Pompous Rant, Re: I Am Ahead of My Time

So who’s seen the previews for this Amy Adams/Emily Blunt picture “Sunshine Cleaning”?  I haven’t seen it — in fact I just found out it existed — but I’ll bet it was way better when I wrote it two and a half years ago at NYU.  Let me quote the film’s plot from its IMDB page:

In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business — a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service — with her unreliable sister.

Okay, so this is the EXACT SAME premise as the short script I wrote for the senior film that I never shot because I was too poor.  It was called “Wetworks.”  This “Sunshine Cleaning” movie is marketed as from the producers of “Little Miss Sunshine,” and as EW makes clear in its review, aside from the “female lead takes on crime scene clean-up in economic hard times”  premise, the whole thing is a “Little Miss Sunshine” knock-off.

In my script, the lead, Helen, was a middle-aged former nurse, but there are notoriously few parts for older actresses in actual movies so “Sunshine Cleaning” has a smokin’ hot, thirty-something former housecleaner.  Also, instead of Amy Adams’ supporting cast of a precocious kid, a father played by Alan Arkin, and a sullen sibling (all Little Miss Sunshine templates), Helen in “Wetworks” had a moody teenage daughter in need of college tuition, a retired ex-cop husband who’d been shot on the job twice, and an old flame who just killed his wife and needs help covering up the crime scene.

Wetworks, but Marketable

Wetworks, but Marketable

Now according to the Lisa Schwarzbaum review I linked to above, “Sunshine Cleaning” at times overcomes its artificial ‘generic dramedy’ trappings and delivers a few solid character insights, so I’m not here just to crap on this movie for having the same premise as a short script I wrote once that I happened to like.  But is Amy Adams asked to use her crime scene cleaning powers for nefarious ends? Does she accept because she feels exhausted and oppressed by her unrewarding home life?  Is it a family dramedy/graphic and morally ambiguous thriller, all at the same time, all within 20 pages?  No, it is just “Little Miss Sunshine” with crime scene clean-up instead of children’s beauty pageants.  And that does make me sad and a little angry.  Dammit.

On the other hand, for the same reasons, I haven’t felt this compelled to produce an original screenplay since I graduated.  Maybe something about a kid who grows up in an exotic ghetto seeking fame and fortune just to reconnect with the love of his life… it could be big.

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