Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Well, that's because he is Handsome Rob!"

Today is a cold day of basketball practices, kettlebells, and eating chocolate chip cookies.  My wife baked about eight dozen of them yesterday.  There are three left.  Not three dozen.

This may be the cookies talking, but I'm going to go on record as saying that the remake of "The Italian Job" is about as perfect as a caper movie can be.  It has aged remarkably well -- actually looking as fresh as some of the films that came out this year.  The soundtrack is classic rock and fusion jazz -- both genres that don't age.  It was flashy, well plotted and acted, and while you might miss some of the humor (especially Seth), you could actually watch it without any dialogue and follow the story -- especially if you were able to still hear the music.

That's how a movie is supposed to work.

I keep reading about films (scripts mostly, to be more precise) with too much dialogue.  The usual snipe against them is that if you want to write dialogue, write a play instead of a movie.  I'm starting to get that.  And I'm understanding that, all else being equal, I'm the sort of person who prefers a movie to a play.  Probably because of the music, and the fact that I can see everything better.

In a play, the dialogue has to carry pretty much everything.  You'd need four lines to convey the interaction between two people.  In film, you could have the sound of one person speaking -- perhaps a single word -- but show the reaction of the other, face, body, hands, eyes -- and we'd all know exactly what was being felt.  Stage doesn't really do that.

You also get perfect lighting, more scene changes, and music that -- hopefully -- builds the mood.  Out of balance, any of these things ruins the story by reminding you that it's a movie.  But when they all work together, it's magical and that's why we love film.  The problem for writers is laying the foundation without any of the rest.  We can't write in the score, or the camera angles, and wrylies are just going to get you tossed into the wastepaper basket.  Feeling powerless to convey the scene, we're afraid to write just that one word and trust that the director will get it.

So we fall back on the dialogue crutch.

Movie writers need to listen to Toby Keith.  He gets it -- "A little less talk and a lot more action."

No comments:

Post a Comment