An excerpt from my script review for The King of Staten Island which will be available 01/18/21:

3.) Quality of Characters

I like Pete Davidson.

He’s in one of the best SNL skits of all time that spawned a fun little trilogy.

It’s understood he has mental concerns, and I’m not sure how much of Scott is based on him personally.

But if one of the objectives of your script is to touch upon mental health and how it affects society…you should be clear about just what ails your character.

The argument can easily be made that instead of suffering from true mental health issues, Scott’s more or less just an asshole…with Crohn’s disease.

(A digestive health concern.)

What’s really asked of him by friends and family?

To be nice to his sister and mom?  To smoke less and get a job?  To enter into a relationship with Kelsey instead of just fucking her?

Initially I wondered if Scott isn’t trying to do right by Kelsey initially because of the opening scene where it’s understood he’s trying to commit suicide, but as the story goes on…

He’s just comes off as selfish.

And the same with Ray.

He shows up after chewing Marisa out about Scott tattooing his son, and pulls a 180 because he wants to get him some Hot Aunt May action.

But later we’re presented with the fact that he’s not so great a guy from his ex-wife.

Sure she’d be the worst person to ask, but she admits to Scott that Ray’s trying to weasel out of seeing his kids, is broke and forced to live at the fire house, and has a gambling problem.

What’s Ray’s rebuttal?

It’s day trading, not gambling.

Okay…what about the other shit?!

Is he really getting over his anger management concerns or just taking advantage of Marisa Tomei?

And none of these issues are ever resolved with him, aside from his letting Scott tattoo his back.

That’s a major issue if you’re trying to make social topics a main part of your plot.

Show examples of what real people are dealing with, and at least develop an arc that gives some hope, even if it’s not a complete and simple remedy.

It’s like the script started out wanting to deal with it, but chickened out a third of the way through and changed gears into a lame romcom.

The only portion of character development I enjoyed was Scott with Ray’s kids.  He genuinely does well with them that I thought he’d maybe make a decision later to do something with kids, but no. And that’s okay too, but as good as those few times were they still fit into the “random scenes” argument that didn’t exactly fit other than banking on an “Ah” moment from the audience.

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