For the adventurous and the broken, sometimes reality just isn’t enough. Over the years, bohemian filmmakers and others enamored vicariously with the lifestyle of raffish and desperate drifters have committed stories of the highs and lows of illicit drug use. Often, drugs serve as a backdrop to a character, perhaps to inform the audience that this person is aberrant, or simply weak willed. Other times, drugs help to give a character mystique or some sense of mystical power.
Drug movies run the gamut of perspective from stories of the devastating powers of addiction and helplessness, like Trainspotting, or Requiem for a Dream, to absurdity and horror, or just plain hilarity. Reefer Madness, an anti-marijuana propaganda film from the 1950s is ironically celebrated by “stoner audiences” as a cult classic. Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the story of alternative cultural icon, Hunter S. Thompson covering drag races in Nevada for Sports Illustrated, uses drug use as a narrative excuse to create surrealist imagery and vaguely satirical commentary on society and its norms. Of course more often than not, drug use facilitates comic relief and ridiculous escapades such as in Pineapple Express, or Half Baked.
These are some of the most noteworthy drug films in no particular order
Script Synopsis:After getting a green card in exchange for assassinating a Cuban government official, Tony Montana stakes a claim on the drug trade in Miami. Viciously murdering anyone who stands in his way, Tony eventually becomes the biggest drug lord in the state, controlling nearly all the cocaine that comes through Miami. But increased pressure from the police, wars with Colombian drug cartels and his own drug-fueled paranoia serve to fuel the flames of his eventual downfall.
Scarface Script Resources:
Scarface Script PDF - (XL). 5/17/82 3RD DRAFT at Script City ($)
It should come to no surprise that many of the greatest films of our day have been inspired, or directly taken, from the pages of novels. Writers such as Stephen King and J.R.R. Tolkien have been able to reach new audiences through the help of creative film makers and script writers.
The fact is that many people do not have the time to read. A good novel can often run from 300 to 1000 pages (depending on the author), and can take some time in order to finish. Even for the most avid reader, there is never enough time to read all the books in the world and that is where film makers come in.
One of the biggest problems related to transforming a book into a movie is the issue of accurately following the storyline while maintaining the same emotions that a person gets when reading the book. This is a difficult task and requires a person of great emotional intelligence and technical skill in order to complete.
Below is a list of some of the best (and worst) adaptations of novels. Whether they are good or bad depends on the viewer. However, there are some elements that make them generally enjoyable and worthy of being a major motion picture. What are those elements, you ask? Well, I will leave you to find that out as you compare some of these screenplays to the classic novels that inspired them.
Once you find out the answers, you will be on your way to being able to accurately adapt a novel that you cherish. And who knows? One day your screenplay might be the one chosen for a major motion picture adaptation. Good luck!