Daily Dialogue — May 4, 2015

May 4th, 2015 by

“On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise Professor quoted Aristotle: “The law is reason free from passion.” Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law — and of life. It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”

Legally Blonde (2001), screenplay by Karen McCullah & Kirsten Smith, book by Amanda Brown

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Graduation.

Trivia: Neither the confrontation with Warner outside the courtroom nor the final graduation scene was a part of the original script. When the movie was tested, audiences were so wrapped up in Elle’s story they were disappointed that she never got her revenge on Warner, and they also wanted to know what happened to her in the end (did she become a lawyer after all?). The two scenes had to be shot in England, because Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Davis were both filming there (she was filming The Importance of Being Earnest (2002), while he was filming another project) at the time. Great Hall of Dulwich College in London played Harvard Law School. During the graduation scene, only Witherspoon and Davis are actually present. Shots of Jennifer Coolidge, Selma Blair, Luke Wilson and other supporting cast members were filmed in LA and the whole thing was edited together later. Both Witherspoon and Wilson are wearing wigs: she had cut her hair short since finishing filming and she is much paler than in court; he had shaved his head for The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and got a much deeper tan. However, since two years have elapsed in the film, this is acceptable.

Dialogue On Dialogue: A wonderful capstone to Elle’s transformation in a story in which she did, indeed, show faith in herself.

Daily Dialogue — May 3, 2015

May 3rd, 2015 by

“T…t…t…tuh…two households, both alike, in dignity.
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene.
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.”

Shakespeare in Love (1998), written by Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Stammer.

Trivia: Wabash (Henslowe’s tailor, who has gotten a role not because of any acting experience but just because Henslowe owes him money) has a stutter, but his stutter disappears almost entirely when he is acting onstage. This is an actual phenomenon that is well-known to speech therapists and other modern-day pathologists who study and treat stuttering. Many actors who are former stutterers first entered the profession when it was recommended to them as therapy for their speech impediment; famous actors who turned to acting to help their stuttering include James Earl Jones, Emily Blunt, Bruce Willis, and Nicholas Brendon.

Dialogue On Dialogue: One of multiple memorable moments in the movie, such a surprise when Wabash comes through and overcomes his stammering to begin the first performance of “Romeo and Juliet”.

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Graduation

May 2nd, 2015 by

The Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Graduation.

Broadcast News graduation

“I thank you and I forgive you.”

Broadcast News (1987)

It’s that time of year when students all around the globe graduate from high school and college. These moments have been commemorated in movies for decades. Writing a commencement address or a scene involving graduation can be a challenge. Let’s see if we can surface 7 great graduation scenes featuring memorable dialogue.

Take part in the grand Daily Dialogue tradition — 2,500+ consecutive days and counting! How about your suggestion for this week’s theme?

The usual drill:

* Copy/paste dialogue from IMDb Quotes or some other transcript source.

* Copy/paste the URL of an accompanying video from YouTube or some other video source.

I’d also ask you to think about why the dialogue is notable. Is there anything about the dialogue which provides some takeaway re screenwriting?

Starting next week, a whole new slate of Daily Dialogue themes. If you have suggestions, please post in comments as well as your recommendations for this week’s theme.

Check this out: The GITS Daily Dialogue Topic Index! A great resource for writers looking for inspiration for their own dialogue writing. You can be a part of this proud tradition with your ideas for weekly themes and Daily Dialogue suggestions.

Please post your ideas for this week’s theme — Graduation — in comments. Thanks!

