There’s a line in Patton where George C. Scott as General Patton talks about his tendency to curse. Paraphrasing here, he tells the reporters when he wants it to stick he gives it to them dirty, giving them something to remember.
Funny thing about f-bombs….the more you use them the less impact they have. I’ve used my share in my own writing but I’m always aware of the frequency. Blast an audience non-stop and the effect will diminish, then become a bore, then become a liability. It’s a delicate balance. As George Carlin teaches us, it’s not the word itself, it’s the context…
As with other dialogue, f-bombs should be used to advance character or plot, and there should be exactly as many f-bombs as you need to accomplish the task. Kinda like that scene in Amadeus where the King tells Mozart there are “too many notes”. Mozart replies, “There are exactly as many notes as I required, your Majesty.”
That’s how I feel when I read scripts trying to do verbal gymnastics with fabulous new combos of obscenities. Who are you trying to impress? The money guys? You’re trying too hard. The world is full of wannabe Shane Blacks. Believe me, development people, agents, managers and, more importantly, their readers, have seen it all. Don’t connect pieces of words for hip effect, OK fuck-tards?
Believe me, I love a good rant. I wouldn’t even know where to start on my fav f-bomb scenes… OK, that’s actually not true…
Here are five classic f-bomb scenes. Notice how every one of them defines character, defines the ranter… enjoy!
- CLERKS: Jay and Silent Bob Intro
- THE BIG LEBOWSKI: Nobody Fucks With Jesus
- PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES: A F***ING CAR!
- FULL METAL JACKET: Gunnery Sergeant Hartman
- GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS: Deadbeat Leads