Movies - Quotes posts

Thursday February 02, 2012

My Top 10 Movie Lines of 2011

I like collecting quotes. I guess I‘ve been doing it since I began to care about serious reading and writing, which was probably in college. I used to write favorites on the inside cover of whatever sad journal I was keeping at the time. The usual undergraduate stuff:

“Everyone is broken by life ... afterward some are stronger in the broken places.”
—Ernest Hemingway


“The God I believe in isn’t short of cash, mister!”

Here are a few of the movie lines from 2011 that stuck with me. Some are short, some are long. Some I can quote; some I just love. There's life advice and contextual stuff that I imagine myself repeating down the road. The Malick quote is already part of my life. It's changed, or at least articulated, some way that I see the world.

No back-and-forth exchanges. That's a whole other beast. So you won't get anything like this from “Moneyball”:

Peter Brand: It's a metaphor.
Billy Beane: I know it's a metaphor.

Or this from “Young Adult”:

Matt: What‘re you doing back in Mercury? You moving back?
Mavis: Course not. Gross.

Feel free to add your own in the comments field below.

10. “I didn’t know that was your diary; I thought it was a very sad, handwritten book.”
—Brynn (Rebel Wilson), the Brit roommate from hell, to Annie (Kristen Wiig), in “Bridemaids.” Original screenplay by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. One of many I could’ve chosen from this movie. I think I‘ve probably quoted the “Daily Show” line more than any, but this one relates so well to the sad journals I used to keep.

9.  “Because you’re his girlfriend he’s got cancer you cheated on him you fucking lunatic!”
— Kyle (Seth Rogen) to Rachael, the girlfriend from hell, when asked why he doesn’t like her, in “50/50.” Original screenplay by Will Reiser. It's less the insult than the exasperrated run-on quality of it. I included no punctuation because Rogen doesn't imply any. It's Joycean in its stream-of-consciousness.


8. “If you‘re first out the door, that’s not called panicking.”
— John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) to Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey) in “Margin Call.” Original screenplay by J.C. Chandor. What I love is the unmentioned follow-up: So what DO you call it? You call it survival, I suppose, or dickishness or reptilian. You call it capitalism. You call it (see no. 1) the way of nature.

7. “When you’re dealing with a kid or an adult or a horse, treat them the way you’d like them to be, not how they are now.“
— Buck Brannaman in the documentary ”Buck.“

6. ”You are about a hundred miles from smart.“
— Matt King (George Clooney) to Sid (Nick Krause) in ”The Descendants.“ Original screenplay by Alexander Payne. A second later, the kid demonstrates that he's closer to smart. Or at least closer to pain—and smart enough, or kind enough, not to bring it up during the pain of others.

George Clooney in "The Descendants" (2011)

5. ”That’s how I know he can be beaten. Because he’s a fanatic. And the fanatic is always concealing a secret doubt.“
—George Smiley (Gary Oldman) in ”Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.“ Adapted screenplay by Bridget O‘Connor and Peter Straughan, from the novel by John LeCarre. Although aren’t we all concealing secret doubts? Although I guess for some our doubts aren't so secret. For the fanatic they would have to be. 

4.  ”If the sun were to explode you wouldn't even know about it for eight minutes because that's how long it takes for light to travel to us. For eight minutes the world would still be bright and it would still feel warm.“
—Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn), in voiceover, in ”Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.“ Adapted screenplay by Eric Roth, from the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.

3. ”Fuck you, you fucking fuck.“
— T-shirt worn by Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) in ”The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.“ In case anyone's thinking belated birthday or early Valentine's Day gift: I'm a medium.

2. ”My death, of course, will quickly vindicate those who call me naďve or idealistic, but I will be freed of a burning curiosity and, God willing, will immerse my gaze in the Father's and contemplate with him his children of Islam as he sees them. This thank you which encompasses my entire life includes you, of course, friends of yesterday and today, and you, too, friend of the last minute, who knew not what you were doing. Yes, to you as well I address this thank you and this farewell, which you envisaged. May we meet again, happy thieves in Paradise, if it pleases God, the Father of us both. Amen. Insha‘Allah.“
— Christian (Lambert Wilson) in ”Of Gods and Men.“ Xavier Beauvois (adaptation et dialogue), Etienne Comar (scenario).

