Problem Is on Paper
This letter is a response to the article about the film “Disturbing Behavior” (“When Buzz and Test Scores Aren’t Good,” by Patrick Goldstein, Sept. 18). I am a film writer and director, having co-created the “Child’s Play” series.
Having been involved in the production of four films, both as writer and director, I don’t like the National Research Group. I find screenings to be horrible, painful, scary events. But I must admit, the input I have received on screenings was dead on; it made the films play better and ultimately perform better. No one likes to receive bad news about their “baby,” but to be honest, some of them are born ugly.
The real problem with “Disturbing Behavior” lies not in the direction or editing--it’s in the script. I read it before production. It was terrible then and it’s terrible now. It wasn’t scary, moving or suspenseful on paper and it isn’t on film. No amount of “massaging” the celluloid would make any difference.
Let’s get back to the old but truthful axiom, “If it’s not on the page, it’s not on the stage.” The real mistake MGM made on this film was greenlighting the script in the first place. That’s where the blame lies. Executives need to accept the responsibility for their choices--just like the rest of us.