As Nikki Finke explains, the Black List is a collection of favorite scripts from 311 movie executives that for whatever reason will not see the light of day in 2009. In the past, it has helped screenplays like Diablo Cody’s Juno, Nancy Oliver’s Lars And The Real Girl, Scott Neustader’s and Michael Weber’s 500 Days Of Summer get the buzz they needed to become realized into films. Of the 79 that made this year’s cut, we’re listing our personal top 10 after the jump, along with a few more dubious sounding projects.
1. Buried by Chris Sparling “A civilian contractor in Iraq is kidnapped and awakens to find himself buried in a coffin in the desert.”
Because we believe The Men Who Stare at Goats would have been even better if it had been darker.
2. Crook Factory by Nicholas Meyer “Based on the novel by Dan Simmons and true events. An FBI agent is ordered to baby-sit Ernest Hemingway as he goes about running a motley spy ring in WWII Cuba.”
Because Papa doesn’t get enough big screen love.
3. A Fistful of Quarters: The Legend of Nolan Bushnell by Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman “The rise of Nolan Bushnell, father of the videogame industry, who started Atari in the ’70s.”
Because we’re geeks.
4. The Girl With the Red Riding Hood by David Leslie Johnson “A Gothic imagining of the classic fairy tale in which a young woman is confronted by a werewolf, this time with a teenage love triangle at its center.”
Because werewolves are so hot right now (we’re kidding, sort of), and Leonardo DiCaprio is involved.
5. Jimi by Max Borenstein “The life story of rock legend Jimi Hendrix.”
Because if they pulled this off, it would be an epic rock biopic.
6. The Low Self Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie by Mindy Kaling and Brent Forrester “A single girl in Manhattan dates the hottest guy in the world but must overcome her insecurities when she hears him deny they are dating.”
Because we love Mindy.
7. Sex, Greed, Money, Murder, & Chicken Fried Steak by Reinhard Denke “The story of oilman T. Cullen Davis, the richest man in the United States ever to be tried (and acquitted twice) for the capital murder of his stepdaughter, marking the end of the reign of Texas oil billionaires.”
Because that working title is out of control and made us hungry for lunch.
8. Take This Waltz by Sarah Polley “A young woman struggles with her infidelities and the budding realization that she may be addicted to the honeymoon period of her relationships.”
Because Away from Her was so amazing that we’re going to ignore that synopsis.
9. The Trade by Dave Mandel “The true story of two New York Yankees pitchers who caused a national scandal when they swapped wives in the early ’70s.”
Because it will make Red Sox fans mad.
10. Water for Elephants by Richard LaGravanese “Jacob Jankowski is about to take his final exams in veterinary medicine at Cornell when his parents are killed in a car accident. He drops out and joins Benzini Brothers, a second-rate traveling circus trying to survive during the Depression.”
Because the book is one of our absolute favorites.
And then there are a few we’re not so sure about. These really need no explanation.
Allies With Benefits by Elizabeth Wright Shapiro “The female President of The United States falls for her old college fling, the now Prime Minister of England.”
The Blind Rage of Peacoat Miller by Adam Penn “A college student home for the holidays discovers that an internet porn film turns its viewer into homicidal maniacs. As the epidemic spreads, he has to save his longtime crush while struggling to control his own urges.”
The Hand Job by Maggie Carey “A coming-of-age comedy about a teenage girl who gives her first hand job (among other life experiences).”
My Sister Is Marrying a Douchebag by Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux “A young woman, thinking that her sister’s new fiance is a douchebag, sets out to sabotage their wedding.”
Swingles by Zach Braff “A bachelor who is dumped by his wingman teams up with a sharp-tongued woman he can’t stand in order to meet women.”