Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Movies Narrated By Dead People

“And if you’re reassuring yourself that I’m going to make it through this since I’m talking to you now, quit being such a smart-ass!  Hell dude, you never seen Sin City?  Sunset Boulevard?  American Beauty?” – Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass

Movie narration is something that comes and goes over the years.  Some movie critics consider it such an affront that they rip the movie to shreds simply for having narration.  Personally, I rarely even notice it, and when I do I usually appreciate it.  For me, it rings really hollow when you have a character speak his thoughts out loud to other characters because those people treat it as the most natural thing, and it’s not.  The better alternative is to have the character speak only to the viewer.

This category is not a spoiler for these three movies.  Both Sunset Boulevard and American Beauty tell you right at the beginning that the narrator is dead.  Sin City consists of multiple interconnected stories, with multiple narrators, so you don’t know which one(s) will end up dead.

I could have included a couple of other movies I have seen, but those would definitely have been spoilers.  You don’t find out until the end of those that the person you have been listening to is dead.

You can find my posts for these movies here:

Sin City
Sunset Boulevard
American Beauty

On to the reviews…


  1. Hey Chip. Thanks for the comments over at my blog. Glad you like it.

    Love the groupings you do, especially this one. Funny story: the first time I saw Sunset Boulevard many many years ago, it was on late night TV, and I missed the first few minutes, which, of course, contains the pivotal moment when William Holden gets shot. So, I spent the entire movie without even considering that his character would be killed at the end. Suffice it to say, the finale came as quite a shock :-) It was definitely an interesting way to experience the movie - not the filmmakers' intention, I'm sure, but interesting nonetheless.

    P.S. Great quote from Kick-Ass. Gotta love the movie in-jokes.

  2. @Matt - Thanks for the kind words. I can see how that would have been a big surprise in Sunset Boulevard.

    Some people hate in-jokes, but I like them quite a bit. Perhaps they subconsciously make me feel a little smarter when I get them. Who knows?

    I try to find a fitting quote for each category and some of them are in-jokes like this one.