Daily Dialogue — July 26, 2016

July 26th, 2016 by

As Tessio and Hagen walk to Michael’s house, they are met by a bodyguard, Willi Cicci.

Willi Cicci: Sal… Tom… the boss says he’ll come in a separate car. He says for you two to go on ahead.
Tessio: Hell, he can’t do that; that screws up all my arrangements.
Willi Cicci: Well, that’s what he said.
Tom Hagen: I can’t go with you either, Tessio.

Just then, Michael’s bodyguards materialize around them, Tessio understands everything.

Tessio: [to Hagen] Tell Mike it was only business. I always liked him.
Tom Hagen: He understands that.
Willi Cicci: [removing Tessio’s gun] Excuse me, Sally.
Tessio: Can you get me off the hook, Tom? For old times’ sake?
Tom Hagen: [shakes his head] Can’t do it, Sally.

Hagen watches sadly as Tessio is led by Cicci and the others to a waiting car.

The Godfather (1972), screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, novel by Mario Puzo

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Apprehension suggested by Jon.

Trivia: The presence of oranges in the Godfather trilogy indicates that a death-related event will soon occur (even though production designer Dean Tavoularis claimed the oranges were simply used to brighten up the darkly shot film). In chronological order of such events:

* Hagen and Woltz negotiate Johnny Fontane’s position at a table with a bowl of oranges on it, and later Woltz discovers his horse’s severed head

* Don Corleone buys oranges right before he is shot. He does not die, but his missing driver/bodyguard, Paulie, does die;

* Sonny drives past an advertisement for Florida Oranges before he is assassinated;

* At the Mafioso summit, bowls of oranges are placed on the table (specifically in front of those Dons who will be assassinated);

* Michael eats an orange while discussing his plans with Hagen for assassinating the other dons;

* Before Don Corleone dies, he puts an orange peel in his mouth to playfully scare his grandson;

* Tessio, who is executed for attempting to betray Michael, plays with an orange at Connie’s wedding. In fact, he reaches across the table to grab it, indicating that he will “cross” the Corleones;

* And in a slight twist, there are no real oranges for Carlo Rizzi, but Rizzi does wear an orange suit right before Sonny beats him up, then helps to arrange Sonny’s death, and is himself garroted in retribution for Sonny’s death later.

The only deaths in the film that don’t appear to have oranges foreshadowing them are the assassinations of Sollozzo, McCluskey and Apollonia. It appears as if oranges do not presage Paulie’s death, but they do, when he is ‘out sick’ as the driver/bodyguard for Don Corleone, and the don decides to buy oranges before the attempted, but unsuccessful, assassination, thereby causing Santino to order Paulie’s death. In Paulie’s first scene, he gives Clemenza a pitcher of wine with oranges floating in it. Clemenza, who tells him to “do his job,” also takes him on the drive where he is killed for not doing his job faithfully.

Dialogue On Dialogue: This is a great example of apprehension. It slowly becomes clear to Tessio that he is about to be whacked, but he’s been around long enough to damp down his anxiety to make one last plea for his life. Great moment.

Daily Dialogue — July 25, 2016

July 25th, 2016 by

RODERT DEAN enters the kitchen. He sees CARLA and gives her a kiss, their dog growls and barks.

ROBERT DEAN: (to dog) Hey, you’re about a bark and a half from being homeless.

CARLA is watching a CNN interview to CONGRESSMAN ALBERT.

CARLA: Listen to this fascist gasbag!

ROBERT DEAN takes off his jacket.

ROBERT DEAN: Uhhh.. Ohhh!

The camera switches to CONGRESSMAN ALBERT on the TV.

ALBERT (V.O.): … and freedom have always existed in a very percurious balance. And when buildings stop blowing up, people’s priorities tend to change…
ROBERT DEAN: He’s got a point there, sweetie!
CARLA: Bobby!!!
ROBERT DEAN: I mean, who is this idiot?
CARLA: He’s talking about ending personal privacy.

ROBERT DEAN heads to the fridge.

CARLA: Do you want your phone tapped?
ROBERT DEAN: I’m not planning on blowing up the country.

ROBERT DEAN opens the fridge and takes out a bag of sealed berries and a jug of juice.

CARLA: How do we know until we’ve heard all of your dirty little secrets.
ROBERT DEAN: You’re just gonna have to trust me!
CARLA: Ohh… I know, we’ll just tap the criminals, we won’t suspend the civil rights of the good people.
CARLA: Then who decides which is which?

ROBERT DEAN empties the berries into a blender.

