It's Sunday. I'm not in church. Instead I'm rewriting my script and thinking about those moments in movies I can't seem to get out of my head. Some of them are funny. Some scary. What do they all have in common? I still remember them today.
Here's the list I came up with this morning:
--Hypodermic adrenaline needle into the heart. - Pulp Fiction
--A ball sack caught in the zipper. - There's Something About Mary
--A horse's cut-off head in the bed of a movie producer. - The Godfather.
--Having sex with a pie. - American Pie
--"The operation was called hobbling." Then Kathy Bates uses a sledgehammer to break James Caan's ankles. - Misery
--An alien bursts out of a man's gut. - Alien
--A woman must choose to kill one of her children. - Sophie's Choice
--A young man commits fake suicide. -Harold and Maude
--A head in a box. - Seven.
--Faking an orgasm in the middle of a restaurant. - When Harry Met Sally
--Walken and Deniro and Russian Roulette. - The Deer Hunter
--Pesci: "You think I'm funny?" -Goodfellas
--Deniro: "You talkin' to me?" - Taxi Driver
--The Wicked Witch melts. - The Wizard of Oz
--Murder in the shower. - Psycho
--The "Do you like fried chicken" scene. - Kramer vs. Kramer
--Steve Martin pissed off at the rental car lady. "Give me an F'ing automobile." - Planes, Trains and Automobiles
I could go on and on as I'm sure you could too. These are all great, priceless moments that audiences remember. Each one is completely outrageous or darkly humorous.
How does your script look? What are the moments people (readers) will be talking about after they finish your script?
It's worth thinking about.
Yesterday I asked my daughter, a 4th grader, to put on her what's funny and different radar goggles, while we were out and about on the town, and share her thoughts with me. The following list of observations is what she came up with.
-- Birds like to poo on our car because it's white. The toilet bowl is white too. Every white car has more poo on it than the cars that are blue or red or... Daddy, can we get a green car?
-- That guy looks like a lady. Is he a lady? Daddy, I really don't know.
-- What is that dog doing? Oh my God. Look at that.Is he trying to sit on top of the other dog?
-- So gross. He just lost his teeth. I'm serious. Look. He bit into the bagel with cream cheese and his gummy tooth thingy just flipped out of his mouth. He's cleaning it now! Look. He's cleaning it. That other woman is watching him too.
-- I feel bad for that guy. Why are there homeless people? That's not right. He dresses better than Grandpa. The government should take care of him.
-- Is it strange that they still have their Xmas tree up? It's February. Why would anybody have their Xmas tree up in February?
-- Those teenagers have so many earrings on their lips. Doesn't that hurt? What if they get married someday? If they kiss each other they're going to stick together.
-- The sign says: wash your hands. He didn't wash his hands, Daddy. He's like the pastry test eater or something. Did you see him lick the frosting off his fingers and wipe his mouth? I wouldn't buy that scone. What if he has the flu? Are you going to buy that scone?
Hold the scone!
Then the guy behind the counter gave me a "whatever" look, wiped his nose, and put the scone back on the shelf for some other lucky customer.
"That's not very good customer service, is it Daddy?"
These observations came from a 4th Grader, folks. What do you think? Not too shabby, right? I might even borrow a few of these observations for the comedy I'm writing.
What was the point of this exercise?
Everything you need to know about human nature (and dog nature) is right in front of your face, all the time. You just need to know how to pay attention.
Back to work now.