Some of her advice is good (“If your story is episodic, your main character better be incredibly compelling”), some, not so much (sorry, Lindsey, genre is descriptive, not prescriptive), but it always gives insight into the way executives think.
Take her review of District 9 (SPOILERS AHEAD):
Because he is so complicit, Wikus has the potential to change dramatically making the story compelling. He does not. He never has a big change of heart, realizing what the government and MKU are doing is wrong. He never examines his role in any of it. Instead, he is out for himself for the whole movie until he has a radical and unsubstantiated shift in the last few minutes.
See, that was the genius of District 9. Rather than have Wikus experience a change of character in the first act, and then have the goal of freeing the aliens for the next 80 minutes, instead his goal is primarily selfish and self-centered. It takes the entire film for him to recognize the humanity (as it were) of the aliens. It’s a radical, non-studio approach to character in a fun, popcorny sci-fi movie.
This is the problem with Robert McKee and Syd Field. As Stephen Gaghan says, their rules make accountants think they know how to tell a story.