The Felixes

Or, the Anti-Oscars.TM

Original Screenplay 1998

Bulworth, Warren Beatty and Jeremy Pikser

PRO: View of senators as egotistical morons was a nice break from the news. Nice to see a political film not set 50-400 years in the past.

CON: You're so vain -- you probably think this joke is about you.

Life is Beautiful, Roberto Benigni and Vincenzo Cerami

PRO: The difficulty factor: movies about dying are easy, comedies are hard.

CON: Concentration camp-as-game metaphor done before in TV's "Hogan's Heroes." Where's Col. Klink?

Saving Private Ryan, Robert Rodat

PRO: Gives Tom Hanks a good-Oscar ready clip; and it was directed by Steven Spielberg, or did you forget?

CON: Movie's signature snippet "Earn This!" almost as annoying as "Show me the money!" Screenplay sometimes can't decide whether to be vicious or cloying.

Shakespeare in Love, Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman

PRO: Deft screenplay allows Paltrow to play both Romeo and Juliet; Stoppard brings British theatre credentials to lowly form of entertainment.

CON: Cleverer-than-thou attitude: Hey Tom - you're not in Mensa, so shut up. Also, Stoppard reportedly script-doctored the forthcoming "South Park" flick; no uses of the word "buggery."

The Truman Show, Andrew Niccol

PRO: Jim Carrey's life really is like that.

CON: If it's so original, why is there EdTV?

Adapted Screenplay 1998

Gods and Monsters, Bill Condon

PRO: makes Brendan Fraser a mildly complex oaf;

CON: Silly title; esoteric story that isn't really something people care about.

Out of Sight, Steven Soderbergh

PRO: Fits Albert Brooks, Steve Zahn and Ving Rhames into one movie, and keeps George Clooney from sounding too annoying.

CON: Genre piece that is more notable for acting and technical aspects than one word of dialogue. Dennis Farina shows up -- and doesn't get to curse. Memo to Steven: there's this gender called women. Heard of 'em?

Primary Colors, Elaine May

PRO: Convincing dialogue, especially the speechwriting; gives you the true feel of what a political campaign must be like.

CON: It must be pretty damn boring. The Graduate this ain't.

A Simple Plan, Scott B. Smith

PRO: Even more nihilistic than Affliction, and that's saying something. Convincing male and female leads (can you believe it?)

CON: Simply turning the screws on a somewhat standard noir isn't exactly original. Bill Paxton didn't ask if anyone wanted a nice, greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray.

The Thin Red Line, Terrence Malick

PRO: Gracefully examines unanswerable questions in a setting where they shouldn't be asked; finds serenity in a harsh environment; keeps the angry drill sergeant act to a minimum.

CON: Movie seems like eight different screenplays accidentally collated together; has no Russian roulette and no hookers. Forced, pseudo-existential narration sounds like the rantings of the Una-Bomber.

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