Frances McDormand Syndrome is my new name for what happens when your secondary characters steal the show. Whenever she's on the screen, I just can't take my eyes off her. I've always been a huge movie buff and I like to use movies to learn about story telling. That's one of the reasons I was so psyched to go to Michael Hauge's workshop at Nationals this year. His workshop was the best singular ws I've ever attended at an RWA conference, so if you didn't go, buy the tape!
Now I know Mel is going to pelt me with rotten fruit for saying this, but I just found out last night she didn't like the movie, Chicken Run (!?!) so I don't feel a bit bad saying that Frances McDormand Syndrome is one of the reasons that Failure to Launch just didn't do it for me as a love story. The secondary characters overshadowed the primary ones and made them seem sort of dull. Yes, even a shirtless Matthew McCounaghy, who I think is hot hot hot, just plain took second fiddle to Kathy Bates and a naked Terry Bradshaw. Now that is one love story I would have loved to see! But I'm digressing here. I think the point I'm trying to make is that your secondary characters can either make or break a story and the line between the two is precariously thin.
I was talking to Stephanie (daughter #1) the other day about the film, Something's Gotta to Give, a movie I really love. There was no Frances McDormand Syndrome going on there.The secondary characters (and Frances being one of them) added beautifully to that film. They totally did what they were supposed to do without taking away from the primary characters. But we both agreed that once the story left the beach house, the film seemed to drag a bit. The second half just didn't seem to have the "oomph" that the first half did. There was very little Frances McDormand, very little Keanu Reeves, and a little too much emphasis on the stale "dancing naked Harrys" joke. The movie still works for me, and I know that the second half of the film is all about the decline of the romance, but I've always wondered if beefing up the secondary characters in the second half would have made it better.
Hi there! Welcome to my blog. I'm Maria Geraci, author of fun, romantic women's fiction. I blog about my writing, other people's writing, family life, Bunco, and whatever else strikes my fancy. To learn more about my books, please visit my website.
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