Title: Fan Boys
Log Line: A group of young, hardcore 'Star Wars' fans from the Midwest are determined to take their dying friend to Skywalker Ranch so that he can see the seminal sci-fi film in its perfect setting before he dies.
Writer: Adam F. Goldberg and Ernest Cline
Buyer: The Weinstein Company
More: Preemptive purchase. Trigger Street's Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti,
Evan Astrowsky and Matthew Perniciaro will produce. Kyle Mann will direct. Dan Fogler will star.
I read this script a few months ago, and though I didn't think it was an excellent script, I did feel the concept had some strong commercial potential, based on its subject matter. The version I read was dated 5/21/05, and may have changed slightly for the version that was just purchased.
By the way, on a side note, in case any of you out there are wondering how loglines get written, let me show you my own logline for this film. Be aware that the one you see above is for selling purposes, and mine was for review/summary purposes. I almost always keep my loglines at 20 or fewer words (rarely I'll allow myself up to 25). So I think this can be mildly instructive as to how to boil a script down and distill the core of it's essence. So compare the Log Line above with the following 19 words:
Star Wars nerds take dying friend on cross-country adventure to the Skywalker Ranch to preview The Phantom Menace.
Not much that the version above adds, is there? Sure it includes a bit of color and context, but in actuality it says virtually the same thing in 18 more words. You can cut your loglines down the same way I did, and should.
Regardless, the one change that I'm curious about is the difference between my log line that refers to The Phantom Menace by name, and theirs which refers to it as "the seminal sci-fi film in its perfect setting." I wonder if this means they changed the film from a period piece set around 1998 to one set now. In the version I read, they wanted to see a copy of Episode I before it came out, while this seems more about simply viewing a perfect version of Episode IV in a pristine setting. Hmmm.
Anyway, my basic comments on Fanboys (my version titled it as one word, not two) were that while it was mildly entertaining, it was also utterly unoriginal. Nearly every road movie cliche has been recycled in this script. However, the fact that Star Wars fans are such a rabid lot, and form a massive potential market, I felt this film held some decent commercial potential nonetheless. It remained a PASS for the company for whom I read it, simply because it was not appropriate for them -- not in keeping with the type of films they make by design. But it could definitely prove profitable in the long run.
I also noted the fact that similar films, such as Detroit Rock City and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, generally underperform at the box office, but still are usually good for strong DVD income. Thus, even if the film fails at the box office, it could potentially gain cult status. I also want to make clear, that while the details were highly cliched, the script itself remained entertaining and humorous. It wasn't a bad or poorly written script, just a generally unoriginal one, cleverly set in a commercially promising context.
Incidentally, the "dying friend on his last trip" element also reminds me of another film, that I just rewatched this morning, and since I wasn't planning to mention it in a separate post, I'll mention it here. A number of years ago, I caught Ocean Tribe at the IFP Market in NYC (though it may have still been called the IFFM -- Independent Feature Film Market -- back then). I really loved this film and had wanted to get a copy for a while. Only recently was I able to score a copy after I saw the DVD laying around at one of the offices where I read.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this little gem (and I'm sure that means most of you), it was written and directed by Will Geiger (I also recently read his upcoming Elvis and Annabelle), and centers on some boyhood friends who grew up surfing together in a small California coastal town. When one of them, as an adult, is dying of cancer, the others reunite, kidnap him out of the hospital where he is recovering from chemo, and take him down to Baja California for a final surfing trip.
While the film definitely bears the mark of an indie feature debut, it remains a cut above. The surfing footage is nice, the dramatic moments are moving, and the comedic moments are funny. While this is by no means a perfect film, it is definitely one worth seeing, and I highly recommend it, if you can find it somewhere!
Tags: Fanboys, Adam+F+Goldberg, Ernest+Kline, screenwriting, script+reading, Star+Wars, Ocean+Tribe, Will+Geiger, IFP+Market, Independent+Feature+Project