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PAT AND MIKE (2022)


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A note from the author of this thread: The thread to follow is quite unlike any other I have ever posted before, and I am aware that it is A DEMANDING TASK that I am laying out for those of you who chose to read on.

A note to THE MODERATORS from The Author of this thread: this is a thread that is about both SCREENWRITING and A CLASSIC MOVIE, and as such, if you could see fit TO LEAVE IT IN THE GENERAL DISCUSSIONS, THAT WOULD BE LOVELY as I NEVER wander to OFF-TOPIC CHIT CHAT or any of the other forums because I am a freak and a creature of habit. In return, I promise to watch my language.

I'm going to cut to the chase and get right to it- for the past several months I have been at work on a very very very loose adaptation of the 1952 MGM motion picture PAT AND MIKE.

I have done this of my own volition and without permission, so anyone who wants to send me a cease and desist- go right ahead.

if I complete it (and I am 120 pages into it thus far, although it needs  A LOT OF EDITING) it'll be my fourth screenplay.

don't worry, NO ONE is interested.

...and honestly, I am struggling with it right now for a variety of reasons- one of which IS NOT "writer's block"- which I sadly have not ever suffered from (numerous other people have, on the other hand, suffered from my LACK of writer's block, MARCEL PROUST and I have that in common I like to think.)

I am an introverted person with an introverted life and, truth is, I don't know what to do with this if and when i do finish it...

but the thing is, i feel a need to share and to get feedback- constructive and otherwise- and i could really use some guidance and/or encouragement as well.

so.

what follows this is a VERY DETAILED PLOT SUMMARY OF MY STORY, which I do not completely give away (still keeping the ending to myself) for those of you who DARE, please feel free to read the synopsis to follow, which I am going to be DICKENSIAN about and post in installments.

also, those of you who have seen the 1952 film and are kind enough to read my summary, I think you will see just how liberal the adaptation is (suggested by would maybe be a better way of putting it)

sigh.

so, here we go: those who make it though, lemme know what you think, and there are quite a few of you whose opinions I value greatly.

 

 

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Dramatis Personae

 

Robert Patrick “Pat” Pemberton (22)- A hopelessly left-brained, highly artistic individual who just happens to be  really good  at golf.

 

Mike Conovan (30ish)- a former PGA Coach.

 

The Right Honorable Collier Pemberton- Pat’s Father, a Superior Court Judge and the President of the Lynnfield Country Club.

 

Davis Hucko- the golf course manager at The Lynnfield Country Club and a good friend to Pat.

 

Ben Dixon- a retired sports legend and local hero, former MLB Baseball player, host of the eponymous BEN DIXON INVITATIONAL held in SOUTHERN PINES, NC.

 

“Nephew”/Chris/ Deonte- Ben Dixon’s 20 year old nephew.

 

Dr. John Harvey- the rarest of specimens, a well-beloved Brother-in-Law (to Mike.)

 

Mother Pemberton- Pat’s Mother

 

George and Sylvie Tier- husband and wife Country Club board members.

 

Christian Kelley- A Rat Bastard. Currently ranked 16th at Men’s Golf in the US.

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Lynnfield, North Carolina, May of 2018

 

 

PAT PEMBERTON-22-dropped out of college 16 months ago.

 

His father- JUDGE COLLIER PEMBERTON- the President of the Lynnfield Country Club- got PAT a job on the GOLF COURSE GREENS CREW- thinking that the manual labor and early morning hours would send his son SCREAMING back to school- unfortunately (for the Judge), PAT loves it, gets along extremely well with his coworkers- especially the COURSE MANAGER DAVIS HUCKO- and has in recent months taken on many of the responsibilities of the chief greenskeeper since the regular guy has been laid up with an ulcer.

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One early morning in May….

c7e4593685957c59854c0f1c9bee52ff.jpg"The Calla lillies are in bloom again..."

PAT is called into THE PRO SHOP before 7:00 am and is informed by HUCKO that BEN DIXON is coming to play within the hour as a guest of a member.  Pat has NO IDEA who BEN DIXON is and a perplexed HUCKO informs him that he is a retired Major League outfielder who helped Atlanta win the World Series with a Pinch Hit 15 years earlier. Since retiring from baseball- DIXON has become a MAJOR FORCE in the world of GOLF, sponsoring players, attending tournaments and even hosting his own eponymous INVITATIONAL IN SOUTHERN PINES every JULY which has become a hot ticket for up and coming amateurs and pro players.

