashback to happier times here, so the audience gets some relief from Rick’s misery.
- Donnie Brasco: Yes. Has a lot of amusing conversations, bonds with Lefty, feeds the lion.
- Do the Right Thing: Yes, he has fun with Vito, Senor Love Daddy, etc.
- The Fighter: They have a strong relationship.
- The Fugitive: Just a little tiny bit, when he jokes with the cop in the first hospital “Every time I look in the mirror, pal”
- Groundhog Day: He gets in car chases, steals money, seduces his boss.
- How to Train Your Dragon: Loves first flight with the dragon.
- In a Lonely Place: The hero has some fun, but the concept remains vague and we get no genre thrills.
- Iron Man: He loves flying around with the armor.
- Raising Arizona: They love having the kid.
- Rushmore :He has a lot of fun. His Serpico play is hilarious.
- The Shining: In horror movies, it’s usually the villain who has fun at this point (which the audience enjoys and the heroes hate) but this is more like a standard movie: Jack seems to do well here, (but we later find out he was faking it all). Danny definitely has fun here, big wheeling around and going through maze is fun for both he and Wendy.
- Sideways: Not at this point, but it happens in the first and third quarter, with lots of beautiful driving and drinking montages.
- Silence of the Lambs: She flirts with moth guys, shows some people up, seems to get good value out of Lecter.
- Star Wars: Fun lightspeed effect, actual fun and games with chess game, lightsaber practice.
- Sunset Boulevard: Yes, as in a horror film, the villain has fun instead of the hero, and the audience enjoys that.
The verdict: I don’t know. It doesn’t fit but I’m loath to cut it. I leave it up to you! What do I do?