Daily Dialogue — September 2, 2015

September 2nd, 2015 by

“For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being president of this country was, to a certain extent, about character, and although I have not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I’ve been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character. For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren’t you, Bob? Now, this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? If you can answer that question, folks, then you’re smarter than I am, because I didn’t understand it until a few hours ago. America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”. I’ve known Bob Rumson for years, and I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character. And wave an old photo of the President’s girlfriend and you scream about patriotism and you tell them, she’s to blame for their lot in life, and you go on television and you call her a whore. Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob. She has done nothing but put herself through school, represent the interests of public school teachers, and lobby for the safety of our natural resources. You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, ’cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league. [pauses] I’ve loved two women in my life. I lost one to cancer, and I lost the other ’cause I was so busy keeping my job I forgot to do my job. Well, that ends right now. Tomorrow morning, the White House is sending a bill to Congress for its consideration. It’s White House Resolution 455, an energy bill requiring a 20 percent reduction of the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming. The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today, it no longer exists. I’m throwing it out. I’m throwing it out writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I’m gonna convince Americans that I’m right, and I’m gonna get the guns. We’ve got serious problems, and we need serious people, and if you want to talk about character, Bob, you’d better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I’ll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I am the President.”

The American President (1995), written by Aaron Sorkin

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Monologue. Today’s suggestion by James Schramm.

Trivia: One of the few rare PG-13 movies allowed to keep its PG-13 rating despite the use of the word “fuck” three times (all within 15 minutes of each other), but none used in sexual context.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by James: “If only ‘real’ Presidential press conferences were like this…Best smackdown by an elected official in film history.”

Daily Dialogue — September 1, 2015

September 1st, 2015 by

“Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine—the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, whereby those important events of the past, usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of a truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest that you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”

V for Vendetta (2005), screenplay by Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, graphic novel art by David Lloyd

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

Trivia: The domino scene, where V tips over black and red dominoes to form a giant letter V, involved 22,000 dominoes. It took 4 professional domino assemblers 200 hours to set it up.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Will: “This is one of the major beats of the film in which V comes out of the shadows, makes his public appearance, and throws down the gauntlet before the High Chancellor and his deputies. After this speech, all of the characters’ lives are changed forever. It also establishes the timeframe for the story (‘…stand beside me one year from tonight…’) which clues the audience into when the climax will happen.”

Daily Dialogue — August 31, 2015

August 31st, 2015 by

Hooper: You were on the Indianapolis?
Brody: What happened?
Quint: Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, chief. It was comin’ back, from the island of Tinian to Laytee, just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen footer. You know how you know that when you’re in the water, chief? You tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn’t know… was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. Huh huh. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, chief. The sharks come cruisin’. So we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know it’s… kinda like ol’ squares in battle like a, you see on a calendar, like the battle of Waterloo. And the idea was, the shark comes to the nearest man and that man, he’d start poundin’ and hollerin’ and screamin’ and sometimes the shark would go away. Sometimes he wouldn’t go away. Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes. You know the thing about a shark, he’s got…lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eye. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’. Until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over white. And then, ah then you hear that terrible high pitch screamin’ and the ocean turns red and spite of all the poundin’ and the hollerin’ they all come in and rip you to pieces. Y’know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men! I don’t know how many sharks, maybe a thousand! I don’t know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday mornin’ chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player, boson’s mate. I thought he was asleep, reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up and down in the water, just like a kinda top. Up ended. Well… he’d been bitten in half below the waist. Noon the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us, he swung in low and he saw us. He’s a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper, anyway he saw us and come in low. And three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and start to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened? Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.

Jaws (1975), screenplay by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Monologue. Today’s suggestion from Twitter by @mbconnband.

Trivia: Quint’s Indianapolis speech was only recorded because the crew was waiting around for “Bruce” (the mechanical shark) to be repaired, so Steven Spielberg added more dialogue to keep from wasting so much shooting-time.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Real life testimony from a U.S.S. Indianapolis survivors:

And this touching segment in which Richard Dreyfus met Robert Shaw’s granddaughter:

Daily Dialogue — August 30, 2015

August 30th, 2015 by

Car Rental Agent: [cheerfully] Welcome to Marathon, may I help you?
Neal: Yes.
Car Rental Agent: How may I help you?
Neal: You can start by wiping that fucking dumb-ass smile off your rosey, fucking, cheeks! And you can give me a fucking automobile: a fucking Datsun, a fucking Toyota, a fucking Mustang, a fucking Buick! Four fucking wheels and a seat!
Car Rental Agent: I really don’t care for the way you’re speaking to me.
Neal: And I really don’t care for the way your company left me in the middle of fucking nowhere with fucking keys to a fucking car that isn’t fucking there. And I really didn’t care to fucking walk, down a fucking highway, and across a fucking runway to get back here to have you smile in my fucking face. I want a fucking car RIGHT FUCKING NOW!
Car Rental Agent: May I see your rental agreement?
Neal: I threw it away.
Car Rental Agent: Oh boy.
Neal: Oh boy, what?
Car Rental Agent: You’re fucked!

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), written by John Hughes

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Hysterics.

Trivia: Steve Martin’s favorite film of his own.

Dialogue On Dialogue: If you’re going to get an R-rating using two F Bombs, might as well go all out, as John Hughes does in this memorable — and hysterical — tirade.

Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Monologue

August 29th, 2015 by

The Daily Dialogue theme for next week: Monologue.

