The Still Life of Cornelius
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Rating: 3.4/5 (4 votes cast)

The Still Life of Cornelius

Cornelius is obsessed with art history and he’s committed to discover the genesis of Still Life. When his wealthy mother and servants die, according to a clause in the will, he has just one month either to finish his research or get married, otherwise he will lose his fortune. Cornelius has to fight Annie, a socialite ruthlessly devoted to becoming his spouse, and Ingrid, the new maid, who blackmails him into marrying and having access to his wealth. The latter is part of a Neo-Nazi conspiracy to kill him, but Cornelius and Sunshine, an undercover agent foil their plans and fall in love.

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  1. Akiva says
    October 31, 2013, 9:16 pm

    This script is about change. And I get it and I like it. Right away, Cornelius channeled the spirit of Harold in “Harold and Maude.” A strange, quirky man/boy who does not fit in anywhere. His mother, based on her excellent dialogue, is the mother in that movie. She is detached and realistic trying to change her son but doing it in all the wrong ways. And like”H&M,” the story itself is quirky what with the Nazi conspiracy and art tie-in.

    I love art and was able to “see” the paintings, etc. in my mind’s eye. While reading this one may not be able to “see” the paintings, but will be able to see them in the film. Once these are seen in the film, there will be no problem following the narrative drive. I believe it is perfectly acceptable for him to be speaking lofty art thoughts, thoughts that the masses have no concept of and cannot even comprehend. But that’s good. We’re lost in his little world, trying to figure him out, trying to follow his art detecting and we just can’t get it. However, we know that he is so lost in the books over the top lofty that THAT is what makes him a spoof of that type of character. It worked for me. Also, there are many references to art and literature in the average Woody Allen movie and no one complains. His audience knows and most of his films don’t make a ton of money but he is still Woody Allen and those of us who love him will be ever loyal. It’s true that some education would help, but I guarantee that the massess won’t like this film anyway. You’re going for a different kind of audience, a loyal and smart one that will find this fun and amusing. Thinking this way, you could actually make this on a small budget (meaning $5M or less.)

    In the story is the love story between Sunshine and Cornelius. I didn’t feel it. I didn’t sense that Sunshine had any kind of love for him until that one, teeny moment when she told him in the park to be careful. Her comment told me that she was concerned, not that she was falling in love. I also didn’t see that while she was scamming him with Ingrid. If this is a love story, then I need to see more of their story occur throughout the script and not just at that moment and at the end. You made me take a huge leap on love and I would rather fall in love watching them fall in love. I missed all that.

    And now to the whole Nazi conspiracy. Completely surprising. This is something that perplexed me because I didn’t expect it. When it was all over (of course I knew it was happening, I mean I didn’t expect the entire story drive) it all fell into place for me. Why not use this as the underlying story? Why not a Nazi conspiracy? Call me crazy, but it’s kinda fun. Reminds me of something Mel Brooks would do. And having mentioned him, you can push your script to go to even more comical lengths as does he. I mean, who would have thought a film about a Nazi musical could ever make us laugh?

    I like his use of the English language. I like his learned helplessness — but since this was about change and love, I just didn’t get to see him with Sunshine enough. He spends a lot of time daydreaming about her but we don’t ever get to see her reciprocate, even secretly. Secretly admiring him could be something very subtle at first until we finally shout out, “Watch and see — she likes him!”

    Again, I like the spoof. Bring out more of the love story without hitting us over the head. Keep the Nazi spoof going. Best of luck!

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    ellisgreer says
    August 17, 2013, 10:19 pm
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    good reading!

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      ellisgreer says
      August 17, 2013, 10:23 pm

      Very funny story with a lot of potential but needs a grammar and spelling check and the vocabulary is a bit difficult to follow at times which over complicates the jokes and takes away form the humor. But I can tell where you are going with this.

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      ellisgreer says
      August 17, 2013, 10:25 pm

      Very funny story with a lot of potential but needs a grammar and spelling check and the vocabulary is a bit difficult to follow at times which over complicates the jokes and takes away form the humor. NIce forward motion!

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  3. August 14, 2013, 8:07 pm
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    The hilarity is there. The classic, aloof, posh-buffoonery of many of the characters, who suffer from being sheltered with too much money has always been fun for me, and it makes for a lot fo laughs. The entire piece needs to be proof read thoroughly though, and early on it may go a bit too far with the extensive vocabulary. I get that Cornelius is an old school art aficionado with higher learning, and a lack of common sense. But there are times early on when his vocabulary “gets in the way” of his “funny”. When some of his dialogue is so compounded with complex wording that it becomes a task to draw meaning from the context around unknown words without having to stop and reread, or actually look something up. I found myself thinking “what the hell did he just say” several times, and for me it was actually enjoyable to piece together the meaning and extract the jokes. But the average reader/viewer may get turned off by this. There has to be a balance between maintaining the identity of this character you have sculpted, and at the same time giving him a universal connection to a diverse audience who may not completely understand who he is/where he is from, so that despite that, he is still relatable. The key to this, I believe, is in his dialogue. You want the audience to stand by him and pull for him but that get’s tough if his language becomes annoying, and people stop caring about what he is saying for lack of immediate understanding.

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  4. ssabatino says
    August 8, 2013, 1:55 am
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    Why do we go to the movies? Why do we spend 2 hours of our lives watching somebody’s film?” More to the point, who chooses to go and watch? Once you know your target audience, the script closes in. The characters speak to those viewers – and in return, the viewers understand and enjoy the experience. Your characters may exist in their own world – they actually have to. The problem herein is a chasm between them and the audience. I know art and art history. I understand Cornelius’s references, but I can assure you the masses do not. Trust me on this. You need to teach your audience his “obsession,” before it can understand the joke, which I believe is the “genius of the Still Life.” You need to weave in a bit of art education.
    You have a lot of filler. I would go back and concentrate on character development through dialogue. As is, your supporting characters are “old hat” and stereotypical. I could not help but see the cast of the Carol Burnet Show playing out these parts – Tim Conway being the butler. Cornelius is pedantic and lifeless. Written differently, his character could be quite good. I must confess the synopsis left me unmoved. The storyline seemed hackneyed. I gave the script a shot, though, because of the promise of an art obsession. In that, I was disappointed. Finally, there are many grammatical errors.

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  5. belw says
    August 5, 2013, 6:18 pm

    I liked your story and found it funnier than expected. Good luck with this script, hope to see you around the winner’s circle. it is my opinion you are a talented writer, I enjoy your funny moments, and recommend this script to other readers.

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  6. belw says
    August 5, 2013, 6:15 pm
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    I love the idea of this screenplay, and for my critics who think I give 5 stars too easily, I believe because of the number of locations the budget would be higher. For those who think I didn’t read this very well-done script i will say that there was not only a dog, but a sturgeon (tho dead) and a squirrel as well. I’m entitled to my opinion, my critics aside, and would very much recommend this script.

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