Monday, January 12, 2009

Writing in My Car

Time: 6:55 a.m.
46 degrees

Last night, I watched half of one movie, and all of a next. I can't get neither out of my head for the same reason - characters.

As I waited for David to come back home with H. Salt Fish & Chips, I watched a, ahem, "film" (which shall remain nameless). In this-ahem-story, the good guy was noble but not all that interesting. The villain was an awful, awful woman - she should've worn a black hat and twirled an imaginary mustache. The love interest, of course, was successful; therefore, she was stuck up, overambitious, a beautiful bitch who had to be won over and changed by the hero. The three kid actors played daughters, and I'm sure, in the writer's head, they were called The Sassy One, the Sweet One, and The Wise One. No nuance at all. I was told how to feel about these people - not trusted at all to make the correct (or even incorrect) judgments about people I'm spending time with.

Fortunately, David got home before I threw the remote at the plasma screen. And really, I didn't need to see the ending. It had been telegraphed by all that melodramatic organ playing. Cue tears... now.

I had been TIVO'ing Gone Baby Gone. And that film... dude.A great movie, and now, I must read the novel by Dennis Lehane. The characters are so dimensional - no one's ever only good or only bad - they are shades of gray, just like us. Because they are us. They're not so noble all the time; they want to do something bad for the greater good. Every time I thought something would happen, it would but then it would twist back and bite me. And yes, I cried, but not because Lehane wanted me to, but because the situation was just... FUBAR, and I couldn't help but feel the characters' anguish.

Dennis Lehane is just... Wow. Mystic River and Shutter Island are my favorites. He loves his characters - even the nasty ones.

What do you think about obvious characterizations? Who do you think writes characters well?

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