Movies: Take 1 – Dialogue

Everyone just loves a good movie. Whether it be going up to the big Cineplex (obviously the ones that serve alcohol), buying a show on your iTunes account, or renting one from the local video store (If you’re a complete weirdo. Seriously, do you have internet? But I digress.) Movies are there to make you feel emotions and enjoy the company of others by not speaking to them for hours on end while you stare at an electronic screen. Around the world, movies are there for people to escape the turmoil of their actual lives, or re-live similar events that they enjoyed in the past. I would just like to take a moment to point out some observations I have made over the years and hundreds of movies I’ve seen.

Movie dialogue is almost never like real life:

No matter the genre of the film, movie dialogue is waaaay different than the way real-life, actual human beings speak. In movies the characters only speak when the other is done talking or their thought is finished. In real life all we do is talk over each other or accidentally start speaking at the same time. Could you imagine watching a film where everyone just starts talking when they feel, similar to real life? We would not be able to follow the dialogue at all, and even worse, not know the depth and profundity of the character’s heart and soul. In movies, the characters rarely speak in sentence fragments or single words. Especially if guys spoke the way most do to each other. That would be just a terrible watch.

Benicio Del Toro: “Sup”

Brad Pitt: “Nuthin’. Eating food. Wanna come over?”

Benicio: “I’ll be there in ten.”

Brad: “Coolio” (Dial tone)

The scenes would be painful and very brief. Therefore, writers have to include long dialogue so that the viewer can follow and so they won’t try to hang themselves by their own Ethernet cable. (For those of you who still rent videos, an Ethernet cable is a magical rope that brings internet into houses and apartments). Although it occasionally bothers me to watch a dialogue go on for far too long just to explain a ‘how’ or a ‘why’, most of the time I’m thankful they do it.

Benicio Del Toro: “Michael, it’s Pedro. Is this a good time? I know we haven’t spoken in a while, but the reason I am calling is because my wife has been cheating on me and I want to talk to you.”

Brad Pitt: “Oh hi Pedro! I’m currently free. I am enjoying some takeout from that restaurant we used to go to together and flirt with that cute waitress. Feel free to come over and talk about it.”

Benicio Del Toro: “Great! I will covertly abscond past the FBI agents across the street and hijack a hang-glider since I am a secret agent and stuff. I’ll be there in ten minutes!”

Brad Pitt: “I knew you had been hiding something from me! It’s ok though because I’m secretly a double agent. We can team up and fight bad guys together. Michael out….. Coolio!”

Much better. Don’t you feel well informed that second time?

I also don’t like all that pillow talk that people have after movie sex. As a dude, I will talk with a girl until we’re both blue in the face before sex (If Mom’s reading, that’s IF I ever have sex), but post-coital talk is virtually non-existent in real life. You’re lucky if you get a “Thanks!” before I’m up to make a sandwich.

I must say my absolute least favorite thing about movie dialogue is when the bad guy talks far too long before he throws the finishing punch or shoots the kill shot. JUST DO IT ALREADY! You would think that even movie villains have watched a flick or two. Don’t you know that extra sentence is giving Batman/James Bond/Jean Claude Van Damme those extra seconds to recover and figure out your demise?

Tom Hardy: “…But before I punch you for the knockout blow, I want you to know how I killed your family. You see, for years now I’ve been planning this elaborate…… wait no, noooo!”

Brad Pitt: (Fires gun. Pew pew pew!) “You’ll never kill again!”

I suggest recording an average Tuesday night at your house. Then try to watch the clips together as a movie. The dialogue alone would be horrendous. There would be 15 scenes of you just staring at your phone or iPad (For those of you who still rent movies, an iPad is a magical tablet that shows information and videos by simply pulling it from the air… Joke getting old yet?) Then there would be a scene where you discuss what your boss said today, followed by a few minutes of playing fetch with your dog. The most entertaining part would be when you and your significant other have an argument over whether you should watch ‘The Bachelorette’ or the baseball game.  Spoiler alert: It’s always ‘The Bachelorette’… Therefore, I am happy movie characters don’t speak like normal people. How else could anyone watch that insufferable douche, Jeremy Piven, without good movie writers?


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