Daily Dialogue — August 21, 2014

August 21st, 2014 by

“Mr. Madison, what you just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard. At no point were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.”

Billy Madison (1995), written by Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Smack Talk.

Trivia: The lunch lady serving sloppy joes is a reference to Adam Sandler’s popular song “Lunch Lady Land”, which is from his 1993 album, “They’re All Gonna Laugh At You”.

Dialogue On Dialogue: You don’t expect smack talk from a guy wearing a coat and tie, but you get it here. And how he underplays the delivery makes the side both funnier and more effective.

Daily Dialogue — August 20, 2014

August 20th, 2014 by

Sandy: Let it rain.

He shots a basketball and misses.

Reuben: So I did a lot of thinking last night, and there’s something I’m pretty excited about.
Sandy: What’s that? (off basket) Nice. Let it rain.

He shoots and misses again.

Reuben: I feel like I might be ready to move on, you know, get my life back on track. So, I’m going to ask Polly Prince on a date.
Sandy: Oh, that’s a mistake. She’s not right for you dude. Rain dance.

Another brick.

Two GUYS walk up.

Guy 1: Hey. You guys want to play some twos.
Reuben: Actually we’re in the middle of a conversation right now.
Sandy: You douchebags bring your A game?
Guy 1: What was that?
Sandy: I’m just messing with you, Sasquatch. Let’s get it on.

Along Came Polly (2004), written by John Hamburg

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Smack Talk. Today’s suggestion by uncgym44.

Trivia: According to an interview, Jennifer Aniston stated that the reasons she worked on this film was both to work with her friend Ben Stiller and to dance the salsa.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by uncgym44: “Ben Stiller’s character is trying to have a heartfelt conversation with a friend. The inclusion of them playing basketball, adds movement and a dynamic element to the scene. Taking what could be potentially boring dialogue, and making it hilarious.”

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — August 19, 2014

August 19th, 2014 by

“There’s a name for you ladies, but it isn’t used in high society… outside of a kennel.”

The Women (1939), screen play by Anita Loos and Jane Murfin, based on a play by Clare Boothe Luce

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Smack Talk. Today’s suggestion by Eric Harris.

Trivia: There are over 130 roles in this movie, all played by women. Phyllis Povah, Marjorie Main, Mary Cecil and Marjorie Wood originated their roles in the play, which opened on 7 September 1937 and had 666 performances at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York. No doubles were used in the fight sequence where Rosalind Russell bites Paulette Goddard. Despite the permanent scar resulting from the bite, the actresses remained friends.

Dialogue On Dialogue: I confess I’ve never seen this movie. But 130 roles — all women — and written by women, I’ve definitely got it on my to-see list.

If you have a suggestion for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — August 18, 2014

August 18th, 2014 by

“It looks to me like the best part of you ran down the crack of your momma’s ass and ended up as a brown stain on the mattress!”

Full Metal Jacket (1987), screenplay by Stanley Kubrick & Michael Herr & Gustav Hasford, novel by Gustav Hasford

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Smack Talk.

Trivia: It is a common misconception that much, if not all, of R. Lee Ermey’s dialogue during the Parris Island sequence was improvised. In several interviews Ermey himself has stated that he worked closely with Kubrick to help mold the script so that it was more believable, all while retaining certain dialogue crucial to Kubrick’s vision. While filming the opening scene, where he disciplines Pvt. Cowboy, he says Cowboy is the type of guy who would have sex with another guy “and not even have the goddamned common courtesy to give him a reach-around”. Stanley Kubrick immediately yelled cut and went over to Ermey and asked, “What the hell is a reach-around?” Ermey politely explained what it meant. Kubrick laughed and re-shot the scene, telling Ermey to keep the line.

Dialogue On Dialogue: This is some damn serious smack talk, but with a purpose: To establish Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) as an authority figure and start the process of breaking down the recruits… in order to build them up as killers.

Daily Dialogue — August 17, 2014

August 17th, 2014 by


As Hi is escorted away from the camera toward his cell.

At the far end of the corridor a huge con is sluggishly mopping the floor.

VOICE OVER: I was in for writing hot checks which, when businessmen do it, is called an overdraft. I’m not complainin’, mind you; just sayin’ there ain’t no pancake so thin it ain’t got two sides. Now prison life is very structured – more than most people care for…


HI’S POV of the MOPPING CON, tracking as he approaches, and the Mopping Con’s POV of Hi as Hi approaches.

VOICE OVER: …But there’s a spirit of camaraderie that exists between the men, like you find only in combat maybe…

The Mopping Con snarls as Hi passes:

CON: Grrrr…

VOICE OVER: …or on a pro ball club in the heat of a pennant drive.

Raising Arizona (1987), written by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Voice-Over Narration. Today’s suggestion by Jon Raymond.

Trivia: Edgar Wright’s favorite film.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Jon: “I love the way the Coens handle voice over narration in the first eight pages. It is used extensively through the first act and less so after that. It is cut well with the visuals which reflect what is said in the narration. The script has a few lines of action, followed by a few lines of voice over and then sometimes actual dialog from characters. This is repeated through the first act. I think it’s highly original.”

Daily Dialogue — August 17, 2014

August 17th, 2014 by

Notes from Barbara Thomas: This spoof of/love letter to noir combines archival footage from classic noir films (including Double Indemnity!) with an original storyline, shot in black and white.

Steve Martin is Rigby Reardon, the only private dick who can out-Marlowe Marlowe. Just don’t say the words “cleaning woman” in front of him.

Rigby is hired by Juliet Forrest (Rachel Ward) to investigate the mysterious death of her father. Naturally, there’s chemistry…

Juliet Forrest: Sometimes I feel I would like to…
Rigby Reardon: [voice-over] You’d like to what? Kiss me? Yeah, that would be nice. It would give me a chance to tell her I was starting to feel something for her, too. Something warm and squishy. But how could I explain that a man in my business can’t take on a wife, have a bunch of kids?
Juliet Forrest: We wouldn’t have to have kids.
Rigby Reardon: [surprised] What?

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982), written by Carl Reiner & George Gipe & Steve Martin

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Voice-Over Narration. Today’s suggestion by Barbara Thomas.

Trivia: The movie was initially planned by Steve Martin and Carl Reiner to be a ’30s-era film titled “Depression”. After Reiner incorporated some footage of a ’30s star into the movie, he and Martin decided that the entire movie should be done that way, and re-wrote it into a mock-detective story.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Barbara: “The voiceover is used throughout the film (in laconic, deadpan style of course!)would be at home in any noir film until that one line or two that reminds you how absurd it would be if people really did gaze into the middle distance while internally monologuing…”

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Smack Talk

August 16th, 2014 by

The Daily Dialogue theme next week: Smack Talk.

“Why don’t we take all these bricks and build a shelter for the homeless,
so maybe your mother will have a place to stay.”

Don’t know what talking smack is? Here is how it’s listed in the Oxford Dictionary: “Insulting speech, especially when intended to irritate or annoy someone; Use insulting speech, especially to irritate or annoy someone.”

The same as trash talk. Obviously for next week, we could feature a lot of sports movies, but I can think of at least a few scenes where characters engage in some serious smack talk that are non-sports related.

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?

Here is our lineup for upcoming Daily Dialogue themes:

August 25-August 31: Delivering Bad News

Check this out: The GITS Daily Dialogue Topic Index! You can read about Liz and Allie, two sisters who are big fans of the blog, and were inspired to create the 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 — Smack Talk — in comments. Thanks!

If you have any ideas for Daily Dialogue themes, feel free to post as well. We need to replenish the cupboards!

Daily Dialogue — August 16, 2014

August 16th, 2014 by

“Michael. Dear Michael. Of course it’s you, who else could they send, who else could be trusted? I… I know it’s a long way and you’re ready to go to work… all I’m saying is wait, just wait, just-just-just… please hear me out because this is not an episode, relapse, fuck-up, it’s… I’m begging you Michael. I’m begging you. Try and make believe this is not just madness because this is not just madness. Two weeks ago I came out of the building, okay, I’m running across Sixth Avenue, there’s a car waiting, I got exactly 38 minutes to get to the airport and I’m dictating. There’s this, this panicked associate sprinting along beside me, scribbling in a notepad, and suddenly she starts screaming, and I realize we’re standing in the middle of the street, the light’s changed, there’s this wall of traffic, serious traffic speeding towards us, and I… I-I freeze, I can’t move, and I’m suddenly consumed with the overwhelming sensation that I’m covered with some sort of film. It’s in my hair, my face… it’s like a glaze… like a… a coating, and… at first I thought, oh my god, I know what this is, this is some sort of amniotic – embryonic – fluid. I’m drenched in afterbirth, I’ve-I’ve breached the chrysalis, I’ve been reborn. But then the traffic, the stampede, the cars, the trucks, the horns, the screaming and I’m thinking no-no-no-no, reset, this is not rebirth, this is some kind of giddy illusion of renewal that happens in the final moment before death. And then I realize no-no-no, this is completely wrong because I look back at the building and I had the most stunning moment of clarity. I… I… I… I realized Michael, that I had emerged not from the doors of Kenner, Bach, and Ledeen, not through the portals of our vast and powerful law firm, but from the asshole of an organism whose sole function is to excrete the… the-the-the poison, the ammo, the defoliant necessary for other, larger, more powerful organisms to destroy the miracle of humanity. And that I had been coated in this patina of shit for the best part of my life. The stench of it and the stain of it would in all likelihood take the rest of my life to undo. And you know what I did? I took a deep cleansing breath and I set that notion aside. I tabled it. I said to myself as clear as this may be, as potent a feeling as this is, as true a thing as I believe that I have witnessed today, it must wait. It must stand the test of time. And Michael, the time is now.”

