Everything's the Worst: Fireside Chat Edition

Alex Livesey

After an unedifying acquaintance with bliss, ETW is taking a break from its usual format for a friendly fireside chat. Blame it on the international break.

With the honourable exemption of experimental work such as Stanley Kubrick's 2001 and Andrei Tarkovsky' Solaris, the script is often the essence of an exceptional film. Unfortunately, quite a few film directors remain ignorant, wilfully or otherwise, of this facet of film construction. As the legendary Akira Kurosawa observed with worldly precision, "With a good script a good director can produce a masterpiece; with the same script a mediocre director can make a passable film. But with a bad script even a good director can't possibly make a good film. For truly cinematic expression, the camera and the microphone must be able to cross both fire and water. That is what makes a real movie. The script must be something that has the power to do this."

Leaders often take elements and mould them, if possible, to a vision or in pursuit of objectives. Sometimes both. A manager should be a leader or at the very least, a facilitator. Carlo Ancelotti strikes me as an excellent facilitator while Jose Mourinho is a charismatic leader. One of their greatest skills is to identify good players and build close relationships with them. For all their successes, it is uncertain as to whether their names would hold any weight in modern football if they could not access capable footballers. Football is a game that can be viewed in the most uncomplicated of terms as Bill Shankly sometimes did, "Football is a simple game based on the giving and taking of passes, of controlling the ball and of making yourself available to receive a pass. It is terribly simple." If a manager adds greater quality to this philosophy within a consistent and possibly flexible framework, should success naturally follow?

Inevitably, Liverpool FC and Brendan Rodgers plop into the laps of this discussion. Often a manager will squawk endlessly about actual or perceived deficiencies in his squad and like any egotistical film director, will always demand more. As Rodgers himself said in a lengthy interview last September, "Every manager always wants more players, but the reality is, in terms of what the club was at, it needed work to be done and a little bit of surgery done on the squad." While the two summer transfer windows of Rodgers' tenure have been remarkably different in execution and approach, the concept of "surgery" must have been a prevailing idea throughout.

While this summer doesn't seem to be one of marked upheaval, there has been much seamless transition in the Liverpool squad. Two players who couldn't match the expectations foisted upon them by maddening transfer fees departed, following a former disappointment to West Ham. Their sales inspired letters of love to the gargantuan footballing force known as Big Sam, a man with the Comolli plan. David Bentley will surely be the next stop on Big Sam's way to Real Madrid. Liverpool also lost two dressing room leaders in Reina and Carragher. Their exits were driven by disparate forces but they appear to have been astutely replaced, possibly improved upon. This summer was the summer last summer was meant to be.

As the summers were designed for overhaul, January is the month of the tweak. Tweak not twerk. Liverpool's script appears to be well constructed but could be in need of a slight rewrite January. While André Villas-Boas got the script he wanted, he'll need the film to do well in awards season otherwise this may be his last film production in London for a while. Arsene Wenger may have snatched a sultry international star but will Wenger's new muse cover over cracks in the script? David Moyes doesn't have the gravitas that his current actors are used to while both Pellegrini and Mourinho will contend with capricious studios as well as exacting producers. Directors don't always thrive in such scenarios and their productions often become stories themselves.

Is the script good enough for Brendan Rodgers to work with?

Liverpool's script possesses impressive cohesion with solid characterisation but it isn't quite expansive enough. It doesn't have to be; it is fortunate that the entire film will be shot in the UK while others must shoot in locations across Europe. A large crew won't be needed to produce results. The picture might not have attracted that star in spite of supposed clandestine negotiations in pre-production but now that production is underway, early shots look promising. It might be difficult to find enough light for stunning shots in November and December but the star of the show will return from a bite-induced sabbatical in a couple of weeks. Liverpool might just have a script that Rodgers can use to "cross both fire and water" in May.

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