One of the world’s most popular screenwriting books, Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat has brought clarity and a sense of direction to thousands of screenwriters, many of whom were looking for the logical extension of Syd Field’s work.
If you’re not familiar with it, the book delivered a structural screenwriting roadmap: not quite a full-blown join-the-dots guidebook, but in some ways, close.
With fully 15 story beats to hit over 90-120 pages Save the Cat gave writers both a well-lit pathway through those dark narrative woods and a way to quickly filter out the stories worth developing to full screenplay stage.
But how well do the theories hold up?
In Blake’s 2nd book, Save the Cat Goes to The Movies, he attempted to firm up and solidify his thesis, by analyzing various classic films.
And whilst this analysis proved for the most part effective, the doubters (largely, let’s face it, from the independent-slash-art-house sector of the industry) remain…
So whilst Snyder’s greatest gift to screenwriters probably remains the pithy maxim “give me the same, just different”, here at Industrial Scripts we thought we’d really stress-test the theories, against a range of films of varying quality.
“The pithy ‘give me the same just different’ remains Snyder’s greatest gift to screenwriters…”
If you’d like to view all the articles in our Save the Cat Analysis Series please do so at the link, and simply read on for the next instalment in the series!
Save the Cat Analysis Series #4: SUPERBAD (2007)
FILM: SUPERBAD (2007)
STORY TYPE: “Buddy Love” / “Rites of Passage”
NOTES: One of the wave of “Bromantic Comedies” (ie. WEDDING CRASHERS, YOU, ME & DUPREE etc.) which appeared in the late Noughties in Hollywood, this film fails to match Snyder’s structural theories in numerous areas but still succeeds by virtue of the strength of its characters, dialogue and scenes. The great triumph of the film is to persuade us to care so much about what is seemingly one of the least important crusades in recent film history – three guys trying to buy alcohol illegally in the hope of getting laid on the back of it. Even by frat house/teen movie standards, this really is a ridiculously trivial story goal, and yet we really invest in Seth, Evan and Fogell’s struggle. It also succeeds because for all the machismo and frat-house humour on show, there’s sensitivity here too, which is crucial. A truly great comedy then, but not one to delight Snyder in its structural composition.
SUPERBAD Scene-by-Scene Breakdown
- Opening image: disco music plays over the credit sequence, as silhouettes of the main characters dance against a multi-coloured backdrop.
- SETH (Jonah Hill), drives his beaten up car along the road. He picks up his cellphone and calls…
- EVAN (Michael Cera), who’s in his kitchen eating cereal. Evan answers his phone and Seth tells him that he’s decided what website he wants to subscribe to next year: “the Vagtastic Voyage”. Seth goes on to describe what the site (and others) delivers to its customers, and Evan concludes: “that’s disgusting, you’re like an animal”. “Don’t make me feel weird for liking porn”, says Seth, “you’re the one who’s weird for NOT liking porn”. Evan responds that if he’s “paying top dollar” then he wants “real production values”. “Well I’m sorry, Evan, that the Coen brothers don’t direct the porn I watch, ok, they’re kinda hard to get a hold of”. Evan also points out that as Seth’s parents are going to be paying the bill, Seth should select a site that doesn’t have a very controversial-sounding name.
- Seth pulls into Evan’s driveway and they continue their conversation on the phone briefly, before Evan comes out of his house and gets in Seth’s car. Evan’s mother JANE then appears and leans over, thanking Seth for giving Evan a ride, but Seth is fixated by Jane’s chest. “I can’t imagine what you two are going to do without each other next year”, says Jane before addressing Seth: “your parents told me you didn’t get into Dartmouth”. “I got into some schools, some pretty good ones”, says Seth, “so I’ll be fine”. Jane asks if they’re going to miss each other, and they both deny they’re going to miss one another. Jane leaves, and Seth says: “I am so jealous you got to suck on those tits when you were little”. Evan replies: “yeah, well, at least you got to suck on your dad’s dick”.
- Establishing shot of their school, and a sign which reads: “Seniors: Two Glorious Weeks Until Graduation”.
- Seth and Evan drive into the faculty lot (where Evan points out they’re not allowed to park), so Seth can go to the store and grab a Redbull before class.
- They enter the convenience store, and start looking at porn. Ogling a girl, Evan remarks: “it’s not fair that they get to flaunt that stuff when I have to hide every erection I’ve ever had”. “You know what I do?”, says Seth, “I flip my boner up into my wasteband – it hides it AND it feels awesome…I almost blew a load into my belly button”. Evan fantasises about a world where women want to see their boners – “that’s the world I want to live in”. Seth goes on to rant about the fact that he hasn’t seen a female nipple in two years, and Seth makes an Orson Welles comparison about peaking too early. They continue to discuss women, their prospects of getting with said women, and their ambitions to get in some “fucking” practise before college.
- Having bought their drinks they leave the convenience store but are then confronted by some school punks, one of whom (JESSE – Scott Gerbacia) spits on Seth and tells him not to come to his forthcoming party. “You know you really bitched out there man”, says Evan as they walk away, but Seth is furious calling Evan a “Judas”.
- Cut to the track at school and Seth desperately trying to run despite his enormous bulk, and being passed by a guy with one leg who calls him a “pussy”.
- Cut to Evan in class, staring down BECCA’s top (Martha McIsaac). He looks away when she notices, however.
- After class Becca approaches Evan to return a pen he lent her, and then asks him if he’s heard about Jesse’s graduation party. Evan is very evasive, and then Becca comments that she never sees him at parties, and also quizzes him about what he was doing last Saturday night.
- Evan tells her that he did some “pretty crazy shit”, but we see what he actually got up to: he sat around in his basement watching porn with Seth and MCLOVIN’ (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), drinking beer, and gatecrashing his parents’ party where Seth drinks Tobasco sauce from the bottle and they wrestle in front of everyone. Evan continues to talk us through his trip to the strip joint, where we see the boys being thrown out before they’ve even got in. And finally Evan vomits over Seth, but his description of the night has born little resemblance to the fact behind it.
- Back to the scene. “That sounds like a lot of fun”, says Becca, “I’d really love to do something like that sometime”. “Seth and I are always cooking up these fun events”, says Evan and Becca remarks that they’ll (Evan and Seth) have a lot of fun at college the following year. “We were going to”, says Evan, “but then we got into different schools”. Evan claims he’s not worried about their imminent separation but his face tells a different story. They awkwardly go their separate ways.
- Cut to cookery class. Seth is explaining to the teacher that he only took the class because he thought he’d be cooking with a partner, who in fact never shows up. Seth directs the teacher’s attention to Evan, who is clearly having a great time with his (male) cooking partner. Seth is obviously jealous. Seth continues to shoot his mouth off, saying that everyone only takes the class because it’s easy to get an “A”. “I don’t want to just sit here, cooking this shitty food – no offence – and it’s 3 weeks until the end of school, give me a fucking break”. He then apologises for cursing, and the teacher tells him to pair up with JULES (Emma Stone), whose partner isn’t there either.
