Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 2: Lines

The instructions for the exercise today, again from A Writer's Workbook, is to write down the name of 25 movies. Just--whatever movies come to mind. Then I'm supposed to describe the movie in one sentence. (Can be long, but no "Charles Dickens-type 250-word epics.") The point of the exercise is, apparently, plot--to look at the big picture.

10 minutes, go.

1. French Kiss : A woman follows her ex-fiancee after he breaks up with her to try and find him in Paris to make him come back to her, in the process find and falling in love with a Frenchman.
2. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Set in frontier Oregon, a man named Adam meets and marries a girl named Millie in the same day, which sets the stage for his 6 younger brothers to want wives of their own, which they decide to do by kidnapping the six girls that they like and keeping them for the winter--all ends happily ever after when they're all in love by spring.
3. IQ: A mechanic falls in the love with Albert Einstein's neice and he enlists her uncle's help in making him look smart so that she'll fall in love with him as well.
4. While You Were Sleeping: A misunderstanding leads to a family believing that the girl who saved their son's life is his fiancee, and while he's in a coma she falls in love with his brother; hilarity ensues when the original man comes out of his coma and proposes, but it all gets straightened out in the end.
5. Mona Lisa Smile: A new teacher comes to a conservative girl's college and is seen as a radical for teaching modern art and modern lifestyle theories; she tries to teach the girls to imagine their lives as other than wives and mothers, but has to realize that she has changed their lives even if they still choose that path.
6. Bambi: A baby deer is born, grows, loses his mother to a hunter, and eventually lives to be the prince of the forest with his father.
7. Karate Kid: After moving to California and becoming the victim of bullies, a young man is mentored by a Japanese maintenance man to learn karate and defeat his enemies in a regional competition.
8. Better Off Dead: A young man is so sad after his girlfriend breaks up with him that he find different ways to kill himself, but can't even be succesful at that; in the process he meets and becomes friends with a French foreign exchange student, and they eventually fall in love.
9. Ghandi: A man sets out to obtain independence for India through non-violent methods.
10. Dead Poet's Society: A teacher at a private school inspires his students through literature, but is considered a threat to the welfare of his students after one of them commits suicide.
11. Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy fall in love after, at first she thinks he is too proud and he he thinks she isn't good enough for him.
12. Bridget Jones' Diary : A girl keeps a diary for one year of her attempts to lose weight, quit smoking, and find a stable boyfriend.
13. My Big Fat Greek Wedding: A Greek-American young woman tries to keep the best of her cultural and family traditions when she decides to marry outside her culture.
14. Sleepless in Seattle: Two people on opposite sides of the country want to believe in the kind of romance that usually exists only in old movies and end up finding their true love.
15. Singin' in the Rain: A silent movie-star and his girlfriend save a talking picture by having the girlfriend do voice-over for the famous, but awful sounding, actress that plays opposite the boyfriend.
16. Brigadoon: A modern day man and his companion stumble into a centuries old Scottish village that only appears one day every 100 years and he falls in love with one of the town's residents and decides to stay.
17. The Italian Job: A bunch of thieves take revenge on a thief that betrayed them.
18. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Indiana Jones and his father try to keep the Holy Grail out of Nazi possession.
19. First Knight: The classic tale of King Arthur, his queen, and Sir Lancelot and how the betrayal of the queen and Lancelot brings the entire kingdom to it's knees.
20. The Queen: The story of Queen Elizabeth II and her family's reaction to the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
21. Charlotte's Web: A pig befriends a spider and she, in turn, saves his life.
22. Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce dedicates his life and time in parliament to eliminating England's involvement in the slave trade.
23. Napoleon Dynamite: An awkward teenager tries to get his friend elected to class president.
24. Narnia: Four children find their way to an enchanted world through an old wardrobe and fight for good against evil, which ends in them becoming prince and princesses in this world.
25. Lord of the Rings : The journey of a small creature called a Hobbit and his companions as they try to destroy an evil ring.

Thoughts on this exercise...

This one wasn't as much fun as yesterdays, but it got easier as I went along. I realized that I could really sum up most plots very quickly if I left the "story" out of it. Most of them seem to be A does B and accomplishes C. Plot is something I worry about with my writing because plot is what makes a story, a story. It has to be cohesive. It has to have a point. I wonder if I have enough imagination and skill to put together a plotline that will draw in and involve. But when I looked at plot in these simple terms, I thought, "Okay. So I need to come up with a basic plot line, and I can add to it from there." For some reason, I'd never thought of trying to do it this way.


Mandi said...

I'm not sure how, but I KNEW you're first film would be "French Kiss." I can still hear you..."You people make my ass twitch."

Becca said...

Making this list made me feel pretty shallow for that reason actually. It's a list, mostly, of movies that critics hated and have little or no moral value whatsoever. *laughing*