Give Them A Long, Long Journey

In AS GOOD AS IT GETS, the first scene we see Jack Nicholson with Helen Hunt is at the restaurant where she’s a waitress. He’s been eating there a long time, but this day doesn’t go well. He’s loud, pushy, and obnoxious, yelling to her “I’ve got JEWS at my table!” At first she defends Jack to the restaurant manager and then Jack insults her customers regarding the size of their noses. And (as the scene changes direction!) she sits down at Jack’s table and YELLS at him, “Are you listening to me, YOU SICK FUCK?!”

“You sick fuck.”

Nice language, honey. Surely not the beginning of a love affair, is it?

Her fiery language, hatred of him, and everything else she feels at that point gives them a hell of a journey to have to go on through the entire movie. They begin the movie VERY FAR APART and finally kinda get together at the end. Sorry if I’m giving away the finale for you.

If she’d said, “You’re not a nice man are you?” their journey would not have been as interesting. But because she insults him savagely and beats him down like a cur dog (Jack’s humiliated acting at the end of that scene is worth the price of the DVD) it pushes them as far apart as they can possibly be (and still be believable) therefore making the path they are about to walk for the next hour or so, much more interesting.

“You sick fuck!”

Wow. Unique pickup line! Never thought of that one!



Filed under Details, Screenwriting, Writing Process

7 responses to “Give Them A Long, Long Journey

  1. Melody Lopez

    I had a scene where my leading lady disses the future leading man. I then have a few pages later (still part of the set-up) and just before break into two…where the leading man shows up at her door (literally) after some clever banter… I actually had them shaking hands

    Reading this blog…I decided to keep the clever banter…but have her punctuate it with slamming the door on his face.


  2. elaine

    Talking of best pickup lines, have you seen ‘The Milk of Sorrow’ (2010 Oscar nominee)?

    It has the best ‘you’re dumped’ line ever –
    “My God, why don’t you just die”.
    Leaves “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn” for dust.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Haven’t seen it, but now I want to!

      • elaine

        Yikes, I mean ‘The White Ribbon’, not ‘the Milk of Sorrow’. Sorry, just watched both of them back to back. You’ll never find a line like that in MofS!

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