A Tale of Two Movies

Inspiration can come from odd places. But I did get to do something over the weekend that might be inspirational.
That is the differences between F9 and In the Heights, and how a good writer can learn from both. I saw both within a week, and while the second movie was significantly better than the first by the standards I measure my writing with, both provided lessons.

In the Heights is a musical theater piece of the screen that spends a lot of time building the world built by the inhabitants of a small area of Washington Heights in New York City. It is a world within the real world, with its own rules and social forms. People from that world can have trouble outside of it (one such character reports how vicious the community they had relocated to was, to which she does not wish to return). But while you can, in theory, do everything you would want to do in that little world, some change is inevitable – with rising rents and business problems weighing down many of the inhabitants.

F9 is a violent popcorn movie (at which, ironically, I did not buy popcorn). I was unprepared for it because I had not seen any of the previous films. There were problems – the cast were as many stereotypes as characters – and a few of these stereotypes are actually offensive. Why is it that in movies like this black characters are there as comic relief? Characters of color deserve better. Actors deserve better. Audiences deserve better.

An important point, but I digress.

The thing here is what I, as a writer, learned from seeing both these movies. It reminded me of things to avoid (not treating alien characters fairly on their terms), things that I should do better (how Washington Heights is so brightly inhabited), and that dramatic potential is in everything. This does not mean I plan to have Pardigan breaking into song anytime soon. But it is inspiring some growth on my part.

I like to think that even if he stands up with difficulty, Andreas Pardigan will be interesting company, both in his current work and as the series goes forward.

Want to meet him? Go to getbook.at/Pardigan1 , and let me know what you think. You can drop me a line anytime at michael@mphopcroft.com .

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