An excerpt from my script review for The Burial (2023) which will be available 11/29/23:

1.) Marketability of the Idea

…doesn’t mean it’ll make for an interesting story.

(Wondered where I was going with that title, didn’t you?)

What was trying to be accomplished with this story?

Jerry, a funeral home director, got screwed over by a big corporation?

He’s presented as a decent guy, especially as an older white gentleman in the South, but here’s one point…he took money he wasn’t supposed to out of his business reserves (which are there for a reason) and gambled it on an investment that didn’t pan out.

Now we’re supposed to feel bad for him that this shit investment risked the legacy that he was going to leave his kids?

Nice guy or not, Jerry is the one who risked it, and he turns to the Loewen Group because he’s running out of options.

And the big corporation took advantage of that because it made practical business sense.

It reminds me of a Spring Break trip I took in college with some buddies to Las Vegas. We were on one of the “new” monorails that ran between the casinos when we sat across from a guy who looked like he lived in a constant state of inebriation.

He had one complaint about the city and casinos therein, which he repeated louder and louder for all to hear…

“They took all my money and won’t give any of it back!”

No, that’s kind of how casinos work, brother.

You lose. They win.

We should no more feel bad for Jerry than we would this drunk gambler.

He’s a nice guy who made a bad decision.

But part of bad decisions is living with the consequences, not being rewarded for them.

And that’s what this script felt like it was doing…rewarding one greedy person (albeit a decent human being) by punishing a greedier person.

Why is the mistake Jerry made such a big one?

Do you know what those reserves are used for that he gambled away?

Paying Jerry’s customers if they have a claim! Say one of these “poor folk” (talk about a blanket statement about people living in the rural South too, by the way) had a legitimate claim and Jerry couldn’t pay them because he blew the money elsewhere.

Is he still a good guy then?

In a completely different retelling of the story we can actually make Jerry the villain!

But wait…

(I hear you saying…)

What about the racial harmony of a black man and an old white man becoming friends in the South!

Yeah…fucking revolutionary, that.

This just felt like an excuse for Jamie Foxx to act out an “over-the-top” version of Saul Goodman meets Don King.

Main takeaway from this section is to present an idea audiences will care about. When they care about it studios and producers make money.

Just like the Loewen Group…that’s kind of why they’re in this.

The Burial Box Office Reception

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