How To Create A Screenwriter

by thomastrimboli | created - 08 Oct 2012 | updated - 30 Nov 2012 | Public

All the movies I've seen that have helped in one way or another toward my own career as a screenwriter of short films, feature films & television shows. The best studying of screenwriting I ever did besides go to school for it was watch as many movies as I possibly can from the worst writers & directors to the best writers & directors.

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1. The Missing (I) (2003)

R | 137 min | Adventure, Thriller, Western

55 Metascore

In 1885 New Mexico, a frontier medicine woman forms an uneasy alliance with her estranged father when her daughter is kidnapped by an Apache brujo.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd

Votes: 29,819 | Gross: $26.90M

A sprawling western from one of hollywoods finest. The movie is slow paced and while it helps make many of the scenes feel gruesome and heartbreaking, it also leaves scenes that aren't as great tortuous just to sit through. Where the movie does excel is in its leads Tommy Lee Jone & Cate Blanchett who make you care enough about the characters to get past the films shortcomings.

2. The Grey (2011)

R | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

64 Metascore

After their plane crashes in Alaska, six oil workers are led by a skilled huntsman to survival, but a pack of merciless wolves haunts their every step.

Director: Joe Carnahan | Stars: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts

Votes: 220,629 | Gross: $51.58M

Liam Neeson proving once more that age is just a number. The last scene alone makes the movie worth a screening

3. Man on a Ledge (2012)

PG-13 | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

40 Metascore

As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion.

Director: Asger Leth | Stars: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Mandy Gonzalez

Votes: 133,844 | Gross: $18.62M

An entertaining, did he? Didn't he?, heist film that harkens back to action thrillers from the 80s and early 90s.

4. Safe House (2012)

R | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

52 Metascore

A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge.

Director: Daniel Espinosa | Stars: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Patrick, Vera Farmiga

Votes: 182,463 | Gross: $126.37M

An ok film. I expect better from Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds should stick to what he does best and that's make us laugh with him not at his sorry attempts to be an action star.

5. Rampart (2011)

R | 108 min | Crime, Drama

70 Metascore

Set in 1999 Los Angeles, veteran police officer Dave Brown, the last of the renegade cops, works to take care of his family, and struggles for his own survival.

Director: Oren Moverman | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Bernthal

Votes: 21,342 | Gross: $0.97M

One of the most boring films I've ever seen. Not even the fact that I got to meet the director and get a free preview screening of the film could make me like this one.

6. This Means War (2012)

PG-13 | 103 min | Action, Comedy, Romance

31 Metascore

A pair of CIA operatives wage an epic battle against one another when they discover they are dating the same woman.

Director: McG | Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Til Schweiger

Votes: 161,384 | Gross: $54.76M

One of the most entertaining action comedies I've seen in a while. Easily the best since the first Rush Hour. Tom Hardy & Chris Pine are the future hollywoods leading males.

7. The Lorax (2012)

PG | 86 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

46 Metascore

A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.

Directors: Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda | Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms

Votes: 85,814 | Gross: $214.03M

I always pride myself on being a kid at heart but with the exception of the bears that eat marshmallows, this movie is a stinker.

8. Project X (2012)

R | 88 min | Comedy, Drama

48 Metascore

3 high school seniors throw a birthday party to make a name for themselves. As the night progresses, things spiral out of control as word of the party spreads.

Director: Nima Nourizadeh | Stars: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Dax Flame

Votes: 171,292 | Gross: $54.73M

This is the worst movie I have ever sat through and I've sat through some horrible ones. Todd Phillips is the most overrated comedy director out there. And to think Old School is one of my favorite comedies and then he ruined himself with this and The Hangover series. Definition of Sell-Out.

9. 21 Jump Street (2012)

R | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

69 Metascore

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller | Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Brie Larson

Votes: 455,682 | Gross: $138.45M

Hilarious comedy. Channing Tatum proves to me that he can be an actor to appreciate and for once Jonah Hill doesn't make me want to pull my hair out. Michael Bacall knocks this script out of the park.

10. Wrath of the Titans (2012)

PG-13 | 99 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

37 Metascore

Perseus braves the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus, captured by his son, Ares, and brother Hades who unleash the ancient Titans upon the world.

Director: Jonathan Liebesman | Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Rosamund Pike, Ralph Fiennes

Votes: 165,918 | Gross: $83.67M

As entertaining as the titans can be. I will give it to them that it improves over the original which had me sleeping twenty minutes into it so kudos.

11. American Reunion (2012)

R | 113 min | Comedy

49 Metascore

Jim, Michelle, Stifler, and their friends reunite in East Great Falls, Michigan for their high school reunion.

Directors: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg | Stars: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein

Votes: 185,165 | Gross: $57.01M

Sean William Scott carries this comedy which finally returns to its roots after a dozen *beep* spin-offs. The pie always has a soft spot in my heart as I grew up with the original.

12. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

R | 95 min | Horror

72 Metascore

Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

Director: Drew Goddard | Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz

Votes: 316,969 | Gross: $42.07M

The best horror film I have seen since the original Saw film. Power house of a finale. Joss Whedon proves why he is the greatest screenwriter of this century.

13. The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

R | 124 min | Comedy, Romance

62 Metascore

One year after meeting, Tom proposes to his girlfriend, Violet, but unexpected events keep tripping them up as they look to walk down the aisle together.

Director: Nicholas Stoller | Stars: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie

Votes: 84,841 | Gross: $28.84M

A great romantic comedy to enjoy with your significant other. Emily Blunt is sexy as always and Jason Segal continues to be the funniest man alive.

14. The Avengers (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

69 Metascore

Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner

Votes: 1,106,983 | Gross: $623.36M

Everyone and their mothers knows how good this movie is. I'll leave it at that.

15. The Dictator (2012)

R | 83 min | Comedy

58 Metascore

The heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.

Director: Larry Charles | Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, John C. Reilly, Ben Kingsley

Votes: 237,061 | Gross: $59.65M

I love this movie. Cohen is hilarious as ever. However if you are easily offended, like the whole world seems to be today, it's best to avoid this one.

16. Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

57 Metascore

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Director: Rupert Sanders | Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin

Votes: 249,287 | Gross: $155.33M

Not even Chris Hemsworth can save this one. An awesome ending can't make up for a lazy script throughout the first two thirds of the movie and Kristin Stewart really knows how to ruin a movie for me

17. Piranha 3DD (2012)

R | 83 min | Comedy, Horror

24 Metascore

After the events at Lake Victoria, the pre-historic school of blood-thirsty piranhas make their way into a newly opened waterpark.

Director: John Gulager | Stars: Danielle Panabaker, Ving Rhames, David Hasselhoff, Matt Bush

Votes: 34,999 | Gross: $0.38M

Sometimes it takes purposely writing a horrible movie to create an entertaining one. Nothing like turning your brain off for an hour and half and just laughing at the absurdity that was put into making this film.

18. Prometheus (I) (2012)

R | 124 min | Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi

64 Metascore

Following clues to the origin of mankind, a team finds a structure on a distant moon, but they soon realize they are not alone.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron

Votes: 518,130 | Gross: $126.48M

Is it a prequel? Is it not a prequel? Ridley Scott has really fallen from grace after Robin Hood and now this. Michael Fassbender is the only ray of sunshine in this lazy film.

19. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

R | 105 min | Action, Fantasy, Horror

42 Metascore

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.

Director: Timur Bekmambetov | Stars: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie

Votes: 138,106 | Gross: $37.52M

this is a how to movie on how not to translate a book into a movie. Seriously just save yourself the headache and read the book which is awesome. This movie however is not

20. Ted (2012)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy

62 Metascore

John Bennett, a man whose childhood wish of bringing his teddy bear to life came true, now must decide between keeping the relationship with the bear or his girlfriend, Lori.

Director: Seth MacFarlane | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale

Votes: 516,709 | Gross: $218.82M

21. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

After Peter Parker is bitten by a genetically altered spider, he gains newfound, spider-like powers and ventures out to solve the mystery of his parent's mysterious death.

Director: Marc Webb | Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Irrfan Khan

Votes: 499,939 | Gross: $262.03M

I feel like I've seen this before...Not even my favorite villain could save this waste of time but Emma Stone is gorgeous.

22. Savages (2012)

R | 131 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

59 Metascore

Pot growers Ben and Chon face off against the Mexican drug cartel who kidnapped their shared girlfriend.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro

Votes: 111,563 | Gross: $47.38M

Following in the footsteps of Ridley Scott, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and countless other 80/90s heroic directors. His fall from grace has been documented and noted. Has every amazing director from my childhood just forget how to make good films in 2012?

23. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

PG-13 | 164 min | Action, Thriller

78 Metascore

Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, Batman, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman

Votes: 1,307,452 | Gross: $448.14M

This movie is too big for its own shoes. JGL & Anne Hathaway shine but as is the case with his recent outing, Chris Nolan's idea's are too big and grandiose. Bigger is not always better.

24. The Expendables 2 (2012)

R | 103 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

51 Metascore

Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.

Director: Simon West | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Liam Hemsworth, Randy Couture, Jean-Claude Van Damme

Votes: 267,678 | Gross: $85.02M

A trip down memory lane back when action stars were huge roided out freaks and the plot non-existent but who needs plot when they've got Schwarzenegger back in the limelight.

25. Premium Rush (2012)

PG-13 | 91 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

66 Metascore

In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city.

Director: David Koepp | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Sean Kennedy

Votes: 102,489 | Gross: $20.28M

JGL continues to be the best thing in hollywood these days. Gives me hope for the future of acting.

26. Dredd (2012)

R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

60 Metascore

In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.

