Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Big Idea, Addendum: The Ironic Conclusion

Yesterday we looked at the need for an Ironic Concept. When identifying your ironic concept, it’s tempting to look to the ending and show how the story is ultimately ironic in the end, but you can’t wait that long to tap into the power of irony. The ironic concept should be evident by the halfway point, and then the finale needs to be ironic in a fresh way. Let’s data-mine our checklists:
  • Casablanca: He shows his love by sending her away.
  • Sunset Boulevard: He gets that pool he always wanted
  • In a Lonely Place: He didn’t do it, but loses her anyway.
  • Alien: She blows up the ship only to discover that he’s on the escape pod.
  • The Shining: The son must kill his father to save his family.
  • Blue Velvet: He defeats evil by absorbing it.
  • Silence of the Lambs: One killer is stopped but the worse one gets away in the process.
  • Groundhog Day: He finally figures out how to get out of there: by wanting to stay.
  • Donnie Brasco: He finally gets to go home but feels like he’s more lost than ever.
  • The Bourne Identity: He discovers that he was home the whole time: with Marie. (In his commentary, Liman says that he saw the movie as having a Wizard of Oz structure)
  • Sideways: Miles finds that the way to get the girl is the have the courage to do nothing, waiting for her to re-approach instead of drunk dialing her.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The village is once again overrun with dragons, but in a good way.
  • Iron Man: His partner turns out to be the villain.
  • An Education: She realizes that was she feared was exactly what she needed.
  • Bridesmaids: Her archenemy helps her get her guy.
There are, of course, many more ironies in between as well. In the next three posts, we’ll look at the pros and cons of Ironic Dialogue...

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