- Seth sidles over to Jules, and they share a joke. He’s clearly impressed by her sarcasm.
- Montage sequence of Seth cooking with Jules, and making lewd gestures behind her back to Evan.
- Montage ends and Seth makes Jules laugh, and she explains that her parents are out of town so she’s thinking of having a party. “I love parties”, says Seth, but Jules replies: “really? I never see you at any”. Seth goes on to tell her that it’s a love/hate thing with him and parties.
- Cut across the room to Evan and his partner MIROKI (Roger Iwami). Seth comes over and asks Miroki if he and Evan can have a moment alone together. “Jules is having a fucking party”, whispers Seth, “but don’t tell Fogell about it”. Just as he utters this line, however, Fogell aka Mclovin’ enters. He starts telling them about how he was walking behind a girl in the corridor earlier, and could see her g-string.
- Cut to the scene in question, and Fogell walking along behind the girl, who suddenly turns with an accusatory look on her face. “Uh…it’s 10.33” says Fogell, trying to pretend he’s looking at his watch. “What?” says the girl, utterly baffled, as Fogell is forced to spin on his heel and retreat…
- Back to the cookery class scene. Fogell boasts that he told the girl the time and it was “the coolest thing”. Seth mocks Fogell and so Fogell criticises Seth’s choice of college, but Seth replies: “the girls at my college are half as smart and thus twice as likely to fellate me”. Fogell goes on to ask them what they’re up to that night, and they deny that they’ve got anything on. Fogell proposes that they get drunk, and boasts that he’s got a new fake ID to buy booze with. Seth deliberately drops Evan in it by revealing that Evan had proposed that they shouldn’t tell Fogell about the party but now he can buy them free booze it’s right he knows about it. Fogell is then accosted by the teacher who tells him to leave, and the boys plan to meet after class to buy the alcohol. After he’s gone Seth asks Evan if he’s told Fogell that he doesn’t want to share a room with him at Dartmouth. Evan replies that he hasn’t and Seth makes some disparaging remarks about Fogell. Jules approaches and asks Seth what he’s doing, and they get into a discussion – once again, to Seth’s annoyance – about how he and Evan are off to different schools. Both of the boys vehemently deny that they’re joined at the hip, and can’t do anything without each other. But the scene ends with Seth saying: “I’m going to go and take a piss because my dick won’t shake itself”, before gesturing to Evan to follow him.
- Cut to Seth and Evan eating together. Seth announces that he would do “terrible, disgusting things to hook up with Jules”. “I hear you man”, Evan replies, “I’d give my middle nut to start dating Becca”. Seth calls Becca “a bitch”, and Evan flies off the handle, saying that he doesn’t want Seth speaking about her that way. Evan asks why Seth hates Becca and Seth explains: “when I was a little kid, I kinda had this problem – for some reason, I don’t know why, I’d just sit around and draw pictures of dicks”.
- Cut to young Seth sitting in the playground on his own drawing pictures of cocks. Brief montage sequence of Seth drawing and painting and scribbling pictures of dicks.
- Back to scene. “Becca sat next to me for all of fourth grade”, says Seth, “and I would stash all these drawings in this Ghostbusters lunchbox I had”.
- But then we see a bully knock one of Seth’s pictures off as he passes, and the picture lands by Becca’s feet. She screams, and runs out crying, and rats Seth out to the principal. “He finds this Ghostbusters lunch box dick treasure chest and he fucking flips out…turns out this principal was some sort of religious fanatic, and he thought I was possessed by some kind of dick-devil”.
- We see Seth’s parents being called in, and Seth explains how they made him stop eating food shaped like dicks.
- “Do you know how many foods are shaped like dicks?” asks Seth, “the best kind”. Evan describes the story as “really messed up” and “super gay”, before announcing that he has to leave to go and see his tutor. Seth isn’t happy about this, annoyed that he has to eat lunch on his own. Then, a bully comes by, calls him a pussy and knocks his books off the table.
- Cut to outside. Jules is chatting to her girlfriends, planning the party that evening. Seth walks by, and Jules asks him if he’s still coming to her party that night. He says that he is, and then Jules asks if he can get them booze, and Seth claims that he can. The girls are excited, and tell Seth that if he scratches their backs, they’ll scratch his. “Well the funny thing about my back is”, he replies, “that it’s located on my cock”. Jules laughs but her friend is disgusted, and then Jules produces $100 that her parents gave her to feed herself while they’re away, but she’s decided to spend it all on food for the party. She hands over the $100, and Seth’s task is on…
- Cut to the football pitch, where Evan is playing a lacklustre game of soccer. Seth suddenly runs on the pitch, and tells Evan about his “mission”. Seth is convinced that because Jules entrusted him with this great task, she “wants” his “cock, in and around her mouth”. Evan suggests that Jules is simply using him to get her alcohol, and Seth explains that even though Jules has an older brother who she could have asked, she asked him instead. Seth interprets this is as a clear indication that sex is on the cards, and reasons that even if he doesn’t sleep with her that night, at the least he’ll make out with her and then they can get date for two months, and by the time college comes around he’ll be a sorcerer of sex. Seth tells Evan that he needs to buy Becca alcohol, and adds: “you know when you hear girls say, ‘I was so shitfaced last night, I shouldn’t have fucked that guy’ – well we could be that mistake!!!” Evan asks if he’s talked to Fogell, and Seth replies: “ok, you talk to Becca, I’ll talk to that retard Fogell”. Seth runs off the pitch, kicking the ball into the stands as he goes.
- Evan approaches Becca by the lockers, and tells her that he’s coming to the party that night. He offers to buy her some booze, and she asks him to buy her some vodka. He tells her it will be his treat – “the first of many” – and she thanks him. He then goes to playfully punch her on the arm but someone bumps into him and the punch is delivered harder than it should be. He apologises profusely, and then her friend arrives and they head off to class.
- Cut to Seth meeting up with Evan after class. There’s no sign of Fogell, however. Evan tells Seth about offering to pay for Becca’s drinks and tells him that he “feels like a pimp”. The bell rings for class to resume, however, and Seth is livid that Fogell hasn’t appeared.
- Cut to woodwork class. Seth rants about Fogell’s no-show whilst Evan makes holes in the wood.
- Cut to Seth and Evan outside class. “What are we supposed to tell the girls?” Seth says, “we couldn’t do the one thing we promised because we pussied out? Now we’re never going to Bone because of that used tampon Fogell”. Fogell suddenly appears, however, and Seth says: “Fogell where have you been? You almost gave me a Godamn heart attack”. He asks Fogell to produce his fake ID, and Fogell pulls it out, describing it as “flawless”. We see the ID card, and Evan is impressed by its authenticity until he notices that Fogell has changed his name on the card to McLovin. “What are you trying to be Fogell? An Irish R & B singer?” Evan rants. “They let you pick any name you want when you get down there”, Fogell replies. “And you picked Mclovin!” says Seth. “Yeah”, Fogell replies, “it was between that and Mohammed”. Seth grabs the card: “ok number one you look a future paedophile in this picture and number two it doesn’t even have a first name: it just says Mclovin”. “One name? One name?” Evan adds, “who are you, Seal?!” Seth also points out that Fogell is meant to be 25 according to the ID, when he should have gone for 21. Seth is devastated but Evan tries to put a positive spin on things by arguing that the ID is “passable”. “It’s down to you Fogell”, he says, “the guy’s either gonna think – ‘here’s another kid with a fake ID’ or he’ll be thinking ‘here’s Mclovin, the Hawaiian organ donor”. “I am Mclovin’”, says Fogell proudly. This sends Seth over the edge and he storms off, only to find that his car (which he parked in the faculty car park) is gone. Fogell says: “why would you park in the staff parking lot, when you’re not staff?” and this further antagonises Seth. “Let’s go to your house”, Seth says to Evan, and they leave Mclovin on his own.
- Cut to Evan’s bedroom, where he’s playing video games and Seth is trying to find some clothes to wear, because he can’t home and change into his own (if his parents realises that his car has been towed, he’ll be grounded). Seth struggles to fit into Evan’s clothes and says: “do you always shop at BabyGap?” Evan replies: “do you want to go and see what my Dad has?”
- Slow-mo sequence of Seth and Evan getting off the bus and walking towards Mclovin, who is wearing a ridiculous corduroy waistcoat. Mclovin explains that it’s to make him look older, but Seth replies that he looks like Pinocchio. Seth explains that if they go and get the booze from a nearby supermarket then they can get it out of the way quicker, but Mclovin protests that he works there. Seth explains that he’s going to have to steal the booze himself, and criticises the “Dartmouth guys” for not being smart enough to sort the problems out. He stomps off to steal the booze, and Mclovin tells Evan that his mother said they could have the TV from his basement for their room at Dartmouth. Evan tells him to be quiet, because Seth might hear, and Mclovin says: “you still haven’t told him we’re sharing a room at Dartmouth?” Evan shakes his head, and tells Mclovin to take off his waistcoat because he “looks like Aladdin”.
- Cut to Seth entering the supermarket, where he spies the SECURITY GUARD. Seth wanders down the alcohol aisle, and we cut to…
- The checkout till. The CASHIER asks Seth how old he is, and he nervously replies that he’s 22. “Yes you are!” says the slightly demented Cashier, much to Seth’s relief. But then we…
- Cut back to the aisle, and realise that the earlier scene was Seth’s fantasy. Seth watches an OLD LADY drop her bag, and he goes over and picks it up, offering to help the lady with her groceries. The lady asks if he’d like her to buy some alcohol for him, and he exclaims: “that would be lovely!”
- Cut to the Old Lady leaving, having bought Seth the booze. “Enjoy your remaining years!”, he says, and she replies: “enjoy fucking Jules!” “Oh I will!” Seth calls back. But we cut back again to…
- The aisle, and realise this too was all part of Seth’s fantasy. He picks up a bottle of the vodka Jules was after, but then hears the Security Guard behind him. “Don’t do it kid”, says the guard, and a gruesome bottle fight ensues in which the guard kills the Old Lady and then slashes Seth’s neck.
- Cut to outside, and we realise that the previous scene was also part of the fantasy, and Seth has chickened out in stealing the booze. He walks past Fogell who asks if he’s hiding all the booze in his ass, and this infuriates Seth who carries on walking. “Let’s go and see your stupid ID get rejected”, he says.
- Shot of a depressed-looking Seth, Evan and Fogell sitting on a bus.
- They arrive at the liquor store, and Seth hands over the money and the list of alcohol to Fogell, who is now very nervous about going in and is clearly thinking about backing out. “This whole thing is bigger than you Fogell”, says Seth, “so grow a pair of nuts and fucking walk in there and buy the alcohol”. Seth and Fogell continue to argue as Seth pushes Fogell towards the door.
- Fogell enters the store, and his gaze first comes to rest on the cashier, MINDY, and then the sign above her head indicating that no-one under 21 can buy alcohol. Fogell slopes off, and heads towards the fridge where he takes out a pack of lemonade but drops them, and they explode, spraying lemonade all over the floor. A STORE ASSISTANT appears, and Fogell denies spilling the lemonade and tells the assistant to clear it up.
- Meanwhile, outside, Evan asks Seth if he brought a condom, and also shows him a tube of spermicidal lube he’s bought for the occasion, too. Seth is worried: “but you laughed in my face when I said I was going to have sex tonight”. “Yeah that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always be prepared”, says Evan, “you didn’t even bring a condom?” Seth criticises Evan for bringing the lube (“that’s psycho shit”, he says). “Don’t make me feel like that”, says Evan, hurt, and Seth then throws the lube away. “Now you owe me six bucks”, says Evan, annoyed…
- Inside, Fogell has rounded up all the alcohol and is at the checkout. Mindy isn’t buying that he’s 21 however, and asks to see some ID.
- Outside, Seth and Evan are eyeing up CAREY HUTCHINS, a hot blonde. They discuss the fact that Carey had breast reduction surgery, and then decide that they have to get a better look at Carey’s chest, and pursue her round the corner.
- Back in the store, Fogell’s ID has managed to persuade Mindy that he’s worth selling too, and he’s just about to pay when out of nowhere a ROBBER appears, and knocks Fogell to the floor, before stealing money out of the till and running off. Mindy calls the police whilst Fogell lies on the floor in agony and the Store Assistant calmly necks a bottle of beer.
- Seth and Evan return from scoping out Carey to find a police cruiser lurking outside the liquor store. They’re horrified. They peer in through the window and see Fogell standing between two policemen, and fear the worst…
- Meanwhile inside, Mindy is explaining what happened to the two policemen (OFFICER MICHAELS – Seth Rogen, and OFFICER SLATER – Bill Hader). The policemen are utterly useless however, and through their inane questioning come to the conclusion that they’re looking for an “African Jew wearing a hoodie”. Mindy has to correct them, saying: “no, that’s not what I said, I said they look like you – do you look like an African Jew?” She goes on to say that the Robber “kinda looked like Eminem”. Michaels and Slater asks some more stupid questions and eventually Mindy loses it, exclaiming: “I can’t do this! I told you I have an exam tomorrow!!” She storms off, to the bemusement of the cops, who turn their attention on Fogell. Michaels asks him what his name is, and he is forced to reply: “Mclovin”. Slater then asks him what his first name is, and he replies that he doesn’t have one. “Technically I don’t have a first name, so just don’t worry about that”, Fogell tells them. “But we’re the police”, Michaels replies.
- Outside, Evan and Seth are still peering through the window, but Seth has had enough and drags Evan away. Seth starts ranting about how they’re going to get their liquor, but Evan is more concerned with the fate of Fogell. “Fuck Fogell!” Seth replies, “he got arrested, we’re on our own, we need a new way to get liquor!” Then Seth realises that Fogell has the money, and goes ballistic. “Why are you talking about money, man?” asks Evan, “what about Fogell?” Evan tries to get Seth to calm down but Seth replies: “fuck thinking! We need to act!” He takes a step backwards, but then a car reverses into him, knocking him to the ground. A man steps out of the car, apologising profusely…
- Back in the store, Slater says: “so it’s just ‘Mclovin’?” Fogell nods, and Michaels says: “that’s badass”. The cops go on to talk about how they’ve arrested some people with weird names recently, including a transvestite who’s legally named “Phuk”. Michaels then asks Fogell how old he is, and Fogell replies: “old enough”. Slater asks what he means by this and Fogell replies: “old enough to party”. Slater then asks to see Fogell’s ID, and after looking at it, Slater concludes that Fogell is an organ donor. The cops crack a joke between them, and Fogell is hugely relieved. He then explains that he didn’t really see the guy who hit him, and really needs to catch a bus. The cops ask him where he’s headed, he tells them, and they offer to give him a ride (which he nervously accepts).
- Back outside, the man who hit Seth with his car is desperately pleading with the boys not to report him. Seth threatens to do just that however, and the guy comes clean, telling them that there’s a warrant out for his arrest for “a totally non-violent crime”. Seth gives it to him straight: “well you better get us either a shitload of cash or a shitload of booze or you’re going to prison”. The man pulls out his wallet and although Evan isn’t keen to take the money, Seth is, until he realises that it’s only $7. The man claims that it’s all he has, and Seth starts crying out about his injured back, causing a scene. Desperate, the man then tells them that he’s going to a party full of booze and women, and can take them along. Seth is keen but Evan wants to have a quick word with Seth alone first.
- “I lost Jules’ money, Fogell’s dead to us now, I don’t have any other choices”, Seth tells Evan. “I don’t like this idea at all”, Evan replies, “this guy’s fucking creepy man look at him”. The guy then says: “you guys know a guy called Jimmy? You totally look like his brother!”. Seth grabs Evan: “you promised Becca you’d get her alcohol, if you don’t she’s going to have a shitty night”. This clinches it, and they go and get into the man’s car.
- Meanwhile, later on, Fogell gets into Michaels’ and Slater’s car.
- Cut to Seth and Evan sitting in the back of the man’s car. The man says that one of them could have sat in the front with him, but they reply that they’re fine sat in the back. Seth then receives a call from Jules, and tells her that he’s in a cab on his way to a liquor store. “Well I hope your friends are ready to get fucked-up”, says Seth, and Jules replies: “I’m sure they will be”. The guy driving keeps chipping in with enthusiastic comments as Seth and Evan talk, and eventually asks them if they’re “on MySpace”.
- Cut to Fogell sitting in the back of the police car. “Officers, I can answer those questions now if you want me to”, says Fogell, but the officers reply that they’re never going to catch the guy, “case closed”. Slater – who’s driving – then sees the lights about to turn red so puts on his siren and drives right through them, almost causing an accident. “This job really isn’t like shows like CSI make it out to be”, says Michaels, “when I first joined the force I assumed there was semen, on everything, and there was some huge semen database, that had every bad guy’s semen in it – there isn’t, that doesn’t exist”. “I often go to bed”, he continues, “and dream about waking up in a world where everything is covered in semen…like the crime scene today – if the man had ejaculated, and then punched you in the face, we’d have a real good shot at catching him”. They then run another good light, and Slater says: “Michaels, he’s only 6 months in, but the force is strong with this one – “learning you are” (in Yoda voice). They then receive a call from the station regarding a disturbance at a bar. “You see you always take a call at a bar”, Slater says, “because better or worse, you always get a beer out of it”. Slater then tells Fogell that they’ll drop him off after they’ve gone to the bar. Fogell protests that he really has to be somewhere, but the policemen aren’t listening…
- Meanwhile Seth and Evan arrive at the party, and Evan asks their driver if it’s cool that they’re here with him. “Oh yeah, I’m essentially best friends with the guy whose party it is”, he replies, “bunch of my buddies are coming, and we’re going to rock out with our cocks out – just kidding”.
- They enter the party and Seth eyes the buckets of beer greedily, while their friend uses the phone. However MARK (Kevin Corrigan) then approaches, and asks the man what he’s a) doing at the party and b) doing using his phone. Mark then attacks the man, dragging him outside and beating him up in front of a crowd of onlookers, including a shocked-looking Evan and Seth.
- Evan and Seth then run back inside, but whilst Evan just wants to make a run for it Seth wants to steal some booze and then run off. “Are your crazy?” says Evan, “do you want to end up like that guy? Not me man, I need my nuts, for a lot of things”. Seth argues that they need booze, but Evan has decided that he doesn’t want to get Becca drunk, doesn’t want to put unfair pressure on her. They argue some more and in the end Evan leaves, to Seth’s considerable annoyance.
- Cut to the squad car arriving at the bar.
- They enter through the kitchen, and Michaels tells Fogell that “if the bullets start flying, hit the deck”. They enter to find a DRUNK causing a disturbance, throwing peanuts at the barman. After a ridiculous confrontation and pursuit the Drunk manages to elude Michaels and Slater and its left to Mclovin to stop him. The Drunk crashes into Mclovin however, and forces him back into the kitchen where the pair smash into a trolley of bread rolls and go flying to the floor. The Drunk gets up and makes a run for it but then slips, hitting his head in the process. The cops then enter the kitchen and see Mclovin on the floor next to the Drunk. “Mclovin! Nice!” says Michaels, and Mclovin takes the credit for bringing the Drunk to justice.
- Back to inside the party. Seth moves through a crowded dancefloor to where trying to find some beer, but then a sexy girl starts dancing with him and at first he doesn’t know what to do, but then starts grinding with her.
- Meanwhile outside the party Evan receives a call from Becca. Unfortunately the line is crackly, however, and as Evan rants about his crap phone Becca and her friends (who’re driving) can hear him but he can’t hear her. In the end they get their wires crossed to the extent that Becca thinks that he’s calling her rude names, and hangs up.
- Back inside the party, the sexy girl is now really grinding on Seth, but then the song ends and she simply says “thanks” and walks off. Seth then goes to steal some beers, but is accosted by a guy who sees something on his trousers. When he touches the stain, it becomes clear that it’s blood. “Were you dancing with some chick in there?” the guy asks, and although Seth tries to convince himself it isn’t the girl’s blood, he eventually has to admit that it is. He begins retching, much to the guys’ amusement, and one of them goes off to get BILL (Keith Loneker). Bill then appears and soon a crowd gathers around Seth after someone shouts “check it out! This jerk-off’s got period blood on this trousers!” Seth runs off, and heads down into the basement…
- Meanwhile Evan re-enters the house…
- Cut to the bar, where Mclovin is being forced to watch re-runs of the CCTV footage of him being punched in the face earlier. The cops tell him to keep the tape – “it’s evidence of you being able to take a hit like a champ”, says Michaels. Mclovin suggests that they show the tape to some ladies, but Michaels argues against meeting women in bars, in favour of cornering them at spin classes, farmers’ markets etc. “Just somewhere social, non-threatening”, he adds. Slater reveals that he met his fairer half playing paintball – he shot her in the neck, and they just hit it off. Slater also adds that he met his first wife in the bar they’re in, and describes her as “a whore”. “Bought her Binion’s, complemented her on her tote bag, and before I knew what was happening she was putting her mouth around the tip of my penis”, he remembers, before adding: “on our wedding night we had group sex – I wasn’t involved, but I could hear it” (Michaels adds that he was involved, however). They reveal that it was 23 months later that they discovered she was an actual whore – she was actually found on the street, looking for business. Slater’s police intercom then sounds, and we can someone shouting “there’s so much blood”, but he just turns it off. Slater asks Mclovin he plays the whole “mysterious guy” thing, and they ask Mclovin how it’s going with the ladies. “It’s not going”, he says, “it’s cumming”. The policemen find this hilarious, and then decide that they better be on their way, but not before ordering “13 road beers”.
- Cut to Seth in the basement, desperately trying to wipe off the blood from his trousers. He then sees a fridge, however, and opens it to find it packed full of booze. He decides to start emptying petrol cans in order to fill them up with booze…
- Cut to upstairs where Evan has found a secluded room and a phone. He dials Becca’s number, and tells her about the bad reception earlier, and reassures her that he’s coming. However whilst he’s on the phone a bunch of badasses enter, and wonder what he’s doing in there. One of the guys thinks Evan is “Jimmy’s brother, the guy with the beautiful voice”. They tell Evan to sing for them, and clearly aren’t going to be taking no for an answer…
- Cut to Fogell in the back of the parked police cruiser. They’re all drinking beers and trying to beat the breathalyser test. The Drunk is asleep in the back next to Fogell too. Mclovin asks what it’s like to have a gun, and Michaels replies that it’s like “having two cocks…if one of your cocks could kill someone”. Mclovin asks to hold a gun and Slater hands him his gun, unloading it first. Slater then makes fun of Michaels’ shooting prowess, and Michaels retorts: “I shot that cat last week”. “It was already dead, man”, says Slater. “There’s only one way to settle this guys”, says Mclovin, “shoot off”.
- Back to the party, where Seth has managed to fill up two petrol cans with booze and is looking to escape. He’s spotted by the guys from earlier, however, and Mark approaches him. “Hey you’ve got a stain too”, says Seth, “we’re blood brothers”. “What the hell were you doing dancing with JUCINDA (Carla Gallo)?” Mark says. Seth tries to deny everything, but it’s clear he’s in hot water…
- Back in the secluded room, Evan is having to sing for the boys, and is doing his best. The boys are so coked up they seem to actually quite enjoy it. Suddenly the door bursts open, however, and someone shouts “fight!” and they all burst out of the room…
- Cut to Seth. Now Mark is examining the petrol cans, and Seth claims there’s detergent in them. Mark has had enough now however, and pushes Seth back. He then throws a bottle which is aimed at Seth but actually hits one of the coke fiends, and a huge fight breaks out which Seth manages to escape from. Evan however, has got trapped underneath a pile of people, and Seth is then attacked by Jucinda, who blames him for the whole mess. “You humiliated me!” she shouts, and he replies: “I’m sorry, but you used my leg as a tampon!” Jucinda says she’s going to call the police, and Evan and Seth make a run for it.
- Cut to the policemen and Mclovin taking pot-shots at a Stop sign. Michaels hits it, and is delighted. Mclovin then asks if he can have a shot, and takes the gun, but then they hear a police siren and rush back into the car and drive off.
- Aiming to go somewhere and get even more drunk, Michaels and Slater then receive a call out to a nearby house. Mclovin is excited by the prospect of them shooting someone, and “showing these fuckers how we roll”.
- Meanwhile Evan and Seth have been running for a while and now take a breather. Seth accuses Evan of bailing on him. “You bailed on me this morning when Jesse spat on me, and you’re bailing on me next year”, says Seth. “We were meant to go to college together Evan, since we were little kids, since we were at elementary school together all we’ve ever talked about was us going to elementary school together – and you got into fucking Dartmouth”, Seth rants. “I didn’t do anything wrong”, Evan replies, “I got into a good school…how fucking selfish are you? You had no problem letting Fogell take the fall, you obviously don’t want me going to a good school…I’m not going to let you slow me down anymore Seth”. Evan continues: “I’ve wasted the last 3 years of my life sitting around talking bullshit with you man, instead of chasing girls and making friends, I’ve just sat around wasting all my time with you – and now because of you I’m going to college a friendless virgin”. “Is this about Becca? Is this about a girl, man?” asks Seth and Evan replies: “I like her”. “Who gives a fuck she’s a fucking girl”, Seth replies, “what are you going to go out with her for two years? What about after that?” “Fuck you man you’re a piece of shit”, says Evan, but Seth retorts: “next time you’re pissed off about something, don’t keep it inside for 10 years, come out with it like a fucking man”. Seth starts pushing Evan, and we cut to…
- Michaels and Slater driving along. They start playing with their flashlights, and after a faux-lightsabre duel start shining their torches in each other’s eyes. Unable to see, they then hit Seth and knock him to the ground.
- In the car, the policemen then argue about who should go out and check on him. By now Seth has managed to drag himself to his feet, and the boys are being interrogated about whether they’ve been drinking.
- Due to the smashed windscreen, Mclovin can’t quite see who the police officers are talking to.
- Back to the scene, and the cops argue quietly amongst themselves about what to do. “We’re going to arrest these two little dipshits and pin it on them”, says Slater. Michaels gets back in the car, and then Slater pulls his gun and forces Seth and Evan to lie on the ground, spread-eagled.
- Meanwhile back in the car Michaels gives Mclovin a cigarette and asks him if he likes he and Officer Slater. “Yeah, you guys are awesome”, says Mclovin. “Well we like you too Mclovin”, says Michaels, “so what’s going to happen is that we are going to arrest these two guys, and you are going to fill out a witness report that says that this guy jumped out in front of our car and there was nothing we could do to avoid him”. Mclovin is perfectly happy with this arrangement.
- Michaels then gets out of the car, and so too does Mclovin. He throws away his cigarette and in slow-mo he and the boys see each other at the same time. Evan takes the initiative, standing up and running off, and the cops give chase. Seth then runs off in the opposite direction, and Mclovin goes with him, stopping briefly to grab the booze from the back seat of the car. Slater then turns back to chase Seth and Mclovin, whilst Michaels continues chasing Evan.
- Evan eventually outruns Michaels, whilst…
- Slater goes back to his car, kicks out the windscreen, and ditches the Drunk on the pavement. He drives off.
- Slater comes down the road behind Mclovin and Seth, who duck down an alley and through someone’s garden, where Seth falls over a tent with some kids in it. The kids wake up their DAD, who comes out brandishing a baseball bat, which he hurls at a retreating Seth, hitting him on the head.
- Slater drives up to Michaels, who is vomiting on the pavement. “He’s the fastest kid alive”, gasps Michaels when asked if he lost Evan. Michaels decides that the way to get Evan to come out is to “smoke” him out, by shooting his gun in the air.
- Cut to Evan in the bush, getting upset about what’s happening.
- He rushes out only to run into Seth and Mclovin, and they all run off together…
- They hare towards a bus, and just about make it on there, where to their horror they see the Drunk from earlier, swigging from a petrol can. “Hey! It’s you, Mcmuffin!”, roars the Drunk, “you aint’ got no cop people to help you keep your booze now, do ya?” “Back the fuck up man or I’ll beat the shit out of you”, says Seth, but the Drunk reaches into the bag and grabs Becca’s beloved vodka, and they begin wrestling over it. The vodka goes flying and Evan just fails to catch it, as it smashes and sprays everywhere. The Driver sees this and stops the bus, ordering them to get off.
- They get off, and Mclovin is thrilled. They’re only 3 blocks away and they’ve got the booze. Seth applauds Mclovin’s efforts, and he goes wild shouting “I am Mclovin! I am Mclovin! Whoo!”
- They walk off towards the party and Evan is dismayed by the loss of Becca’s vodka. “I thought you didn’t need it anyways”, says Seth, “I thought you were just going to tell her how you feel”. “Yeah well good luck getting Jules drunk enough to have sex with you”, says Evan. “What’s wrong with you guys?” says Mclovin, and Seth replies: “nothing, you fems can talk about it next year at your little slumber party”. “Oh, you told him”, says Mclovin, and Seth’s ears prick up: “told me what?” After some procrastination on Evan’s part, Mclovin just comes right out with it: “Seth, me and Evan are rooming together next year”. Seth calls Evan a “backstabber” accusing him of “lying to his best friend”, before grabbing the booze and marching into the party. “We should’ve never had the ‘hide it’ arrangement”, says Mclovin.
- Seth wanders into the packed party, and is spotted by Jules, who announces that Seth has the booze and a loud cheer goes up. Seth is lead away by Jules, looking very happy.
- Evan wanders out of the back of the party, and is approached by Becca’s friend GABBY, who tells him that he “almost blew it” with Becca. She also tells him that Becca’s “way smashed” and has been “yabbering” about him all night. Evan asks if she’s been saying that he was a good guy, and she says no, Becca’s been saying that she will “fully blow” Evan that night. Evan worries that if he does something with her when she’s drunk, it’ll be unethical, but Gabby reassures him that it won’t be if he’s drunk too.
- Meanwhile inside, everyone is toasting Seth. He and Jules make eyes at each other.
- Cut to the toilet. Evan enters alone, carrying booze, and willing himself to calm down. He tries to drink straight from the bottle but sprays it all out.
- Cut to Mclovin, watching the girl who’s g-string he admired earlier (NICOLA), dancing in amongst a crowd of guys. He plucks up the courage to dance with her though, and she appears to like his moves…
- Cut to Seth having a great time entertaining various girls with stories of his wild night…
- Cut to Evan getting smashed in the bathroom…
- Back to the dancefloor, where Mclovin is going wild, grinding away on Nicola…
- Then back to Seth drinking from the petrol can, to the crowd’s delight…
- Evan finally emerges outside, drunk and finds Becca on the floor, drunk. He helps her up, and she asks him what took him so long. He then tries to make a toast to respecting women, but is too wasted to do so, and drinks direct from the bottle. Becca then asks him to come upstairs because she needs to tell him something. He resists initially, but then persuades him to come with her…
- Becca leads Evan through the party, and past Nicola who is marvelling at Fogell’s fake ID.
- Cut to Jules approaching Seth, who’s still drinking from the petrol can. He tries to get her to drink some booze, and she refuses, but thanks him for getting the alcohol. Seth then says that he can’t hear her due to the music, and asks her go outside with him instead. She nervously agrees.
- Cut to Evan and Becca crashing into an empty room. She quickly locks lips with him, and they tell each other that they’ve both fancied each other for ages. She takes his top off and then does a drunken mini-strip for him, before pouncing on him again.
- Nicola leads Mclovin upstairs telling him that she’s never been with an older guy before.
- But outside Seth and Jules are chatting when Seth tries to kiss her, but she pulls away. “I would prefer if we just do that at some other time”, she explains. Seth wants to do it now, but Becca doesn’t like the fact that he’s drunk, and explains that she doesn’t even drink. It slowly dawns on Seth that she only wanted him to get the booze for all the other partygoers, not for her. She reiterates that she doesn’t want to do anything with him while he’s drunk, and he stomps off.
- Things are heating up between Becca and Evan. She tells him she’s “so wet” and he mutters “they said that would happen”. She then tells him that he has “such a smooth cock” and he replies “you would too if you were a man”. She then tells him that she’s going to give him the best blow-job, but he just wants to kiss some more. “How badly do you want to fuck me?” she asks him, and he pushes her off. “I don’t think you want to do this”, he says, “you’re really drunk” but she replies that she wants him to be her first. He stops her again though and says that he’s really drunk, and can’t really process it, but she’s lost patience by now and says: “I don’t see why you’ve got to be such a little bitch about it”. Becca then vomits everywhere, and shouts at him to go and get Gabby.
- Cut to Nicola in bed with Mclovin. Their romance is going much better, and Mclovin proudly reveals that he has “a boner”, and then produces a condom and some lube.
- Outside, Becca approaches Seth, who avoids her gaze. She asks if he’s been crying and he replies that he “has something on both eyes” and “doesn’t cry”. “It was my last chance and I fucked it up”, he reveals, “it was my last chance to make you my girlfriend for the summer – you’re like the coolest person who’s ever talked to me, I thought we’d both be drunk…”. “What does me being drunk have anything to do with it?” asks Becca, and Seth replies: “you wouldn’t get with me if you were sober…look at you…look at me”. “Seth you didn’t blow it”, she says, but then Seth falls forward, butting her nose in the process and crashing onto the floor. Becca is in lots of pain, and rushes indoors, while Seth lies on the floor and moans that he’s sorry. He looks up from his prone position however to see officers Michaels and Slater arrive, telling everyone that the party’s over.
- Back inside the party, Evan sits on the sofa drinking straight from the bottle next to Miroki, who’s passed out. “Life is bullshit Miroki”, he says. Seth comes in and tries to wake Evan up, just as Michaels and Slater arrive. Seth picks Evan up and carries him out just as the cops enter the room, but then someone jogs Seth and he drops Evan on the floor. Seth looks into the next room, where Michaels is shouting: “I assume you all have guns and crack”. Seth heaves Evan up and once more manages to get away just as Michaels enters, shouting “prepare to be fucked by the long dick of the law”. Seth carries Evan out and down through the garden, away from trouble…
- Back in the house, Slater is dancing away on his own…
- Cut to Nicola on her back in bed, and then to a shot of Mclovin on top, exclaiming: “it’s in!”
- Slater then bursts into the room and turns on the light, and is delighted to see Mclovin. Nicola dashes into the bathroom as Slater interrogates Mclovin as to why he ran away from them earlier, and Mclovin explains that he was all anxious and disorientated. Slater goes ballistic claiming that he thought that he and Mclovin were friends, and is hurt that Mclovin then ran away from them. Michaels then says to Slater: “you just cock-blocked Mclovin, and he’s our friend, we should be guiding his cock, not blocking it”. They go and sit on the bed next to Mclovin, who’s worried about going to jail, and apologise to him. “This has gone on way to long”, says Michaels, “we know you’re not 25, man, we’re not idiots Mclovin”. “When we were your age”, says Slater, “we hated cops, and when we saw you in the liquor store today, I guess we saw a bit of ourselves, you know? And we wanted to show you that cops can have a fun time too”. Michaels adds: “you know in a way, I think we wanted to show ourselves”. Slater then rubs Mclovin’s knee by saying: “I’m really sorry that I blocked your cock”. They have a group hug, just as Nicola runs in to retrieve her socks. “I just wish we could make it up to you somehow man”, says Michaels, and Mclovin replies: “well do you think you could do me a really big favour?”
- Cut to outside the party. Michaels emerges saying: “this kid’s fucking crazy, stay back for your own safety”, and we see Mclovin, handcuffed, wriggling to break free from their grasp. “Holy shit Fogell’s a badass”, says a watching student, as Jesse appears and spits on Slater’s uniform. Michaels smashes him to the ground and says: “night mullet, asshole”, as he gets in the car. Fogell shouts for Nicola to wait for him on the outside, and she says to her friend sorrowfully: “we were going to go to Hawaii”. Inside the car however, Michaels says to Fogell: “this is going to get you so much ass”.
- Cut to Seth carrying Evan down the street. Evan wakes up, and asks to be put down. He then asks Seth if he wants to sleep over at his house, and Seth says: “ok”.
- Cut to the policemen running another red light.
- Inside the car, Michaels hands over a form for Mclovin to sign. “By signing this”, he says, “you are officially saying that as we stopped you from being mugged, a crackhead stole out cruiser and did God knows what with it”. Mclovin is happy to do this, and the boys then roar onto a…
- Disused car park, where they tear around in the car spinning and screeching. Slater then tries to perform an ambitious solo trick in the car, but fails dismally, smashing it against a lamppost. The boys then douse the car in booze and set fire to it. As the car burns, Mclovin asks if he can shoot at it, and Slater allows him to, Mclovin joyously firing off round after round into the car.
- Cut to Evan’s bedroom, where Seth and Evan are preparing for bed. They get into their sleeping bags and Seth says: “I gotta tell you something Evan, I was in your room 3 weeks ago when you were taking a shit, and I saw your housing forms, so I knew you and Fogell were going to live together”. Evan apologises, but Seth replies that it was him who was being a dick, but Evan then responds that he doesn’t want to live with Fogell, and is afraid to live with strangers. Evan then thanks Seth for saving him, and they both tell each other that they love each other. They then hug, and we cut to…
- The next morning, a beautiful sunny day.
- Seth wakes up and says that he should be making a move, but Evan replies that he doesn’t have to. They decide to go to the mall together, and Seth leaves, saying: “your Mum’s got huge tits”, as he leaves.
- Cut to Seth trying on some jeans in the mall, while Evan looks on. They discuss the relative merits of wearing tight jeans, as Seth pulls “college poses”, and argues that if he wears tight jeans at least chicks can “see the borders and outline of my dick a little”. “Yeah man”, says Evan, “they go nuts for that – the male camel toe”. In the end they decide that the jeans are too tight, and leave the store.
- Cut to Becca and Jules coming up the escalator. They see Evan and Seth and the pairs awkwardly approach one another. Becca and Evan both don’t remember anything. “I didn’t puke on you, did I?” asks Becca, and Evan replies: “no, you didn’t, I remember that”. Becca apologises for her actions and then thanks Evan for being such a nice guy about it all. “That’s ok”, says Evan, gesturing towards Jules, “at least you don’t have a black eye from it”. Spotlight then shifts to Seth, who tells Jules that she looks great (apart from her eye) and admits he acted “like a fucking idiot last night”. Seth also cheekily adds that she looks “kinda cool” with her black eye, and Jules informs him that that’s why she’s come to the mall, to buy a ton of cover-up for the grad photo. “And I’m going to get Jules a new comforter”, says Becca, and Evan says that he has to get a new comforter for college. Jules asks Seth if he wants to come and help her buy some cover-up, and he agrees. “Evan drove me here though”, says Seth, and Jules offers to drop him home, whilst Evan takes Becca home. Seth and Evan awkwardly shake hands and promise to call each other, but as Seth goes down the escalator he keeps looking back at Evan, and Evan at him…
- Final image: crane shot of the busy mall, and Seth and Jules making their way across it…(credits sequence consists of a series of “cock drawings”)
Save the Cat Analyis
Opening Image (p. 1)
– Opening image: disco music plays over the credit sequence, as silhouettes of the main characters dance against a multi-coloured backdrop. This sequence certainly conveys the mood and tone of the film, without really providing a contrast to the finale. With the silly dance moves, and the “cool” music, we also get some sense that this is going to be a movie about people trying to be cool, who aren’t.
Theme Stated (p. 5)
– A tricky one to pin down. “Everyone has sex at college”, says Evan, but Seth replies: “but the point is to be good at sex by college”. Of course, this movie’s ultimately about friendship, and co-dependency, and it would most accurately be described as a coming-of-age tale, as Seth and Evan learn to exist without one another. Having said this, there isn’t really one line that defines this early on, apart from Jane saying: “I can’t imagine what you two are going to do without each other next year”. The pair also deny that they’re going to miss each other, and this is another of the film’s thematic concerns: male bravado. So overall, although it’s very easy to identify the themes of this story, there isn’t one line, per se, that defines them.
