Daily Dialogue — May 23, 2015

May 23rd, 2015 by

“This is my ninth sick day this semester. It’s getting pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I’ll probably have to barf up a lung. So I better make this one count. The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom. A lot of people will tell you that a phony fever is a dead lock, but if you get a nervous mother, you could land in the doctor’s office. That’s worse than school. What you do is, you fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. I did have a test today. That wasn’t bullshit. It’s on European socialism. I mean, really, what’s the point? I’m not European, I don’t plan on being European, so who gives a crap if they’re socialist? They could be fascist anarchists – that still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car. Not that I condone fascism, or any ism for that matter. Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism – he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: ‘I don’t believe in Beatles – I just believe in me.’ A good point there. Of course, he was the Walrus. I could be the Walrus – I’d still have to bum rides off of people.”

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), written by John Hughes

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Breaking the 4th Wall.

Trivia: The idea of a sequel had gone around for years with Ferris in college or on the job somewhere, but the idea was dropped. Matthew Broderick felt that the film didn’t need a sequel, that this film was about a specific time and place that we’d all like to revisit and didn’t need updating.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Perhaps the greatest 4th wall breaking monologue in movie history. All hail Ferris!

Daily Dialogue — May 22, 2015

May 22nd, 2015 by

Colonel Sandurz: Try here. Stop.
Dark Helmet: What the hell am I looking at? When does this happen in the movie?
Colonel Sandurz: Now. You’re looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now, is happening now.
Dark Helmet: What happened to then?
Colonel Sandurz: We passed then.
Dark Helmet: When?
Colonel Sandurz: Just now. We’re at now now.
Dark Helmet: Go back to then.
Colonel Sandurz: When?
Dark Helmet: Now.
Colonel Sandurz: Now?
Dark Helmet: Now.
Colonel Sandurz: I can’t.
Dark Helmet: Why?
Colonel Sandurz: We missed it.
Dark Helmet: When?
Colonel Sandurz: Just now.
Dark Helmet: When will then be now?
Colonel Sandurz: Soon.
Dark Helmet: How soon?

Spaceballs (1987), written by Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan & Ronny Graham

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Breaking the 4th Wall.

Trivia: It took Mel Brooks six months to write the script.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Perhaps the ultimate send-up of breaking the 4th wall.

Daily Dialogue — May 21, 2015

May 21st, 2015 by

George and Harold are leaning on a tree branch while dreamily watching Princess Lala as she swims. The branch breaks away but the two men remain suspended in mid-air above the water.

George: How come we don’t fall?
Harold: Paramount wouldn’t dare. At your age?
George: Shall we then?
Harold: Inhale.

Road to Bali (1952), screenplay by Frank Butler, Hal Kanter, William Morrow, story by Harry Tugend

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Breaking the 4th Wall. Today’s suggestion by Will King.

Trivia: The sixth of the seven Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour “Road” films.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Will: “We often think of breaking the fourth wall as the actor addressing the audience directly, but it can also mean simply paying attention to uncanny events in-universe, thus also reminding us we’re watching a movie. The Hope/Crosby Road To movies were rife with this kind of comedy.”

Daily Dialogue — May 20, 2015

May 20th, 2015 by

“That one’s for free.”

The Truman Show (1998), written by Andrew Niccol

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Breaking the 4th Wall. Today’s suggestion by Michael Waters.

Trivia: The Trumania bit, where Jim Carrey draws on the mirror with soap and acts strange, was completely improvised by Carrey. In another take he drew long curly hair and a dress.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Michael asks an interesting question: “Can a protagonist turn to a camera without knowing its there and still be performing a fourth wall moment? If so, then this one’s for free.” Indeed, it’s a super meta-moment with Truman doing his thing… staring straight at us… and the guys in the control center… and Truman is either aware there’s someone watching him… or not… we’re not entirely sure at this point. An interesting variation on breaking the 4th wall.

Daily Dialogue — May 19, 2015

May 19th, 2015 by

Buddy’s Singers: [singing] Throw up your hands / Stick out your tush / Hands on your hips / Give ‘em a push / You’ll be surprised, you’re doing the French Mistake / Voila!
Buddy Bizarre: Alright, CUT. [yells into the ear of a dancer] WRONG! [hits the dancer on the head] Ok, Just watch me! It’s so simple! You sissy-marys. Give me the playback! And, watch me, faggots! [does dance but falls into water at end] Shit. Have you got it?

The actors answer with a heavily lisping “yethhhh”.

Buddy Bizarre: Sounds like steam escaping. Action! Oh, wait till I get out! Wait till I get out! Ok, playback.

The dancers start the routine again but are interrupted by the fight breaking through the wall.

Buddy Bizarre: CUT! What in the hell do you think you’re doing here? This is a closed set.
Taggert: Piss on you, I’m working for Mel Brooks.

He’s ready to punch Buddy in the face.

Buddy Bizarre: Not in the face.

Taggert punches him in the stomach.

Buddy Bizarre: Thank-you.
Dancer: They hit Buddy! Come on, girls!

Blazing Saddles (1974), screenplay by Mel Brooks & Norman Steinberg & Andrew Bergman & Richard Pryor & Alan Uger, story by Andrew Bergman

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Breaking the 4th Wall. Today’s suggestion by James Schramm.

Trivia: The name of Dom DeLuise’s character “Buddy Bizarre” is a reference to the famed dance choreographer Busby Berkeley, who was renowned for staging highly elaborate and precisely-timed song and dance numbers, of which “The French Mistake” is a clear parody.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by James: “One of the more entertaining and literal breaking of the fourth wall from the master of breaking that barrier – Mel Brooks.”