ROBERT DEAN: Honey, I think you should!
CARLA: No, I think you should take this more seriously.
ROBERT DEAN: Honey, I think your taking it seriously for both of us and half the people on the block.

ROBERT DEAN pours orange juice into the blender and starts the blender. CONGRESSMAN ALBERT is still on the TV.

ALBERT (V.O.): Tens of millions of foreign nationals living within our borders and many consider the United States their enemy and they see acts of terrorism…

Enemy of the State (1998), written by David Marconi

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Apprehension suggested by Jon. Today’s suggestion by Lois Bernard.

Trivia: Reynold’s birthday is 9-11. Ironically, the “surveillance society” Hammersly mentions would eventually become the “Patriot Act” passed under the Bush administration post-9/11, only three years after this film is produced.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Lois: “Any relevance to the present election cycle is purely coincidental.”

Daily Dialogue — July 24, 2016

July 24th, 2016 by

“Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You’re right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was… why, in the 25 years since he and his brother, Uncle Billy, started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry away to college, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what’s wrong with that? Why… here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You… you said… what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they… Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!”

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), screenplay by Francis Goodrich, Albert Hackett and Frank Capra, story by Philip Van Doren Stern

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Accusation.

Trivia: Two of the writers called the finished film “horrid” and refused to see it when it was released. The only one of Clifford Odets’ ideas to appear in the finished script was George preventing Mr. Gower from poisoning a boy with the wrong vitamin pills.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Sometimes an accusation speaks a deep personal truth. Such is the case here in a memorable monologue for this beloved movie.

Daily Dialogue theme next week: Apprehension

July 23rd, 2016 by

The Daily Dialogue theme next week: Apprehension, suggested by Jon.

Anxiety. Fear something bad will happen. Lots of such movie moments come to mind. Can we come up with 7 great examples to enjoy and learn something from this week re writing dialogue? Join me, won’t you?

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.

Consecutive days of Daily Dialogue posts: 2,991. We’ve got 3,000 in our sights! Just over 1 week away!

Be a part of the proud Daily Dialogue tradition, make a suggestion, and have your name emblazoned on a blog post which will forever hold a hallowed spot in the Go Into The Story archives!

Upcoming schedule of themes:

August 1-August 7: Activism
August 8-August 14: Recollection [Will King]
August 15-August 21: Alcoholism
August 22-August 28: Mentor [Michael Waters]
August 29-September 4: Blame
September 5-September 11: Argument [Mark Twain]
September 12-September 18: Bullying
September 19-September 25: Military Moments [Will King]
September 26-October 2: Clairvoyance
October 3-October 9: Cooking [Katha]
October 10-October 16: Coaching
October 17-October 23: Cover Up [Will King]
October 24-October 30: Discipline
October 31-November 6: All Is Lost [Melinda]
November 7-November 13: Embarrassment
November 14-November 20: Bechdel Test [Will King]
November 21-November 27: Enthusiasm
November 28-December 4: Alien Invasion [Michael Waters]
December 5-December 11: Excuse
December 12-December 18: Fish Out Of Water [Will King]
December 19-December 25: Faith
December 26-January 1: Failure [Will King and Melinda]

Be sure to post your ideas for this week’s theme: Apprehension.

Continued thanks to all of you Daily Dialogue devotees, your suggested dialogue and dialogue themes. Grateful for your ongoing support of this series.

Daily Dialogue — July 23, 2016

July 23rd, 2016 by

Mrs. Kintner: Chief Brody?
Brody: Yes?

Mrs. Kintner slaps Brody and sobs.

Mrs. Kintner: I just found out, that a girl got killed here last week, and you knew it! You knew there was a shark out there! You knew it was dangerous! But you let people go swimming anyway? You knew all those things! But still my boy is dead now. And there’s nothing you can do about it. My boy is dead. I wanted you to know that.

Mrs. Kintner walks away.

Mayor Vaughn: I’m sorry, Martin. She’s wrong.
Brody: No, she’s not.

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

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Accusation.

Trivia: Peter Benchley liked how cutting the subplots from the novel allowed for the characters to be fleshed out properly.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Here the accusation really drives home the guilt Brody feels about the death of the Kintner’s son. This sets the plate for the redemption Brody experiences in killing the shark which has tormented the town.

Daily Dialogue — July 22, 2016

July 22nd, 2016 by

LEAVEN: Well, he’s right. Not prime. (Quentin climbs through and drops to the floor.) Stop! (Quentin freezes.) In front of you.

Quentin notices razor wires strung vertically. They surround him. As they begin to twist, Quentin dives between, but is cut along his leg.

