Wednesday, February 8, 2012

TODAY'S NUGGET: #41 WGA Script of All Time - Goodfellas (1990)

[Quick Summary: As Henry Hill rises in the ranks of the mafia, he is entangled in vices which are his downfall.]

Voice overs are like dynamite. 

If used improperly, they're like grenades that go off at the wrong time. 

But if the writer knows what he/she is doing, they're like fireworks that illuminate and surprise.

This script is in the latter category.  It's also the first script I've seen where there are not one, but TWO voice overs, i.e., Henry and Karen Hill.

So why does Karen's second voice over work here? 

1 - This is Henry's story and told from Henry's point of view. 

2 - Though Karen's voice over is told from her point of view, she tells us more about HENRY'S life. 

She fills in the blanks about HENRY'S behind-the-scenes problems. She echoes how the audience feels about HENRY.  She reflects HENRY'S point of view.

ex. KAREN (V.O.): "He was an exciting guy. He was really nice. He introduced me to everybody. Everybody wanted to be nice to him. And he knew how to handle it."

ex. KAREN (V.O.): "We weren't married to nine-to-five guys..."

ex. KAREN (V.O.): "None of it seemed like crimes. It was more that Henry was enterprising."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Yes, two voice overs are possible... IF it the 2nd re-emphasizes/amplifies/reflects the main point of view.

Gotta keep the unity-of-story thing intact, you know.

Goodfellas (1990)
by Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese

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