Thursday

[funny] How to avoid cliche...

This is the funniest thing I've read in a long time...

From Mike D'Angelo's review of THE INTERPRETER at Nerve.com:

"Our very first view of (Sean) Penn's Agent Tobin Keller sets the tone: Sitting alone in a smoky dive bar, he mournfully removes his wedding ring and drops it, kerplunk, into his shot glass."

Notwithstanding the admirably uncommon moniker of "Tobin Keller" (re: the perils of christening your child "Toby" with a head cold), it goes without saying that overstated symbolic gestures of this nature will simply not do.* It's as shopworn a moment as sniffing the fabric of a recently deceased loved one's clothing, or stewing in a deserted church during a time of spiritual crisis, or getting into a fistfight with a gang of drunken rednecks led by Terry Bradshaw. The skilled writer, the one who truly knows his craft, must engage his imagination in order to dramatize the familiar with inventive unfamiliarity. It is a question of respecting your audience, your characters and yourself. ... What follows is the errant evolution of a very difficult scene.

(Keller enters the bar alone.  A boozed-up regular turns around and brightens.)
Regular: Hey, Tobin!  Where's the wife?
(A beat.)
Keller (glumly):  She won't be joining us tonight on account of having left me.



(Keller enters the bar alone.  A boozed-up regular turns around and brightens.)
Regular: Hey, Tobin!  Where's the wife?
Keller: How do I spell depression?  'D-I-V-O-R-C-E'.  (He laughs, a little too hard.)  Goddamn, I'm not funny.



(Keller enters the bar alone, brandishing a saxophone.)
Keller: Who wants to hear some heartbreak, key of "I'm-a-fucking-loser"?
(He takes the mouthpiece to his lips, and blows out wrenchingly atonal cacophony.)



(Keller enters the bar alone, already hammered, and encumbered with a sandwich board advertising a $4.99 Blimpie "Meal Deal".) 
Bartender (alarmed): What happened, Keller?
Keller (slurring): How does anything happen? 
(Keller rips off his ring and swallows it.  There is a beat, after which he pitches forward and begins puking.)



(Keller enters the bar alone, already hammered.  He rips off his wedding ring and unholsters his gun.  He tosses the ring into the air, and shoots at it, missing badly and exploding the head of a patron sitting at near point blank range.)
Keller (glumly): I am failure.



(Keller enters the bar with a duck under his arm.  Everyone stares, dumbfounded.)
Keller: Whatsamatter?  Ain't you ever seen a walking punch line before!?!?



(Keller knocks back a shot at the bar.  A beat.  He yanks off his wedding ring and stares at it intently.)
Keller:  You know, I wish I was Little Hercules so I could grind this to dust in the palm of my hand.



(Keller knocks back a shot at the bar.  A beat.  He yanks off the ring and looks up to the bartender.)
Keller:  Hey, Frank... you still got that giant slingshot back there?



(Keller drains a Long Island Iced Tea at the bar.  A beat.  He yanks off the ring, and wistfully studies it.)
Keller: Them gays don't know how easy they've got it.



(Keller knocks back a shot.  The phone behind the bar rings.  The bartender snatches up the receiver.)
Bartender:  Howard's.  (Pause.)  One moment.  (Hands the receiver over to Keller.)  It's your wife. (Keller wearily takes the receiver to his ear.)
Keller:  Tobin here.  (Pause.)  Uh-huh.  (Pause.)  Is that so?  (Pause.)  Okay, then. 
(Keller hands the phone back to the bartender, and promptly yanks the wedding ring from his finger.)  Won't be needing that anymore.  (He drops it in the empty shot glass.)

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