Last night, I sat down to watch the remake of the original movie for the series The Waltons. I do love me some Waltons, doncha know. I've seen every episode of the series multiple times. And with the way entertainment is these days, I wasn't so sure I wanted to watch this remake. But there was nothing else on, so I waded in.
It was bad. So bad. I mean, we watched it all (Hubs joined me about halfway through), but it was not good. The acting was bad. Most of the time, it was like they were reading the lines instead of acting the characters. But this blog isn't about acting. It's about writing.
And the writing was bad. The dialogue was bad. Good god, people. Did you even think about how people talk to one another? Especially how people talked to each other in 1933? Some of the slang for today would not have been slang then. I wish I could remember some of the instances, but I don't. Trust me, they were there. Glaring. Spotlight right to the eyes.
And it wasn't like writing the script would've been hard. The movie followed the original plot for the most part. They could've used the original script for petesakes. Geez.
And whoever researched the historical period should be slapped. 1933... Virginia. A black police officer? Come on. Really? And considering, it was post-Depression, so why the hell was everyone dressed so nicely? Oh, sure, they put Mary Ellen in overalls, but they were nice overalls, like they'd been bought recently for her instead of the hand-me-down ones she would've been wearing. And all the other children were so nicely dressed they looked like they were sporting their go-to-church clothes instead of the cheap, raggedy play clothes the children of a poor mountain family would've been wearing. Everything should've looked well-worn, like they'd been passing the clothes down for years and making everything else by hand. Hell, even when the dad was laying in bed in his long-johns, the damn things looked like he bought them online last week.
Did they even bother to watch the original movie??? They could've made it all so much better if they had simply followed the formula that worked so well it spawned a hit TV series that lasted for NINE YEARS. (Okay, so maybe they should've stopped after Richard Thomas left, but that's just my opinion.)
Anyway, if you're writing a period piece or anything else, pay attention to how people talk to each other. Pay attention to the period you're writing. Otherwise, you'll leave your readers like that movie left this viewer... irritated and wanting to write a scathing one-star review.