Thursday, March 16, 2006

So Not the Drama

Do we ever need to have another character anguish over his compatriot's prone, bloodied form, "Don't you die on me!"?

How about, after Bloody Guy dies, having Anguished Guy raise his tear-stained face to the heavens and yell, "Noooooooooo!"?

Yep, never.

Jane Espenson recently posted on comedy lines that are too shopworn to be funny anymore.

Allen B. Ury had a similar article in Fade In magazine's email newsletter about overdone dramatic motifs, such as the protagonist being dead but not knowing it, and the mentor who turns out to be eee-vil.

These two got me thinking about lines in non-comedies that have been so bled of impact through repetition that they need to be officially retired, if not set out on an ice floe to die.

In particular, the "Big No" is so knackered that it's even stale when satirized, but that doesn't stop filmmakers from going to its dried-out well. I'm looking at you, George Lucas. Vader yelling no at the end of Episode III only made the audience want to scream along with him.

Me, I can't stand "Can you zoom in on this area here?", which commits the double sin of being played-out and technologically wrong. I also think we need to find new ways of saying "What've we got?" when the cop/CSI/psychic detective shows up at a crime scene.

What are your (least) favorite overused dramatic lines? I bet you scriptreader types have a few...

11 comments:

Steve Peterson said...

In an action movie driving the wrong way on the freeway. It's stopped being exciting about 8 years ago.

Throwing up. It seems that everyone's vomiting nowadays as a show of emotional turmoil.

The anguishing over the dead partner one's tough though. Partners are going to die in movies and the actor's got to react emotionally.

Maybe if he vomited on his dead partner...

Lee said...

I now slide off the sofa and curl into a ball on the floor everytime someone says "I think you need to see this, Sir/ Captain/ Detective/ Ma'am."

Lazy, lazy, lazy way of moving a character from A to B.

Shawna said...

I've been trying to rewrite 'What've you got'? in my Cold Case now for two weeks. Everything else sounds idiotic. I'm thinking of leaving it, more as a joke than anything...

The zoom thing annoys me to. Don't even get me started on the cheating they do on 'Bones'.

One thing I love: you used the word 'knackered'. I heart the Brits.

Shahua said...

In movies the one thing I hate, hate, HATE is when one charcter makes a tearfull confession in the rain! Saw "Failure to Launch" and big emotional act two scene was in the rain! All i could think about was the Garbage song: "I'm Only Happy When It Rains."

In TV its the liberal use of "Bling", "Dude", and adding "ey" on the end of words to sound hip. For example:
Hip Teen Character: "I cant belive he was all Fox Mulderey."

have I done this? You bet. I'm a hack. But these people are professionals! come on!

Bill Cunningham said...

The grandmother that curses...

The bad boyfriend hero has to rescue heroine from...

Conversations on phones, in the car while driving, etc...

The obligatory chase after the cops arrive at suspect's place of employment leading inevitably to the badass cop beating and arresting the suspect, saving the life of his partner in the process.

The hero surrendering his weapon to a bank robber with a hostage...

chris soth said...

Fun post! There was great song in the musical A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine called "I Love a Movie Cliche" that featured:

"Please. Blackmail is such an UGLY word."
"But these creatures have been extinct for MILLIONS of years!"

And many others...

"But why am I tell you all this? And you, a total stranger."

Chris

Chris said...

"You're too close to it [insert cop who don't play by the rules's name here]! YOU'RE OFF THE CASE!! Gun and badge now!!!"

John David Roberts said...

Though I love saying it in all the wrong moments, I never again want to hear the computer guy say, "I'm in."

james henry said...

Not a dramatic line, but saying 'that sounded so much better in my head' has to stop. In fact I think it has now. I'm moaning about nothing.

There's a 'Lets!' index of bad movies, which I like. You count how often the writer has no idea how to get the characters into the next bit of the plot, so has one of them say 'Let's... go over there/split up/go into the cave/whatever'

Grubber said...

Throwing up. It seems that everyone's vomiting nowadays as a show of emotional turmoil.

The one vomit scene I found funny was with Don Johnson. I think it was an early ep of Nash Bridges(about the only one I ever saw).

He chases a guy on foot, finally catches him and is heaving his breaths in and out and then promptly throws up on him.

Showed he did not get to chase suspects on foot much :)
cheers
Dave.

Ubiq said...

Pretty much all of the tropes you can think of can be found at the TV Tropes Wiki. I highly recommend checking it out - you can get lost there for days if you love/hate TV.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/