Southland Tales review 31 of 52.

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Let me start by reminding you that I never heard of the movie Southland Tales before I started this experiment.

I was a fan of the movie Donnie Darko, but I had only seen it one time in the theater when it first came out.

I’m a fan of movies in general and make my living doing grip and electric work for films while I try to figure out how to make it as a writer.

I just like the movies that I like, and don’t really follow who directed what, or who was influenced by whom, and every actor or actress that I’m a fan of is that one guy or girl from that one movie.

I am in no way a cinephile.

I’ve now seen Southland Tales 31 times (32 if you count the week that I watched the theatrical release and the Cannes Cut side by side) and just when I thought I was running out of material to write about, this week I fell in love with the world that Richard Kelly has created with new energy, and in a way that is as convoluted and confusing as the movie itself.

In last week review I posted this link to Southland Tales: The Prequel Sagathe feature length script for an animated prequel that will hopefully be made at some point in the future.

I read the graphic novels so I had expectations of what the storyline would be, but I had no idea how this information would play out on the screen.

Being that I had only read one other graphic novel in my life before reading the Southland Tales graphic novels, and have read countless screenplays I knew that I was going to get far more out of the script.

So on Sunday, September 15th and 1:30 in the pm, I sat down and read Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga.

I’m going to start out by admitting that if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve been so entrenched in this story for over half a year now I’m not sure how big of a fan of this script I would be, but here we’re are at week 31.

I loved this script.

Though it follows the story line of the graphic novels, the screenplay is able to go into more details in a way that I could clearly visualize.

After reading the script I was left with as many new questions as I had new answers.

Many of the scenes in this script are so close to the scenes in the graphic novels while at the same time being different enough to make you question whether or not this is yet another dimension in this bizarro world inhabited by the Rock, Stiffler, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I’m going to devote future reviews to comparing this three part script to the corresponding episodes of the graphic novel, but until then here are a couple things that I found.

  • Page 5 - I chuckled when I saw that George W. Bush shows up at the sand maze.
  • Page 7 - The dead monkeys from the experiment made it into the script!
  • Page 9 - I never really picked up on how important the Treet SUV was, and how it was a big deal that it was the SUV that the Rock’s body was found in until reading both the graphic novel and screenplay.
  • Page 10 - I know this happened early in the graphic novels just under different circumstances, but they set it up early that the UPU cops are quick to follow orders and kill on command.
  • Page 13 - Happy to see Booger has a bigger speaking role in this story.
  • Page 17 - In this version I’m a little confused if Krysta Now knows that the Rock has no memory because she’s psychic or if someone gave her this information.
  • Page 20 - Even this late in the game, I like how this script acknowledges modern technology. Fortunio, “We have to keep him away from the internet as long as possible. The second he Googles his name… he’s going to figure everything out.
  • Page 21 - In the graphic novel there were sections where we get to read excerpts from the script The Power (Krysta Now’s screenplay that is a blueprint for the end of the world.) I like the way this screenplay shows us The Power by having the Rock imagine himself in the role so that there’s this movie within a movie that is a blueprint for the overall movie.
  • Page 30 - There seems to be a focus on Native Americans that seems to disappear by the time we get to the actual movie Southland Tales.
  • Page 43 - I like that we learn that bleeders refer to time bleeding, and not just the fact that it’s a needle delivered drug.
  • Page 55 - When describing Krysta Now’s psychic ability, “I placed Ms. Now under hypnosis and read to her the entire book of Revelations… She chose to write her analysis in screenplay form. We believe that… while admittedly ridiculous… this screenplay is sort of a prophecy.”
  • Page 79 - The Rock gets every religious symbol tattooed on him and we are told that, “When the Messiah returns… da tattoo for da winning religion will bleed da blood of da serpant.” – Bai Ling
  • Page 90 - Teena blatantly plugs Full Throttle energy drink.
  • Page 102 - Seann William Scott describes the entire movie, “Serpents… lambs… archangels… beasts and whores. I can’t keep track of them all. It’s so complicated and insane.
  • Page 106 - Introduction of the Killers song (by the way I thought from day one that I would eventual hate the scene where Justin Timberlake randomly ends up in a music video for All These Things That I’ve Done, but for some reason I have yet to get sick of this scene.)
  • Page 112 - This part confuses me. We get the letters E A T R M A U R V E I N F K then learn it’s an anagram for Martin Kefauver, this is the kid who buys trades drugs with Justin Timberlake and ends up shooting the Mega Zeppelin with the rocket launcher. We learn this because Justin Timberlake figures it out, yet JT seems to have no name recognition for Martin when he is introduced by name later on in the actual movie Southland Tales.
  • Page 115 - I’m not sure how Teena knows about fart-pocalypse (After thinking about it, it does make sense that she would know about The Power script, but I’m not going to change this bit because I want to keep fart-pocalypse as part of my review.

After 31 weeks of this nonsense I have come to the conclusion that the best way to enjoy the movie Southland Tales is to become completely obsessed with it!

Then at 4:30 in the pm on Sunday September 15th I fired up the theatrical release of Southland Tales.

I forgot how great this movie is when you are really really high!

See you next week.

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.