Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Humans: Too "On the Nose"?

Yesterday, while walking, an older woman came out of a shop and walked toward me. This was on the Westside -- so a little posh -- and, to be a little sexistly frank, she looked somewhat like what I'd expect the wife of a banker or mid-level studio exec to look like.

Anyway, she pauses for a moment next to a bush, smells a flower, then continues walking.

A block or so later it hit me -- she just took a moment to smell the flowers. How painfully on-the-nose.

*For those unfamiliar with the term, on-the-nose typically refers to dialogue where the characters express exactly what they feel, or say things that no normal human would say, but are necessary in order to fill the audience in on the plot. I think it could also be applied to actions that are painfully obvious in trying to get across the much deeper point.

That said, it did strike me that such a scene could work on-screen. But the audience would have to be just like me, and not recognize it as "she's pausing to smell the flowers" until they're on their way home from the theaters.


The Awful Writer said...

Fun Joel also talks about obvious/overused scenes in this excellent post:

Fun Joel said...

Thanks Awful! The funny thing was that I was just about to comment on this post, and as soon as I clicked in, I saw your comment. Actually, an elaborated version of that post will be appearing as my next article in scr(i)pt magazine, due out at the beginning of next month.

Anyway, the reason I was clicking in to post is that I often literally stop to smell the flowers, but every time I do, ironically, a little chuckle pops in to my head as that exact phrase cycles through it. Without fail!

Steve Peterson said...

Another weird thing is that while we might be pretty corny in real life, I can't recall a film where I've actually seen someone do that. My corniness usually comes in the form of pausing to watch clouds.

Anyway, thanks for dropping by.