Wait. Why do we hate voiceover again?

The current and ancient screenwriting is that voiceover is lazy. With the smallest amount of googling I find that this sticks with me because of a fictional Robert McKee in the lousy and at this point not overrated but everyone finally agrees it sucks, I didn’t do my homework so I’m going to do meta-homework Adaptation (now that’s a review). Robert McKee is the best thing in the movie, no doubt aided by his embodiment by Mr. Brian Cox, and he’s the one who talks about voice-over (irony!), so I remember it, instead of shit I read.

Thing of it is, this is an extraordinarily stupid rule. VO is a tool, its lack of inclusion would be the equivalent of forbidding close-ups or edits, which various film auteur types have recommended at times. Furthermore, VO is inherently filmic, allowing us to show one thing and see another, simultaneity not available in the medium (books) from which it is usually stolen. This argument is further justified by the fact that there are probably more movies with great voiceover (Sunset BoulevardDouble IndemnityElectionBad Santa, the staggering and indelible work provided by Mr. Michael Herr for Apocolypse Now,  and of course the good version of Blade Runner) than there are bad ones (only The Descendants is coming to mind, but I’m sure something else will float to the surface at some point).

One might say that there could be a corollary to this rule: that those who believe they can simply follow guidelines to write a script, instead of writing well, are possibly less likely to include voiceover, and tend to write something average. That’s not a guideline. It’s a rule. We’re strict here.

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