Originally Posted in 2008
Featured Writers: Nick Nunziata, Devin Faraci, Russ Fischer
“And God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends. God help you. That’s flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of a character.”
- Brian Cox as real guy Robert McKee in Adaptation
McKee’s statement is just as often wrong as it is right, and we aim to document both sides of that coin. Sure, when voice-over is used poorly it becomes a distraction or redundant, but when it’s used well it’s a complete joy, bringing you right inside a movie.
Over the course of this week we’re going to examine five of the best and five of the worst movie voice-overs. There may be a couple of obvious ones that we leave out so we can squeeze in a couple of under-appreciated gems or a few under-hated turds, but for the next five days you’ll be getting a guided tour of the highlights and lowlights of people speaking over the action in a movie.
Day One (Click to read!)
Choice Pullquote: “I kept expecting Duke Leto’s pug to pipe in with his innermost (whispered) thoughts: ‘I want steak!’.” – Devin Faraci
Choice Pullquote: “Cusack sells tough material, making a character who is not exactly the sweetest man on the planet come off as someone we root for, and whether he’s having a meltdown in the back of his store or walking through town recounting the women that got away, it’s like being in the company of a best friend.” – Nick Nunziata
Choice Pullquote: “But the schism between Moore’s statements and footage, and between his intent and reality, takes this movie outside the realm of documentary. It’s an editorial, a half-invented one at that, and a film not to be trusted. Narration is the core of the disingenuous sales pitch.” – Russ Fischer
Choice Pullquote: “Hill is telling his story from the other side like Lester Burnham, but a very different other side. This time it’s the other side of the law; where Burnham is looking back on the lessons he learned from dying or whatever, Hill is trying to pretend like he learned some lessons, but the truth is that he really, really misses the good old days.” – Devin Faraci
Choice Pullquote: “It aids the tone, it’s entertaining, it fills the empty air, and in a film rife with questions and controversies it manages to help both arguments like some sort of bipolar accomplice.” – Nick Nunziata
And for a sneak peek at next week’s rebirth: