Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies Narrated by Narrators That Do Not Appear on Screen


It's Thursday, and it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks.  This week we're talking about films that are narrated by narrators who never appear in the movie.  Yeah, this was a difficult one.  My first inclination was Stand By Me, which is beautifully narrated, but even though we never see Richard Dreyfuss, he voices adult Gordie, played by Wil Wheaton in the film and so he's technically 'on screen'.

So I had to dig deeper and think harder and then I got stumped and then I saw a magical little movie that, thank heavens, had off-screen narration!

So now I have three.


The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)
F*cking Alec Baldwin!  I'd listen to him talk all day long.  Baldwin is GOD and I'm so ready for him to snag an Oscar for something, anything.  GIVE IT TO HIM!  Alas, I can't always get what I want.  What I do get is a brilliantly 'storybook' inspired narration that serves Anderson's tone so effortlessly.  Next time, Wes, give Alec a full-fledged ROLE in your film, please. 

(500) Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009)
Seriously, people, is this not the most perfect use of narration you have ever seen?


Dope (Rick Famuyiwa, 2015)
First off, this movie is, literally, DOPE.  Like, I'm still in awe over how much I love it, but we're here to talk about the narration and, I LOVE IT!  It's few and far in-between, but it's effective and it's poignant and it packs a serious punch in the most clever and well constructed of ways.

32 comments:

  1. Dope...that movie was indeed dope, haha. Very nice pick, would have picked it myself if I didn't forget all about it.

    and I can imagine the The Royal Tenenbaums being a popular pick this week.

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    1. I just loved Dope so much. Such a fun and vibrant movie.

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  2. This was a toughie and I picked one where the one character is all grown up but I felt that didn't matter in this case:) I picked The Royal Tennebaums also which will be popular this week I am guessing. I haven't seen the other two but they sound interesting. I have heard about 500 Days but not the other one that is ...dope:)

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    1. I hope you check them out. (500) Days of Summer is a gem.

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    2. I will as I keep a list. I would like to re read your review of Jules Et Jim...when did you write this?

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    3. http://afistfuloffilms.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-greatest-film-ever-made-greatest.html

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    4. This just confirms, to me, why you should write film reviews for a paper. I didn't love the movie as much as you did because, I think, the girl really screwed up their perfect friendship....plus she was nuts-hahahaa

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    5. You're far too kind, Birgit!

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  3. lol You went the honorable way out with the adult narrator and I was like "nah..fuck it, can't think of anything else."

    I also went with (500) Days, I can't get enough of that film. I forgot Dope had an unseen narrator too. I enjoyed that film when I saw it in theaters, but it's essentially left me.

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    1. LOL, I almost said "f*ck it"...but then I watched Dope and didn't have to.

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  4. Love that you went with Dope. I forgot it was narrated, lol. Almost picked (500) Days, myself, another great film. And I am that one movie blogger who has not seen The Royal Tenenbaums.

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    1. Dope was such a nice surprise for me. It's a shame that it was all but forgotten at the end of the year, because it was so expertly written and edited.

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  5. Great picks! I love The Royal Tenenbaums and (500) Day of Summer. I haven't seen Dope but it sounds great.

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    1. Hope you can get to Dope. It's a great little flick.

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  6. I watched Tenenbaums recently for the first time. I'd put it off for years because of my distaste for Paltrow and those freaking Wilson brothers but my admiration for the rest of the cast won out. I can't say I loved it but it was better than I expected.

    I couldn't stand 500 Days of Summer though it fits very well and I've never heard of Dope. I'll have to read up on it a bit to see if it's for me.

    This WAS a tough theme and one of mine is voiced by the adult voice of one of the characters but since that actor never appears on screen I think it works. I guess it's a matter of perspective, I've never really considered Richard Dreyfuss a character in Stand by Me.

    So after considerable racking of my brains here are my three:

    Ever After (1998)-Charming rethink of the Cinderella tale with Drew Barrymore a sweet but tough Cinder substitute now named Danielle, Anjelica Huston rockin’ it as a total bitch of a stepmother in whom she still manages to find nuance and Judy Parfitt and Timothy West a highly entertaining Queen and King. Somehow it also finds a way to include Leonardo da Vinci in the story too! Excellent production design. Jeanne Moreau narrates the tale as a reverie.

    How the West Was Won (1962)-Sprawling multi-generational saga with a cast full of legends (James Stewart, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Debbie Reynolds, Gregory Peck plus about 20 other recognizable names) tells of the settling of the West in amazing Cinerama. Follows the Prescott family and their descendants through the hardships and joys of taming the wild land. Broken into three segments each helmed by a different director (John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall) this has stunning vistas and a great many excellent performances. Spencer Tracy provides the off-screen narration that connects the vignettes as well as the introduction and denouement.

    So Dear to My Heart (1949)-Wholesome Disney entertainment of poor country boy Jeremiah (the ill-fated Bobby Driscoll) adopting a black lamb rejected by its mother. As the mischievous lamb christened Danny grows Jeremiah determines to enter him in the county fair but that takes money he doesn’t have. He uses his daydreams-complete with animated Disney characters-to figure out ways to achieve his goal. Good family film with old reliables Burl Ives and Beulah Bondi filling out the cast. The unseen John Beal narrates as the grown Jeremiah.

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    1. Ever After is such a great choice here! Also love that you went with How the West Was Won. I had forgotten about that one while compiling this list.

      So Dear to My Heart is a film I've never heard of. It sounds...interesting.

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    2. I watched So Dear to My Heart with one of my nieces and she loved it because of the animated critters and the lamb and went on and on about it to one of my other nieces...so your kids might enjoy it depending on their taste for older Disney. It was sweet and I was glad for the presence of Burl Ives & Beulah Bondi but I can't imagine rewatching it without one of the kids being around.

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    3. Yeah, it sounds like a night with the kids kind of movie.

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  7. Great picks! I LOVE Tenenbaums and it was the first one I thought of, but had picked it previously. Baldwin's narration is BRILLIANT and I would love for him to get the Oscar that should have been his for Glengarry Glen Ross. That voice just....

    I was never as high on 500 Days as everyone else but it is really good and the narration is essential. A perfect example of smart use of narration to tell a story.

    I am really looking forward to seeing Dope soon.

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    1. UGH, Baldwin is such a great actor. I mean, I love that he was showered with Emmys and such for 30 Rock, but he needs an Oscar.

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  8. The Royal Tenenbaums is the absolute perfect choice! Sooooooo good.

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  9. I have yet to see Dope, but love your other choices!

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  10. Great post! I love the fact that you included Dope. I f**king love that movie.

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    1. YAY! It's such a great little film!

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  11. With the exception of Dope which I haven't seen, I can say yes for the rest.

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    1. I hope you get to check it out soon.

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  12. All great movies! All great uses of narration. THAT scene in 500 Days of Summer is one of the most brilliant I've ever seen. And The Royal Tenenbaums is an all-time for me. I've beaten Wes Anderson to death on these picks, so I left it off intentionally. It was the first one that came to mind. Alec Baldwin has the best voice ever.

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  13. Awesome choices! And I'm SO here for the Alec Baldwin love. Give him an Oscar!

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