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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I hate voice-overs

Just saying. I hate voice-overs because they are insulting to your intelligence. Some voice off-screen telling you what you are seeing and adding superfluous narration and explanation. While at least one film I like, "Goodfellas," uses voice-over, this does not make the film any better than it would be without it.

There are these other gangster films that rip Scorsese's film. Those are doubly worse, because they are voice-overs and they are lame imitations of "Goodfellas." One of these lame imitations, I think, is by Scorsese himself. He should have used it only once.

13 comments:

Andrew Shields said...

I don't think a voice-over is an insult to the audience's intelligence. It's an admission of the director's failure as a filmmaker, at least for a moment. The ultimate standard is the opening of "Rear Window," which communicates all the information you need with images and then with a telephone conversation between James Stewart and his editor.

Jonathan said...

Hitchcock didn't use them (as far as I know at least.) I think the movie that turned me most against them was "Mon oncle d'Amerique." I felt that this bombastic French ideologue was telling me at every moment what to think about the images I was seeing.

Thomas said...

Isn't this a bit like saying some particular movie turned you against car chases?

Jonathan said...

Sure. So what? There has to be a first time that your generalized dislike of something crystallizes into a principled position.

Jonathan said...

No movie I ever direct will have them. (voice-overs)

Plenty of car chases though.

Thomas said...

The signature Mayhew car chase. Worth pondering what that would be like.

Leslie said...

What about Y tu mamá también?

Jonathan said...

I don't remember the voice over in that film. It's been a while since I've seen it. I'm not saying every film that uses the device is bad, but that it hardly ever makes a film better.

profacero said...

The voiceover is the main thing in it. It is telling a story that the film is not. Without the voiceover / the alternate story, the film does not exist.

Jonathan said...

Really don't remember that movie then😞

Jonathan said...

I'm starting to watch it now. The V-A is super obnoxious as usual, with this ideological agenda that should just emerge out of the diegesis, if it's important enough and you're skillful enough.

I'd be a bad film scholar because I have a dogmatic position against a perfectly well-accepted device that many high-brow directors use (and low brow ones too). I hate narrative exposition too. Don't tell me, show me.

Phaedrus said...

I don't mind voice-overs - they are a tribute, often, to the novelist / autobiographer behind the screenplay, as in "The Age of Innocence." Joanne Woodward's is a big character in that movie!

profacero said...

How do you feel about flashbacks?