Here’s another list, via Brandywine Books: the 101 "best" screenplays as selected by the members of the Writers Guilds of America (East and West). Cue a lot of US screenplays, inevitably — with the odd UK effort sneaked in (eg Shakespeare in Love).
The list starts with 101, Notorious; 100, Memento; 99, The Wild Bunch; 98, The Grapes of Wrath; the Sixth Sense weighs in at no. 50; and the inevitable top 4 (in reverse order) are Citizen Kane, Chinatown, The Godfather and Casablanca. Nothing unpredictable, then. The list does not seem to distinguish between original screenplays and adaptations of books, plays and the like.
The WGA has provided a table of the "top 25" films (in alphabetical order) with links to biographies of the writers and "film facts" for each one. You don’t get a link to the screenplays themselves, but you can find some scripts on the web. I once watched a rented copy of "The Village" which was damaged into unwatchability after the first half, apart from odd snatches here and there. The movie was certainly not good enough to re-order and watch again, so I read the script to find out what happened in the famous "plot twist" at the end. I was not much the wiser when I had finished, but I appreciated the option of not having to sit through the movie again. (Note: despite the rest of the movie, the actress Bryce Dallas Howard was very good in it, I thought.)
P.S. I thought I read the script on the IMDB (Internet Movie Database) collection, but when I looked just now there was no script collection there. Either I have misremembered or the IMDB has a script collection but has put it behind a firewall or similar.
I did not see "The Village," but one of my brothers worked on the crew & had various funny tales that I feel it would be indiscreet to repeat here. But the stuff I really liked hearing about was the excessive Hollywood-style spending on the buildings and set-up–in spite of that ‘twist’, for instance, they got all these specially bred ‘heritage’ chickens and farm animals and stuff, at huge expense, from people who apparently are devoted to reproducing now-vanished breeds for this sort of purpose….
Sounds intriguing! Must catch up with you on the details sometime!
I did like "the Sixth Sense" very much; quite liked the Bruce Willis/Philadelphia follow-up (forget title — not "unforgiven" but something like that), did not like "Signs" all that much (film not too bad, denouement silly); and thought the Village simply amateur in all respects.
It was exactly as you say, Jenny –attention to illogical details at the expense of dramatic pace, narrative, etc; and apparently there are lots of bloopers of items they missed eg steel beams, via the various websites I found on my search for the screenplay (can’t say I noticed, but I’m not the kind of person who watches a movie looking for errors!).
"Unbreakable" is the actual name, but I have several times accidentally referred to it as "Unspeakable"!
Thanks for popping over and it is a pleasure to link to you. I am just starting to realise the true power of the blogosphere and we women (writers- because that’s what you do Maxine, so don’t sell yourself short) really should stick together!!
The Village was just all-around awful, by my standard … Especially disappointing because i thought Unbreakable was even better than the great Sixth Sense .. as for his upcoming Mermaid movie … I’ll have to be dragged screaming to that one