*I posted this at Small Pond, but included it here to hopefully ensure that it will have some kind of life*
I've never been much of a critical reader. I'd read something, enjoy it (or not), and then let it go. Occasionally going back and reading it again. But never with an eye on what's going on below the surface. What choices the writer is making, how the words are leading the reader, or informing the characters. This is no different than watching a film and dissecting the mechanical/technical aspects of the mise-en-scene, editing, or acting. If you're going to call yourself a writer (which I still don't; getting closer but not yet), you should be reading scripts and tearing them apart and seeing how they work. Like you would with a clock.
I've amassed a little stockpile of published scripts and text files over the years. I read a few of them, but I only started to read them with that critical eye I keep mentioning. Making notes in the margins, all that jazz. I'm curious to see if anybody else is doing the same thing, and if so, what you're reading?
I'm working my way through Requiem for a Dream at the moment. It's interesting to see how things changed from the page to the screen. For example, in the script the scene when Harry decides to get his ma a TV takes place in an arcade, they're playing skeeball. In the finished film, he and Marion are at the beach (presumably not far from the boardwalk and an arcade). The scene plays the same on the page, but placing it on the beach makes it a little more tranquil, whereas if it was in the arcade, there would be a lot of noise and lights and such. Chaos slowly builds as the film progresses, culminating in one of the most visceral third acts in cinema, so putting them in the chaotic environment of the arcade for a relatively simple scene could have thrown a kink in the overall feeling of the film.
On tap for future reading is a couple Tarantino scripts (Death Proof & his original version of Natural Born Killers), a few of Harmony Korine's, maybe a Paul Schrader (probably Taxi Driver), and most definitely some Coen brothers (Miller's Crossing being the most likely candidate). Mark Protosevich's unproduced adaptation of I Am Legend is probably next. It's supposed to be one of the great unproduced scripts around.