X-Men's Crappiest Line: Truth revealed!

Jeff Kleist

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Lord Joss Whedon only has 2 lines remaining in X-Men, "It's me. Prove it. You're a dick" and the infamous Toad line. Truth revealed!
O: It's funny that the only lines I really remember from that movie are that one and Storm's toad comment.
JW: Okay, which was also mine, and that's the interesting thing. Everybody remembers that as the worst line ever written, but the thing about that is, it was supposed to be delivered as completely offhand. [Adopts casual, bored tone.] "You know what happens when a toad gets hit by lightning?" Then, after he gets electrocuted, "Ahhh, pretty much the same thing that happens to anything else." But Halle Berry said it like she was Desdemona. [Strident, ringing voice.] "The same thing that happens to everything eeelse!" That's the thing that makes you go crazy. At least "You're a dick" got delivered right. The worst thing about these things is that, when the actors say it wrong, it makes the writer look stupid. People assume that the line... I listened to half the dialogue in Alien 4, and I'm like, "That's idiotic," because of the way it was said. And nobody knows that. Nobody ever gets that. They say, "That was a stupid script," which is the worst pain in the world. I have a great long boring story about that, but I can tell you the very short version. In Alien 4, the director changed something so that it didn't make any sense. He wanted someone to go and get a gun and get killed by the alien, so I wrote that in and tried to make it work, but he directed it in a way that it made no sense whatsoever. And I was sitting there in the editing room, trying to come up with looplines to explain what's going on, to make the scene make sense, and I asked the director, "Can you just explain to me why he's doing this? Why is he going for this gun?" And the editor, who was French, turned to me and said, with a little leer on his face, [adopts gravelly, smarmy, French-accented voice] "Because eet's een the screept." And I actually went and dented the bathroom stall with my puddly little fist. I have never been angrier. But it's the classic, "When something goes wrong, you assume the writer's a dork." And that's painful.
Thereby proving Joss remains infallible
Jeff "High Priest o' Joss" Kleist
 

Greg_S_H

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Or, it proves he can pass the buck. Funny how none of Hayter's lines were delivered in a manner that threatened to derail the entire movie. I didn't follow X-Men before it was released, but if Whedon was the original writer, thank God his script was scrapped.
 

Rusty Ray

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Actually it makes sense... I kinda thought that in the back of my head... that maybe it was the delivery of the line that screwed it up.. i also thought maybe something was lost in editing... thanks for the info!!!
 

Todd Terwilliger

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With all due respect to Mr. Whedon, I cannot envision a reading of that Storm line that would save it. While, as a writer, I can sympathize, I believe that is simply a poor line, and an awfully poor one at that.
Todd.
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[Edited last by Todd Terwilliger on September 05, 2001 at 03:51 PM]
 

Jefferson Morris

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As a playwright who's often seen his lines delivered far differently than he expected, I can sympathize. Unexpected or eccentric line readings can have unintended consequences - usually bad ones.
I can almost see the line working as he envisioned it - sort of a bathetic parody of action movie quips (the kind of stuff that worked brilliantly in Army of Darkness).
However, Whedon's problem (in his film scripts, anyway - I'm not familiar with Buffy) is an overreliance on such quips. The object lesson here for writers is to avoid them.
--Jefferson Morris
 

Bill Catherall

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Isn't the writer present during the shoot or at least during rehersal just to make sure the intent of what was written is delivered properly? Plus, shouldn't the director know, by proper communication, exactly what the writer's intent was with every line of dialog so he can get the proper performance from the actor? If Berry wasn't delivering the line right then it is the director's fault. If the director doesn't know the proper delivery then it is both the director and writer's fault. In reality, Whedon can't point fingers because the end product is a team effort. No one person put the whole thing together, so no one person can be blamed for any faults.
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Kevin Leonard

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Isn't the writer present during the shoot or at least during rehersal just to make sure the intent of what was written is delivered properly?
To quote Albert Brooks:
"Being a screenwriter in Hollywood is like being a eunuch at an orgy. Worse, actually, at least the eunuch is allowed to watch."
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Matt_Stevens

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I can tell you without a doubt that the final 4 drafts were all better than the SHOOTING script, which was devoid of any anger or BUDGET, which removed some key scenes. The studio sugar coated Wolverine to the point where his berzerker rage was excised during the final draft.
If the 3rd to final draft was used, THE X-MEN would have been 3 times as good. It's a friggen shame and all due to FOX and the producers sucking the budget dry.

