Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

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  • asjah8
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

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  • roscoegino
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    Actually. I was responding to j on the Social Network post, but the answer is the same -- Yes.

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  • asjah8
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    Originally posted by roscoegino View Post
    Yup. Whipped up by a master -- Aaron Sorkin.
    perfect, thank you.

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  • roscoegino
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    Yup. Whipped up by a master -- Aaron Sorkin.

    LETHAL WEAPON -- going by memory and if it serves it's when Rog says to Riggs "If you go through tomorrow without killing me or yourself then I'll start trusting you." This is after the dinner scene that comes after Riggs saving Rog's life, so it makes sense that these guys are beginning to bond now. The play it by the book family man and the suicidal loner.

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  • asjah8
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    Originally posted by roscoegino View Post
    ... the midpoint in ABM is when Rosen tells Nash he's been imagining things. That's what I was referring to.
    @ rosco - i'm thinking you're describing the scene in rosen's office, when nash is in a wheelchair and "sees" charles sitting in the corner watching him. do i have the right one?

    @ jcgary - great breakdowns you've been giving, they've been very helpful.

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  • jcgary
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    Midpoint of Social Network:

    Mark runs in to Erica at the restaurant ("good luck with your video game") and then announces that they're going to expand beyond Harvard back at the dorm room. The little idea suddenly becomes a big company. The next scenes: the twins are pissed, seek help from Larry Summers to take down Mark, and Sean Parker ("There's a snake in your bed!") gets wind of the site and seeks out Mark and Wardo (bad guys close in perfection).

    Up until that point, the goal has been small, confined, narrow. Once the midpoint hits (it's a touch early -- the 53 minute mark), the movie goes from being about Mark seeking validity within the world of Harvard to Mark seeking success everywhere. It's as if the world of the movie suddenly blossoms, increasing exponentially with every new scene.

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  • roscoegino
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    Originally posted by MontanaHans View Post
    LOL @ Shot Across!

    The real loss was all that cask rum!

    I like the midpoint in THE LAST BOY SCOUT. Joe Hallenbeck and Jimmy Dix go to Joe's house and we see how fvcked up his home life is. There's a great moment when Jimmy comments on a photo and Joe says, "Yeah, I was a regular boy scout" or something like that. Then Jimmy heads to the bathroom for a shower where Joe catches Jimmy doing coke and he violently kicks Jimmy out of the house for a downer midpoint. Great fvckin movie.
    Probably the best scene in the film for me -- and it wasn't your generic action scene either.

    Overall, the film scored more as a "buddy" film than an action film, which is why the third act didnt work for me. Matter of fact everything after the nose to the brain bit felt like an action convention.

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  • roscoegino
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    I'm always amazed at how often the midpoint is the most memorable scene, and powers the rest of the script forward. Often just as the idea might have been getting stale.

    And that's the thing. It's rarely talked about and yet it's so important because now we're talking about sheer execution from here on out. The stuff that distinguishes the first rate from the mediocre.

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  • Bunker
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    I'm always amazed at how often the midpoint is the most memorable scene, and powers the rest of the script forward. Often just as the idea might have been getting stale.

    Midpoints:

    RAIDERS - Indy finds the Ark. (How many writers would have made the mistake of putting the "Well of Souls" scene in the 3rd act? Or even as late as the climax? VERY wise choice to put the Ark in their hands so early.)

    JURASSIC PARK - The T-Rex escapes. (The opposite of my comments for Raiders. By holding off on releasing the dinosaurs until the midpoint, as opposed to the Act I break, it allows us to enjoy the magic of the park without getting tired of seeing people run from monsters for 90 minutes like every other creature feature)

    BACK TO THE FUTURE - Marty realizes he's messed up his parent's marriage. (This twist carries the second half of the film and turns a "fish-out-of-water" story into something much bigger... and funnier.)

    ALIENS - Attack on the hive: FAIL. (A great swivel moment where the attackers suddenly find themselves hunkering down on the defensive.)

