Thursday, August 15, 2013

Woody Allen's Dialogue Problem In A Line

One line in Woody Allen's latest feature film "Blue Jasmine" made me laugh harder than any other, and not for a good reason. It made me laugh so hard because it was so woefully out of place in a 2013-released film. The line was this: "...he's a vacuous madman..."

Here's the thing...that line is delivered by a character played by Alec Baldwin. The fact that Alec Baldwin delivers it is specifically what allows such a monumental spotlight to be shone down upon it and expose it as being woefully out of place.

Imagine Alec Baldwin's character, fictional NBC Vice President Jack Donaghy, on the recently shuttered sitcom "30 Rock" saying it (here's a reference point): "Good God, Lemon, I warned you, he's a vacuous madman."

In Donaghy-ese that line would ring entirely true on account of the fact that Donaghy is quite consciously portrayed as an uppity-uppity richie-rich blowhard speaking in such a way as to lord himself over the common man.

But in Allen-ese the line does not ring true because Allen does not realize anything I just wrote in the previous sentence. Everything "30 Rock" so brilliantly satirized is the sort of stuff that Woody plays completely - one might even say.....vacuously - straight.

The bubble, Woody! The bubble you're trapped inside! You've gotta get out of it, man!



4 comments:

Alex Withrow said...

Ha, he loves that damn bubble. I kind of gave up (or accepted) the way his characters speak long ago. At times, very very silly.

Nick Prigge said...

Despite this post I don't always mind Woody's dialogue being in the bubble. But the fact that it was Jack Donaghy/Alec Baldwin saying that line just blindsided me. It made it stand out so much more than I'd ever realized.

The Kid In The Front Row said...

You have your very own brand of nit-picking, Nick-picking? Maybe they should hire you to rewrite Woody Allen!

Nick Prigge said...

Considering I spent many years desperately trying to rip off Woody Allen's work and failing miserably I'm pretty sure no one wants that.