HOLLOWAY: What is it?

Kazan grabs her by the hair and drags her away from the door. Quentin returns to the red room, followed by Holloway.

QUENTIN: (reacting to Kazan’s howling) Shut up!
LEAVEN: I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t prime.
HOLLOWAY: Quentin, hold still!
QUENTIN: Somebody stop that racket!

She motions toward the door. Worth heads toward it.

QUENTIN: Leave the boots. (Worth drops the boots and climbs into the adjoining room.) And shut the fucking door! (The door closes behind Worth.) I had a feeling about that fucking guy. He knew about that trap.
LEAVEN: But these numbers aren’t prime.
QUENTIN: Then your number system failed, but he knew.
HOLLOWAY: Knew what? How would he know?
QUENTIN: You’re the paranoid one, think about it. His only function so far has been to kick us when we’re down.
HOLLOWAY: So, he has a bad attitude. Are you saying that makes him a spy?
QUENTIN: Trust me on this. It’s my job to read people like an X-ray.
WORTH: (Returning with Kazan) He doesn’t like red rooms. (He sets Kazan in a corner). So, what happened?
QUENTIN: You saw what happened.
HOLLOWAY: Quentin!
LEAVEN: I guess the numbers are more complicated than I thought.
WORTH: Maybe they mean nothing at all.
LEAVEN: No, it means they’re more involved.

Cube (1997), written by André Bijelic, Vincenzo Natali, and Graeme Manson

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

Trivia: All of the characters are named after prisons: Quentin (San Quentin, California), Holloway (England), Kazan (Russia), Rennes (France), Alderson (Alderson, West Virginia), Leaven and Worth (Leavenworth, Kansas).

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Will: “Imagine being held hostage inside a gigantic Rubik’s Cube. Quentin and the others are trying to figure out how to escape while the rooms continue to shift positions at random times, and some rooms hold deadly traps. Already, the number of original prisoners has been reduced through attrition. Who wouldn’t be paranoid? Quentin makes the statement about reading people like an X-ray because he’s a policeman, and after almost meeting his demise, he’s losing his ability to withhold his suspicion and judgment of his fellow prisoners.”

Daily Dialogue — July 21, 2016

July 21st, 2016 by

BOCK: (lurches about) What the hell’s wrong with being impotent? My God, you kids are more hung up on sex than the Victorians! I’ve got a son, twenty-three. I threw him out of the house last year. Pietistic little humbug. He preached universal love and despised everyone. He had a blanket contempt for the middle class, even its decencies. He detested my mother because she had petit bourgeois pride in her son the doctor. I cannot tell you how brutishly he ignored that rather good old lady. When she died, he didn’t even come to the funeral. He thought the chapel service an hypocrisy. His generation didn’t live with lies, he told me. “Everybody lives with lies,” I said. I grabbed him by his poncho, dragged him the full length of our seven-room despicably affluent middle-class apartment and flung him out. I haven’t seen him since. But do you know what he said to me as he stood there on that landing on the verge of tears. He shrieked at me: “You old fink! You can’t even get it up anymore!” That was it, you see. That was his real revolution. It wasn’t racism and the oppressed poor and the war in Vietnam. The ultimate American societal sickness was a limp dingus. Hah! (he lurches about, laughing rustily) My God, if there is a despised and misunderstood minority in this country, it’s us poor impotent bastards. Well, I’m impotent and proud of it! Impotence is beautiful, baby! (he raises a militant fist) Power to the Impotent! Right on, baby!
BARBARA: (smiling) Right on.
BOCK: (stares drunkenly at her) When I say impotent, I don’t mean merely limp. Disagreeable as it may be for a woman, a man may sometimes lust for other things, something less transient than an erection, some sense of permanent worth. That’s what medicine was for me, my reason for being. When I was thirty-four, Miss Drummond, I presented a paper before the annual convention of the Society of Clinical Investigation that pioneered the whole goddam field of immunology. A breakthrough! I’m in all the textbooks. I happen to be an eminent man, Miss Drummond. And you want to know something, Miss Drummond? I don’t give a goddam. When I say I’m impotent, I mean I’ve lost even my desire for work, which is a hell of a lot more primal a passion than sex. I’ve lost my raison d’etre, my purpose, the only thing I ever truly loved. It’s all rubbish anyway. Transplants, antibodies, we manufacture genes, we can produce birth ectogenetically, we can practically clone people like carrots, and half the kids in this ghetto haven’t even been inoculated for polio! We have assembled the most enormous medical establishment ever conceived, and people are sicker than ever! We cure nothing! We heal nothing! The whole goddam wretched world is strangulating in front of our eyes! That’s what I mean when I say impotent! You don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, do you?