Daily Dialogue — May 18, 2015

May 18th, 2015 by

Harry Lockhart: That was some pretty harsh shit with the old guy back there, right? But whatever, he’s creepy. Fuck him. Don’t worry about him. Anyhow, so…. thanks for coming. Thanks for taking the trip to L.A. with me. If I had to sum it up, and I do… because, you know, it’s, like, the end. I would say that this movie is about… it’s about friendship. Friendship is sacred.
Gay Perry: What are you doing?
Harry Lockhart: I’m trying to wrap up the movie… and leave the people with a message.
Gay Perry: I’ve got a message for you. Get your feet off my fucking desk.
Harry Lockhart: Sorry. I work for Perry now.
Gay Perry: And stop narrating.
Harry Lockhart: Obviously.
Gay Perry: That’s it. Please stay for the end credits. If you’re wondering who the best boy is, it’s someone’s nephew. Don’t forget to validate your parking. For all of you good people in the Midwest… sorry we said “fuck” so much. Say good night.
Harry Lockhart: Thanks again.
Gay Perry: Now, go. Vanish.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), screenplay by Shane Black, screen story by Shane Black, novel by Brett Halliday

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Breaking the 4th Wall.

Trivia: Shane Black read several stories by Raymond Chandler when writing this script. As a result, the story is divided into chapters and the chapter titles come from Chandler works. Specifically: 1. “Trouble is My Business”, 2. “The Lady in the Lake”, 3. “The Little Sister”, 4. “The Simple Art of Murder”, and Epilogue: “Farewell, My Lovely”.

Dialogue On Dialogue: This example of breaking the 4th wall is made even more post-modern by the irony that Shane Black had a habit of doing the same thing in his scripts — to script readers. Perhaps the single most famous piece of scene description in which he broke the 4th wall is from The Last Boyscout:

In a way, this approach was sheer genius. It’s a massive acknowledgement of the script reader and all the bad scripts they regularly have to read. And Black embraced a simple premise about his Narrative Voice as if to say: I am going to do everything I can to entertain you. You and me? We’re allies here. I want you on my side and we are going to have a good time for the next 100 plus pages.

So breaking the 4th on-screen… not much of a stretch in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Daily Dialogue — May 17, 2015

May 17th, 2015 by

“Clever girl.”

Jurassic Park (1993), screenplay by Michael Crichton and David Koepp, novel by Michael Crichton

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Famous Last Words.

Trivia: Steven Spielberg received $250,000,000 from the film’s gross profit participation.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Such a great line in the face of imminent dinosaur death.

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Breaking the 4th Wall

May 16th, 2015 by

The Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Breaking the 4th Wall.

The Great Train Robbery (1903)

I can think of a half-dozen examples where a character turns to camera and talks to the audience. It can be a fun, entertaining device, one we can play around with in our own stories. Let’s see what we can come up with as far as notable movies which feature breaking the 4th wall.

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 related to the craft of writing? If so, feel free to lay that wisdom on us.

And now — [drum roll] — our new set of Daily Dialogue themes!

May 25-May 31: Dating
June 1-June 7: Grief
June 8-June 14: Voice-Over Narration
June 15-June 21: Wisdom
June 22-June 28: Memorable 1-Word Lines
June 29-July 5: Quitting
July 6-July 12: Subtext
July 13-July 19: Survival
July 20-July 26: Last Line
July 27-August 2: Madness
August 3-August 9: Call to Adventure
August 10-August 16: Adultery
August 17-August 23: Callback
August 24-August 30: Hysterics
August 31-September 6: Monologue
September 7-September 13: Betrayal
September 14-September 20: Minimum Words, Maximum Impact
September 21-September 27: Depression
September 28-October 4: Opening Line
October 5-October 11: Rivalry

If you have some Daily Dialogue themes to add to the roster, be my guest to post in comments. But be sure to post your ideas for this week’s theme — Breaking the 4th Wall.

Thanks to all you loyal Daily Dialoguers! You rock!

Daily Dialogue — May 16, 2015

May 16th, 2015 by

“Pull my finger.”

Children of Men (2006), screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón & Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata and Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby, novel by P.D. James

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Famous Last Words.

Trivia: Michael Caine based his performance on John Lennon.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Jasper is yet another great Mentor character Michael Caine has played in his brilliant career. The character never loses his sense of play as evidenced by his last words even as he is being gunned down.

Daily Dialogue — May 15, 2015

May 15th, 2015 by

“I hope that when the world comes to an end, I can breathe a sigh of relief because there will be so much to look forward to.”

Donnie Darko (2001), written by Richard Kelly

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Famous Last Words.

Trivia: The movie takes place in 1988. Frank tells Donnie the world will end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. If you add these numbers, the sum is 88. When Samantha asks when she can have kids, Donnie says: “Not until 8th grade.” Donnie mentions to his therapist that his dog Callie died when he was eight. (He is later seen holding a stuffed toy dog in her office.) Donnie jokes about the Back to the Future (1985) DeLorean which had a speed of 88 MPH. According to the television reporter, the fire at Jim Cunningham’s house was extinguished “sometime after 8:00 last night.” The red-eye flight that almost crashes is Flight 2806 which boards at Gate 42 at 12 AM. The climax of Donnie Darko occurs one week before the 1988 US presidential election, when George Bush won on November 8, 1988 [11/08/88]. The movie was shot (for a budget of less than US$5 million) in 28 days. There are 28 scenes in the director’s cut of this film.

Dialogue On Dialogue: I moderated a panel at the 2014 Austin Film Festival featuring John August, Jim Uhls, and Richard Kelly. Kelly said the inspiration for Donnie Darko came from an urban legend of ice falling from an airplane wing crashing into a house. That simple inspiration led to a mind-bending and truly memorable movie, capped off by the enigmatic famous last words of the Protagonist Donnie.