Slackers, Puss in Boots Screenwriter Slams Hunger Games Script

Screenwriter David H. Steinberg's credits include two American Pie sequels, National Lampoon's Barely Legal, the 2002 Devon Sawa vehicle Slackers, and, yes, Puss in Boots... which makes him an expert on adapting for the screen, of course! "...Ultimately I was underwhelmed. The movie simply failed to capture the emotion of the book... (No one in the movie ever looks hungry!)" [Yahoo]


  • Elmore says:

    I'm trying to wrap my head around the math equation that would render a produced screenwriter's opinion about writing movies invalid because a couple of his movies sucked.

    Does that mean the only people who should voice their opinions about movies are those who have never made one? Because the logical conclusion of this "People who have been involved in the making of shitty movies should keep their opinions to themselves" idea is that Roger Ebert should have turned in his press credentials after Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

    Of course actually being involved in the creation of a film has informed Ebert's ability to be a good-to-sometimes-great critic -- an experience 99.9% of critics haven't had.

  • MyCouchSmells says:

    I hate to agree with the man, but the movie definitely wasn't as suspenseful or dramatic as the book. I barely blinked when Rue died. I felt sure that I would be a blubbering mess on the floor, curled up in the arms of my lover for comfort after the whole impromptu Katniss funeral rites. I was never bored, but I was also never super excited.

  • Dave Miller says:

    The quote listed seems more like a slam on the casting department. Or catering.

  • Jake says:

    First, I totally agree with Elmore. Anyone who has had multiple screenplays produced is qualified to critique way more than most critics. (and come on... Puss in Boots was just fine. Haven't seen slackers.)

    Furthermore, you've heard that quote about a thousand people saying a foolish thing... "yet still it is a foolish thing?"

    This might be the opposite. Thought an idiot says a true thing, yet still it is a true thing.

    The Hunger Games was a disappointment and would have been panned twenty years ago. But with the terrible state of movies now, it actually looks good to critics in comparison.

    • Malcolm says:



      A) Steinberg is violating common, professional etiquette. You don't do this kind of shit. It's the equivalent of an NBA bench player doing a post game interview and saying, "I think that Lakers suck despite winning the championship."

      B) He is obnoxious. He's writing with force as if his opinion were more than simply opinion. And if it is not more than opinion, why bother putting it out there? You're not a film critic. This movie has nothing to do with you. Why do it?

      C) He's a shill.

      But mostly "B." Though "A" and "C" are equally valid.

      This guy needs to keep his mouth shut.

      • Jake says:

        Defintely see your point, even if NBA players are guilty of doing what you described.

        But his criticism is valid, if uncouth.

        • KevyB says:

          Personally, I think it's epically moronic for anyone who has read the books to say "It's not as suspenseful." Well, DUH, you already know what happens! I felt myself feeling an adequate amount of dread leading up to the Games, but little suspense during them because, DUH, I knew what happened! That doesn't even matter because when is the movie EVER as good as the book? The movie, by itself, is perfectly fine.

          • Jake says:

            Well, I didn't read the books, so I didn't know what was coming. I did generally know what the books are about (my wife told me it was about kids having to fight to the death, to which I replied, "so it's a remake of Battle Royale?" Later I found out they weren't related), but other than that, I went in cold. And I have to say that the film had no real tension because the Katniss character never had to do anything morally difficult. She never was forced to decide if she had it in her to actively kill someone in order to stay alive and deal with the emotional consequences of choosing to kill in order to survive. Sure, she ended up killing one person with her bow and arrow, but it was more like an instinctual reflex than a decision. That and she dropped some bees on people. Everything was handed to her on a platter (don't know if that was the case in the book, but it was in the movie). So, no. There really wasn't any tension in the movie for someone who hasn't read the books. But everyone I talked to who had read the books kept saying things like, "oh well, that's because this or that in the book." Well, a good movie doesn't require you to read the book before hand to make the movie good.

            And to concur with the post above, I also didn't feel anything when the Rue character died since they didn't really build much of a relationship between her and Katniss. But I figured it must have been important in the book since they made the aftermath really dramatic. A good screenplay would have focused on that relationship if it was actually important. So sorry, they kind of blew it from my perspective.

  • James Freud says:

    Just goes to show that everyone is entitled to an opinion, Jen. Lucky for you, cause then you wouldn't have a job at Movieline.

  • Show Biz Insider says:

    Good Lord, Steinberg's piece was one of the douchiest things I've read in a while. Very little of it devoted to actually discussing Hunger Games. Quite a lot of it about him straining to draw comparisons to his own mediocre oeuvre. I guess that's one way to draw attention to your work but it's a sleazy one.