178 // Writing Mistakes In Hollywood

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Some people are good people; through and through they are good people. However, no matter how good of a person they are, sometimes things just don’t go their way. And if that doesn’t sound like the tagline of a 90s knock about comedy starring Adam Sandler I don’t know what will.

The reason such a stereotypical tagline is allowed to exist, is primarily because Hollywood knows no other reality than stereotypes. Despite worldwide internet access landing in the late 1990s, Hollywood writers’ only form of research is to vaguely imagine what something might have been like 50 years ago.

Then theres me, stereotyping Hollywood writers, but which also happens to exactly mirror reality in this case.

The writers, for their big movies though, often fall into common writing pitfalls. Whether that is the classics of cultural appropriation, condescending attitudes to disability, latent homophobia as a substitute for humour or the thoroughbred of lazy writing; ‘The White Mighty.’

The whitey mighty connotation is an old writing faux pas, where by the white lead character, who is white, goes into an unknown land as a white man, and infiltrates an unknown ethnic enclave. He, a white man, then proceeds to instantaneously learn their ways – but much better than them, because, well.. he is a white man. Then, the white man with his new skills, and new perspective, that he learned from the inferior race then proceeds to save them from some mess that he has caused. He then has sex with their most beautiful woman, because cultural and social dominance is not enough, he must be sexually superior than their race too.

Now, I am sure Eric Ryder* James Cameron was a well-meaning guy when he stole wrote the movie ‘Avatar’. I do suspect however, when he finished writing the screenplay, he got so excited he ran, screenplay in hand, down the hall and bumped into a beautiful lady carrying a stack of ‘Beware of the Whitey Mighty’ memos. In the love drunk confusion James Cameron proceeded to pick up the wrong paper! Can you believe it.

All I can say is that my well-meaning day was less denigrating and preposterous than James Cameron writing Avatar, and then bumping into a beautiful lady – that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen though.

I woke up with it all laid out. My whole day in front of me, no distractions, no plans and no mental issues, all I had to do was write and blog*. I’m not a statistician but I would put the days tasks at around a 30% completion rate right now. And for the mathematically challenged that is a 70% deficit, which is not an insignificant sum. As bad as the story of my day is though, it can only pale in comparison to the Avatar storyline, and I hope I did as good a job as James Cameron in convincing you that this was in fact a good blog post.

Paul Green

*James Cameron didn’t steal the screenplay from Eric Ryder (He did). He thought of the whole idea up himself, without any help from anyone (he didn’t).

*Because those two things are not the same I have realised.

 

 

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25 Comments

  1. Buffy Devane

    I’m sorry it’s not been the finest day today… though to borrow the final line from a quite well-known very old film, “Tomorrow is another day!” (Mind you, that was actually in the original novel, and not simply an invention of the screenwriter…)

    I used to just pretend that I’d seen ‘Avatar’, because everyone else had and I simply couldn’t drag myself to the cinema… now, from the sounds of it, I made the right choice all along. How wise of me. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Buffy Devane

            Most kind. Haha I did come up with it on my own… though I’m pretty sure it must’ve been said by others before, a number of times(!)
            I think you should just use it at the pub (or arena of your choice) and don’t attribute it to anyone. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  2. MoJo

    Crap writing (yes that’s the technical term) is a film killer, but I also can’t handle crap editing (repeat accurate terminology confirmation). Every element has to click or the whole film falls apart in my mind. Perhaps that has more to do with my hyperfixation on minor details… No. I’ve contemplated this for nanoseconds and have determined that if you are to the point of paying others boatloads of cash to portray your written word, it should not sound or look like shite (must I say it a third time??).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul Green

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve never seen a part of the world so famous for making movies, yet so scared of originality. Where cash is king, quality and originality will never reign. I won’t be expecting an improvement in editing, writing, directing… any time soon.

      Like

  3. unironedman

    Any creative process that has to pass through numerous committee stages is bound to suffer. Think of it like the digestive tract. It may have started out as a tasty idea but in the end…
    That’s why it’s no harm to watch Fight Club every now and then so. It’s not perfect, but in terms of Hollywood, it’s anarchy incarnate.
    So many of us watched Avatar because:
    1. We were told to. It had become a juggernaut of success, and that means you are dragged kicking and screaming to see it.
    2. It wasn’t that bad really. It was ripped off from a few different sources for sure, but it was essentially the same old trope about good v evil and rooting for the good guy. That, and a sub-text of ‘gosh darn it, we are actually just a little guilty about all the bad shit we did to the natives here in America’. And wow… look at all those pretty flowers, and the people are… blue.
    It was ground-breaking in its day as regards film-making but unlike some other sci-fi classics like Bladerunner, doesn’t seem to stand up to repeated viewing. I don’t see where they can go with the sequel that will improve the franchise. Is one film a franchise? I guess if it’s as big as Avatar, then yes. That’s enough blather from me. After all, I haven’t seen ET either…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. intenttowin

    When I watched Avatar I kept thinking about the Native Americans who were pushed out of their beautiful homes when the white man came from Europe. At the end, I told my husband that it was just like the story of the American Indians except in this story the Indians won. Such a sad part of our history.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thomas Edmund

    Ah the Mighty Whitey – I could be totally wrong but I think the problem arises not from Hollywood being full of white supremacists (hmmm) but a build up of typical MC Gary Stu type tropes without being mindful of the message that sends. I have to confess thought its scary how indoctrinated one becomes to this stuff, while I am very critical of Avatar on a number of levels it never actually occurred to me the ridiculousness of whathisname(?) being so much better than the people who actually did all the bird riding etc for a living.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. unironedman

      That’s coz the hero had to fulfil yet another role of being the foretold saviour in their mythology, so that gives the writers the perfect ‘out’. It allows Jake Sully, jarhead, to become the chosen one. You could argue Harry Potter performs the same role. Albeit without being blue. Bless his little cotton socks…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Paul Green

      I would certainly not base any decisions or future arguments on the information I provide, I do zero research and can’t vouch for anything. But where ever the lazy messages come from they should probably stop now. But then again who knows, maybe whtshisname just had a special talent for riding dragon looking things.

      Like

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