Michael Clayton (2007), written by Tony Gilroy

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Voice-Over Narration. Today’s suggestion by theurbanhobo.

Trivia: Committed to a fully developed back story, director Tony Gilroy spent a good deal of time establishing the details of “Realm and Conquest” with production designer Kevin Thompson. The director explains that right from the beginning, when he first read the script, he could tell that “Realm and Conquest” was going to be a key prop. In the movie it’s a metaphor for truth and justice. In creating the details of the fictional novel, Thompson generated original visuals inspired by German Expressionistic images cut from wood blocks, and Gilroy wrote the first two pages for three chapters of the book. They even went as far as designing a “Realm and Conquest” card game for a scene between Henry and Michael. Thompson offers, “This detail was important to Tony because, in his own life, novels and games similar to ‘Realm and Conquest’ allow him to connect with his son in a meaningful way.”

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by theurbanhobo: “The movie begins with a voice over from a character named Arthur Edens who is leaving the title character a voicemail. The entire message plays over images of an empty high rise law office late at night. By the time it ends, we are in a conference room filled with attorneys hustling to finish filing a settlement.”

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — August 15, 2014

August 15th, 2014 by

“I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and easy charm. Constantinople suited me better.

[Scenes of black market goods changing hands]

I really got to know it in the classic period of the black market. We’d run anything if people wanted it enough and had the money to pay. Of course a situation like that does tempt amateurs…

[Dead body seen floating in the river]

…but, well, you know, they can’t stay the course like a professional. Now the city is divided into four zones, you know, each occupied by a power: the American, the British, the Russian and the French. But the centre of the city that’s international policed by an international patrol. One member of each of the four powers. Wonderful! What a hope they had! All strangers to the place and none of them could speak the same language. Except a sort of smattering of German. Good fellows on the whole, did their best you know. Vienna doesn’t really look any worse than a lot of other European cities. Bombed about a bit. Oh, I was going to tell you, wait, I was going to tell you about Holly Martins, an American. Came all the way here to visit a friend of his. The name was Lime, Harry Lime. Now Martins was broke and Lime had offered him, some sort, I don’t know, some sort of job. Anyway, there he was, poor chap. Happy as a lark and without a cent.”

The Third Man (1949), screenplay by Graham Greene, novella by Graham Greene

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Voice-Over Narration. Today’s suggestion by John Arends.

Trivia: The American version of the film opens with a voice-over narration in which the character “Holly Martins” explains that post-war Vienna is divided into four zones: American, British, Russian and French. In the British version of the film, the opening voice-over is delivered by a British narrator, whom modern sources identify as producer-director Carol Reed.

Ranked #57 on the AFI’s “100 Years 100 Movies” list, “The Third Man” features one of Orson Welles’ greatest performances as an actor.

In Graham Greene’s novella, which was published after the film’s release, the three male protagonists were British. In his preface to the novella, Greene maintains that the story was never intended for publication, but was written expressly as a blueprint for the screenplay. “To me it is almost impossible to write a film without first writing a story,” he wrote. “One must have the sense of more material than one needs to draw on.” Greene adds that Welles wrote the well-known line about Switzerland’s sole contribution to world culture being the cuckoo clock.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by John: “This opening voiceover far exceeds its basic functions of setting the stage, outlining the fractured politics and introducing the two key characters. Visually, aurally (with Anton Kara’s zither-filled music) and especially verbally, it sets the cavalier, untrustworthy tone of the story, as it slides us into the bent, lethal world of the black market in post-war Vienna.”

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.

Daily Dialogue — August 14, 2014

August 14th, 2014 by

“Neighbors bring food with death, and flowers with sickness, and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a knife and our lives. One time Atticus said you never really knew a man until you stood in his shoes and walked around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.”

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), screenplay by Horton Foote, novel by Harper Lee

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Voice-Over Narration.

Trivia: Atticus Finch was voted as the top screen hero of the last 100 years by the American Film Institute.

Dialogue On Dialogue: This is one of those movies which we can point to when any so-called expert says voice-over narration is a sign of weak, flabby writing. The V.O. in To Kill a Mockingbird is beautiful, lyrical writing… and cinema at its best.

If you have any suggestions for this week’s theme, please post in comments.