Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The quote maketh the movie

He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo. In other words, Ron Burgundy was the b**ls.

With the inclusion of that single line, the movie (if one can call it that) Anchorman automatically got upgraded from being an insufferable waste of time to a terrible waste of time. As I watched the movie drag on, scene by extremely painful scene, I realised that mercifully 6 months down the line, the only thing I would remember about the movie was that solitary 10 seconds of awesomeness. The agony of watching the remaining hour and a half of the excuse of a movie would not even be distant memory. Which got me thinking, what really makes a movie memorable?

Brilliant acting? Not really, we have too many talented actors these days. A great background score? Not when Hans Zimmer and co do an excellent job in so many movies. Great direction? Hard to say. A fantastic plot? Too many 'unknown' movies come with better plots than the industry pushed biggies. For me, it all comes down to a single quote that steals the show.

Intentional or not, Casablanca for all its greatness will always be remembered for its closing line

"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

We performed the stage version of Casablanca a few years ago & as the co-director (Hey Abhinava, how you doing?) I had memorized nearly every line of the script. I have a ton of fond memories from the play (including the one time when our actors who were supposed to sit in the background and play a game of cards without uttering a line in a scene arguing during rehearsals over what game they should be playing while sitting on stage) but the one moment that will stick with me is that final line before the curtains came down.

So what makes a movie quote fantastic? I really have no clue how to explain that but I can list out a few off the top of my head.

"Ask any racer, any real racer. It doesn't matter if you win by an inch or a mile; winning's winning"

With that one line, Dom (Vin Diesel) was made. From being a movie that was made to provide adrenaline rushes to countless teenagers, the Fast & the Furious became a cult movie that made a star. Suddenly boy racers around the world wanted to be Dom while the real racers grimaced in disapproval.

"I really like you, but I can't be the invisible man. I'm tired of being the shoulder .... I'd like to be somebody's Gerry."

I am the sort of person who prefers to read a book before watching the movie only to see how well the movie director has been able to capture the vision of the author. Honestly, when I read P.S. I Love You I was shocked that such a lousy book could have become a best seller & I made a vow not to watch the movie. Fortunately I forgot my about my vow. The movie was really nice and the show stealer was the monologue leading upto I'd like to be somebody's Gerry. Im sure the silence in movie halls around the world would have been interrupted by Awwws after that classic line.

"The first time someone calls you a horse you punch him on the nose, the second time someone calls you a horse you call him a jerk but the third time someone calls you a horse, well then perhaps it's time to go shopping for a saddle."

Lucky Number Slevin was a sucker punch from nowhere. A movie I picked to watch for no apparent reason became a quick favourite of mine. Not difficult considering it had lines like this.

"You dont need your mouth to pee!"

Unintentionally hilarious moment from The Transporter when the struggling victim tries to scream indicating that she wants the tape across her mouth removed when Jason Statham loosens the knots that have tied her legs to let her use the facilities.

"Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it."

The Dark Knight ushered in the era of the dark villain as the Joker showed a maniacal side that terrified the audience & stole the show from Batman. Long time fans are used to the more light hearted & consequentially less dangerous Joker that was never a serious threat to Batman but this version truly showed how evil he could get. And this perfectly explained the mindset of such a formidable foe.

"Chicks like scars. It's like a roadmap of the soul."

I probably will never understand what that means but kudos to the scriptwriters of The Air I Breathe for coming up with it.

And finally from the very enjoyable movie The Holiday, probably my all time favourite movie quote from the incredibly talented Jack Black

Iris: Miles, you really are an incredibly decent man.
Miles: I know. It's always been my problem.


Nefertiti said...

P.S. I Love You? really? You disappoint me! I couldn't go beyond the first chapter, and I refuse to believe the movie was better. it's usually the other way round!

The last quote steals the show...

Nice guys do finish last :) dont take it personally

Neil said...

I was surprised by how likeable the movie was. Its no Notting Hill but it isnt as bad as the book.

The second half of your comment explains a lot :-)