In your first ten pages, show us something we’ve never seen before. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tentacled star-beast or simply an original joke. Just give us something different.
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!
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.
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]