PAT’S FATHER,  JUDGE COLLIER PEMBERTON  then shows up at the pro shop and informs PAT that he needs him RIGHT AWAY to fill in for his Mother and play a MATCH GAME  with GEORGE AND SYLVIE TIER- a wealthy HUSBAND AND WIFE BOARD MEMBERS with whom the Judge is obliged to play as part of his duties as CLUB PRESIDENT.

Pat informs his father that HE IS NOT THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THIS JOB, to which THE JUDGE responds that he is well aware of that, but PAT’S MOTHER cancelled abruptly and there is absolutely NO ONE ELSE he can get on short notice. (he’s tried)

PAT obliges, after being warned by both HUCKO and THE JUDGE that SYLVIE TIER is a handful. Or as HUCKO puts it:

 “Dude, she’s A BEAST.”

Before he leaves, THE JUDGE asks his son what his golf handicap is, to which PAT replies:

“Father, I don’t know. I’ve never taken the time to figure it out. It involves math and you know how I am about math….”

THE JUDGE- who has never seen his son play- puts him down as a 24 handicap, but HUCKO- to the irritation of PAT- informs THE JUDGE that PAT is more like a “4” handicap.

 

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Introducing Mike

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As PAT goes home to change, he passes two men meeting up in the parking lot- DR. JOHN HARVEY- a local endodontist- and his brother-in-law MIKE CONOVAN a very handsome, bearded man of 30.

In the ensuing conversation between the two [which unfolds as MIKE coaches his brother-in-law on his golf swing on the driving range], it is revealed that JOHN HARVEY and MIKE are meeting up with BEN DIXON and DIXON’S 20 year old NEPHEW for what is ostensibly a round of golf- but in fact, MIKE- a former PGA COACH who has been to rehab for cocaine- is in  need of a coaching job. JOHN HARVEY grew up across the river with and has remained good friends with BEN DIXON  (who is playing as his guest this morning) and is hoping to find the right time to ask DIXON if he knows of any coaching positions MIKE would be right for.  

 

 

 

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A Meeting with Mother Pemberton and Dixon Remembers Hucko

 

PAT goes home to change and runs into HIS MOTHER, who informs him that she thinks his father- a hopeless alcoholic- has been drinking again.

She also thanks him for playing for her and hands him a check and warns him about SYLVIE TIER being “a real copper bottom b1tch” to put up with.

BACK AT THE COUNTRY CLUB: DIXON and his NEPHEW meet up with MIKE and JOHN HARVEY just as PAT and THE JUDGE meet up with THE TIERS for their 7:20 Tee Time.

In seeing BEN DIXON AND HIS NEPHEW- who are both Black- in the distance (not within earshot) GEORGE TIER uses a racial slur before he and SYLVIE  head off for the first hole.

THE JUDGE implores his indignant son to let it go because THE TIERS are important people and that there are just certain things in life that have to be tolerated, to which PAT replies “is that so, Your Honor?”

MEANWHILE, HUCKO comes out to welcome DIXON and his nephew, and DIXON remembers HUCKO from the Q-School qualifiers 8 years earlier (note: Q SCHOOL is where the men who go on to play for the PGA TOUR compete for a limited spot) HUCKO- hoping to get his PGA card- bogied on the 18th hole, placing just out of the line-up. In a rage upon realizing he had lost the spot, HUCKO hit himself in the head with a fiberglass nine iron so hard he bent the shaft.

Everyone present is astounded to hear this as they all know HUCKO to be an extremely calm and friendly  guy

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Two Utterly Miserable Games of Golf

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On the very FIRST HOLE with his DAD and THE TIERS watching, the head of PAT’S BELOVED WOODEN DRIVER “LUCILLE” breaks off and everything goes downhill from there. Not only does he play SOME OF THE WORST GOLF HE HAS EVER PLAYED in his LIFE- SYLVIE  will NOT stop offering endless advice on his game.