Daily Dialogue — May 2, 2015

May 2nd, 2015 by

“Hello? Hello, Dimitri? Listen, I can’t hear too well, do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little? Oh, that’s much better. Yes. Fine, I can hear you now, Dimitri. Clear and plain and coming through fine. I’m coming through fine too, eh? Good, then. Well then as you say we’re both coming through fine. Good. Well it’s good that you’re fine and I’m fine. I agree with you. It’s great to be fine. laughs Now then Dimitri. You know how we’ve always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the bomb. The bomb, Dimitri. The hydrogen bomb. Well now what happened is, one of our base commanders, he had a sort of, well he went a little funny in the head. You know. Just a little… funny. And uh, he went and did a silly thing. Well, I’ll tell you what he did, he ordered his planes… to attack your country. Well let me finish, Dimitri. Let me finish, Dimitri. Well, listen, how do you think I feel about it? Can you imagine how I feel about it, Dimitri? Why do you think I’m calling you? Just to say hello? Of course I like to speak to you. Of course I like to say hello. Not now, but any time, Dimitri. I’m just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened. It’s a friendly call. Of course it’s a friendly call. Listen, if it wasn’t friendly, … you probably wouldn’t have even got it. They will not reach their targets for at least another hour. I am… I am positive, Dimitri. Listen, I’ve been all over this with your ambassador. It is not a trick. Well I’ll tell you. We’d like to give your air staff a complete run down on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes. Yes! I mean, if we’re unable to recall the planes, then I’d say that, uh, well, we’re just going to have to help you destroy them, Dimitri. I know they’re our boys. Alright, well, listen… who should we call? Who should we call, Dimitri? The people…? Sorry, you faded away there. The People’s Central Air Defense Headquarters. Where is that, Dimitri? In Omsk. Right. Yes. Oh, you’ll call them first, will you? Uh huh. Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Dimitri? What? I see, just ask for Omsk Information. I’m sorry too, Dimitri. I’m very sorry. Alright! You’re sorrier than I am! But I am sorry as well. I am as sorry as you are, Dimitri. Don’t say that you are more sorry than I am, because I am capable of being just as sorry as you are. So we’re both sorry, alright? Alright.”

— President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers), Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Loved the Bomb (1964), screenplay by Stanley Kubrick & Terry Southern & Peter George, based on a book by Peter George

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Stammer.

Trivia: Peter Sellers improvised most of his lines.

Dialogue On Dialogue: This is one of the great uses of stammering in movie history as Sellers milks this incredibly awkward moment for all its worth.

Daily Dialogue — May 1, 2015

May 1st, 2015 by

Allison: I’m in the midst of doing my thesis.
Alvy Singer: On what?
Allison: Political commitment in twentieth century literature.
Alvy Singer: You-you-you’re like New York, Jewish… y’know… left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the-the-the socialist summer camps and the-the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really… y’know… strike-oriented kind of-of… stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.
Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.

Annie Hall (1977), written by Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Stammer.

Trivia: Though uncredited, the animated scene with Alvy and Annie-as-Wicked-Queen was drawn by Stu Hample, who was then drawing the comic strip “Inside Woody Allen” which was based on Woody’s stand-up comic period.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Perhaps the most famous stammerer of all, Woody Allen. Here is every stammer from every Woody Allen movie: 44 minutes worth!

Daily Dialogue — April 30, 2015

April 30th, 2015 by

Charles: Ehm, look. Sorry, sorry. I just, ehm, well, this is a very stupid question and… , particularly in view of our recent shopping excursion, but I just wondered, by any chance, ehm, eh, I mean obviously not because I’m just some git who’s only slept with 9 people, but-but I-I just wondered… ehh. I really feel, ehh, in short, to recap it slightly in a clearer version, eh, the words of David Cassidy in fact, eh, while he was still with the Partridge family, eh, “I think I love you,” and eh, I-I just wondered by any chance you wouldn’t like to… Eh… Eh… No, no, no of course not… I’m an idiot, he’s not… Excellent, excellent, fantastic, eh, I was gonna say lovely to see you, sorry to disturb… Better get on…
Carrie: That was very romantic.
Charles: Well, I thought it over a lot, you know, I wanted to get it just right.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), written by Richard Curtis

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Stammer. Today’s suggestion by wakatb.

Trivia: While making the film, Hugh Grant thought the movie was awful.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Waka: “Many years later, still one of the best professions of love ever. The stammering highlights just how difficult it is for Charles to get those three little words out.”

Daily Dialogue — April 29, 2015

April 29th, 2015 by

Edna Mode: Well, darling, what do you think?
Helen Parr: What do I think? Bob is retired! I’m retired! Our family is underground. You helped my husband resume secret hero work behind my back?
Edna Mode: Well, I assumed you knew, darling. Why would he keep secrets from you?
Helen Parr: He…he wouldn’t…didn’t…doesn’t.
Edna Mode: Hmm. Men at Robert’s age are often unstable, prone to weakness.
Helen Parr: What are you saying?
Edna Mode: Do you know where he is?
Helen Parr: Of…course–
Edna Mode: Do you KNOW where he is?

