Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's That From? Memorable Movie Quotes, 2009-2012

Love me some movie quotes. If I were to make a conservative estimate, I’d say I speak in movie quotes (and, to a greater extent recently, TV quotes) 15 percent of the time when I’m around friends. They’re great for people like me who are introverted and basically inept at small talk. Of course, there’s always the risk of getting carried away; see the episode of Undeclared where Rachel become enamored with and then quickly annoyed by a drama major who constantly speaks in celebrity impersonations. But mostly I think speaking in movie and TV quotes is a positive thing, giving people a quick and easy way to reference shared experiences and crack each other up with memorable lines.

You’ll find plenty of those in the scene pictured above, the opening of The Social Network, which is one of the best dialogue movies in recent years. I had a hard time picking out just one line from Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant screenplay to include here. The same issue came up when choosing a quote from 21 Jump Street. Virtually the whole movie is quotable. This is one of those comedies, like Major League and Wayne’s World, that people will memorize and recite all the lines while watching with their friends. I simply picked one that seems particularly amusing to me at the moment. It’s absurd to quote just one line from a Quentin Tarantino movie. For Inglourious Basterds, I chose Lt. Archie Hicox’s death scene because it illustrates how important language is in that movie. In this scene, as well as in the opening scene where Col. Hans Landa speaks in English so as to hide the fact he’s about to murder the Dreyfus family, Tarantino shows how words can be lethal.

Here are ten scenes that I think could be used in an AFI montage of the most memorable movie quotes of recent years. As a bonus, I’ve also included the final lines in Poetry. This is my favorite movie ending in quite awhile. The film delivers its emotional knockout punch when it switches from the perspective of Mija, an elderly woman in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, to that of Heejin, a dead girl who suffered greatly at the hands of Mija’s grandson.

Mattie Ross in True Grit (2010)
Dearest Mother, I am about to embark on a great
adventure. I have learned that Tom Chaney has fled into
the wild, and I shall assist the authorities in pursuit. You
know that Papa would want me to be firm in the right as
he always was, so do not fear on my account. Though I
walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall
fear no evil. The author of all things watches over me
and I have a fine horse. Kiss little Frankie for me and
pinch Violet's cheek. My papa's death will soon be
avenged. I am off for the Choctaw Nation.

Sean Parker in The Social Network (2010)
We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now
we're going to live on the Internet!

Lt. Archie Hicox in Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Well, if this is it, old boy, I hope you don't mind if I go
out speaking the King's.
By all means, Captain.
(picks up glass of scotch)
There's a special rung in hell reserved for people who
waste good scotch. Seeing as how I may be rapping
on the door momentarily...
(drinks scotch)
I must say, damn good stuff, Sir.

Mr. and Mrs. Fox in Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
We're all different.
(indicates Mr. Fox)
Especially him. But there's something kind of
fantastic about that, isn't there?

Teddy Daniels and the warden in Shutter Island (2010)
When I came downstairs in my home, and I saw that tree
in my living room, it reached out for me... a divine hand.
God loves violence.
I... I hadn't noticed.
Sure you have. Why else would there be so much of it?
It's in us. It's what we are. We wage war, we burn
sacrifices, and pillage and plunder and tear at the flesh
of our brothers. And why? Because God gave us
violence to wage in his honor.
I thought God gave us moral order.
There's no moral order as pure as this storm. There's
no moral order at all. There's just this: can my
violence conquer yours?

General Aladeen in The Dictator (2012)
Why are you guys so anti-dictators? Imagine if America
was a dictatorship. You could let 1% of the people have
all the nation's wealth. You could help your rich friends
get richer by cutting their taxes. And bailing them out
when they gamble and lose. You could ignore the needs
of the poor for health care and education. Your media
would appear free, but would secretly be controlled
by one person and his family. You could wiretap
phones. You could torture foreign prisoners. You
could have rigged elections. You could lie about why
you go to war. You could fill your prisons with one
particular racial group, and no one would complain.
You could use the media to scare the people into
supporting policies that are against their interests.
Jenko in 21 Jump Street (2012)
Where do we report to?
Down on Jump Street. 37 Jump Street... wait,
that doesn't sound right.

Mark Wiener in Life During Wartime (2009)
So, Mark, what do you do?
Systems analysis.
That sounds interesting.
It is to me. Moderately. Like intermediate-level Sudoku.
But I have no illusions that what I do is of any interest
to anyone else, even amongst specialists. I'm something
of a functionary, but without ambition. Or even hope of
ambition. I plateau'd in grad school then lost interest
except in maintaining a base salary adequate for
financing a low-overhead subsistence.
Are you seeing anyone?
No, I'm more focused on China. Everything else
is history. It's a just a question of time.
Abe in Looper (2012)
Go to China.
I'm going to France.
Go to China, trust me.
I'm going to France!
I'm from the FUTURE, go to China!

Lancaster Dodd in The Master (2012)
If you figure out a way to live without a master,
any master, be sure to let the rest of us know, for
you would be the first in the history of the world.

Mija in Poetry (2010)
How is it over there?
How lonely is it?
Is it still glowing red at sunset?
Are the birds still singing on the way to the forest?
Can you receive the letter I dared not send?
Can I convey…
the confession I dared not make?
Will time pass and roses fade?
Now it's time to say goodbye
Like the wind that lingers and then goes,
just like shadows
To promises that never came,
to the love sealed till the end.

To the grass kissing my weary ankles
And to the tiny footsteps following me
It's time to say goodbye
Now as darkness falls
Will a candle be lit again?
Here I pray…
nobody shall cry…
and for you to know…
how deeply I loved you
The long wait in the middle of a hot summer day
An old path resembling my father's face
Even the lonesome wild flower shyly turning away
How deeply I loved
How my heart fluttered at hearing faint song
I bless you
Before crossing the black river
With my soul's last breath
I am beginning to dream…
a bright sunny morning…
again I awake blinded by the light…
and meet you…
standing by me.