Franklin Leonard released this year’s Black List, a weighted list of film executives’ ten favorite screenplays of the year. Previous Black List finalists have been since made into movies, including Looper, Chronicle, Juno, Lars And The Real Girl, 500 Days Of Summer, and Argo. As was our tradition last year and 2009, we’re going to summarize the picks.
Over 290 film executives voted on this year’s Black List. As usual, the winning scripts are loaded up with the Oscar bait of family reconciliation movies, cancer diagnoses, and non-fiction scripts based on historical events or people. Also, film executives seem to believe we want to see several movies about teenage boys trying to lose their virginity. There are few things I care about less than movies like that. I’d rather watch a lumbering drama about a soccer mom discovering Pinterest than see another damn wish-fulfillment movie about a self-entitled white teenager somehow getting with “the most popular girl in school”. How many times are they going to make that stupid movie?
This year’s Black List includes sixteen scripts which sound like sci-fi or supernatural fare. All sixteen are in various stages of production. You’ve probably already seen one of our posts about Black List scripts Transcendence starring Johnny Depp and Michael Bay’s Almanac, which seems suspiciously similar to Back To The Future 2. The finalists also include a guy with the Twitter handle Boner Mountain. It’s been quite a year.
Here are the sixteen which are relevant to our interests:
Story Of Your Life by Eric Heisserer (35 votes)
Based on the short story by Ted Chiang. When alien crafts land around the world, a linguistics expert is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.
Glimmer by Carter Blanchard (29 votes)
When three friends go missing on a camping trip in a forest rumored to be haunted, the two left behind discover clues that lead them to a safe deposit box containing video tapes… showing exactly what happened to their friends.
Shut In by Christina Hodson (23 votes)
A woman who tries to raise her catatonic son on her own suddenly discovers a shocking secret about him.
Americatown by Ben Poole (20 votes)
In a China-dominated near future, a former LAPD officer attempts to save his family from destitution in Los Angeles by working for a crime lord in the American ghetto within a thriving Hong Kong.
Man of Tomorrow by Jeremy Slater [AKA Boner Mountain!] (16 votes)
In an alternate 1940s reality, the US Government makes a deal with an indestructible gangster to kill Hilter in exchange for the city of Chicago, which he will build into his own utopia. Unfortunately his model city never comes to fruition and both he and his Bureau liaison get much of the slack for destroying one of America’s greatest cities and now the government wants him dead.
The Survivalist by Stephen Fingleton (14 votes)
Years after lack of resources result in much of the world’s population dying off, a survivalist is living on a farm alone until a woman and her seventeen year old daughter show up looking for cover.
The Disciple Program by Tyler Marceca (12 votes)
A man begins an investigation into his wife’s mysterious death, only to find that it goes much deeper than he imagined.
Our Name Is Adam by T.S. Nowlin (10 votes)
An astronaut travels back in time to enlist the help of his younger self.
The Portland Condition by Dan Cohn and Jeremy Miller (10 votes)
Set against the backdrop of rainy Portland, Oregon, a young man finds himself falling in love for the first time – only to receive a letter from his future self, warning him of impending heartbreak.
Somacell by Ashleigh Powell (10 votes)
A female prison guard in the future, where prisoners are rehabilitated with virtual reality, discovers a conspiracy that puts her loyalty into question.
Ground Control To Major Tom by Jason Micallef (8 votes)
After nine years, a NASA communications expert reconnects with the astronaut she believed to be dead and helps rescue him from space.
Hibernation by Will Frank and Geneva Robertson-Dworet (7 votes)
A wrongly convicted inmate volunteers for a hibernation experiment in exchange for one day of parole every five years, which he uses to prove his innocence and search for his missing daughter across an increasingly futuristic landscape.
The Hooterville Dead by Brantley Aufill (7 votes)
Set in St. Louis in the 1920s, washed up baseball player Will Cosgrove is a private eye with his older brother Ross. When Ross goes missing, Will stumbles upon a deep secret that the disease taking over the town is not quite what it seems and a mob boss turned Governor will do anything to keep the town’s secret from being revealed.
Transcendence by Jack Paglen (7 votes)
An epic love story set in a time where a dying scientist is able to upload his consciousness into the internet and, facing its global implications, must fight against the forces who are actively working against the existence of a singularity.
Almanac by Jason Pagan and Andrew Stark (6 votes) [The photoshop above seems relevant here.]
A group of high school kids discover how to time travel, but fail to recognize the potential consequences.
Peste by Barbara Marshall (6 votes)
Following the outbreak of a virus that wipes out the majority of the human population, a teen documents her family’s new life in quarantine and tries to protect her infected sister.