Fiasco Heights

09Jul09

Genre: Thriller/Film Noir
Premise: A gunman returns to the crime-ridden city of Fiasco Heights and teams with a degenerate gambler/private eye on the run from a syndicate to look for a beautiful femme fatale.
About: Kyle Ward, all of 27 years old, sold Fiasco Heights to Universal back in 2007. He was an assistant at Dreamworks at the time. The script made the 2008 Black List, landed him at CAA, and got Ward all sorts of high-profile jobs like “Kane and Lynch” and “Hitman 2”. If it does get made, Michael Bay is producing.
Writer: Kyle Ward


What do you get when you mix Sin City, Dick Tracy, and Grand Theft Auto? Fiasco Heights. When Guy Ritchie, Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodriquez dream of the perfect script, what do they dream of? Fiasco Heights. If you spend the majority of your time debating what your next tattoo will be, dripping sweat from your nearly naked body at the local rave, or dropping acid, what should your next screenplay read be? Fiasco Heights. I never get jealous of other writers, no matter how great they are. I am very jealous of Kyle Ward though. He’s clearly insane, yet possesses the innate ability to capture that insanity and transfer it down onto paper. There is not a single thing about Fiasco Heights that I should like. My 300 and Sin City experiences were the equivalent of being thrown into a dryer for six hours without fabric softener. The only reason I even gave this script a chance was because I had rented Grand Theft Auto a week earlier and had played it so much I’d started confusing the real world with the Grand Theft Auto world. My brain felt like spaghetti and pepto bismol as I stumbled around my neighborhood wondering if I should carjack the Accura or the Audi. Ward’s modern film-noir seemed like a natural extension of this mindset so I gave the Xbox a much-needed rest and dialed up Acrobat. I’m not sure I’d ever go back and relive that week, but Fiasco Heights stands as the defacto bookend to the closest I’ve ever come to committing a felony.

For those of you wondering, Fiasco Heights is a city. Sticking with film-noir tradition, it’s seedy, dirty, rainy, and unpleasant. Atlantic City meets Gotham. Here we join Nick The Saint, a professional killer who hasn’t been to this shithole in years. In fact, everybody thought Nicky was dead. A ghost. But he so wasn’t dead. Now he’s back to find a girl named Hope who’s gotten herself into a bad situation. Across town we meet Lucky – no relation – a former P.I. with a serious gambling addiction. The local bookie (his priest) lets him ride his debt on that evening’s fight and suffice it to say, Lucky’s account gets K.O.’d. Lucky splits and the priest sends out his own personal hitman brigade to take him down. Lucky’s no Carl Lewis so they catch him pretty easily and take him to their own version of confession: If he doesn’t come up with the money, he’s dead.

Lucky for Lucky he spots some men manhandling Hope, the girl Nick’s looking for, and as a result becomes Nick’s only link to finding her. The sleazy Lucky (I don’t know why, but I picture the guy as the real-life equivalent of Leisure Suit Larry) parlays this information into securing the world’s best bodyguard. He’ll help Nick find Hope if Nick helps protect him from the priest. Nick’s not taking to this low-life but it’s not like he’s got a lot of options. Hence, a pairing is born. The thing that Lucky doesn’t realize, is that just about everyone in this town wants Nick dead. Which means this coupling’s annihilation has become the number one priority for every dirty rotten crook in town. Needless to say, trouble ensues.

From then on, every minute of Fiasco Heights is filled with somebody dying, somebody killing, or a bunch of people dying and killing during an incredibly elaborate car chase. In fact, the central chase scene is one of my favorite moments in the script. Here’s the end of it, just to give you a taste of how insane Ward is…

[scrippet]
EXT. TRANSPORTABLE HOME – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

A vertical garage door lifts, revealing a PINK CADILLAC parked inside (the kind your mom drives after selling Mary Kay for ten years). Lucky wires the engine and REVERSES THE CADILLAC OUT OF THE TIPPING HOME BACK ONTO THE FREEWAY.

The house topples to the asphalt, and rolls in direct path of the SEWAGE TANKER. Tanker collides and sputters into a 90 degree skid. As it cuts perpendicular to the other lanes, THE
CONSTRUCTION CARRIER has no choice but to carom into the tanker at full speed…

AN ERUPTION OF PISS & SHIT GOES SKY HIGH!!

WATCH OUT! THE CONSTRUCTION CARRIER hydroplanes across the piss slicked asphalt -and- slams into the median, sending all 6 concrete cylinders toppling onto the highway.

LUCKY
Ah hell!

Lucky weaves as the cylinders roll across the lanes. He’s dodging perfectly, until of course the final cylinder rolls directly in front of us!

PINK CADILLAC CHUTES STRAIGHT INTO THE CYLINDER GOING 90… TURNS UPSIDE DOWN AS IT ROLLS LEFT AND GETS SPIT OUT ON ALL FOURS ONE LANE OVER.

DELI
HOOOOOOLY SHIT!

NICK
HOLY SHIIIIIIT!