The Hospital (1971), written by Paddy Chayefsky

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Accusation. Today’s suggestion by Lois Bernard.

Trivia: Writer Paddy Chayefsky performed a number of roles on the film. Chayefsky was the writer and a producer and also narrated the film at the start. Chayefsky reportedly had full control over content and casting of the movie.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Bock transforms his own personal physical condition of impotence into an accusation about the impotence of the the medical industry which cures and heals “nothing”. A monologue not as well known as several from Network, another of Chayefsky’s masterpiece movies, but equally as powerful.

Daily Dialogue — July 20, 2016

July 20th, 2016 by

JACK: Jess, it’s okay, Jess. It’s okay, son, it’s okay.
JESS: It’s all gone. Is it like the Bible says? Is she going to Hell?
JACK: I don’t know everything about God, but I do know He’s not going to send that little girl to Hell.
JESS: Then I’m going to Hell, because it’s all my fault.
JACK: Don’t you think that, even for a minute.
JESS: But it is. I didn’t invite her to go to the museum with me. I didn’t want to invite her. I wasn’t there to go with her. It’s my fault.
JACK: No. No, no, no. It’s not your fault. None of that makes it so. It’s a terrible thing. It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s not your fault, Jess. She brought you something special when she came here, didn’t she? That’s what you hold on to. That’s how you keep her alive.

Bridge to Terabithia (2007), screenplay by Jeff Stockwell and David Paterson, based on the book by Katherine Paterson

For the actual scene, go here.

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

Trivia: Katherine Paterson wrote her novel in 1977 as a way of helping her 8-year-old son recover from a traumatic incident – his best friend was struck by lightning and killed. The son – David Paterson – grew up to become the film’s producer.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Will: “Not all accusation is focused outward. A friend dies in an accident, and Jess accuses himself, holds himself responsible for the tragedy.”

Daily Dialogue — July 19, 2016

July 19th, 2016 by

JOHN DOE: (long pause) I… I doubt I enjoyed it any more than… Detective Mills would enjoy some time alone with me in a room without windows. (looks to Mills) Isn’t that true? How happy would it make you to hurt me, with impunity?
MILLS: (coy mocking) Now… I wouldn’t do something like that, Johnny. I like you. I like you a lot.
JOHN DOE: You wouldn’t because you know there are consequences. It’s in those eyes of yours, though… nothing wrong with a man taking pleasure in his work. (pause, shakes his head) I won’t deny my own personal desire to turn each sin against the sinner. I only took their sins to logical conclusions.
MILLS: You only killed a bunch of innocent people so you could get your rocks off. That’s all.
JOHN DOE: Innocent? Is that supposed to be funny? Look at the people I killed. An obese man, a disgusting man who could barely stand up… who if you saw him on the street, you’d point so your friends could mock him along with you. Who if you saw him while you were eating, you wouldn’t be able to finish your meal. After him I picked the lawyer. And, you both must have been secretly thanking me for that one. This was a man who dedicated his life to making money by lying with every breath he could muster… to keeping rapists and murderers on the streets.
MILLS: Murderers?
JOHN DOE: (ignoring) A woman…
MILLS: Murderers like you?
JOHN DOE: (ignoring, louder) A woman… so ugly on the inside that she couldn’t bare to go on living if she couldn’t be beautiful on the outside. A drug dealer… a drug dealing pederast, actually. (laughs at that one) And, don’t forget the disease spreading whore. Only in a world this shitty could you even try to say these were innocent people and keep a straight face. (getting worked up) That’s the point. You see a deadly sin on almost every street corner, and in every home, literally. And we tolerate it. Because it’s common, it seems trivial, and we tolerate, all day long, morning, noon and night. Not anymore. I’m setting the example, and it’s going to be puzzled over and studied and followed, from now on.
MILLS: Delusions of grandeur.

Se7en (1995), written by Andrew Kevin Walker

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Accusation. Today’s suggestion by Lois Bernard.

Trivia: New Line executives originally balked at the film’s ending, but Brad Pitt refused to make the film if the ending were changed.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Lois: “Mills accuses John Doe of enjoying killing while John Doe accuses, well, everyone who is alive of being guilty with special guilt reserved for the chosen victims. I think this is brilliant the way the theme has built to a climax (well pre-climax) and is spoken aloud by the two main characters.”

