Sunday, April 30, 2017

My 65 favorite film quotes Part II

This is a continuation of Part I of my 60 favorite movie quotes.

33.   Miles Raymond: I was saving this for a special occasion
Maya: You know, the day you open a '61 Cheval Blanc... that's the special occasion.
-Sideways (2004)

The essence here is that there's nothing like doing that one thing you love and if you truly love it, does it matter if you have company for it?
34.   Michael O’Hara: I never make up my mind until it’s over and done with
-The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

This was one of the few quotes that wasn’t on IMDB so I’m not sure if I have it right, but the basic idea is that O’Hara is a man who doesn’t actually make conscious decisions about his plans. Life just happens and whichever way the current takes him is often where he ends up. His only agency, therefore, is allowing himself to be swept up in wherever life takes him.  I often find this sentiment comforting as so much of my stress comes from having to make a decision and I can view this as a worst-case scenario.

35.    Henry Drummond: Can't you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind!
Judge: I hope counsel does not mean to imply that this court is bigoted.
Henry Drummond: Well, your honor has the right to hope.
-Inherit the Wind (1960)

I was torn between this and the breakdown between the alliance of Drummond (Spencer Tracy) and E.M. Hornbeck (a brilliant Gene Kelly) that left me feeling bittersweet at film’s end since it’s how the film chooses to close out. The two are both sides of the same coin. Drummond pushes for justice here and delivers another big “the reason you suck” speech, but there’s a danger that he’s in love with the principle of justice more than whether what he’s doing is good or bad.

36.  Woody Allen: I thought of that old joke, y'know, the, this... this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, "Doc, uh, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken." And, uh, the doctor says, "Well, why don't you turn him in?" The guy says, "I would, but I need the eggs." Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships; y'know, they're totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and... but, uh, I guess we keep goin' through it because, uh, most of us... need the eggs.
-Annie Hall (1977)

I’m not a humongous fan of Woody Allen relative to the average cinemaphile and, even then, find “Annie Hall” to be one of his less interesting films, but this line is profoundly true about relationships.

37.     Albert: Look, let me tell you something. We live in a terrible place and time. The American West is a disgusting, awful, dirty, dangerous place. Look around you. Everything out here that's not you wants to kill you. Outlaws, angry drunk people, scorned hookers, hungry animals,diseases, major and minor injuries, Indians, the weather. You can get killed just going to the bathroom.
I take my life in my hands every time I walk out to my outhouse. There's fucking rattlesnakes
all in the grass out there. And even if I make it, you know what can kill me? Cholera. You know cholera?
Edward and Ruth: The black shit
Albert: Yeah, the black shit. The latest offering in the frontier's disease-of-the-month club. And even if you survive all those things, you know what else can kill you? The fucking doctor. The doctor can kill you. I had a cold a couple of years ago. I went in there. You know what he said to me? He goes, "Oh, you need an ear nail." A nail in my fucking ear. That is modern medicine for you. "Yeah, Doc, I have a fever of 102." "Oh, you need a donkey kickin'." You know our pastor has shot two people? Our pastor.Honest to God. Shot a guy in a duel and then went back and
killed the guy's teenage son because he was afraid he would kill him out of revenge.
Edward: Wait, how do you know that?
Albert: Because he did a whole fucking sermon about it …..
Albert:: That is our Mayor, he is dead. He has been lying there dead for three days, no one has done a thing. Not moved him, not looked into his death, not even replaced him with a temporary appointee. For the last three days, the highest ranking official in our town, has been a dead guy.  [wolves drag the body away] Oh, look at that, look at that. Wolves are dragging the body away, as to illustrate my point. Bye! Bye, Mr. Mayor. Bye, have fun becoming wolve's shit, Bye. God! That, my friends is the American West
-A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)

This monologue from this unfairly maligned film is a complete detachment from any attempt at acting as a character in the Old West and more a stand-up routine as told from a guy living in the 19th Cenutry. 

38.   Joseph Palmi: Let me ask you something...
 we Italians, we got our families, and we got the church; the Irish, they have the homeland, Jews their tradition; even the niggers, they got their music. What about you people, Mr. Wilson, what do you have?
Edward Wilson: The United States of America. The rest of you are just visiting.
-The Good Shepherd (2006)

Matt Damon stars here as the enigmatic Ed Wilson who is a Forrest Gump of sorts for the CIA and the U.S.’s dark underbelly. Wilson is a blank slate of upper class white privilege: a man recruited straight out of Yale into the Skull and Crossbones Society and goes on to do bad things (torture, betrayal, a shotgun marriage, etc.) without ever really questioning his orders. We never get that much of a sense for what makes him tick but this is the closest we get to his views is in this exchange. Joe Pesci plays Palmi in a rare departure from retirement here.