Nick signs the cross. Lucky tries too, but fucks the rotation.

And the Cadillac speeds into the clear….
[/scrippet]
If I need something described from this point on, I’m going to Ward to describe it. I could picture every bullet flying, every body crashing, every color glowing. So much so that I see no point in making the movie. Just read the script a second time. It’ll probably be a more enjoyable experience. If they were going to make this movie though, they should split it up into four pieces and give it to four different directors. Tarantino, Spike Jonez, Tarsem, and Guy Ritchie. Don’t let any of them know what the others are doing. It would be genius! If you’re going to take a shot at this weird creature, why not go all the way?

Is it all buttercups and belgium waffles? No. Buried inside this circus is a pretty ordinary plot. I guess it has to be that way to keep this story from floating off into the stratosphere. But I’m very much a “story” guy and not having something to sink my teeth into kept me from enjoying this as much as I’d hoped. Watching Ward weave words together is fun. And I was never quite sure what was coming around the corner. But I wanted a little more meat on this bone and not even the most lavish description of a bullet entering a man’s body can make up for that. For that reason, Fiasco just misses an impressive. It does, however, get my new favorite rating: the double-star “worth the read”. πŸ™‚

Link: Fiasco Heights

[ ] trash
[ ] barely kept my interest

[xx] worth the read

[ ] impressive

[ ] genius

What I learned: I think this script is a good reminder to really evaluate your action description. Make it fun and entertaining to read. A lot of writers are content with just getting it down. Tell us what’s happening in an interesting way. Readers get bored with mundane description.

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36 Responses to “Fiasco Heights”

  1. 1 David

    Another script that I kept putting off that I'm not gonna need to read. Great.

    BTW, I wonder if we'll ever get to a point where ScriptShadow basically makes or breaks a movie going into production based on your reviews.

  2. 2 David

    Another script that I kept putting off that I'm not gonna need to read. Great.

    BTW, I wonder if we'll ever get to a point where ScriptShadow basically makes or breaks a movie going into production based on your reviews.

  3. 3 Carson Reeves

    Well if they'd just listen to me and get Source Code made dammit.

  4. 4 Carson Reeves

    Well if they'd just listen to me and get Source Code made dammit.

  5. 5 JonnyAtlas

    Well, I guess I'm finally gonna have to read past the first page on this one. lol.

  6. 6 JonnyAtlas

    Well, I guess I'm finally gonna have to read past the first page on this one. lol.

  7. 7 Phil

    You had me at AN ERUPTION OF PISS & SHIT GOES SKY HIGH!!

    Seems like Kyle is the right guy for videogame adaptations, I'm looking forward to see what he does with Kane & Lynch (does this script exist yet?)

  8. 8 Phil

    You had me at AN ERUPTION OF PISS & SHIT GOES SKY HIGH!!

    Seems like Kyle is the right guy for videogame adaptations, I'm looking forward to see what he does with Kane & Lynch (does this script exist yet?)

  9. 9 Carson Reeves

    Kane & Lynch should be finished by now but you never know.

    Jonny, this script was written for you.

  10. 10 Carson Reeves

    Kane & Lynch should be finished by now but you never know.

    Jonny, this script was written for you.

  11. 11 Loop Design

    This kid's level of talent actually pisses me off a bit.

    RE this: "I wonder if we'll ever get to a point where ScriptShadow basically makes or breaks a movie going into production based on your reviews."
    The answer is a definitive "no". Carson's tastes skew too much towards art house dramas and we live in the age of the seven hundred million dollar grossing toy commercial movies.

  12. 12 Loop Design

    This kid's level of talent actually pisses me off a bit.

    RE this: "I wonder if we'll ever get to a point where ScriptShadow basically makes or breaks a movie going into production based on your reviews."
    The answer is a definitive "no". Carson's tastes skew too much towards art house dramas and we live in the age of the seven hundred million dollar grossing toy commercial movies.

  13. 13 Carson Reeves

    I'm okay with influencing art house films. πŸ™‚

  14. 14 Carson Reeves

    I'm okay with influencing art house films. πŸ™‚

  15. 15 Kingston Alomar

    MAKE SOURCE CODE DAMNIT.

    Lord Carson has spoken. Seriously that movie needs to be made ASAP. It's the best screenplay I read all year. Even better than Sorkin's Facebook script. And if they film it on the actual NJ Transit lines I could be an extra. It's right in my backyard. πŸ™‚

    Moving on, all this seems like to me is that Ward wanted to write a Grand Theft Auto screenplay, but the rights were acquired by someone else before he had a chance to. So he just made up some generic story in the same ballpark. Exiled Assassin? Check. Slimy unlucky gambler gangster named Lucky? Check. Generic hot chick in trouble with a name with double meanings? Check. Priest that does more than pray? Check. I mean do people even try anymore? And he's a pretty young guy. He should have a fresher approach as opposed to what they were writing 50 years ago.

    Nothing about this script seems even remotely interesting. Then again I'm not a fan of Grand Theft Auto video games. Talk about a waste of time.