She also keeps talking all kinds of trash about THE COURSE- which is a 100 year old DONALD ROSS-designed original- quietly offending THE HELL out of Pat, who prides himself on keeping it in such good shape.

Meanwhile, behind the TIER/PEMBERTON PARTY the HARVEY/DIXON PARTY are pressing on with their game. MIKE takes a liking to DIXON’S NEPHEW, who says his name is CHRIS, and begins encouraging him- which is needed, because DIXON is a constant ***hole to his nephew and obviously makes the boy nervous and (almost deliberately) wrecks his game by CASTING THE EVIL EYE OF DISAPPROVAL UPON HIM whenever he can.

In an aside to JOHN HARVEY before they hit the course, DIXON reveals that his sister has STRONGARMED HIM into letting “her baby” CHRIS (the nephew) play in HIS INVITATIONAL.

DIXON confides to JOHN HARVEY that he doesn’t have the time to work with the boy- but someone needs to, because he is gonna get massacred playing against the guys coming to Southern Pines this year- which includes some of the top names in GOLF (**Note, I know this is factually inaccurate and unless an invitational is sponsored by THE PGA, PGA players cannot attend, but allow me to bend the truth a little.]

JOHN HARVEY tells DIXON that his brother-in-law MIKE would be perfect for the job- mentioning MIKE has coached a rising star player by the name of CHRISTIAN KELLEY.

This triggers DIXON’S MEMORY and he informs JOHN HARVEY that he recalls MIKE being involved with DRUGS (and that he is friends with THE KELLEY FAMILY)  and that there is NO CHANCE he will EVER have someone like that work with his nephew (or for him) PERIOD.

After getting excited at the chance of coaching THE NEPHEW (with whom he has built a rapport)- MIKE is quietly heartbroken when JOHN HARVEY takes him aside and lets him know what DIXON has just told him.

 

 

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BLOW UP ON THE FIFTH HOLE

 

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The two parties have proceeded slooooooooooowly to the FIFTH HOLE, in large part because SYLVIE has taken up so much time in giving PAT “lessons”and GEORGE thinks having the first tee time of the day means that you don’t have to let ANYONE play through.

 

 THE DIXON/HARVEY PARTY is waiting on the path, having called HUCKO to see if he can talk the TIERS into letting them play through.

 

HUCKO arrives to try and negotiate the situation with an irate GEORGE TIER and JUDGE PEMBERTON- who is trying to diffuse the situation.

 

UP ON The MEN’S TEES (away from all this), Sylvie reveals to Pat that- at the end of the summer- THE ENTIRE COURSE AT LYNNFIELD IS TO BE TORN OUT AND COMPLETELY REDESIGNED  (“we’ve hired the same man who did THE PRESIDENT’S club in Florida, isn’t that wonderful? We’re finally going to have a REAL COURSE!””

 

As you can imagine, PAT is not happy about this IN THE LEAST LITTLE BIT, informing SYLVIE that there is nothing wrong with the course and that it does not need to be redesigned.

 

SYLVIE then tells PAT :

 

Well Hunny, it looks like you know ‘bout as much about course design as you do playin the game!”

 

That tears things good and proper.

 

PAT proceeds to TEE UP A DOZEN BALLS IN A STRAIGHT LINE as a bewildered SYLVIE watches.

PAT snatches his FATHER’S TOP OF THE LINE TITANIUM DRIVER and proceeds to hit A SERIES OF PERFECT, LINE-STRAIGHT, MASSIVELY LONG  DRIVES one after the other in rapid succession- the last few absolutely sizzle out of sight.

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Everyone present (save Hucko who has played with PAT countless times and knows how good he is)- IS STUNNED at what they have just witnessed.

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Pat and Mike Run Across the River

 

PAT HIJACKS HUCKO’S MAINTENANCE CART in order to escape the scene.

 

Before he knows what is going on, MIKE HOPS IN THE SEAT BESIDE HIM and they drive off together.

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PAT AND MIKE instantly click upon meeting- with PAT venting to MIKE about what he has just learned is set to happen to his beloved course and MIKE letting PAT know about his recently busted job search.

On something of a whim, they decide to venture across the river to play a game of golf.

On the way, MIKE tells PAT how he was a PGA coach-, and how he is on PROBATION for trying to board an airplane with a small amount of cocaine in his carry-on A YEAR AGO.

