An excerpt from my script review for Jungleland which will be available 11/23/20:
3.) Quality of Characters
Stanley is the older sibling who watches out for his kid brother Lion.
See, Lion’s pretty slow mentally…when we need him to be.
And Stanley loves his brother…when we need him to.
This was probably what led to the issues in the plot feeling episodic, because these characters didn’t have any defining traits that they adhered to.
Stanley knows Sky is trouble, and that his 19 year old brother is going to be attracted to her.
He can also clearly see that Sky’s going to play Lion against him, and he needs to watch out.
So what’s he do?
First, gets talked into splurging on a hotel suite when they’ve got limited funds, despite just telling us they need to budget wisely.
Second, he no sooner tells Sky that Lion needs to stay focused and train then he catches a glimpse of some ladies in the parking lot and decides to go “try his luck” with them, leaving Lion to Sky’s mercy.
He knows what’s going to happen, but leaves because…plot.
It’s too manufactured, and he shouldn’t cave that easily.
What should have happened is he goes down to get take-out, flirts with the bridal party sister, and then cut to Sky and Lion leaving the room.
Then right before Sky’s about to peel out in a broken down Maserati (does such a thing even exist?) Stanley’s there to stop them, or at least try, because that’s who his character is.
Build character personalities and then stick to them.
(Aside from the occasional falter in a moment of desperation.)
Don’t make them wishy-washy just to fit your plot.
And one last thing here…Yates.
Similar to Pepper, Colonel Yates is just around for shock value.
He plays out like some half-assed homage to a Quentin Tarantino character, samurai swords and all.
And he’s hyped to be this real bad ass that Stanley doesn’t want to fuck with, and then when we get to him he’s easily dispatched by a novice sharpshooting Lion.
Making Yates just one more sight to see on this random tour to get to “Jungleland”.
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