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Daily Dialogue theme: Your suggestions wanted!

As we finish up this week’s set of Daily Dialogues with the theme The Herald’s Call [thanks for the suggestion, JasperLamarCrab], we are wide open for suggestions for the next set of themes.

What shall we do for Daily Dialogues through July and into August?

Head to comments and let’s see what we come up with!

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GITS Script Reading & Analysis: “No Country For Old Men” —Transcript

On Wednesday, June 27, we had a live Tweet-Cast of No Country For Old Men. What’s a Tweet-Cast? At 8PM Pacific, people from around the world pushed Play on an electronic device and watched the movie, then commented on it on Twitter. Involved in the commentary were professional screenwriters Tom Benedek (@TomBenedek), F. Scott Frazier [@ScreenWritten], John Gary [@JohnGary], and myself, plus a bunch of other writers and film lovers.

It was a terrific experience. You may read the transcript here.

For Day 1 of our analysis, go here.

For Day 2 on structure, go here.

For Day 3 on characters, go here.

For Day 4 on themes, go here.

For Part 5 focusing on dialogue, go here.

Tomorrow I’m going to post something comparing two famous characters who have an affinity for coins: Chigurh from NCFOM and the Joker from TDK. How are they similar. How are they different.

Scene Description Spotlight: “Barton Fink”

An enigmatic ending, a movie that leaves you hanging, so that as you exit the theater with your date or friends, everyone is talking about it. What happened? What does it mean? The Coen brothers seem to like these type of endings and perhaps nowhere more so than in their 1991 Hollywood fable Barton Fink. Here’s the plot summary per IMDB:

In 1941, New York intellectual playwright Barton Fink comes to Hollywood to write a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. Staying in the eerie Hotel Earle, Barton develops severe writer’s block. His neighbor, jovial insurance salesman Charlie Meadows, tries to help, but Barton continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him even further from his task.

Here is the last scene of the script:

THE SURF

Crashing against the Pacific shore.

THE BEACH

At midday, almost deserted. In the distance we see Barton
walking.

The paper-wrapped parcel swings from the twine in his left
hand.

BARTON

He walks a few more paces and sits down on the sand, looking
out to sea. His gaze shifts to one side.

HIS POV

Down the beach, a bathing beauty walks along the edge of the
water. She looks much like the picture on the wall in Barton's
hotel room.

BARTON

He stares, transfixed, at the woman.

THE WOMAN

Very beautiful, backlit by the sun, approaching.

BARTON

Following her with his eyes.

THE WOMAN

Her eyes meet Barton's. She says something, but her voice is
lost in the crash of the surf.

Barton cups a hand to his ear.

BEAUTY
I said it's a beautiful day...

BARTON
Yes... It is...

BEAUTY
What's in the box?

Barton shrugs and shakes his head.

BARTON
I don't know.

BEAUTY
Isn't it yours?

BARTON
I... I don't know...

She nods and sits down on the sand several paces away from
him, facing the water but looking back over her shoulder at
Barton.

BARTON
...You're very beautiful. Are you in
pictures?

She laughs.

BEAUTY
Don't be silly.

She turns away to look out at the sea.

WIDER

Facing the ocean. Barton sits in the middle foreground, back
to us, the box in the sand next to him.

The bathing beauty sits, back to us, in the middle background.
The surf pounds.

The sun sparkles off the water.

THE END

The Coens’ use of simple, declarative description contributes to the enigmatic feel of the scene, the writers refusing to tip off in any direction what the hell might be going on. No editorializing, just the facts — and lots of room for all our questions.

You can see the ending of the movie here.

[Originally posted May 20, 2010]