The Good Shepherd and Casino Royale: Spy Movies?
Since finishing writing the new book (STC!GTTM), I’ve been catching up on some movies — just for fun finally!– and seeing that what I talk about in the new book is right on! So far, my favorites in the “New Releases” section are Casino Royale (Superhero) and The Good Shepherd (Institutionalized). The Blockbuster customer will find them both in the Spy Movie aisle, but we Cat!-tastics know differently, don’t we?
Casino Royale falls into the “Superhero” genre because James Bond (Daniel Craig) has all the qualities of the hero of that category, including a bad guy mirror image I am calling the “Nemesis,” who represents “self will” to the superhero’s pure ability. All SH heroes are “the chosen one,” special beings with special skills, and all variations on the Christ figure sent here to save us. Their curse is that they KNOW they’re special — and know they must pay a price for being so. The bad guys in all these movies all have some kind of “plan” or special man-made contraption that will make them special — even though they know deep down they aren’t. Look at The Matrix, Gladiator, and Casino Royale; they all have the same good guy/bad guy dynamic! And each of these has a moment in Act Three where the hero dies and is born again! In Casino Royale, the bad guy is so focused on making his brain solve his problems that his eye bleeds blood! If only he had what Bond has: faith.
The Good Shepherd really deserves the description of “the Godfather of CIA movies” — fabulous! And like all Institutionalized tales, it’s about the pros and cons of joining a group. It is actually more like Goodfellas because it is about someone who is brought into the group and shown to change as he experiences it. Stay or go, believe in the group or not, is the ongoing conflict. Very caveman-like! GS spans thirty years of CIA history through which “Naif” Matt Damon joins and falls prey to the agency’s corruption. Naifs often start out this way in movies of the “I” kind, but end up the hardened veteran (check out Training Day, in which Ethan Hawke makes this same trip in a single 24-hour period that takes Matt 30 years to do).
These stories keep repeating! Their elements keep repeating! Why? Because we like to hear them and hear the message they underscore. Can’t wait to get more of this info out in the new book; meanwhile, the new movies reiterate how important it is to study and master these patterns.
p.s. Response to our “Save the Cat! for Readers” class is tremendous. Here are more details: Cost for the 3-hour session is just $10. We have a maximum of 10 participants (first three signups get a free bonus at a No Deposit Codec website). Meeting place: Good in a Room offices of Stephanie Palmer in Westwood near UCLA. For further information, please contact [email protected]
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Hi Blake –
Can’t wait for the new book for more of this. Invaluable stuff.
Was in Barnes & Noble yesterday, and watched a bloke agonizing over which screenwriting book to buy. I was THIS close to picking up Cat! (there is was, middle shelf) and saying, “this one, mate. Look no further.” But he was really big and scary. He went with Syd Field instead. Oh well. He’ll come around eventually.