While engaging in a strange habit of watching, yes I’ll say it, bad movies (I have a friend who frequently questions this) I wondered who is really at fault for those bad movies? Did someone really write the line “What’s a beautiful woman scientist doing out here in a jungle like this?” Okay I changed about two words to protect the guilty, but yes that came from a bad movie. It had all the telltale landmarks: Bad CGI, a woman with enormous mammary attributes (or an unbelievable push up bra), strange unsettling lighting, horrid soundtrack (probably written by a friend), even more horrid stereotypical foreign accents, and a tried and true BMA. A BMA as my friends and I call them are the actors who we hope work just for a paycheck or else the term “artist” doesn’t apply. So, still wondering who is responsible for such lines. Did someone read a script and think “Hey I want to produce that; the dialogue is perfect!” Did the director ignore the embarrassment anyone would feel saying it on film (meaning you can never live it down)? Did the actor assert their desire to say those very words as they fantasized that they could rewrite the entire movie with gems like that? I don’t know, but is it really that difficult to hire a writer with some idea what real people talk like? Please understand that I am not talking about real farcical writing such as can be found with the original Bruce Campbell-Sam Raimi Evil Dead (1981). Those kind of films can be genius in over the top type humor. Sarcasm can be a beautiful thing when it is not being used as a weapon. Here’s the thing we have the internet with more information than anyone would really want to absorb…um, okay any sane person would want to absorb. Therefore, one should have no trouble finding fairly decent, if not great information about dialogue. I realize that we can’t all become Shakespeare by merely perusing the Internet, and great isn’t being requested. So a Super Writer who can fly through the craziest movie plots and still emerge unscathed with us clamoring for more isn’t necessary. Consider “O Brother Where art Thou.” Yes it was actually Homer who wrote the original Odyssey, but the dialogue written by the Coen brothers was stellar!
“You can’t display a toad in a fine restaurant like this! Why, the good folks here would go right off the feed!” –Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney)
Now that’s a line, especially for two unkempt rapscallions sitting in an upscale restaurant. Although they were in the South, yet so out of place, that line tells us so much more than the specific moment. Not only that, we enjoyed a good laugh. I say find a fairly decent writer, bad movie or not, because even a movie like Soulkeeper, written and directed by Darin Ferriola gave us the line by a reenacted civil war participant: “One time we oughta just screw history and kick the Union’s ass.” Why is it a great line? By virtue of any reenactment that is done ceaselessly, you just want things to change up for a second and it was comedy. Yes I know I’ve rambled enough, but guess what I found on the Internet? Writing Good Dialogue: Irving Weinman And it’s good advice too!