Super Mario World

By Max Landis

Based on:

The “Mario Brothers” Franchise from Nintendo

Click To Download The Script

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On Mood Disorders

The most difficult part about having a mood disorder is acknowledging that, no matter how vehemently you feel something, it could be wrong. I’ve met many people who aren’t able to recognize this aspect, and get swept in their tides, constantly sad or overjoyed or angry. It’s the annoying waiting game that tricks people; the emotions are so strong that they feel they have to act RIGHT NOW or all is lost, but the truth is, those emotions are rarely appropriate in scale, and the longer you wait, and refuse to indulge them, the more they shrink. It’s hard not to stew. It’s hard not to go around and around. It’s hard to not to blame everyone but yourself. It’s hard to see clearly.

That’s the fucker of having any form of bipolar, losing your subjectivity. Being convinced. That’s the part you have to beat.

Originally Tweeted From @uptomyknees

Mayweather: Part 1

Max pitches a unique take on a familiar property.

YG’s My Nigga but replace Nigga with Parents

I said that I’m a ride for my motherfucking parents,
Most likely I’m a die with my finger on the trigger
I’ve been grinding outside, all day with my parents
And I ain’t going in, unless I’m with my parents
My parents, my parents
My parents, my parents (My motherfucking parents!)
My parents, my parents (My parents, my parents)
My parents, my parents Continue Reading →



Written By Max Landis

Click To Download



Some Thoughts On Writing, And Tone

This short post is made up of a collection of thoughts originally posted on Max’s Twitter account.

People endlessly talk about “tone” and “internal logic” in script development, and for good reason. You see, suspension of disbelief, ie, the audiences’ willingness to sit down and engage with your story, relies on “immersion.” Anything that reminds the audience too sharply that they’re sitting and watching a movie is bad; even fourth wall stuff is dangerous. 

Your story needs to have internal logic strong enough that it isn’t questioned by most viewers. Questions break disbelief suspension. Granted, every movie has different thresholds of disbelief. You can’t compare Toy Story to Die Hard, or Die Hard to Saving Private Ryan. But once you establish a premise, you have to back it up. Some scenes can’t just randomly be surreal, you can’t “do whatever you want.” Almost every note you get as a writer, the good ones, are about tightening the logic of your movie. Believe me, tone is hard. The second your audience is asking WHY the moon makes the man turn into a werewolf, you done fucked up.

The Slap – I Want You to Hit Me As Hard As You Want

Several months ago, I discovered a white studio space on the edge of Los Angeles.  The idea occured to me instantly to shoot something there, but what?  A sequel to my minorly viral series of Superman videos?  A music video?  The blank white space stretched out before me and I clutched my beer and squinted my eyes and found myself thinking of something that felt unbelievably obvious:

I should get my friends to hit each other in the face.

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Elliot Rodger, Andrew Detmer: The Forest and the Trees

It’s been repeatedly brought to my attention that news sites are reporting Chronicle as a favorite film of Elliot Rodger’s.  In diving into the available information, I found an avalanche of information that provoked a strong response in me, everything from misogyny, the #yesallwomen movement, the nature of spree killers throughout history, the fact that this incident comes equipped with the sort of sensationalist talking points that make it easy to give it a superficial read, not to mention my own troublesome history with the mental health system at various levels.

Yesterday morning I was introduced to Elliot via a contextless Youtube video shown to me.  My girlfriend and I watched it, laughing, with her feeling like he was pathetic and me feeling like he was obviously trolling; surely no one this cartoonishly affected and evil could be serious?  Mumbling melodramatically about the sorority girls’ “cascading blonde hair.”  Breaking his rant, pathetically, as a car drove by, murmuring “…car…”

My own wrongness about this is sort of stuck in my head.

I cannot comment on the grief the families must be feeling, or the nature of Elliot Rodger’s breaking point.  I do feel compelled, however to give the situation an admittedly superficial read.  And what’s more superficial than a fictional character?

Andrew Detmer was purpose built as a victim. I wrote the character intentionally to feed on the audience’s sense of isolation; the idea that the problems of a “nerd” or “loser” aren’t their fault, and rather that they are just total victims of an unfair system.

Andrew’s “Apex Predator” rant, one of my proudest pieces of writing, ever, is designed to mimic the rants of power and control found in the manifestos of mass killers and the journals of school shootings.  The gaps in Andrew’s logic are obvious. A lion doesn’t feel guilty? It’s going to eat that gazelle, of course it doesn’t feel guilty, it’s trying to survive. Equating that to squashing a fly doesn’t even make sense. We’re looking at the steps. 3 steps removed from murder. Then 2.

Then the rampage in Seattle. Losing control.

But Andrew does nothing wrong in Chronicle. The glimmers of darkness we see in him, his instability, the death of Steve, even his final rampage, are all sort of smashed into the character by outside forces. That’s why he’s byronic. We want him to prevail, almost.

I’m endlessly proud of this portrayal. Dane DeHaan brought something special to it, and the role became minorly iconic. He was a tragic hero, not a monster.  He was intended as dark, broken look at a “real” Peter Parker.

I did this because he was the film’s protagonist. But real spree shooters, like Rodger and those before him, are rarely sympathetic. They take everyday frustrations and turn them wars. They take every day emotions and turn them into carnage. These guys are their own protagonist.  They always have a manifesto.  But the manifesto isn’t the real plan; we all have a manifesto of inadequacy, bitterness, jealousy and anger.  It’s our internal monologue.  It’s inside us.

The problem they say they have is never the real problem. The problem is that they can’t deal with the problem. They can’t see the forest for the trees.

Every loser wants control.

Every outcast wants to be an apex predator.


hahaha I wrote a spider-man musical

It just struck me that it should be really hard to screw up a musical of Spider-Man, so I thought I’d write one.  Of course, this is a very vague, one pass outline, so I hope you’ll forgive the lack of detail, and I’m using existing songs, so some of the  lyrics would of course not work.  Focus instead on what strike me as the easy “broadway” themes of Spider-Man: youthful vibrance, danger in duality, responsibility versus being carefree, tragedy and melodrama, and of course, bright, poppy fun.

I see the staging and production of this as very experimental, and sparse, with a few big representative pieces of set, costumes that are inspired by the 60s comics, and a general stripped down feel.  However, whenever the action starts, the same elaborate cirque de soleil theatrics and stuntwork that goes on in the current broadway production starts up, with parts of the theater itself built to be destroyed (on a small, containable scale.)

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