Director: Pete Travis | Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Rachel Wood

Votes: 225,189 | Gross: $13.41M

See this movie now. Amazing. A shame that crap like Hotel Transylvania gets number one at the box office yet well crafted written movies like Dredd get knocked out of the top ten after a week. What has the box office become?

27. Looper (2012)

R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano

Votes: 477,220 | Gross: $66.49M

JGL knocking it out of the park. Bruce Willis continues to prove why he is the go to guy for sci-fi action thrillers. Great writing and sharp storytelling make this film a must see for any fans of science fiction.

28. Ben and Kate (2012–2013)

22 min | Comedy

A free-spirited young guy moves in with his type-A, tightly wound sister under the guise of being his niece's nanny.

Stars: Dakota Johnson, Nat Faxon, Lucy Punch, Maggie Elizabeth Jones

Votes: 4,774

Two episodes in and I can safely say it is shaping up to be a great sitcom. Can't wait to see what else is in store for season one

29. Vegas (2012–2013)

44 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Ralph Lamb, a former MP for the US Army, becomes sheriff. His brother, Jack, and his son, Dixon, are deputized. Meanwhile, Vincent Savino comes from Chicago to Vegas to run The Savoy hotel and casino.

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, Carrie-Anne Moss, Taylor Handley

Votes: 6,832

Dennis Quaid makes this show what it is. Fun and enjoyable.

30. Raising Hope (2010–2014)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Family

Jimmy becomes a single parent to an infant after the mother he had a one-night stand with ends up on death row.

Stars: Lucas Neff, Martha Plimpton, Garret Dillahunt, Shannon Woodward

Votes: 32,527

31. New Girl (2011–2018)

TV-14 | 22 min | Comedy

After a bad break-up, Jess, an offbeat young woman, moves into an apartment loft with three single men. Although they find her behavior very unusual, the men support her - most of the time.

Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone

Votes: 161,150

32. How I Met Your Mother (2005–2014)

TV-14 | 22 min | Comedy, Romance

A father recounts to his children, through a series of flashbacks, the journey he and his four best friends took leading up to him meeting their mother.

Stars: Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris

Votes: 509,199

The first few seasons are what make this show fantastic. The later seasons not so much but still interesting to see where the end goes

33. Revolution (2012–2014)

TV-14 | 43 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Fifteen years after a permanent global blackout, a group of revolutionaries seeks to drive out an occupying force posing as the United States Government.

Stars: Billy Burke, Tracy Spiridakos, Giancarlo Esposito, Zak Orth

Votes: 76,402

34. Breaking Bad (2008–2013)

TV-MA | 49 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine in order to secure his family's future.

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt

Votes: 1,087,040

AMAZING

35. Arrested Development (2003– )

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy

Level-headed son Michael Bluth takes over family affairs after his father is imprisoned. But the rest of his spoiled, dysfunctional family are making his job unbearable.

Stars: Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett

Votes: 239,485

Greatest comedy show I've ever seen.

36. Lost (2004–2010)

TV-14 | 44 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

The survivors of a plane crash are forced to work together in order to survive on a seemingly deserted tropical island.

Stars: Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Yunjin Kim, Evangeline Lilly

Votes: 431,124

37. I Am Number Four (2011)

PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

36 Metascore

Aliens and their Guardians are hiding on Earth from intergalactic bounty hunters. They can only be killed in numerical order, and Number Four is next on the list. This is his story.

Director: D.J. Caruso | Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer

Votes: 210,676 | Gross: $55.10M

38. Hall Pass (2011)

R | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

45 Metascore

Rick and Fred, two husbands who are having difficulty in their marriages, are given a Hall Pass by their wives: for one week, they can do whatever they want.

Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly | Stars: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, Jenna Fischer

Votes: 110,468 | Gross: $45.06M

39. Rango (2011)

PG | 107 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

75 Metascore

Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

Director: Gore Verbinski | Stars: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant, Abigail Breslin

Votes: 205,103 | Gross: $123.48M

40. Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

42 Metascore

Four years after graduation, an awkward high school genius uses his sister's boyfriend's Labor Day party as the perfect opportunity to make his move on his high school crush.

Director: Michael Dowse | Stars: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer

Votes: 46,929 | Gross: $6.92M

41. Battle Los Angeles (2011)

PG-13 | 116 min | Action, Sci-Fi

37 Metascore

A squad of U.S. Marines becomes the last line of defense against a global invasion.

Director: Jonathan Liebesman | Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ramon Rodriguez

Votes: 163,201 | Gross: $83.55M

42. Limitless (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 105 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

59 Metascore

With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access one hundred percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.

Director: Neil Burger | Stars: Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro

Votes: 468,673 | Gross: $79.25M

43. Sucker Punch (2011)

PG-13 | 110 min | Action, Fantasy

33 Metascore

A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather, retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, envisioning a plan to help her escape.

Director: