I’ve been following Janet Evanovich’s advice in How I Write, taking a year (as she did) to read books and watch as many films as possible. Her goal in this exercise is to get a sense of story, pacing, character, plot, what works and doesn’t, and to hear enough voices to be able to focus a new writer on those themes they find most interesting. She took the whole year off. That’s not possible for me, so I’m writing much of each day, then watching at least three movies weekly and reading at least one chapter per day of a book. Why am I telling you this? I just saw Kick-Ass this week, and it, well, kicked ass.
I won’t rehash the story, and will agree with critics who write that to some degree, this is a film whose audience isn’t old enough to watch it (Kick-Ass is rated “R”. But if, like me, you’re looking for some tight writing, a gripping story, characters whose motivation is refreshing and original, Kick-Ass is for you. Be ready for more red stuff than the Red Cross blood drive and swearing worse than you’d hear at the nation’s largest truck stops. If that doesn’t scare you, it’s a fun ride.
Leaving the film I told Cheryl, “this is a story I can write.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being egotistical. It’s just my kind of work. I’m attracted to the fact that it features a normal guy involved in stressful events far over his head. For the most part, he’s interested only in transcending his banal life and standing for something. He learns that the world he thinks he wants is far scarier and involved than he’d first thought. Isn’t this the same shock most kids get after high school? Wonderful themes and the film that’s given me a new jolt of energy to go make the next words I type count.