Daily Dialogue — July 18, 2016

July 18th, 2016 by

DOBBS: I was just thinking what a bonehead play that old jackass made when he put all his goods in our keeping.
CURTIN: What do you mean?
DOBBS: Figured he’d let us do his sweating for him, did he? We’ll show him.
CURTIN: What are you getting at?
DOBBS: Oh, man, can’t you see? It’s all ours. We don’t go back to Durango at all, savvy? Not at all.
CURTIN: I don’t follow you, Dobsy.
DOBBS: Oh, don’t be such a sap. Where did you ever grow up? All right, to make it clear to a dumbhead like you, we take all his goods and go straight up north and leave the jackass flat.
CURTIN: You aren’t serious, are you? You don’t really mean what you are saying.
DOBBS: Fred C. Dobbs don’t say nothing he don’t mean.
CURTIN: As long as I’m here and can do anything about it, you won’t touch a single grain of the old man’s goods.
DOBBS: I know exactly what you mean. You want to take it all for yourself and cut me out.
CURTIN: No, Dobbs, I’m on the level with the old man, just as I’d be on the level with you if you weren’t here.
DOBBS: Get off your soapbox, will you? You only sound foolish out here in this wilderness. I know you for what you are. For a long time I’ve had my suspicions about you. Now I know I’ve been right.
CURTIN: What suspicions are you talking about?
DOBBS: Oh, you’re not putting anything over on me. I see right through you. For a long time you’ve had it in your mind to bump me off at the first good opportunity and bury me out here in the bush like a dog so you could take not only the old man’s goods, but mine in the bargain. And when you get to Durango safely, you’ll have a big laugh, won’t you, thinking how dumb the old man and I were. (Curtin begins to rise.) You make another move towards me and I’ll pull the trigger. Now, get your hands up. Come on, get ’em up! Was I right, or was I? You and your Sunday school talk about protecting people’s goods. You. Come on, stand up and take it like a man. Come on, get up.

Curtin tackles Dobbs. Dobbs’ gun goes off. Curtin grabs his own gun and aims at Dobbs.

CURTIN: Let go of it. The cards are dealt the other way now, Dobbs.
DOBBS: Yeah.
CURTIN: Now listen to me…
DOBBS: I’ll listen to you.
CURTIN: Dobbs, look, you’re all wrong. Not for a moment did I ever intend to rob you or do you any harm. Just like I said, I’d fight for you and yours just the same as I’d fight for the old man’s.
DOBBS: If you really mean that give me back my gun. (Curtin empties the gun then hands it back to Dobbs.) My pal.
CURTIN: Wouldn’t it be better, the way things are, to separate tomorrow or even tonight?
DOBBS: That would suit you fine, wouldn’t it?
CURTIN: Why me more than you?
DOBBS: So you could fall on me from behind, sneak up and shoot me in the back.
CURTIN: All right, I’ll go first.
DOBBS: And wait for me on the trail to ambush me?
CURTIN: Why wouldn’t I do it now if I meant to kill you?
DOBBS: I’ll tell you why, because you’re yellow. You haven’t got nerve enough to pull the trigger while I’m looking you in the eye.
CURTIN: If you think like that, there’s nothing to do but to tie you up every night.
DOBBS: [Laughs] I’ll tell you what. I’ll make you a little bet. Three times 35 is 105. I’ll bet $105,000 you go to sleep before I do.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), screenplay by John Huston, based on the novel by B. Traven

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

Trivia: John Huston was fascinated by mysterious author B. Traven, who was a recluse living in Mexico. Traven approved of the director and his screenplay (by letter, obviously), and sent his intimate friend Hal Croves to the location to be a technical advisor and translator for $150 a week. The general consensus is that Croves was in fact Traven, though he always denied this. Huston was happy not to query him on the subject but his then-wife Evelyn Keyes was certain Croves was the mysterious author, believing that he was continually giving himself away, saying “I” when it should have been “he”, and using phrases that were exactly the same as those to be found in Traven’s letters to Huston. All very ironic, especially considering that Traven was offered $1000 a week to act as technical advisor on the film. It is known that “B. Traven” was a pen name, and Traven’s true identity remains a mystery to this day.

Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Will: “Accusation born of greed and paranoia. No matter which way Curtin tries to solve the dilemma, Dobbs sees deception, which is really Dobbs’s projection of his own flaws. Curtin holds the only loaded gun but can’t, as one person, tie up Dobbs to keep him secure. Seems like an impossible standoff to solve, so the sleep challenge is an interesting way to temporarily resolve the tension of the scene.”