Top 50 Moments Series – Dialogue, Part 1

Today I introduce the first in a self-indulgent new series nicked from a variety of other sites and blogs. According to my Stats page, most people come here for my music lists (although according to my daily search engine hits, most people come here to see ‘Sigourney Weaver nude’, ‘Scared Kids pics’, and ‘Sigourney Weaver nakdt’…). A lot of people have doing lists like ’25 awesome moments in cinema’ or ’25 favourite scenes from the movies) based off their own favourite films. So, not to left with my pants down, I’ve decided to avoid the Streaker Police and present some of my faves. I created my list of top 150 films on IMDB way back in ‘ought 3’. Although some of those films will likely have been usurped by others since then, I haven’t been arsed to ever change it. So it remains a snapshot of my awesome student self.

Me Being Awesome… but which one?

I’ve decided to expand the number from 25 to 50, because when I looked at some of the films just outside that arbitrary number, I was missing too many classics. I’ll probably throw in a few bonus moments for films not in my top 50 and some of the films (such as Star Wars Trilogy) are on IMDB as a single entity, so I may split those up. So really, it’s a bullshitty mess, and another way for me to talk about movies instead of going out and doing cool stuff like meeting friends and stalking Sigourney Weaver (seriously, every day that search option appears more times than is normal, and I don’t even know why). While most lists have focused on general terms or several different ‘types of moment’ within one list, I think I’ll spread the love and do a dedicated list for each type, ranging from favourite line of dialogue to favourite overall moment. Feel free to give your choices in the comments, or mock me for mine. My list will follow the order of my top 50 films, not necessarily my top 50 moments. Maybe at some point I’ll get round to doing something for TV and music, for those people who actually read this blog. So, without further Apu, I give you:

My 50 (or so) favourite lines of dialogue… FROM THE MOVIES!

1. Star Wars Trilogy. (1977-1983, Lucas, Kershner, Marquand). Well well, these 3 films combined have probably been quoted more by fans, geeks, people who have never even seen them, and by characters in other films, than any other film in the history of ever. Every central character has at least one great line (even some of the bit players get cool dialogue), and for a trilogy packed with central characters you can be sure there will be a moment of pop culture brilliance every few minutes. I’m sure you have your favourites.

A New Hope: Poor little Admiral Motti is frustrated that LORD Vader does not approve of their new BFG and that has not yet found the rebel fortress. In a public forum his complaints are perhaps valid, but he goes about things the wrong way, flatly accusing Vader of being an old fool. If you didn’t know by this stage in the film that Vader was evil, powerful, and fucking awesome, then after he utters his next line, you will. Making the slightest of motions with his hand, Vader performs a deadly choking trick on Motti, who soon regrets ever being born. Vader coldly, simply adds: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

The Empire Strikes Back: As The Empire tries to rebuild after suffering some huge blows in the first film, Skywalker finds himself training in the ways of The Force and being drawn to Vader. Meanwhile loveable rogue Han Solo has been trying his luck with the feisty Princess Leia. In true tragic form though, Solo is captured by the bad guys due to a bounty on his head. Rather than kill Solo, the bad guys wish to freeze him as a prize for the as yet unseen Jabba The Hutt. As Solo is led to his destiny, Leia finally reveals her feelings: ‘I love you’. Han, always striving for the coolest way to respond simply adds: ‘I know’. Does this make him a dick? Does it make him even more epic? Yes yes yes.

My joint favourite quote from Empire is the little exchange between Luke and Yoda where they discuss coming up against their foe. Luke, having spent at least one montage’s worth of training with everyone’s favourite space goblin is full of fire and optimism: ‘I’m not afraid’. Yoda brings him back to earth though with the immortal: ‘you will be… you will be.’

Return Of The Jedi: ‘It’s a trap!’ That is all.

2. The Terminator. (1984, Cameron): Also known as the Greatest Love Story Ever Told, The Terminator has it’s fair share of memorable one liners and dialogue. Everyone knows Arnie’s ‘I’ll be back’, but what about such other classics as ‘Get out’? When you’ve watched the film 50 million times, a few other nuggets of wisdom stand out. Even nothing characters become immortal. From ‘Hey buddy, did you just see a real bright light?’ to ‘Nice night for a walk’ to ‘Yo momma’ and even ‘You got a dead cat in there, or what?’

My favourite line changes from day-to-day, as it does for most of these films. While Sarah is still a little rough around the edges for most of the film, almost every word Reece utters kicks ass from ‘Pain can be controlled’ to ‘I didn’t build the fucking thing!’ to ‘Come with me if you want to live’. Although the entire exchange between Reece and Silberman is gold and has many classics, it’s Reece’s demented speech to Sarah about The Terminator which stands tall: ‘Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead’.

