Staff Picks

WGF Staff's Favorite Films of 2018

WGF Staff's Favorite Films of 2018

2018 was a crazy year to say the least. Thankfully, we have films to give us inspiration, hope, beauty, humor, and sheer fun in the face of Life and horrifying tweets. Here are the Writers Guild Foundation staff’s favorite movies of the year. You can read most of these screenplays in the Library when we reopen on January 2.

WGF Staff's Favorite Films of 2017

As 2017 winds down, the Writers Guild Foundation staff reflects upon the films that made us cheer, weep, belly laugh, or stare slack jawed in awe this year. Here are each of our top 3 favorite films and a bit about why we loved them so much. Of course, you can find screenplays for all of our #1 favorites on the shelves at the WGF LibraryLibbie Anderson, Volunteer and Programs Coordinator

#1: Call Me By Your Name. It's vulnerable and devastating, but also kindhearted and sensitive. It's the kind of movie that leaves you emotionally and almost physically exhausted, but you walk away feeling like a better person. It's that powerful. 

#2: Lady Bird #3: Personal Shopper

Javier Barrios, Acquisitions Manager

#1: Coco. I'm obsessed with the after life. I loved that it portrayed a Mexican holiday—Day of the Dead—in a correct and respectful manner, and that it was used as a plot device.

 

Lauren O'Connor, Librarian

#1: Wonder Woman. It treats its female hero with sincerity and as the subject of her own story. Plus, she holds true to her convictions as she develops them, kicks a lot of ass and has to make a big existential choice by the end. Basically, it felt like watching a biography of myself.

 

#2: Girls Trip #3: Coco/Patti Cake$ (tie)

Enid Portuguez, Director of Communications

#1: Lady Bird. I haven't been so charmed by a movie in a long time. Writer-director Greta Gerwig's hilarious dialogue and the exquisite, observant way she deals with the turbulent relationships between mothers-daughters, best friends, and high school boyfriends kept me captivated from beginning to end. 

#2: Get Out #3: The Florida Project

Hilary Swett, Archivist

#1: Get Out. Jordan Peele made an extraordinary film by blurring the limits of genre, making it socially conscious, and making it highly enjoyable. 

#2: Lady Bird #3: Blade Runner 2049

WGF Staff's Favorite TV Shows of 2017

There were just too many outstanding series to choose, let alone rank, in 2017. This year, we saw new voices emerge, plus stories and characters that explored perspectives that were refreshing, disturbing, thought provoking, and poignantly complex. Here are the Writers Guild Foundation staff's top 3 favorite TV Shows of 2017. You can find scripts for most of these shows in the WGF LibraryLibbie Anderson, Volunteer and Programs Coordinator

#1: Halt and Catch Fire. I'm a latecomer to Halt and Catch Fire (I may or may not have binged all four seasons in less than a week). I loved watching the evolution of this show and I'm so happy that characters like Cameron Howe and Donna Clark exist in TV. 

#2: The Handmaid's Tale #3: Better Things

Arun Baheti, Director of Operations and Finance

#1: American Crime.  It never bought into the rosy, happy notion that good people can overcome bad things through hard work or doing the right thing; rather, good, striving people can end up in bad situations with bad endings, and that those fit into the larger context of societal structures.  And for never hiding from the complexity inherent in big issues—no neat, tidy answers.

#2: The Good Place #3: Ken Burns' Vietnam

Javier Barrios, Acquisitions Manager

#1: The Good Place. I like it because it’s not afraid to ask the big questions: What’s it like when we die? Is it too late when you die to become a better person? 

 

 

Lauren O'Connor, Librarian

#1: G.L.O.W. If I must pick one series, it's G.L.O.W. because I'm a sucker for any kind of Bad News Bears/team of losers story. Beneath its snarky veneer, it just has so much heart. 

#2: This is Us/Big Little Lies (tie) #3: Game of Thrones

Enid Portuguez, Director of Communications

#1: Big Little Lies. This show appealed to so many of my senses and sensibilities—the gorgeous landscapes and interiors, the all-star cast of phenomenal women, the perfectly curated soundtrack, Alexander Skarsgard. Murder mystery aside, I could have watched these ladies plan a bake sale for an hour. 

#2: Better Things #3: Mindhunter

Hilary Swett, Archivist

#1: Better Things. I love watching a female in charge as the writer/director/star. Beautifully shot episodes. The reality and complications of families and all the feelings. Episodes that convey the ambiguity and space between ordinary happiness and quiet pain. Surreal, imaginative, joyful moments that sneak up on you and let you free. 

#2: The Handmaid's Tale #3: Veep

This Week's Script Cavalcade: LA Confidential

This week’s highlighted script strong-arms us to the gritty back-alleys of 1950s Los Angeles and the caroming good cop/bad cop carousel that is Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson’s 1997 neo-noir crime yarn LA Confidential. Taut and trussed with tension, this is a screenplay that ably walks the walk and talks the talk. With stiletto sharp dialogue and convincing characters that transcend the genre it sometimes lampoons, LA Confidential is a script that smacks you across the face like a literary blackjack. The screenwriters craft a complex web of double and triple-crosses and keeps the story propelled with plenty of who-dunnit momentum. The dexterity and comprehensive understanding of the conventions of film noir and police procedurals are one of the many reasons the script scooped up an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. It takes long established noir tropes of dusky dames and fast-talking police palaver and delivers something that’s both familiar and all too unique.

To read LA Confidential is to soak up a masterclass in how to write incisive and considered character development. The players are repugnant, but you’re still compelled to care about them. They’re incorrigibly captivating despite their lack of scruples. We’ve got two detectives, Edmund Exley and Bud White. Two diametrically opposed flatfoots in terms of their modus operandi and approach to solving crimes. Exley is an over-calculating pedant hopelessly devoted to following procedures at all costs. While White is a hair-trigger pugilist always ready to wring out a confession from a perp with his wayward fists.

And as the plot thickens these two flawed but charismatic characters contrive to collaborate and take on the characteristics of the other. They prop one another up and compensate each other’s shortcomings developing into this crime-solving force that accentuates the strengths of both detectives while also ameliorating their respective vulnerabilities. It’s a superb example of knitting together nuanced character arcs that intertwine and serve the overall story. The percolating chemistry that swirls between these two obverse foils as they untangle the sinister conspiracy afoot is the impetus of their eventual cracking of the case. It goes beyond mere banter and all-around Dragnet-like ballyhoo. By script’s end, you’ll find it really challenges the motifs of any garden variety buddy-cop movie.

So swig two fingers of gin and gumshoe on over to the library. You’ll need that liquid courage for this hard-boiled hurly-burly of a read.

Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush.

And other newly uncovered rubies in our coffers include:

  • Drama-mystery series 13 Reasons Why created by Brian Yorkey adapted from the best-selling novel by Jay Asher.
  • BET’s R&B infused The New Edition Story penned by Abdul Williams.
  • The madcap musical melee that is Rachel Bloom’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
  • Fox’s murky crime-drama Gotham developed by Bruno Heller.

So pad on over and have a chinwag. We at the library are always eager and able to bend your ears about the latest and greatest offerings in our collection.

Comb the catalog here.