Friday, June 27, 2008

Dig: Quoting Move Lines

OK, so I think this is mostly a guy thing. Some chicks quote movie lines to each other but I think generally girls think whipping out the occasional "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like .... victory" (Apocalypse Now) is stupid and immature. However, by now you've probably learned that a lot of things in my life are stupid and immature so this fits in quite nicely. It's also similar to my love of trivia which is also stupid. If ignorance is bliss, I'm one happy camper!

The beauty of quoting a movie line is that there aren't many times when it is inappropriate. Not that I'm against doing inappropriate things, but when someone isn't paying attention in a meeting, how can you not say "Bueller..... Bueller...." (Ferris Bueller's Day Off)? Everyone gets a laugh and I look like Mr. Funny Man and all the chicks swoon for me. What more could a boy want?!

There are a few hazards with this activity, though, and one of them is quoting a movie line that people aren't familiar with. Maybe the line is too obscure or the movie went straight to DVD or something. You have to remember your audience as they always say in those stupid public speaking training sessions. For instance, in the event that the topic of a prom queen comes up in a meeting, you could use "Let's get the prom queen pregnant" (Breakfast Club) at some point but if the dolts in your meeting only remember "Wouldn't I be out-standing in that capacity?" from that movie, your quote will fall flat. And falling flat sucks. People look at you like you are more of a freak than you actually are and there is definitely no swooning involved. However, if someone in the room DOES get the line and comes back with a "You mess with the bull, you get the horns" you have found a new best friend and you can continue to quote lines while de-railing the rest of the meeting. Finally, a reason to attend a meeting (other than the promise of bagels)!!

Another reason to remember your audience is that if you start into a quote session including lines like "Inconceivable!" (Princess Bride) or "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?" (Taxi Driver) with some young punk at work, he/she will most likely not have a friggin' clue what you're talking about. He may even come back at you with a line from Juno or some dumb-ass movie like that. In general, young punks don't know squat and if you want to fuck with them, throw out a "I'm going to kick 100% of your ass" (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and watch their eyes glaze over while all the rest of us cool 40+ year-olds laugh. I'm a product of the '80's so if you want to have kind of a dueling John Hughes movie line quote-off, I'm in.

A variation on the theme of quoting movie lines is quoting song lyrics or TV lines. You never know when a well-placed comment about man-hands (Seinfeld) or a reference to not wanting to go to rehab (that freak Amy Winehouse) will come in, uh, handy. Because there are so many stupid TV shows and obscure bands out there, though, the falling flat thing becomes a little too real. Please do not quote a line from Golden Girls. Please also do not quote a song from Kenny Chesney. Yes, we know that you love them both and, according to TV Guide and Billboard magazine, so do plenty of other people but Bea Arthur is just not quote-worthy. And the only quote I want to hear from Kenny Chesney is why he married Renee Zelwegger one day and then divorced her like a week later. I'm sure it has something to do with her squinty eyes.

So WHY do I dig quoting movie lines? No clue. You would think that I would want to wow people with my own words, not those of Al Pacino from Scarface ("Say hello to my little friend"). But when the time is right for a "You feeling lucky, punk?" (Dirty Harry), I just can't resist. I also use a lot of cliches when I speak and, according to a former boss of mine, cliches are a grammatical crutch of sorts. Whatever. I can live with it. Besides, I don't need no stinking badge (Blazing Saddles).

Now, for those of you playing along at home, I've listed some nifty movie lines for you to use when the opportunity presents iteself. Please note the two quotes with asterisks. Those are a little over-used and further use can sound lame and un-original. Proceed with caution. Also note that there are very few high-brow movies from which I quote lines. What am I going to do - quote that line from Schindler's List about how the ring on Schindler's hand could have saved one more person? Yeah, I don't think so. By the list below, you can see that my brow is pretty low. Enjoy - and now I'm going to go have myself a Royale with cheese (Pulp Fiction).

Wax on, wax off - Karate Kid
Look kids, Big Ben! - European Vacation
It's a Cinderella story - Caddyshack
I wish I was a loofah - Stripes
Try the veal. I'm here all week - Shrek
I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore - Network
* Houston, we have a problem - Apollo 13
Reeeaal tomato ketchup, Eddie? - Vacation
Those aren't pillows! - Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
We're on a mission from god - The Blues Brothers
This one time, at band camp - American Pie
Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life - Animal House
You'll shoot your eye out - A Christmas Story
You can't handle the truth! - A Few Good Men
* Show me the money! - Jerry Maguire
Juuuust a bit outside - Major League