 He also tells him how he worked for a year and a half with A HIGHLY RANKED 25 YEAR OLD PGA GOLFER BY THE NAME OF CHRISTIAN KELLEY. PAT instantly recognizes that name and confesses to MIKE that he hates “that kid” because he watched him play  in THE PISMO OPEN recently and all the kid did was complain in his exit interview about the sand in the bunkers being uneven, “and that doesn’t scan with me, because that course was PRISTINE.”.

 MIKE:“I was with Chris for about a year and a half

 PAT: I’m sure he has some kind of redeemable, intangible quality that didn’t come across at all on the tv that day…”-

 

 

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A SURPRISE INVITATIONAL INVITATION

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 While playing with MIKE, PAT gets a phone call from HUCKO with some doubly surprising news:

It seems that not only is PAT not fired but also he has BEEN INVITED TO PLAY THIS JULY AT THE BEN DIXON INVITATIONAL by THE BEN DIXON HIMSELF.

(it seems that once PAT fled the scene, the entire party went in search to see how far PAT’S DRIVES went, and the furthest one was 388 yards out.)

PAT’S surprise gives way to a bit of a gut-punch when HUCKO informs him that- in his opinion- PAT should say “no” to the invite.

The Dixon Invitational is open to the top 150 in the US as well as the winners of all the majors and amateurs. PAT may be 10 under par on Lynnfield-but, says Hucko-

“but these guys LIVE,  BREATHE and S*** GOLF”

“Oh. Well. I don’t know that I’m willing to go that far”- says PAT

besides, 4 million people watch this thing on ESPN. Also, Pat has played 99% of his game on the LYNNFIELD COURSE with a set of wooden clubs from Sears- the driver to which is now headless.

And they have such little time to train…

Pat understands and hangs up, only to have HUCKO call back IMMEDIATELY to let PAT  know that he’s every bit as good as any one of those guys, if he only had the time and the training and the equipment to get really ready by JULY.

 PAT tells HUCKO that he loves him and the conversation ends.

PAT then tells MIKE about the news he has just received- MIKE has the exact opposite reaction to HUCKO- he is thrilled for PAT and IRATE at the very notion of PAT saying “no” to the invite

MIKE then asks PAT to indulge him and- for the next thirteen holes- pretend that PAT is a PGA GOLFER and MIKE is his CADDY. He also tells PAT that if he comes in at or below PAR for the next 13 holes, he has no choice but to say “yes” to the DIXON INVITATIONAL.

PAT almost makes good, but BOGIES on the 18th, coming in one over PAR.

MIKE proceeds to inform him that he is aware of the terms, but nonetheless, PAT has no choice but to ACCEPT THE INVITATION TO PLAY anyway.

 MIKE then informs PAT that he will gladly train him for free, but they will need SOME BIG MONEY (and time) to travel up and down North and South Carolina so as to play as MANY DIFFERENT GOLF COURSES AS POSSIBLE in preparation for the Invitational. Also, they’re going to need to stay in PINEHURST for A WEEK before the Tournament.

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THE PARKING LOT OF THE LIQUOR STORE ACROSS THE RIVER

Riding back into town, PAT  confesses to MIKE that he has a huge crush on HUCKO- who is deeply, deeply heterosexual and MIKE confesses to PAT that was actually in a relationship (now ended) with CHRISTIAN KELLEY (his student.)

JUST THEN, AS THEY START TO PASS THE LIQUOR STORE, PAT spots HIS FATHER coming out with a brown paper bag.

PAT pulls over and PAT and THE JUDGE proceed to have an ENORMOUS FIGHT IN THE LIQUOR STORE  PARKING LOT wherein THE JUDGE confesses he is HURT that his son never told him how good he was at golf.

PAT- “well, Father, you never asked.”

 

This ends what I have actually written out (120 pages!)

 

But I have pretty much outlined the rest of the story:

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In the coming days:

 

SYLVIE TIER approaches PAT and apologizes. She also writes him a check for $5,000 to train, prepare and travel for the BEN DIXON INVITATIONAL .

 

JUDGE PEMBERTON does a background check on MIKE and learns he is on PROBATION And, he does not want PAT to train with him.

