Tea With bin Laden More Images
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Rating: 3.6/5 (14 votes cast)

Tea With bin Laden

In this black comedy, two US soldiers, fleeing from the Taliban in Tora Bora in the early days of the war in Afghanistan, accidentally discover Osama bin Laden’s cave. They spend an evening with bin Laden and his family inside the cave, an evening that will change their lives, and the world, forever. (Revision: September 13, 2012)

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  1. Profile photo of nutty
    nutty says
    January 31, 2013, 3:05 am
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    Tea with Osama.
    Very enjoyable, easy read. Reminded me of Team America and Mel Brooks humor. Funny dialogue and banter in the cave and between bush and cheney – always humorous to make fun of Bush. moral conversations of politics, good vs evil were intriging and interesting. Good pacing. My critiques are al follows:
    Action is often overly descriptive.
    Needs proper formatting.
    With so many characters introduced right off the bat in the first 10 pages, there is nothing to grasp onto and keep us intrigued. We should know who the heroes are by then.
    Dialogue paragraphs run too long sometimes.
    I was a bit confused by the ending – did our heroes die?
    Overall, great job. From the logline, I wasn’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised. I would see this movie.

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    malakas says
    January 27, 2013, 1:37 am
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    I didn’t think there was any way a good script could come out of this concept/logline but I was surprised. This was actually very well written. Several reviewers have judged it on its morality or whatever but I don’t think its fair to do that either way, as we’re here to judge the quality of the writing. So in that respect I have to give it four stars as a screenplay. Great dialogue and interesting character development. The ending was conceptually strong but not written very well in my opinion. It just seemed to leave a good bit of potential on the table with how abrupt it was. Yeah I know, I’m sure that was the point, but I just felt it could have been accentuated quite a bit with not much additional writing. I thought it had plenty of action and was well balanced considering it was a dialogue intensive script. It could be done on a modest budget too, although I don’t see this ever being made for obvious political reasons. Like most scripts tha “win” or “get sold” or whatever, the main benefit is the follow on work the writer gets. I think you are a good writer that will be highly employable if you find the right breaks. Interesting read and best of luck.

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  3. January 26, 2013, 6:15 pm
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    I didn’t like how you humanized Bin Laden. Also, this is highly inaccurate. Bin Laden was actually living in a compound in Pakistan. That’s what Zero Dark Thirty said and I heard that movie was hella realistic.

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  4. Profile photo of danchappy2000
    January 23, 2013, 8:25 pm
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    An interesting concept and I thought that the story was well structured but I didn’t find the script funny and I thought the humanisation of Bin Laden was very odd. I think this script will polarise people and whilst many reviewers clearly enjoyed it immensely it wasnt one for me.

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  5. wardparry says
    January 17, 2013, 8:07 pm

    Disclaimer***** This was one of my script assignments for the finals. I;ve been asked to review again. I’m going to refere any readers to my earlier review. I’ve read all the scripts in this finals, and whilst there are some good scripts in the mix, this is right up there…probably alongside mine 😉 Dynamite. Just dynamite! If you haven’t read it yet – take a look.

    Probably not allowed to vote twice, but I’ll try anyway as instructed by administrators.

    Five stars across the board with 3 on budget.

    WP

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    jusork says
    September 6, 2012, 6:44 pm
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    Very good script. I thought the storyline worked smoothly and the comedy was consistently coming. The White House scenes were the funniest.

    One thing you could use some work on is the entire cave act. For the first half, I wasn’t sure what to make of their new relationship and the situation you created.

    Is he supposed to be seen as a contradiction: surprisingly nice and accommodating, despite his ways of thinking? Or should he be seen as a likable bad guy, like James Woods as Hades in Disney’s Hercules? Either way I think you could amp up the discrepancy between expectations and perception. Play with it and play with Loud and Brinkovsky’s perception of it. While I can tell the idea is that even a man who kills thousands in the name of God can be talked to civiliy, he still would most likely feel very negatively about Westerners and I think that’s where some of my disconnect for him comes in. I’d expect him to be more overtly cynical or at least more curt with the soldiers. And I’m sure you can do so in a humorous way and there are lot of comedic possibilities. (Maybe Brinkovksy keeps dulling Bin Laden’s negativity with his easy-going rational objectivity and ends up muddling up Bin Laden’s whole way of thinking.) But Bin Laden seems very sympathetic with them. Even with Loud. Yet even with Brinkovsky, you could have Bin Laden be more surprised at how easy going they are together or at how sympathetic Brinkovsky is for an American.

