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SUBMITTED TO:                                                             ANALYST:  Anna
SUBMITTED BY:                                                              DATE: August 22, 2008
AGENCY/COMPANY:                                                   LOCATION:  Los Robles, CA
FORM/LENGTH:  88p                                                    CIRCA: Present
DRAFT/PUBLISHER: 7-28-8                                             GENRE:  Drama, Gangster

LOGLINE : Can a drunk ex-doctor, wanna-be drug kingpin, illegal immigrant, and senile grandmother figure out how to save themselves? How to save someone else?

COMMENTS : The title character, Dr. Zamora, is by far the most interesting of the ensemble. He is given perhaps not enough time in this 88-page screenplay. His dilemma between self-destruction and his internal urge to help people presents an intriguingly complex man, but his problems and resolution come about too easily, the symptom of a script that’s too short. Of the others, the women- Marcelo’s grandmother and Sophie- are charming. Marcelo himself is just a straight man caught in the middle, and his story line- while given the spotlight- is neither the most dramatic nor relevant.

 

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Premise
Characterization
Dialogue
Storyline                                                                                                               

 

SYNOPSIS:

Dr. Zamora is grocery shopping and battling with the wine aisle. He passes by a large bottle of cheap wine several times, stocking up on essentials for one. When we see him at home, we find him with the bottle on the dinner table.

Marcelo’s grandmother, with Marcelo in tow, brings Zamora a cake for his birthday. We discover it would have been his 32nd anniversary with his wife... we don’t yet discover why not. Zamora, ostensibly without a license any more, takes Marcelo into his garage, which appears to be the neighborhood emergency room. Marcelo’s wounds, we learn, did not come from law-abiding activities.

After hearing about Marcelo’s cough, Zamora tests both him and his grandmother for T.B.. The tests come back positive.

In this time, we see Zamora’s interaction with the doctor at the free clinic, who was a student of his. The former student provides Zamora with medications and urges him to treat the neighbors.

He also sends Sophie, a recent illegal arrival, to Zamora’s doorstep. She also has T.B. and needs Zamora’s informal help.

While waiting to see the doctor, Sophie meets Marcelo, who is taken with the beautiful woman. She, herself, is gutsy and has experience nursing. Marcelo hires her to take care of his grandmother, who is senile.

Marcelo is doing alright for money, because his old boss has recently disappeared and no one expects him back any time soon- least of all, his girlfriend, Ninety, who strikes up with Marcelo. Marcelo has become the de facto boss and calls the shots, gets the girls, gets the dough.

Zamora sits on a park bench every day, watching a bedroom window. Near the end of the movie, he and Marcelo clash. Zamora’s a drunk; Marcelo’s irresponsible. They both call each other out. We discover Zamora sits on the park bench trying to see his granddaughter, who he’s been told he can visit if he is sober for thirty days together. He hasn’t been able to hit that mark in twelve years.

Zamora sobers up, Marcelo is humbled by the return of his boss- who also reclaims Ninety, the profits, and the cred. The boss, rejected by Sophie, makes life miserable for her before INS comes for her by name.

The boss also sends Benny, Marcelo’s dummy, junkie sidekick, on a mission with a sack full of drugs. He overdoses and no one is shocked.

Zamora shows up at his daughter’s apartment, only to find out she moved several years ago. Marcelo’s condition worsens, but he goes up against the boss-man. He is killed in the attempt.

As everything settles to normal, Zamora returns to work at a real clinic. Marcelo’s grandmother appears to return to her senses somewhat. Sophie goes back to Mexico, bringing Marcelo’s ashes with her- so he could get what he asked her for: somewhere quiet.

 

 

COMMENTS:

It is hard to judge a script that is cut so painfully short. Practically nothing is given room to breathe, let alone develop into its full potential.

As previously noted, the doctor provides the most interest of the movie. He is almost like House- although not a misanthrope, but a masochist. He represents someone who cannot- or will not- even take care of himself, yet must care for others. The juxtaposition is marvelous, but the execution is not. The closest the script comes to touching on the doctor’s character is the scene with his ex-disciple (pg. 9). If this relationship was continued throughout the movie, it would be a huge improvement.

Also, Marcelo is left fairly flat. That’s fine if his intention is to be the straight man among the characters in his life. He directly opposes the doctor, but other than does nothing that requires decision or action. There is no evidence as to why he became the new boss--- he does not to be especially clever or savvy.

Sophie has a few delightful lines, and is a great addition. She seems to be the only truly capable person in the lot, and adds some lightheartedness to this generally heavy script.

In the end, the conflict between Marcelo and the boss- Lula- is settled practically without emotion. Lula relies heavily on Marcelo, they fight, Lula stabs Marcelo. There is no greater confrontation, which is extremely strange, especially given the fact that Lula apparently killed Marcelo’s father. Marcelo doesn’t know this, but his grandmother speaks about it with Zamora.

Zamora’s detoxification is also extremely simple. It would appear that his heavy alcohol abuse of decades was no more than a choice. While I’m not recommending the seemingly-mandatory withdrawal scene that every movie like this has, there should some indication as to the hell he goes through. This would also be able to fully mature the story of the title character.

The first third of this script is quite strong, with focus on the doctor and enough emotion from Marcelo and his grandmother. But things fail to progress from there, and everything is just a repeat from the first act. None of the conflict or resolution is exciting or enlightening.

There is a potential in this script, but it is not yet realized.