– We meet our heroes and learn what they want to achieve (ie. get good at sex before college). But the opening 10 minutes of this film is probably too dialogue and character-development heavy for Snyder’s liking, as some of the major characters haven’t been introduced 10 minutes in (such as Michaels, Slater, Mclovin and Jules). Arguably the film’s key romantic entanglement has been set-up however, as we see Becca make it patently obvious that she wants Evan to ask her out, but he’s too nervous/oblivious to realise. However the major theme of the movie (ie friendship/dependency) is further reinforced during Becca and Evan’s conversation when she says that it “sucks” that he and Seth are going to different schools, and Evan desperately tries to convince her that he isn’t worried about it. Overall then, a Set-Up sequence of partial Snyderian success.
– Thirteen minutes in and Jules tells Seth that she’s having a party, and invites him to it. Fifteen minutes in and Fogell is officially introduced, and reveals that he’s picking up a fake ID later. But these are about as close as SUPERBAD comes to providing a clear-cut Catalyst moment, and overall you’d say that the film is probably worse off for it – as entertaining as the characters have been up to this point, the pace is threatening to sag slightly here without that big, energising moment.
– A more appropriate Catalyst moment actually occurs 21 minutes in, when Seth is officially handed the responsibility of getting the booze for Jules’ party, and we feel the stakes raise significantly. Problem is, of course, that this moment occurs almost 10 minutes after Snyder argues it should do. As far as a Debate section goes, there isn’t much semblance of that either. Whilst it’s arguable that during the soccer scene the question posed is – “will Seth be able to persuade Evan to join him in his grand scheme to get laid?” – this isn’t particularly convincing and we never believe, even momentarily, that Evan is not going to go along with Seth.
Break in to Act Two
After some uncertainty over whether Fogell is going to show up with his fake ID, he finally appears brandishing the by-now famous card. Once again, this isn’t the clearest, most explosive act break we’ve come across, but then again SUPERBAD is all about big characters in seemingly low-key moments. The fact that Seth’s car is towed soon afterwards at least raises the stakes further, however.
– Snyder describes the B Story as “the love story” and “the story that carries the theme of the movie”, but as far as SUPERBAD goes, the love story has long since begun (between Seth and Evan). The love story and the theme of this movie are, of course, inevitably intertwined and overall there isn’t any real semblance of a Snyder-style B Story here.
Fun and Games
– We signed up for this movie to see adolescents getting in humorous scrapes, and this is basically what SUPERBAD delivers during this sequence, as Fogell is attacked by the robber, and then succeeds in buying the booze before taking off with the unhinged Michaels and Slater. Meanwhile, Seth and Evan grab a ride with the crazy driver, and generally speaking this sequence represents the shift into a more surreal, crazy territory, as a sequence of whacky characters and events come our way. Of course, the film continues in this vein for a while after the 55th minute, but overall this does feel like it fulfils “the promise of the premise”.
– Once more, there isn’t any significant Midpoint here. A contender might be: Seth grinding with the girl who’s having her period, getting blood on his leg, and thus incurring the wrath of Mark. But this isn’t particularly convincing, and nor is the beat where Mclovin deals with the tramp in the bar.
Bad Guys Close In
There’s certainly some semblance of the Bad Guys Closing In here, what with Seth attracting unwanted attention from the badasses at the party, and Evan doing likewise (he’s forced to sing for a bunch of them). There’s also an increase in tension between Evan and Seth here, as Seth accuses Evan of being “a Judas”. This internal conflict certainly makes the sequence feel more Snyderian then it otherwise might do.
All Is Lost
The All is Lost moment here occurs 72 minutes in when, with a noticeable “whiff of death”, Seth is hit by Slater and Michaels’ car. It’s also the scene where the police are least favourably portrayed, putting pressure on Mclovin to sign papers that get them off the hook regarding the car crash. However Seth isn’t injured by the car crash at all, and the moment neatly segues into a positive sequence, as Fogell, Seth and Evan are triumphantly reunited and then make a run for it. Overall then, take out the whiff of death, and this isn’t the most convincing All is Lost moment we’ve come across.
Dark Knight of the Soul
– The sequence begins promisingly enough here, as the boys elude the hapless cops and just about make it onto a bus to get to the party. However to their horror the Drunk from the bar sequence is on the bus too, and he causes a commotion which results in the vodka Becca had specifically requested smashing everywhere. Although the boys are then thrown off the bus, this sequence continues in triumphant fashion as they’re only 3 blocks from the party, and there’s even a burying-of-the-hatchet scene as Seth congratulates Fogell on saving the liquor. However the sequence then takes the film into arguably its darkest territory, as Fogell lets Evan’s “betrayal” slip, and Seth is furious and calls Evan a “backstabber”. However the sequence then swings wildly from disaster to triumph, as Seth is anointed as the saviour of the party, and Evan is informed by Becca’s friend that Becca is going to “blow” him that night. Things even look up for Fogell as he zeroes in on Nicola. So overall, although there are patches of darkness here, this is actually quite a positive sequence, and there’s an argument that the Finale and Dark Night of the Soul are situated the wrong way round – according to Snyder at least.
Break In to Act 3
– There are three act breaks on show here: Becca dragging Evan upstairs; Fogell dragging Nicola upstairs; and Seth taking Jules outside. The fact that these moments occur precisely 85 minutes into the film would please Snyder, but it’s not exactly a decisive move from Evan, although Seth and Fogell’s “moves” feel more Snyderian in this respect.
– Rather than being a Finale in which the world is put to rights, this is in fact a disastrous sequence for the most part, as all three boys either foil their amorous opportunities of their own accord (Seth, Evan) or have their chance blown for them (Fogell). Of course, things right themselves in the end, as the cops help Fogell to con everyone he’s a badass, and Seth and Evan put their differences aside and drunkenly confess their love for each other. They also, in a classic coming-of-age moment, say a symbolic goodbye to one another in the mall, each heading their separate way with a potential girlfriend in tow. As suggested, much of this section feels like a Dark Night of the Soul sequence, and although the Break into Act Three beat is in roughly the right place the Finale should really just consist of the boys “applying the lessons learnt” and us seeing “the turning over of the old world and a creation of a new world order”.
– Final image: crane shot of the busy mall, and Seth and Jules making their way across it…(credits sequence consists of a series of “cock drawings”). An appropriate way for the movie to conclude but, as suggested, the start/end of the film don’t really satisfy Snyder’s desire for a contrast in how the story opens and ends.
- Did you enjoy this post? Why not check out our analysis of GROUNDHOG DAY?
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