39.    Loki: Easy for you to say. You get off light in razing. You got to stand there and read at Sodom and Gomorrah, I had to do all the work.
Bartleby: What work did you do? You lit a few fires.
Loki: I rained down sulphur, man, there's a subtle difference.
Bartleby: Oh, yeah, I'm sure.
Loki: Hey, you know, fuck you, man. Any moron with a pack of matches can set a fire. Raining down sulphur is like an endurance trial man. Mass genocide is the most exhausting activity one can engage in, next to soccer.
-Dogma (1999)

Kevin Smith’s extremely clever religious satire features two angels of death arguing with each other over who’s done more in service to God outside an arms store. All of this is being said as a befuddled store clerk is watching. I love the kicker “next to soccer”

40.   Todd Anderson: [stands up on his desk] O Captain! My Captain!

Mr. Nolan: Sit down, Mr. Anderson! Do you hear me? Sit down! Sit down! This is your final warning, Anderson. How dare you? Do you hear me?

Knox Overstreet: [climbs up onto his desk] O Captain! My Captain!
Mr. Nolan: Mr. Overstreet, I warn you! Sit down!
[Pitts climbs onto his desk, followed by Meeks, then over half the class, one by one]
Mr. Nolan: Sit down! Sit down. All of you. I want you seated. Sit down. Leave, Mr. Keating. All of you, down. I want you seated. Do you hear me? Sit down!
John Keating: Thank you, boys. Thank you. -Dead Poets Society (1989)

-Dead Poets Society (1989)

“Dead Poets Society” felt like a downer of a film to me when I watched it as a kid but as I grew up and realized the sometimes-cruel logistics of keeping the adult world afloat, I realized how unlikely it would be that Mr. Keating would get invited back to school. In that context, to have the students defy their principal with his biggest lesson is sadly probably the best this innocent man can get. And the way he accepts it with humility and absolves his students of guilt is quite beautiful.

41.  Sugarpuss O'Shea: [about Potts] Yes, I love him. I love those hick shirts he wears with the boiled cuffs and the way he always has his vest buttoned wrong. Looks like a giraffe, and I love him. I love him because he's the kind of a guy that gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk, and I love the way he blushes right up over his ears. I love him because he doesn't know how to kiss, the jerk!
-Ball of Fire (1941)

Sugarpuss O'Shea (Barbara Stanwyck) is deeply entrenched in 1930's slang and her jargon is even a plot point of this film. Naturally, every bit dialogue she utters is a lot of fun.

42.  Lorraine Running Water: Do you understand what Bronco Billy and the wild west show are all about? You can be anything you want. All you have to do is go out and become it!
-Bronco Billy (1980)

Bronco Billy is about a stranded heiress (Sondra Locke) who is forced to tag along with a Wild West Show run by Clint Eastwood. The line I also wanted to use from this underrated film was Locke’s character trying to convince Bronco Billy not to go stop a train robbery on account of him not being an actual cowboy. Bronco Billy tells her it’s even worse than that: He was actually a show sales men most of his life. This line is in the same spirit.

43.  Elwood P. Dowd: Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.
-Harvey (1950)

44.   Griffin Mill: So, what's the story?
Walter Stuckel: Twenty-five words or less? Okay. Movie exec calls writer. Writer's girlfriend says he's at the movies. Exec goes to the movies, meets writer, drinks with writer. Writer gets conked and dies in four inches of dirty water. Movie exec is in deep shit. What do you think?
Griffin Mill: That's more than 25 words and it's bullshit.
-The Player (1992)

45.  Whip Whitaker: Katarina Marquez did not drink the vodka because I drank the vodka bottles on the plane. I drank the three bottles on the plane.
Ellen Block: Captain Whitaker, on the three nights before the accident, October 11th---
Whip Whitaker: October 11th, October 12th, October 13th and 14th, I was intoxicated, I drank all of those days, I drank in excess.
Ellen Block: On the morning of the accident?
Whip Whitaker: I was drunk….I’m drunk now. I’m drunk right now, Mrs Block…because I’m an alcoholic
-Flight (2012)

This breakdown occurs during a hearing after Whitaker has been deceiving himself and others in a court of law. Shame on you IMDB for not having this up and making me have to transcribe this on YouTube.