The Incredibles (2004), written by Brad Bird

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Stammer. Today’s suggestion by Will King.

Trivia: Lily Tomlin was considered for the part of Edna Mode but turned it down when she heard Brad Bird’s vocal performance, saying, “What do you need me for? You got it already.”

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Will: “This is a case of stammering due to the shock of revelation. Rather than stumbling over the same word, she fumbles through several words trying to find the right one to reinforce her previous illusion (wouldn’t…didn’t…doesn’t). She moves from the ideal, to the past, and then to the present. She’s not yet ready to admit reality is different than what she’s believed up to this point.”

Daily Dialogue — April 28, 2015

April 28th, 2015 by

Gibbons: Well, now. Uh… Ladies and gentIemen of the j-j-j… of-of the j-j-j… (coughs)… jury! Um… On-on… on January ffffffff… fourth of this year, my client did, indeed, visit the Sac-o-Suds c… um… co… um… um… convenience store. But-but… he didn’t, um… (sniffs)… kill anyone. He, um… We intend to prove that the ppppp… prosecution’s case is circumstantial and-and-and… (sighs)… coincidental. Thank you.

Gibbons returns to the defense table.

Bill Gambini: That’s it? What about everything we talked about?
Gibbons: I get a little nervous.

My Cousin Vinny (1992), written by Dale Launer

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Stammer. Today’s suggestion by Jon Raymond.

Trivia: Austin Pendleton, a real-life stutterer, originally turned down the part of the stuttering John Gibbons. But he did it as a favor to his friend, Jonathan Lynn. According to Pendleton, he had trouble finding work in film for years because he became typecast as a stutterer.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Jon: “So this establishes the basis for hiring Vinny, the lesser of two evils. Kind of like voting.”

Daily Dialogue — April 27, 2015

April 27th, 2015 by

Korben Dallas: You in charge?
Fog: (nervously) Yeah.
Korben Dallas: How many of them are there?
Fog: I..I dunno.

Korben trades places with Fog and peaks around the corner.

Korben Dallas: Seven on the left, five on the right.

Korben shoots across the lineup of Mangalores, then ducks back around the wall.

Korben Dallas: Three on the right, two on the left. We need to find the leader. Mangalores won’t fight without the leader.
Aknot: One more shot, and we start killing hostages!
Korben Dallas: That’s the leader.
Aknot: Send someone to negotiate.
Fog: Uh, I, I, I…I’ve never negotiated.
Korben Dallas: Do you mind if I try?
Fog: No, no, sure, sure. Sorry. [shouting] We’re sending somebody in to negotiate!

Corben walks into the room and shoots Aknot between the eyes.

Korben Dallas: Anybody else want to negotiate?
Fog: Wh-wh-wh-where did he learn to negotiate like that?
President Lindberg: I wonder.

The Fifth Element (1997), screenplay by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, story by Luc Besson

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Stammer. Today’s suggestion by Will King.

Trivia: Luc Besson wrote the original screenplay when he was in high school.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Will King: “The use of nervous stammer in this scene establishes the relative strengths between Dallas and Fog. Both are in the same situation, both stressed from battle, but Korben remains confident in speech while Fog stammers under duress.”

Daily Dialogue — April 26, 2015

April 26th, 2015 by

“Long live the king.”

The Lion King (1994), screenplay by Irene Mecchi and Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton, story by Burny Mattinson & Barry Johnson & Lorna Cook & Thom Enriquez & Andy Gaskill & Gary Trousdale & Jim Capobianco & Kevin Harkey & Jorgen Klubien & Chris Sanders & Tom Sito & Larry Leker & Joe Ranft & Rick Maki & Ed Gombert & Francis Glebas & Mark Kausler

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Betrayal.

Trivia: Several character names are based on Swahili words: Shenzi: Barbarous/Uncouth/Uncivilized/Savage; Pumbaa: Ignorant/Lazy/Careless; Sarabi: Mirage; Rafiki: Comrade/Friend; Simba: Lion/Courageous Warrior; Mufasa: reportedly the name of the last king of the Bagada people, who were dispersed during the English colonization of Kenya; Nala: gift.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Scar is one of the great traitors in cinema history and this line, delivered seconds before he releases his brother to his death, is a great and memorable declaration of filial betrayal.