    Anyway I know this isn't a video game script, but the writer has it in his resume. And video game movie writers to me are just lame. I put them in same category as book screenwriters, but a little lower.

    Congratulations to Kyle Ward, but Kingston Alomar Productions will PASS on this one. We're leaving room on our production schedule for Seagal vs. Van Damme. Mwhaha.

  16. 16 Kingston Alomar

    MAKE SOURCE CODE DAMNIT.

    Lord Carson has spoken. Seriously that movie needs to be made ASAP. It's the best screenplay I read all year. Even better than Sorkin's Facebook script. And if they film it on the actual NJ Transit lines I could be an extra. It's right in my backyard. πŸ™‚

    Moving on, all this seems like to me is that Ward wanted to write a Grand Theft Auto screenplay, but the rights were acquired by someone else before he had a chance to. So he just made up some generic story in the same ballpark. Exiled Assassin? Check. Slimy unlucky gambler gangster named Lucky? Check. Generic hot chick in trouble with a name with double meanings? Check. Priest that does more than pray? Check. I mean do people even try anymore? And he's a pretty young guy. He should have a fresher approach as opposed to what they were writing 50 years ago.

    Nothing about this script seems even remotely interesting. Then again I'm not a fan of Grand Theft Auto video games. Talk about a waste of time.

    Anyway I know this isn't a video game script, but the writer has it in his resume. And video game movie writers to me are just lame. I put them in same category as book screenwriters, but a little lower.

    Congratulations to Kyle Ward, but Kingston Alomar Productions will PASS on this one. We're leaving room on our production schedule for Seagal vs. Van Damme. Mwhaha.

  17. 17 Anonymous

    Thanks, Carson. There was never a dull moment. I'm looking forward to reading some more stuff from Kyle Ward. If you want to read a great script, check out Fiasco Heights!

  18. 18 Anonymous

    Thanks, Carson. There was never a dull moment. I'm looking forward to reading some more stuff from Kyle Ward. If you want to read a great script, check out Fiasco Heights!

  19. 19 Anonymous

    Could Kyle Ward have written Fiasco Heights as some kind of Grand Theft Auto spec?

  20. 20 Anonymous

    Could Kyle Ward have written Fiasco Heights as some kind of Grand Theft Auto spec?

  21. 21 Carson Reeves

    I don't think there's any question Ward was influenced by video games when he wrote this, and probably had GTA on during the writing process. But it's still great writing.

  22. 22 Carson Reeves

    I don't think there's any question Ward was influenced by video games when he wrote this, and probably had GTA on during the writing process. But it's still great writing.

  23. 23 Anonymous

    Good read. But it would not make a good movie.

  24. 24 Anonymous

    Good read. But it would not make a good movie.

  25. 25 Anonymous

    Chuck in Cellz from DOOM's Born Into This for soundtrack signpost

  26. 26 Anonymous

    Chuck in Cellz from DOOM's Born Into This for soundtrack signpost

  27. 27 martinb

    Phew! That was quite a read. I feel as if I've been repeatedly battered with the "Caps Lock" key Kyle Ward has got chewing gum stuck under. This 111 pages read like 131. It's like heading into a snowstorm of verbal shrapnel.

    This is one helluva sample of power writing. It's good in that it tells a story in moving pictures rather than talking heads, but as Carson points out, the story isn't quite strong enough for the imagery.

  28. 28 martinb

    Phew! That was quite a read. I feel as if I've been repeatedly battered with the "Caps Lock" key Kyle Ward has got chewing gum stuck under. This 111 pages read like 131. It's like heading into a snowstorm of verbal shrapnel.

    This is one helluva sample of power writing. It's good in that it tells a story in moving pictures rather than talking heads, but as Carson points out, the story isn't quite strong enough for the imagery.

  29. 29 Emily Blake

    Man. Despite the annoying habit the guy has of leaving caps lock on, this thing was amazing.

    I like gun fights. I like noir films. I like anything that feels absurdly masculine but still has a story to tell. It was around page 47 with the trolley chase when I mentally came all over my keyboard.

  30. 30 Emily Blake

    Man. Despite the annoying habit the guy has of leaving caps lock on, this thing was amazing.

    I like gun fights. I like noir films. I like anything that feels absurdly masculine but still has a story to tell. It was around page 47 with the trolley chase when I mentally came all over my keyboard.

  31. 31 Carson Reeves

    lol. Oh Emily. You don't mince words, do you.

  32. 32 Carson Reeves

    lol. Oh Emily. You don't mince words, do you.

  33. 33 Anonymous

    Great and I just happen to have a script about a gambling addict named Lucky. I thought I was so clever. =).

    Denise

  34. 34 Anonymous

    Great and I just happen to have a script about a gambling addict named Lucky. I thought I was so clever. =).

    Denise

  35. 35 Emily Blake

    Heh. I guess not. Well that's how it felt, dammit.

  36. 36 Emily Blake

    Heh. I guess not. Well that's how it felt, dammit.


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