    So basically you could’ve made Bin Laden’s character more believable as the Bin Laden most people see him as in the beginning. He seems so rational and easy going in the beginning, it almost made me feel confused why he kept justifying killing people. The personality you’ve given him also makes his change seem like not that much of a change really. Like he basically just realized he didn’t want to kill innocent people. Try making his change even bigger and more of a struggle. For the most part, the soldiers really didn’t do that much to sway him either. Although I did get the impression that most of his swaying came from the bond he formed with the soldiers, but we really didn’t see much in how it grew because he seemed so easy to get along with from the beginning. So perhaps also the change could be a little more obvious. I felt like you spent more time having us sympathize with Bin Laden as a person than having Bin Laden actually evolve from the man he basically truly is. And I didn’t see the thematic point of us needing to sympathize with him so much in the beginning.

    Anyway, yeah watching your formatting. I’ve recently learned that officially you’re supposed to have Cont’ds for your character dialogue. And anytime someone is on the phone, you use (v.o.)

    You nickname Brinkovksy ‘Mitch’ early on, but only refer to it again one. Why specifically give him a nickname if you never really use it?

    What’s the purpose of the definition at the beginning: Uchronie

    Ending confusing. The bomb seems to have gone off. Are we to assume The White House was actually destroyed? It’s funny that they were sent the tape and are still talking about getting Bin Laden, but I think the comedy and poignancy should be stronger, especially as it relates to the previous scene. I also felt like it should’ve ended with something other than the bomb simply going off. I know it’s a dark comedy, but I didn’t see any comedy, subtexual or otherwise, in that moment. No accidental ironic fuck-up by the president or the CIA, they simply couldn’t get to him fast enough. And I think the last scene should’ve been Loud and Brinkovsky sitting and waiting in the cave because the White House, of course, thinks Bin Laden killed them. You could show them still in there three months later with long beards like Bin Laden’s. Hehe.

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      rkwok says
      September 6, 2012, 11:01 pm

      thanks for your very thoughtful comments. In process of rewriting and I think you make a very valid points

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    sethm says
    September 1, 2012, 9:00 pm
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    Has commented before but got dumped. The script is hilarious at times and Osama is really well done. The writing is strong and very enjoyable, yet at times could muse more action. When you cut to president, it is a great parody. And again, puttingnin a bit more action will make the characters pop and be even more compelling. The topic is a little polarizing, but you do manage to make it very funny and succeed on several levels. On you next pass, maybe read for specific characters to really differentiate voices, particularly in the first act and with the soldiers. Good luck!

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  8. gregorj says
    August 29, 2012, 5:19 pm
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    Not sure about the subject matter; it could be poorly received.

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    melroggins says
    August 25, 2012, 7:56 pm
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    I think this is a story that will very much divide opinion. Those that love it and those that aren’t so stoked. I fall somewhere closer towards the latter. What’s clear is you can write. What’s also clear is that this pseudo serious narrative requires a defter hand. The comic scenes whilst enjoyable at times stifled a potentially great idea. The characters felt one dimensional. You set them up to play against perception, but that’s about it. You leave them there and they continue down that route for the entire narrative. There wasn’t a texture to their decisions. What’s most interesting about characterization is not the predictable choices they make but the unpredictable ones. With this tone of material, the enjoyment comes in being surprised and shocked – true humor lies there and not in the set up. This was a predictable ride and given the themes you are attempting to tackle it’s a shame you chose this route. That is purely an opinion of mine and I have no doubt others will view it very differently. There is great potential to exploit “the informant” or “men who stare at goats” in the industry. People are looking for these projects, so delivering the script is going to have legs. One cautionary point, as someone who has written a few budgets, you’re giving any potential line producer a headache – this is a costly picture to make. Lotta moving parts, location. For a studio to pull the trigger this script has to explode – personally I don’t think you’re there quite yet. Wish you luck with it.

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    djzoso says
    August 11, 2012, 5:34 pm
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    It was the BALLS.

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    tserlin says
    July 31, 2012, 7:12 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed this script. You have a strong comedic voice that flows well between your characters and the crazy situations. I almost felt as thought at times, you could have infused a little more active movement and tension elements with each main character — only to flip the comedic pops off each of them. All have their goals well established. If you are going to really “take us there,” elevate the absurd even more. That said, you definitely accomplish several excellent comdic moments. Some terrific dialogue touches for sure.

    The way you presented Bush was very funny. One thing I might suggest is to read through the dialogue for each character separately. Because there are so many “contained” scenes with straight dialogue, you might find little pockets to add descriptive action that could elevate both your characters and the dramatic elements (comedic moments etc). You really have so much great stuff, if it were broken up with additional active voice — the script would be dynamite.

