I have been watching…

As a script writer for hire when I’m not writing scripts, I tend to watch a lot of cinema and TV. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the stuff I’ve been watching lately.

Mindhunter (2017)

David Fincher was heavily involved in this, and it shows, even in the episodes he doesn’t direct. This is good intelligent TV and suspenseful at times. A true story, it feels real, if a little bit too academic.

The first two episodes (directed by Fincher) set the tone and the story up but the series actually grows and improves as it goes along. I will definitely tune in for series two.

One of the things that stands out for me is the casting, every role is perfectly fit to the performer, and apparently casting was a big deal on this and a totally open casting call was put out to find the right actors. That’s a lot of work, but it’s paid off.

Bad Company (1972)

Bad Company is a lovely film. I’ve seen it called an ironic western, as it undercuts the so-called heroic myths and shows a side of the west rarely looked at. Kids, trying to make their way.

Most of the adults in the piece are idiots, and the shootout in the woods with some nasty ‘bad men’ is both suspenseful and hilarious as the kids prove more than capable of taking on some bad hombres.

The script is a joy, great characterisation, a slow build, look out for use of a pocket watch, which becomes symbolic of a growing friendship. There’s some tragedy along the way, and the good guy turns bad, but embraces life in the west at the same time.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

I got the new Blu-Ray of this recently and thought it looked and sounded great. A fantastic reminder of what a great film this really is.

Watching it again, Richard Dreyfuss stands out in a great performance that’s the engine of the film. The new Blu-Ray is fabulous but it does remind you that this is really a film that needs to be seen in the cinema, in the dark.

The English Patient (1996)

I was pretty young in 1996, and I didn’t really like this film very much. Just goes to show how some films need to be seen at a certain age. Watching this back again in my 40s it’s a masterpiece.

Some of my favourite films are my favourite films because I watched them at a certain age. So younger readers, don’t write things off that you’re not ready to comprehend yet. When I was younger I just didn’t ‘get’ this. I’ll be watching this again and again from now onwards…

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on matcoop23@yahoo.co.uk or hire him on Peopleperhour