June 22, 2005

More about those movie quotes.

I TiVo-blogged the whole 3-hour AFI movie quotes show last night, so it's kind of silly to have anything more to say... but it just so happens I do.

Topic 1: short quotes. There were two one-word quotes that made the top 100, the predictable "Plastics" and "Rosebud." (Why not name your rock band "Rosebud Plastics"?) There were a lot of two-word quotes, including two that just repeated the same word. Those two were -- too bad I don't know HTML code to make the answer temporarily invisible so you can guess -- "Attica! Attica!" and "Toga! Toga!" Three other two-worders were "Hello, Gorgeous" and "Yo, Adrian" and "Here's Johnny" -- all are saying hi to a woman! Then there's "Lah-dee-dah, lah-dee-dah" -- which has always bugged me, because Annie Hall doesn't use it in the sense I've always heard it used in real life -- to mean "showily glamorous." One more two-word quote: "My precious." Think I got them all. Many three-word quotes. Basically, the quotes tended to be short.

Topic 2: movies I can't see why we care about. "Marathon Man." What is it? That repulsive dental torture scene? Are people out of their minds? Why would you look at one second of that?

Topic 3: attitude. Notice how many of the top quotes -- including #1 -- involve telling somebody off or daring them to confront the speaker. We love that.

Topic 4: final lines. People love a great closing line. For "Gone With the Wind," two characters got their closing line to count, even though Scarlett's is dopey.

Topic 5: does anyone say I love you? The synonyms for I love you on the list re "Here's looking at you, kid" and "You had me at `hello.'" Don't remind me of that "Love Story" quote. It's more of a precept than an expression of love.

That's all I've got... for now.

18 comments:

Lance Burri said...

Funny story I heard about "Marathon Man;" Dustin Hoffman stayed up for two days (or something like that) so he would look physically exhausted during some of the post-torture scenes. Lawrence Olivier says to him "you should learn to act, dear boy, and then you wouldn't have to put yourself through this."

Gerry said...

"does anyone say I love you?"

Ps- the Beatles do.

jeff said...

Until a couple of days ago I'd never even heard of Marathon Man....

Now I've got my dad asking me what "Is it safe?" means, and why it's significant.

No clue - anyone want to fill me in?

BTW, anyone else think that William Goldman looked and sounded a lot like an older version of Christopher Walken on the show?

Tonya said...

I didn't watch the AFI show but enjoyed your posts about it. Thanks

Ann Althouse said...

Jeff: I can't bear to watch this disgusting movie, but Olivier -- the Nazi dentist -- says "is it safe" in between drilling one tooth after another down to the root. Hoffman, the one with the teeth, acts tortured. It's just damned unbearable. So "is it safe" is some kind of Nazi torturer's wisecrack. That's as much as I can gather.

Lance: That is perhaps the most told anecdote about Olivier.

Dirty Harry said...

I think "Is it safe" means; is it safe for Olivier to get the diamonds. He's worried Roy Schieder (who plays Hoffman's brother)told Hoffman about the deal before he was killed.

Hoffman has no idea what he means. That's the Kafka-esqu beauty of the scene.

I love the scene but only like the movie.

twwren said...

Marathon Man was a fine novel written by Ira Levin (Rosemary's Baby, The Stepford Wives). Dustin Hoffman was terribly miscast. Lawerence Olivier played the part of Josef Mengele, the nazi war criminal (and dentist) called the "Angel of Death" who is said to have escaped to SA at the end of WW II with fabulous wealth. In the movie, Mengele is in NY preparing to sell a briefcase full of diamonds in the the diamond district. He asks Hoffman, the brother of an assinated agent known to Mengele, if it is safe to sell. Mengele uses torture by drilling into Hoffman's teeth whilest asking, "Is it safe?" Hoffman's character hasn't a clue so cannot answer.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Dirty Harry. Hey, did you notice "Dirty Harry" did well in the quotes. "Make my day" + "Do you feel lucky?"

twwren said...

My mistake. william Goldman wrote Marathon Man.

Dirty Harry said...

Ann, I did see that.

"Make my day," is probably my least favorite. It sounds cool but is filmed a little ham-handedly -- with the pan to a close-up and the pause and all that. I'd have shot him before he hit the "M."'

I prefer, "Do you feel lucky?" from the original. There he's daring them -- he's spoiling for a fight. "Make my day," is a warning. He got a tad soft in the 80's.

I was hard on the 100 quotes on my blog but thought about it and realized we hear many of them so often it dulls how great they truly are. Also, seeing them in the context of the film helps more than a clip.

But "You're gonna need a bigger boat." Always works. Great line.

Dirty Harry said...

And I agree with your analysis of "Annie Hall's" La-di-da. It's what she says during an awkward pause.

There are three much better quotes:

After a near-death ride home from Annie ending with a terrible parking job, he gets out of the car and says,

"It's okay, we can walk to the curb from here."

And...

"Honey, you have a spider the size of a Buick in there."

And after finding a copy of National Review in her house...

Why don't you get William F. Buckley to kill the spider?"

Masterpiece of a film.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, "Why don't you get William F. Buckley to kill the spider?" is a better line. "Spider the size of a Buick" I might add.

Felice Luftschein said...

"Plastics"
I wonder how many people who watched the film when it came out took that advice to heart? It was really good advice given that everything around us is now made out of plastic. Did anyone make a killing on the markets or start a new company that is now successful?

Ron said...

If you had a sixties era cover band with noirish overtones, why not name them the "Plastic Rosebuds?" Even a bit salacious, that title...

Perhaps Olivier's performance in Marathon Man...er, ah...struck a nerve? Isn't it some kind of cartoonish nightmare to say "My Dentist is goddamn Mengele!," and have it be true?

In support of dentists everywhere, think of your dentist as Henry V instead: "Once more into the breech , once more!" Sir Larry played him too...

Wade_Garrett said...

I too have heard that Marathon Man story. Only, the way I heard it, Dustin Hoffman replied "Why don't you eat me, you old British fart?"

I was hoping for a line from Spinal Tap, (perhaps "You can't really dust for vomit" or "their appeal is becoming more selective") but as somebody already pointed out, there weren't many comedies on the list.

I think the best line in the entire Star Wars saga was, at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, when Han is about to be frozen, and Leia says, "Han, I love you!" Han looks her right in the eye and, like a pimp, says "I know" before being frozen. That was so f-ing cool!

-Peder said...

One quote I was surprised they missed was "I am Spartacus!"

Seven Years of College Down the Drain said...

Ira Levin wrote "The Boys From Brazil." Gregory Peck did portray Joseph Mengele in the movie that was made from it. In "Marathon Man" Olivier played a Mengele-like character but not the man himself.

Ron said...

By "Mengele" I meant the idea of a torturing Nazi of a dentist, not specifically Mengele.

You can call someone a "Hitler" without meaning the Hitler.