There’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17.
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides
by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will,
shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness,
for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children.
And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger
those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers.
And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you.”
Now… I been sayin’ that shit for years. And if you ever heard it,
that meant your ass. You’d be dead right now.
I never gave much thought to what it meant.
I just thought it was a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker
before I popped a cap in his ass.
But I saw some shit this mornin’ made me think twice.
See, now I’m thinking: maybe it means you’re the evil man.
And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here…
he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness.
Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd
and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. And I’d like that.
But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak.
And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo.
I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Here’s a chance to get in touch with your favorite wordsmiths and their monologues (hint, hint – Chayefsky). Let’s feature 7 great monlogues!

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.

Our upcoming schedule of Daily Dialogue topics:

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
October 12-October 18: Cross Dressing
October 19-October 25: Selflessness
October 26-November 1: Embarrassment

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: Monologue.

Thanks to all you loyal Daily Dialoguers! You rock!

Daily Dialogue — August 29, 2015

August 29th, 2015 by

“Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?”

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), written by John Hughes

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Hysterics.

Trivia: This movie has four Saturday Night Live (1975) alumni: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brian Doyle-Murray, Randy Quaid and Chevy Chase.

Dialogue On Dialogue: One of the classic hysteric bromides. Reminiscent of another John Hughes tirade… which we’ll feature tomorrow. Can you guess what it is?

Daily Dialogue — August 28, 2015

August 28th, 2015 by

Breaking the Waves (1996), written by Lars von Trier and Peter Asmussen

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Hysterics.

Trivia: The first film in Lars von Trier’s “Golden Heart” trilogy in which the heroines remain naïve despite their actions. The two other parts are The Idiots (1998) and Dancer in the Dark (2000).

Dialogue On Dialogue: It’s a scream. A primal guttural scream. Bess yelling at the waves. A hell of an image.

Daily Dialogue — August 27, 2015

August 27th, 2015 by


Star Trek: Wrath of Khan (1982), screenplay by Jack B. Sowards, story by Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards, television series created by Gene Roddenberry

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Hysterics.

Trivia: Producer Harve Bennett viewed all the original Star Trek (1966) episodes and chose Star Trek: Space Seed (1967) as the best candidate for a sequel. Spock even remarks in the script that it would be interesting to return in a hundred years or so to see what type of civilization had grown there. This is the first time a movie was made as a sequel to a specific television show episode.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Kirk’s rage encompassed in one word, the name of his Nemesis.

Daily Dialogue — August 26, 2015

August 26th, 2015 by

Olive: [going over eye test pamphlets] Mom, Dwayne’s got 20/20 vision!
Sheryl: I bet he does…
Olive: OK, now I’m going to check to see if you’re colorblind.

Opens the pamphlet.

Olive: What’s the letter in the circle?

Dwayne looks confused.

Olive: No, no inside the circle, right there, see? It’s an A. Can’t you see it? Right there.
Frank: It’s bright green. Oh man.

Dwayne scribbles anxiously on his notepad – “What?”.

Frank: Dwayne, I think you might be colorblind.

Pause, Dwayne holds up his notepad again – “What?”

Frank: You can’t fly jets if you’re colorblind.

Dwayne immediately falls into an emotional breakdown.

Frank: Ah, we’ve got a little bit of a…Ok, we’ve got an emergency back here. I think we just need pull over man, just pull over.
Richard: What’s the emergency? We’re late as it is…
Frank: Dwayne, Dwayne it’s alright. [screams to Richard] Just pullover the car, I’m not kidding!
Richard: Ok, Ok.
Frank: Would you get him to pullover please?
Sheryl: Richard, pullover the car.
Frank: Richard, pullover the car.
Sheryl: It’s alright honey we’re pulling over.
Richard: I’m pulling over.

Dwayne tries to get out of the moving van.

Frank: No, wait, wait. Just sit down.
Richard: God, this better be good, I’m pulling over. Alright, alright.
Sheryl: Stop the car! Are you going to be Ok Dwayne? Dwayne? Oh God.
Dwayne: [runs from the van] FUUUUUUCK! Fuck! No, no….
Sheryl: What happened?
Frank: He’s colorblind. He can’t fly.
Sheryl: Oh, Jesus… oh, no.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006), written by Michael Arndt

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Hysterics. Today’s suggestion by James Schramm.

Trivia: Michael Arndt, who wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine, used the supporting character name “Stan Grossman” as a tribute to Fargo (1996), another Best Original Screenplay.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by James: “Well, if you’re going to break a 9 month self-imposed code of silence, you might as well be hysterical while doing it. Great scene from a great movie.”

Daily Dialogue — August 25, 2015

August 25th, 2015 by

JAKE: Oh, please, don’t kill us! Please, please don’t kill us! You know I love you baby. I wouldn’t leave ya. It wasn’t my fault!
MYSTERY WOMAN: You miserable slug. You think you can talk your way out of this? You betrayed me.
JAKE: No, I didn’t. Honest…I ran out of gas. I had a flat tire. I…I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GAAAAWWWWWWWDDDDDD!

The Blues Brothers (1980), written by Dan Aykroyd, John Landis

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

Trivia: The line, “They broke my watch!” occurs three times in the film, each time spoken or voiced over by a policeman on the losing end of a car chase with the Blues Brothers. The first line is in the shopping mall, the second is in the rollover ditch, and the third is in the pile-up under the elevated train line. The broken-watch theme starts when Jake’s broken watch is returned to him when he is released from prison at the beginning of the film.

Dialogue On Dialogue: I don’t know about you, but when confronted by a rifle-toting mad-woman, I’ve been reduced to hysterics a time or two myself.