New York Magazine

Every iconic film started on the page. So why is great screenplay writing so hard to judge?

JUDGING A SCREENPLAY from a finished film,” an apocalyptically disheartened screenwriter once told me, “is like arriving at a murder scene and instantly deciding that the victim had it coming.” It’s a pretty good line, although the writer will no doubt notice that I’ve mangled it a bit for my own purposes. Imagine his frustration at getting rewritten for the worse by someone who has the final say, multiply that by a thousand, and you can guess how most screenwriters feel when they see a critic airily surmise that a

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from New York Magazine

New York Magazine25 min read
One Night at Mount Sinai
Aja Newman went to the emergency room for shoulder pain. Her doctor was a superstar. What’s the worst that could happen? SOMETIME AFTER 2 A.M. on January 12, 2016, Aja Newman roused herself from her hospital gurney and made her way down the long hal
New York Magazine12 min read
Riding the Unicorn
On Thursday, September 26, stock in the fitness company Peloton began trading on NASDAQ. It didn’t go that well. The company-slash-cult, which sells expensive stationary bikes and treadmills equipped with screens for livestreaming intense fitness cl
New York Magazine2 min read
From the Cut: Copenhagen Invasion
WHEN THE DICTIONARY catches up to the Ganni girls, a group of them will be a charm (like finches), or maybe a flamboyance (like flamingos). When they stalk the streets of Soho, heads turn. They are leopard spotted, tiger striped, and flower dappled,