46.  Harvey Milk: I ask for the movement to continue. Because it's not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power... it's about the "us's" out there. Not only gays, but the Blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us's. Without hope, the us's give up - I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. So you, and you, and you... You gotta give em' hope... you gotta give em' hope.
-Milk (2008)

I find myself thinking this all the time when it comes to politics or causes. Hope is an underlooked ingredient when it comes to keeping people sane in a world beyond their control. Conversely, hope can be used negatively but I prefer the way the late Harvey Milk spoke about it with nothing but optimism.

47.  Woody Grant: Have a drink with your old man. Be somebody!
David Grant: Well, why did you have kids, then?
Woody Grant: I like to screw, and your mother's a Catholic, so you figure it out.
-Nebraska (2013)

Woody Grant is not an easy character to like and that’s the whole point. This is a story about a son’s evolving question to bond with and serve his father on his father’s own terms. The second line is indicative of Alexander Payne’s rare bits of punchline-based humor.

48.  Dick Goodwin: 21 is rigged and I can prove it... I have Enright cold and that means I have you.
Kitner: Really?
Dick Goodwin: Really.
Kitner: Then how come you're the one who's sweating?
-Quiz Show (1994)

Robert Redford’s underrated “Quiz Show” is memorable (at least for me) because it’s a Moby Dick story of sorts with the proverbial white whale being a McGuffin. Who really cares if a quiz show isn’t on the level? I certainly didn’t, but this was an obsessed man.

49.  Katsumoto: And who was your general?
Algren: Don't you have a rebellion to lead?
Katsumoto: People in your country do not like conversation?
Algren: He was a lieutenant colonel. His name was Custer.
Katsumoto: I know this name. He killed many warriors
Algren: Oh, yes. Many warriors.
Katsumoto: So he was a good general.
Algren: No. No, he wasn't a good general. He was arrogant and foolhardy. And he got massacred because he took a single battalion against two thousand angry Indians.
Katsumoto: Two thousand Indians? How many men for Custer?
Algren: Two hundred and eleven.
Katsumoto: I like this General Custer.
Algren: He was a murderer who fell in love with his own legend. And his troopers died for it.
Katsumoto: I think this is a very good death.
Algren: Well, maybe you can have one just like it someday.
-Last Samurai (2003)

This is a film with great dialogue and this snippet displays pretty well Katsumoto’s tendency to talk circuitously through the cultural looking glass while also showing that Algren’s a very dynamic character. This conversation happens early in his development and foreshadows the way the two will go into battle together .

50.  M. Gustave: Get your hands off my lobby boy!
-Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

51.  Brick Tamland: I love... carpet.
Brick Tamland: I love... desk.
Ron Burgundy: Brick, are you just looking at things in the office and saying that you love them?
Brick Tamland: I love lamp.
Ron Burgundy: Do you really love the lamp, or are you just saying it because you saw it?
Brick Tamland: I love lamp. I love lamp.
-Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

52.  Mr. Memory: Am I right sir?
-The 39 Steps (1935)

In arguably Hitchcock’s best film from his British period, Mr. Memory is a genius who turns his memorization skills into a sideshow act by  answering esoteric audience questions. After each answer, he follows it with the phrase “Am I right sir?” But he’s more than that: He is used by saboteurs to transmit a secret message. The hero (Robert Donat) exposes the secret  simply by asking for the mysterious secret in front of an open crowd, causing Mr. Memory to get shot. As he’s dying, Mr. Memory asks “Am I right sir?” which is a deliciously macabre bit of irony.

53.  Kathleen Kelly: Last night I went to meet you, and you weren't there. I wish I knew why. I felt so foolish. And as I waited, someone else showed up: a man who has made my professional life a misery. And an amazing thing happened. I was able, for the first time in my life to say the exact thing I wanted to say at the exact moment I wanted to say it. And, of course, afterwards, I felt terrible, just as you said I would. I was cruel, and I'm never cruel.
-You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Even in a film that wasn’t particularly strong, the late Nora Ephron was extremely gifted at observational humor (it’s no surprise she was a best-selling author outside of the standard celebrity memoir genre) that she translated into very personal characters. This line is so relatable for two reasons: My life is filled with moments that I wish I could have redone ten minutes after the fact, and secondly, getting a moment right, often leads to rushing those words out in such a way that your morals or tact might not arrive in time.