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SteveMc

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Hmmm...thats interesting. I always hold that line #1 in my worst lines ever list. The You're a Dick one I actually got a kick out of. But the way Berry played Storm, I don't see how she could have pulled of the line and made it good. Wolverine maybe, but Storm...no way.
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Andy Sheets

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I can tell you without a doubt that the final 4 drafts were all better than the SHOOTING script, which was devoid of any anger or BUDGET, which removed some key scenes. The studio sugar coated Wolverine to the point where his berzerker rage was excised during the final draft.
Good, says I. While I think the movie could have used some better action, one of the things I liked most was the subdued and more credible take on the characters, especially Wolverine, who I haven't liked in the comics for ages. I do remember reading some draft of the script credited to Singer, Ed Solomon, and Tom DeSanto and was horrified by that one. The characters were like a bunch of maniacs. It was like they took everything crappy about the X-Men over the past 20 years and tried to mash it all into one movie

As far as Whedon's writing goes, I love Buffy to death but I think part of the reason for that is that I think he's surrounded himself with actors that he knows and can work closely with to get those deliveries right. But when that isn't the case, he ought to understand that not everyone is going to get his very particular dialoguing style and he should probably adjust his writing accordingly.
 

Ken_McAlinden

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he ought to understand that not everyone is going to get his very particular dialoguing style and he should probably adjust his writing accordingly.
...or just provide better instructions in the script: e.g. [quietly -- smirking]The same thing that happens to everything else. Of course, you can do this and then see it disappear after 18 re-writes by others.
Regards,
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Matt_Stevens

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quote: Good, says I. While I think the movie could have used some better action, one of the things I liked most was the subdued and more credible take on the characters, especially Wolverine, who I haven't liked in the comics for ages. I do remember reading some draft of the script credited to Singer, Ed Solomon, and Tom DeSanto and was horrified by that one. The characters were like a bunch of maniacs. It was like they took everything crappy about the X-Men over the past 20 years and tried to mash it all into one movie [/quote]
You are referring to earlier drafts, which I also read, and which were VERY bad. Magneto flings one liners constantly and actually says "I'm getting pretty good at this" in reference to his one lines! Terrible.
However, the berserker rage, as handled in later drafts, was expertly written and easily the most compelling part of the story. There was a danger room sequence where they tested Wolverine and in each draft the test was different, but the results were always similar. He lost it and Jean Gray calmed him down in what was, to me, the best moment NOT in the piece of shit film. It's a real travesty.
Logan was no psycho or maniac in the later drafts. He was much more like Chris Claremont's Logan of the Wolverine mini-series, which Logan fans regard as the best Wolverine material ever written.
I have no faith in the upcoming sequel, as Laura Shuller Donner is still in charge. She is one reason the film ended up so SHORT and so lackluster. It's a shame her husband had not gained an interest in the project because with his clout, he could have told the studio to stick it in their rear and made a longer, more expensive film. X-MEN suffered badly from a lack of cash. Less than 50 million was spent on the actual film, due to so much money being sucked up by all those producers and co-producers and executive producers, not to mention aborted FX tests.
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[Edited last by Matt_Stevens on September 07, 2001 at 09:06 AM]
 

Bruce Hedtke

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Bad writing is still bad writing. Even Laurence Olivier couldn't have given life to that turkey.
Bruce
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Matt_Stevens

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As I mentioned, the producers had something, but lost it, due to time and budget constraints. The early drafts were abysmal. Just pathetic. The final shooting script was toned down and raped of anything that was deemed expensive.
The last few drafts before the final and then shooting script were pretty good. Almost very good. Had the 3rd from the shooting (2nd from the final) been used, I think the film would have earned over 200 million, as it was just BETTER. The Danger Room sequence was in, Logan's character was fleshed out and had his charming berserker rage. There was a sly link between Wolvie and Sabertooth. The action was better and the story was told without being rushed.
The final version actually ends before the 90 minute mark. The only reason is passes the 90 minute mark is the epilogue and the longest end credit scroll in recent memory.
I'm confident part 2 will be a POS. I read a treatment. It's REALLY bad. I hope to have a script soon.
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Ben_J_L

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I have to say i quite liked X-Men, but I do concede that the "do you know what happens to a..." etc line said by Storm was wrong, I could tell it was meant to be a joke, and I sort of "half laughed" cus I got the gag, however when my brother watched it with me, he didn't laugh, I had to explain to him it was meant to be funny!
However I really did like the "your a dick" line, I laughed out loud to that and the "what do they call you, wheels?" line.
 

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