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  • MontanaHans
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    LOL @ Shot Across!

    The real loss was all that cask rum!

    I like the midpoint in THE LAST BOY SCOUT. Joe Hallenbeck and Jimmy Dix go to Joe's house and we see how fvcked up his home life is. There's a great moment when Jimmy comments on a photo and Joe says, "Yeah, I was a regular boy scout" or something like that. Then Jimmy heads to the bathroom for a shower where Joe catches Jimmy doing coke and he violently kicks Jimmy out of the house for a downer midpoint. Great fvckin movie.
    Last edited by MontanaHans; 03-09-2011, 09:41 AM.

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  • Shot Across the Bow
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    Originally posted by jcgary View Post
    It also has a great all-is-lost sequence, where Kiera and Johnny are stuck on the deserted island together.
    Yes, being stranded on a deserted island with Kiera Knightly & a hidden cache of rum would certainly suck. Oh, the horror.

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  • roscoegino
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    ABM midpoint ... SPOILER AHEAD












    the midpoint in ABM is when Rosen tells Nash he's been imagining things. That's what I was referring to.
    Last edited by roscoegino; 03-09-2011, 09:40 AM.

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  • jcgary
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    HEAT, the midpoint (dead center of the film -- everything revolves around it, it comes at the 1:30 mark of a 3 hour film) is the diner scene between DeNiro and Pacino. Classic.

    OCEAN'S 11, the midpoint comes a little early, the 50 minute mark. It's the scene with Danny & Tess in the restaurant.
    "Does he make you laugh?"
    "He doesn't make me cry."
    We should all aspire to dialogue that fantastic.

    PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, the midpoint is the scene in the cave of treasure where Geoffrey Rush uses Kiera Knightly's blood to try and break the curse and then she's saved by the elf and Johnny Depp.
    You wanna talk about everyone arcing? Every single character in that movie grows and changes. It also has a great all-is-lost sequence, where Kiera and Johnny are stuck on the deserted island together.

    THE RING, which is an exquisitely structured movie, has a great midpoint: the kid watches the videotape. Now Naomi isn't just trying to save herself, but she's trying to save her kid, too, and thematically the whole movie is about parents and children, making this a thematically perfect midpoint. I love the break-into-3 moment, too: it's where Naomi holds Samara's corpse in her hands deep down in the well and the corpse melts away, and she believes Samara has finally found closure and it's all over now. Poltergeist's break-into-3 moment is equally great: the mom and little girl are literally reborn, descending out of the hole covered in amniotic fluid and clutching an umbilical cord in the fetal position. The end of act 2 is always great for all your tunnel imagery, bathing in water, anything that suggests rebirth.

    I haven't seen A BEAUTIFUL MIND since I suffered through it in the theatre but I'm rather certain that the moment you guys are talking about isn't the midpoint, but rather the all-is-lost beat.

    Some ways to tell if something is the midpoint: often, it's where the stakes are raised or the story is irrevocably altered in some way. Often, it's a showdown or confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist (often called 'false,' but I don't like that categorization). Often, things start to go really really bad for the main character *after* that scene or sequence.

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  • nic.h
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    That starts with the scene with the baby in the bath, from memory. She goes out to his shed and sees the pasted walls...

    IMHO, one of the most startling, confronting and brilliantly executed reveals I've seen in film. The horror of seeing his madness, then remembering he's bathing their baby inside...

    God. I feel sick just thinking about it.

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  • asjah8
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    Re: Excellent Midpoints/Act 2s In Screenplays

    i'm not 100% sure, but i think it's when alicia (and we) realize for the first time that nash is truly schizophrenic; she goes to see his office, then after that she finds the old mansion with the mailbox full of letters; then after that she goes to see nash at the hospital to tell him that he's imagining everything. it went from a story about a persecuted genius to a story about a man with a tragically misunderstood mental illness.

    i'd really like to know if this is correct...?

    Leave a comment:

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