 

HUCKO confesses to PAT that he cannot train PAT for a variety of reasons- but largely because the idea of being anywhere NEAR “that world” fills him with PROFOUND anxiety and turns him into a raging monster. PAT confesses it’s okay.

f73c5f026c8a084a5e51984f77de6bc3.jpg

PAT AND MIKE begin to train together.

MIKE is approached by DIXON’S NEPHEW, whose name is actually DEONTE (his Uncle Ben insists he say his name is “Chris” when he’s at THE COUNTRY CLUB so as to not freak out the white people)

 DEONTE asks if MIKE will train him for the invitational as well and MIKE agrees.

MIKE’S probation ends up being SIGNED OFF ON  BY JUDGE PEMBERTON- with the provision that if anything happens to his son, MIKE will regret it DEEPLY.

PAT, MIKE and DEONTE  then embark on their motor tour of THE GREAT golf courses of North and South Carolina.

One night in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,, MIKE confesses to PAT that the cocaine in his luggage actually belonged to and was placed there [unbeknownst to him]  by CHRISTIAN KELLEY- MIKE agreed to take the fall because he did, in fact, have a drug problem that he needed to take care of- he also felt a terrible sense of guilt for having an affair with one of his students.Once MIKE took the fall, CHRISTIAN DUMPED HIM,  hired a new coach, and has NOT SPOKEN WITH HIM SINCE.  He is currently 16th in the world.

As a result of this, A HEARTBROKEN MIKE is extremely wary of getting involved with anyone, especially a student of his (ie PAT) and one so young. He insists therefore on NUTHIN FUNNY GOIN ON BETWEEN THEM.

Pat agrees, but nonetheless remains hopelessly in love with MIKE.

PAT AND MIKE AND DEONTE then ARRIVE IN SOUTHERN PINES to play in THE BEN DIXON INVITATIONAL, drama being added by the attendance of CHRISTIAN KELLEY, PAT’S PARENTS and, THE BEN DIXON, and DEONTE’S MOTHER.

 

What happens then? Well, that’s the play, and you wouldn’t want me to give it away….. 

 

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14 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Before he leaves, THE JUDGE asks his son what his golf handicap is, to which PAT replies:

“Father, I don’t know. I’ve never taken the time to figure it out. It involves math and you know how I am about math….”

Missed opportunity for Pat to win audience early with a laugh. How about something more clever but in the same vein like, "No handicap, all parts in working order"

14 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

MIKE- a former PGA COACH who has been to rehab for cocaine- is in  need of a coaching job.

Good- like this believable bend to the story.

14 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

THE JUDGE confesses he is HURT that his son never told him how good he was at golf.

PAT- “well, Father, you never asked.”

Another opportunity for a clever answer. Pat has to be completely lovable, not just a good golfer. You have to be wondering WHY Mike isn't smitten with Pat, if the audience is charmed by him. Tension.

Just my 2¢. As you know, I've edited a lot of galleys & screenplays professionally.  I'd be happy to proof yours once it's a 2 hour screenplay.

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Best of luck on your screenplay!  I love stories with interesting characters and clever dialogue aimed at adults like this one.  I'm not a fan of many recent films that are heavy on special effects and light on being interesting stories.  I'm not a writer so I can't comment on what you've written but I love your direction.

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I'm loving it!  I'm  hoping that at some point Mike looks at Pat and says that there's not much there, but what there is, is cherce.  Or some contemporary  variation of that.😸 

Have you mentally done the casting yet?  Who's playing the leads?   I would love Deonte's mother to be one of the many fine comedic actresses, with lines to suit.

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8 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

[IN RE: THE JUDGE asking PAT what his handicap is] Missed opportunity for Pat to win audience early with a laugh. How about something more clever but in the same vein like, "No handicap, all parts in working order"

Just my 2¢. As you know, I've edited a lot of galleys & screenplays professionally.  I'd be happy to proof yours once it's a 2 hour screenplay.

and worth much more than 2 cents!

