Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it."

First - thank you all very much.  It's only been a month but I've had over a thousand hits on the blog.  I really appreciate the encouragement and comments, both public and private.  If you have a particular topic or film you'd like me to tackle, or a prompt for an Original Ficiton Friday, please send me an email.


Did another kettle-bell class.  We can move today, but it was exhausting last night.  I think that an evening workout is better - you don't spend the day saying, "Oww."  Netflix is still not quite right on our queue so “The 6th Sense” hasn't shown up.  In fact, it's been an extra-long time between shipping
and delivery of anything.  Never fear, however, I have been reading scripts and spending lots of time trying to decide which one I want to talk about today.

I've settled on “Fargo”.  I will admit that when I saw it, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  William H. Macy was very funny though I usually find him annoying (“Jurassic Park 3” anyone?) but it was violent and geared toward a grown up audience on pretty much every level so after the initial viewing I never
revisited it.  It's been at least a decade but I can still hear the accents in the dialogue and remember a few key scenes.  Others I had forgotten until I read the script.

About that script - I can see why the Cohen brothers get their movies made.  The story is very easy to follow but jumps out at you from the page with honest dialogue, uniquely voiced characters, and the cold of North Dakota’s winter.

There were a few sections I skimmed - I was surprised at how much profanity there was but, fortunately, it was mostly confined to two characters so the ejection factor was somewhat mitigated and it was easy enough to get back to the narrative.  I will be pontificating on the use of profanity in scripts - as opposed to the films themselves - in the future.  I'm lining up my ducks.  It will be an opus.  My internet break-out piece that causes the sky to open and music to play followed by every agency in town saying, "If he can have such an enlightened opinion expressed so clearly, we want to sign him.  Yesterday."  [Moment of day dreaming.] Where was I?

The climax of the film was very short on the scrip though on the screen it was drawn out with great tension.  We were faced with drifting snow, a lone police woman, a bandit, and a shredder.  On the page it was described very matter-of-factly with just a little bit of humor.  There were a few other places where I noticed the same effect in the script - what was written came through clearly and carried the story, but the screen version of the scene possessed far more punch. I'm not sure if it's because I was standing on the train while reading it instead of freezing in North Dakota, or if it was just a well-made film.  I will need to keep my eyes open.  I suspect it's the latter – cinema is its own art.

I remember “Fargo” as being a somewhat complicated caper-style film with a lot going on.  In the script there was no sense of that complication.  We were introduced to the crime early and then it split into parallel lanes, both with unique and shared obstacles, eventually coming back together.  There was a hint of "film noir" in the late entry of the law enforcement hero - we had been set up to root for the bad guys but just couldn't and then it was very satisfying when the very pregnant Officer Marge Gunderson arrived and did her thing.  In essence, they applied the "delayed entry of villain" rule to the protagonist and it really worked.

I also recalled that there was a potential love problem.  The script reminded me of it and I was again impressed at how little of it was actually written.  The power of the scenes was in the acting.  It didn't need a lot of page to get the story across.  I am still over writing my scenes and this script, in particular, was a very good example for me to see how just a little goes a long way.

If you devour scripts then you've probably already read this one.  If you don't, as good as the story is, there are plenty of other scripts that aren't quite as unsettling or became ‘R’ in the filming rather than the writing, to whet your appetite with.  Of course, if you loved Fargo...

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