Final scene in "Of Gods and Men"

1. “The nuns taught us there were two ways through life: the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow. ... Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Gets others to please it, too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things.”
— Mrs. O'Brien (Jessica Chastain) in voiceover in “The Tree of Life.” Original screenplay by Terrence Malick.

Jessica Chastain in "The Tree of Life" (2011)

Posted at 06:19 AM on Thursday February 02, 2012 in category Movies - Quotes   |   Permalink  

Monday March 23, 2009

My Most-Quoted Movie Lines - Intro

In January 2005, I wrote a piece for anticipating the American Film Institute’s June countdown of the 100 most memorable lines in movie history, and, in it, I included a prediction of their top 10. I wasn’t far off  (AFI’s rankings in parentheses):

1. “There’s no place like home.” (23)
2. “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” (2)
3. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (1)
4. “Plastics.” (42)
5. “Here’s looking at you, kid.” (5)
6. “You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender…” (3)
7. “May the Force be with you.” (8)
8. “E.T. phone home.” (15)
9. “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” (19)
10. “You talkin’ to me?” (10)

The point of the piece, though, was less prognostication than analysis. Why did movie quotes matter? What kinds of movie quotes mattered? After the top 10 list, I wrote:

All famous lines, but how many do we really use? Telling a girl, “Here’s looking at you, kid”? Telling a friend, “May the force be with you”? Too corny. Too calcified. Of course this may be a generational thing, in which case these movie lines are like George Trow’s father’s fedora in his book, “Within the Context of No Context.” What the father wore with dignity the son could only wear with irony. The movie lines our parents repeated with sincerity we can only repeat with a smirk.

Let’s face it: Movie lines are only really fun when they’re not part of the national lexicon. Otherwise we risk coming off as the boob at the party saying “Do I make you horny, baby?” one too many times.

Not to get too onanistic here, but... dude’s right. Memorable schmemorable. A good movie-quote should be familiar but not too familiar. It should be like a password to a club. A few years back, I was with my friend Adam and his friend Chris (whom Adam calls “Doc” for absolutely no reason), eating and drinking at a restaurant/bar called The Little Wagon before a Twins game, when, with my attention elsewhere, Doc said, “Takin’ a fry here, boss,” and grabbed one of my french fries. I the tumblers fell into place.

“’Cool Hand Luke’?” I said.

Doc smiled.
Of course nobody on Luke’s chain gang actually says “Takin’ a fry here, boss.” The say: “Puttin’ ‘em on here, boss.” “Takin’ em off here, boss.” They’re letting the guards know every sudden movement so nobody gets jumpy. But the pattern of the line (“Xin’ here, boss”) is heard often enough that we remember it. At least Doc and I did. And that was our password.

Over the next few days I’ll count down my five most-quoted movie lines. These are lines that still feel alive to me. They haven’t been trampled to death by overuse. They still have function and utility. Feel free to post your own most-quoted movie lines below, or make guesses about mine.

Here are some hints. Mine are lines I say when people disbelieve me, or when I’m feeling stupid, or when people complain about their bosses, or CEOs, or Bush/Cheney. Four are from movies made during my lifetime. In two, I imitate (badly) the man saying the line. They’re throwaways — the tenth- or twentieth-most-popular lines in popular films. They’re not for AFI. They’re for me and Adam and Doc.

And you? Baby, you dig it the most.

Posted at 09:41 AM on Monday March 23, 2009 in category Movies - Quotes   |   Permalink  

Wednesday September 24, 2008

Movie Quote of the Day

“I often think of something Woodrow Wilson said to me. 'It is only once in a generation that people can be lifted above material things. That is why conservative government is in the saddle for two-thirds of the time.'”

—Franklin (Ralph Bellamy) to Eleanor Roosevelt (Greer Garson), in Sunrise at Campbello (1960)

Posted at 08:47 AM on Wednesday September 24, 2008 in category Movies - Quotes   |   Permalink  

Tuesday September 23, 2008

Movie Quote of the Day

“There is no expert on the subject. I mean, there is no wise old man. There's... Shit, there's just us.”

—Kenny O'Donnell (Kevin Costner) to JFK and RFK on the first day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, after Truman's Secretary of State Dean Acheson, despite what he sees as the inevitable consequences of the act, recommends bombing Cuba, in the movie Thirteen Days

Posted at 07:40 AM on Tuesday September 23, 2008 in category Movies - Quotes   |   Permalink  
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