54.  Verbal Kint: The Biggest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist
-The Usual Suspects (1995)

55.  Raymond Shaw: Are we friends, Ben? I wanna believe we were friends.
Ben Marco: We are connected and that's something nobody can take from us. You coulda had me locked up, but you didn't. That's proof that there's something deep inside. There's a part that they can't get to. And it's deep inside of us. And that's where the truth is.
-The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

Yes, I’m referring to the remake, don’t laugh. I have plenty of fondness for this version even if it’s nowhere near the late Jonothan Demme’s high-water mark. The gravity of Denzel Washington’s performance makes this a very powerful moment upon which the third act hinges. 

56.  Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!
-League of their Own (1992)

What most people might miss who view this line out of context is that this moment represents a lot of growth for Dugan who started out being completely apathetic to his lady baseball players.

57.  Major Clipton: Madness! Madness!
-Bridge on the River Kwai (1958)

Without giving away the ending, let’s just say Major Clipton perfectly summarizes my baffled reaction at the end of this film’s climax.

58.  Carl Hanraty: Then why are you calling me?
Frank Abagnale Jr: I just wanted to say Merry Christmas
-Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can is a historical fallacy (Carl Hanraty didn’t really exist in real life) but a rather touching one at that. Hanraty is a Javert-like-figure for Abergnale Jr. but this exchange of dialogue shows that he might be the closest thing he has to a father in a messed-up way.

59.  Principal: Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
-Billy Madison (1995)
Make no mistake, this is a terrible film but even bad films can have a flash of comic intelligence here or there.

60.  Jerry Maguire: Help me…help you. Help me. help you. Help me help you!
-Jerry MaGuire (1996)

61.   Sir Charles Litton: No question about it. He was a fool, but he epitomized the eleventh commandment.
Marie Jouvet: The eleventh commandment?
Sir Charles Litton: "Thou shalt not give up".
-The Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)

62.   Mia and friends: Someone in the crowd could be the one you need to know. The one to finally lift you off the ground. Someone in the crowd could take you where you want to go. If you’re that someone willing to be found.
-La La Land (2016)

63.   Mr. Glenn Holland: Let me ask you a question. When you look in the mirror, what do you like best about yourself?
Gertrude Lang: My hair.
Mr. Glenn Holland: Why?
Gertrude Lang: Well, my father always says that it reminds him of the sunset.
Mr. Glenn Holland: Play the sunset. Close your eyes. 1, 2, 3, 4 [motions her to play]
-Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

What I love about this advice is very little could be inserted here that doesn't sound cliched and somehow the script finds a piece of advice that's pretty true to the apotheosis of a great educator. It is often said that musical perfection is achieved not just by rehearsing over and over again but through emotionally getting in touch with a song and while I've never conceptually grasped that (I would guess that a Julliard grad could play a line of music without knowing what it's about and it would sound just fine), it feels right in a setting like this.
64.  Vivian: Speaking of horses, I like to play them myself. But I like to see them workout a little first, see if they're front runners or come from behind, find out what their hole card is, what makes them run.
Marlowe: Find out mine?
Vivian: I think so.
Marlowe: Go ahead.
Vivian: I'd say you don't like to be rated. You like to get out in front, open up a little lead, take a little breather in the backstretch, and then come home free.
Marlowe: You don't like to be rated yourself.
Vivian: I haven't met anyone yet that can do it. Any suggestions?
Marlowe: Well, I can't tell till I've seen you over a distance of ground. You've got a touch of class, but I don't know how, how far you can go.
Vivian: A lot depends on who's in the saddle.
-The Big Sleep (1946)

Exhibit B for why old movies can surprise you lest you think it was all “Leave it to Beaver” and “I Love Lucy.” When I first saw this film, my mouth was gaping open at what I had just witnessed. It helps, of course, that these lines are spoken by Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall who became one of cinema’s enduring couples on and off screen.

65.   Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: Mr. Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.
James T. Hart: [pause, as he is leaving the room] You... are a son of a bitch, Kingfield!
Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: Mr. Hart! That is the most intelligent thing you've said today. You may take your seat.
-Paper Chase (1973)

This line of dialogue masterfully navigates the tension between the two characters as Hart is living in Kingsfield's shadow throughout the movie. The conversation between the two figures is extremely limited before this moment causing this to come off as an explosion of sorts.

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