I actually had a line in reply to THE JUDGE asking PAT what his handicap was where he said something very much like that, BUT as I have learned MORE ABOUT GOLF as i write this (and I have A LOT TO LEARN) I have had to correct some things. I don't think I mentioned this in my synopsis, but PAT AND HUCKO have played THE COURSE AT LYNNFIELD over a hundred times together in the 18 months since PAT started working there, and THERE'S NO WAY PAT- idiot savante though he may be- would not TOTALLY KNOW what his handicap was immediately from having played one course as often like that(- a handicap is how many attempts it takes the golfer to get the ball from the tees into the hole, averaged out for the whole course and PAT would just know this from having played the course so often, he also would just know what a handicap was from playing with Hucko so much.)

The real point of the exchange (which later becomes apparent) is that PAT is lying to his father so he does not have to tell him that his handicap playing the course at LYNNFIELD is a -10, meaning someone really good should be able to play all 18 holes in 88 strokes and Pat can do it in 78.

but he does not want his DAD to know this, so HUCKO compromises and steps in and offers that "4" is a better handicap for PAT.

 

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56 minutes ago, AndreaDoria said:

I'm loving it!  I'm  hoping that at some point Mike looks at Pat and says that there's not much there, but what there is, is cherce.  Or some contemporary  variation of that.😸 

Have you mentally done the casting yet?  Who's playing the leads?   I would love Deonte's mother to be one of the many fine comedic actresses, with lines to suit.

thank you.

i thought about the "cherce" line, but I just don't see it working in the 21st century.

one thing i have not mentioned is that the FIRST SCRIPT I WROTE is set in CZECHOSLOVAKIA in 1935, and the other two are also set in the fictional town of LYNNFIELD, NORTH CAROLINA, but they both take place in 1961 (they have nothing to do one with another otherwise though.)

i am having a bit of an odd time when it comes to

this is set in 2018

1. introducing cell phones into the story, which i have to do

and

2. introducing pop culture and political references that are current.

continued below...

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and I am also not entirely comfortable writing black characters as I am very very white, but i am doing my best.

i have no casting ideas, but (odd as this may sound) when I write BEN DIXON, I legit imagine him as LOUIS GOSSETT JR as CALVIN BOUCHARD in JAWS 3-D, which if you have seen the movie, you know it's a unique performance.

i also took the idea of BEN DIXON referring to his nephew (CHRIS/DEONTE) as "NEPHEW" from JAWS 3-D.

I actually try to work in little homages to JAWS 3-D in all my works.

I AM AN ODD PERSON.

 

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as for what i am keeping from thE 1952 PAT AND MIKE- the answer is VERY LITTLE.

although i like the line about learning to "lick" yourself, and i am thinking of using the last lines of the film, but not as the last lines of this. also gone are the tennis scenes and the mafia connections.

i am, however, obviously using (a differently worded and less physical version) of the scene below (PAT is nowhere near as rude to SYLVIE as KATHARINE HEPBURN is to PHYLLIS POVAH in this clip)

[and PAT would NEVER throw his club at the end!]

 

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4 hours ago, Toto said:

Best of luck on your screenplay!  I love stories with interesting characters and clever dialogue aimed at adults like this one.  I'm not a fan of many recent films that are heavy on special effects and light on being interesting stories.  I'm not a writer so I can't comment on what you've written but I love your direction.

thank you!

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also, as aforementioned, i have had to learn A LOT about GOLF in the writing of this (and there is still SO MUCH I DO NOT KNOW) so if any of you GOLFERS OUT THERE SEE ANYTHING I GOT WRONG OR THAT DOES NOT PASS A SMELL TEST WITH YOU, PLEASE PLEASE LEMME KNOW.

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15 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

(PAT is nowhere near as rude to SYLVIE as KATHARINE HEPBURN is to PHYLLIS POVAH in this clip)

[and PAT would NEVER throw his club at the end!]

But that's what makes the scene funny while endearing the charactor to the audience. I absolutely think that's what's missing in modern films- likable charactors that do outrageous things we'd LIKE to say or do, but aren't nearly that clever.

Most romantic comedies I'm seeing, the charactors are pretty bland & "everyday", not much more interesting than regular, real life.

"What's your handicap?"

"Handicap? I have NONE (looking down) all parts work PERFECTLY!" (or "savagely well" if British)

Most of the best romantic comedy screenplays I've read have had some contribution from actual comedy writers since most of us aren't that clever. Dargo?

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