    Definitely proofread — because there is a bit of clean-up needed.

    Despite really enjoying how you treated the Osama character, there is a slight sense that he isn’t quite as “cartoonish” as he maybe should be. What I mean by this is he doen’t feel like such a “BAD, bad guy.” While I understand what you are trying to do, you might have a tough time with some readers simply due to the topic. But, you are a very very funny writer. Congratulations on a very entertaining script!

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    jjcj3113 says
    July 27, 2012, 9:46 pm
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    Maybe I don’t have the right sense of humor or something. But I just didn’t get out of it what everybody else did.

    I thought the Osama character was weak, he was almost painted as a GOOD guy, with him deciding to tell the president about the bomb. I don’t see how people in the US would find this believe able or acceptable. He was not a good guy, he was a villion.

    In this piece it seemed like the president was a goof ball, which i would agree with, but it just didn’t work for me.

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      jusork says
      August 31, 2012, 7:37 pm

      Damn it. I just wanted to say I was clicking around and accidentally hit the thumbs down button. It was me. Sorry.

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    wobbly19 says
    July 27, 2012, 7:26 pm
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    A very good read with good light-hearted moments. The big screen will compliment this script immensely and I for one will be in the queue to see it.
    It could have been an opportunity to darken Bin Ladens views, but for a comedy, you hit the mark just right.

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    mark123 says
    July 20, 2012, 7:11 pm
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    What a wonderful script! There are several absolutely hysterical sequences. People should hear about this! You certainly have comedic chops.Writing is strong throughout. You are a great storyteller.

    Not sure if this is the PDF transfer formatting, but I did notice a lot of funky punctuation and extra spaces. Maybe it is your style, but it looked off in places. I’d carefully proofread for punctuation. I noticed a number of typos.

    Your dialogue is great! Sometimes, I’m thinking of BLACK HAWK DOWN for some reason. Other times, I feel like I’m reading a great SNL skit. Some of the “team’s” professional language could be spruced up and feel more authentic. Their radio communication from the cave is an example.

    Osama is incredibly amusing. When he offers them milk, it was hard to contain myself. You really did a terrific job with making him funny, all things considered. A guitar-playing terrorist “rock star.” When bin Laden finally swears, it is a great moment! When he defends himself in the comparison with Hitler and Stalin it was very good?

    Loved how you portrayed Bush. The notion of bin Laden using a sonic weapon when talking to the President is great! Although I do believe Bush would be well aware Osama spoke perfect English, considering that, in reality both he and his father had reasonably close ties with the “family.” When bin Laden says: “Not if I see you first” reminded me of STAND BY ME for some odd reason. Your choice of music is thoughtful and funny!

    Sacha Baron Cohen pops to mind for some reason as well when I think about this. Or the SNL cast. If any script (of this subject matter) has a chance, I’d think yours would be at the top of that pile for sure. Very well done!!!

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  15. wardparry says
    July 19, 2012, 10:12 pm
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    This is emphatically brilliant. It’s a privilege to be running in the same competition as this project, and is the script to beat as far as I am concerned. Whilst I absolutely want to win this thing it’s important to authentically acknowledge quality when one reads quality, and put aside competitive bias.
    There’s nothing new on the concept, but holy shit, the execution is just fantastic. I don’t want to get into the plot areas so as to spoil the read for others, but Loud, Brinovsky, Jakeem, Aaghaa et al are some of the most memorable characters you could wish to come across.

    One thought I had when reading this; I wonder if Brinovsky was more concerned with the aesthetic of war, than the politics or the personalities, and in a more calculated manner than he’s coming across now. The consumed provocative director pre-occupied with capturing the haunting beauty of war rather than the mere documenting of it etc etc

    One note – the title draws an obvious comparison with Tea with Mussolini – I think you can do better.

    Hats off to you, sir. wp

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      rkwok says
      July 20, 2012, 12:49 pm

      Thanks for the kind words! I got a few mandatory readings to get through then I’ll certainly have a read of yours. FUnny about Tea with Mussolini: I have never seen the movie but was aware of it. I didn’t even think about it until half way thru the script. And yet you’re the first person to mention the parallel.

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    lex86 says
    July 17, 2012, 5:21 am
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    This was bloody brilliant!!! I pray that this gets made – Congratulations, it is so well written! I can definately see the dr strangelove influence. Really, really great work!!

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      rkwok says
      July 18, 2012, 1:58 pm

      Thanks for the kind review! The script got into the final 12 in the Las Vegas Film Festival. So keeping fingers crossed.

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