3. T2. (1991, Cameron). With T2, we have no Reece to rely on anymore, but now that Sarah is bad-ass,Arnie is a good guy, and John is around we have even more great one-liners. I could go on about some of the excellent exchanges involving Arnie ‘I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle’…’Your foster parents are dead’… ‘What’s wrong with your eyes?’… ‘Why?’… ‘Uncle Bob?’ and so on, or some of the madness spouted by Sarah to Silverman, or even some of one-off comedy pieces, from ‘shut up, you worthless piece of shit’ to ‘Your foster parents are kinda dicks, huh?’ and ‘The Galleria?’

But no, my choice is the one line which for over a decade was the over-riding message of the film, which sadly (though inevitably?) became a lie as the movies progressed. It’s one of the two central themes stamped all over T2 (the other being ‘Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too’) and while Sarah carves it into a table, John is the one to say it: ‘There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves’. Live by it, kids!

4. Predator. (1987, McTiernan): I’m gonna have me some fun with this one. Another Arnie classic, and another movie that I always get drawn into watching if I catch a snippet on TV. A lot of this is down to the action of course, but the dialogue ensures this isn’t just another by the numbers run and gun flick. Shane Black even  features, but as an actor, not a writer. While most of the testosterone charged 80s action movies had their fair share of one liners (usually accompanying a death a la Bond), Predator is quotable for most daily situations: waiting for toilet to become available? ‘Son of a bitch is dug in like an Alabama tick’. Someone shows interest in what you’re having for lunch? ‘This stuff will make you a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus, just like me’. Late for the train? ‘Get to da chopper!’ (particularly good to scream at the top of your lungs to no-one in particular as you race through the crowded station). Anything? ‘Come on… Come on! Do it! Do it!’ My favourite today though comes near the start of the movie as our crack team is trying to take out a group of expendables. Future not-President Jessie Ventura gets hurt and starts to bleed. Poncho tells Jessie he’s bleeding. Jessie replies ‘I ain’t got time to bleed’. I’ll let you think up some appropriate scenarios for usage.

Me, having me some fun… but which one?

5. Robocop. (1987, Verhoeven): It’s always been my opinion that Robocop is the most quotable film ever. I’m fairly certain I could get through a normal day, inlcuding navigating work, family, and friends, by only using Robocop dialogue. Hell, even the watered down TV versions have their own hilarious twists on the original dialogue- ‘you’re gonna be a baaad mother-crusher’ gets used at least once a week. So picking a favourite quote from Robocop would be like Ron Jeremy picking his favourite boob. On the rare occasion that I swear in public, there’s usually a Robocop twist- ‘Fuck you’ becomes (in Steve Minh’s voice) ‘oh.. (pause for shotgun cocking… ooh-er) fuck you!’ Even my Spac Review (link) of Robocop is simply a list of the best lines given the Spac treatment. So, while I’m not terrifying my daughter when she won’t sit still to get her nappy changed by saying ‘Come quietly or there will be…. trouble!’ or instigating divorce proceedings by telling my wife (invoking voice of Clarence) to ‘just gimme my fuckin phone call’ instead of asking where I put my cell phone, what do I think my current fave line is? ‘Tastes like babyfood’? No. ‘Stay out of trouble’? No. ‘Murphy, it’s you’? No. ‘NANANANANANANANANA!’? Close. Jeebus, I really don’t know. Let’s just wrap it up and say that today, my favourite Robocop line is ‘Can you flyyyy, Bobby?’

6. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 1. (1984, Craven). Wes Craven has a way of being the coolest director, teacher, dad, for teenage audiences. Most of his early films are based around the mistakes of our parents and predecessors and focus on how the kids have to deal with the carnage and aftermath. There is a definite mistrust of the older generation and a cosy, accurate depiction of camaraderie between friends. As a young viewer to all things Freddy, this was a revelation- those whose job it is to protect us may be useless and just as dangerous as  those whose job it is to hurt us. So, Nancy, one of the original and best Final Girls remains an inspiration as she turns to her friends, and finally herself to escape: ‘I’m into survival’.

7. Conan the Barbarian. (1982, Milius): Right wing maestro John Milius never seems to get the credit he deserves- writing such classics as Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, and under-appreciated flicks like Big Wednesday. Conan The Barbarian, in my tiny opinion, is shining moment both as a writer and director. There are right field leanings, obviously, but given the source material that sort of thing can be overlooked. Underneath the general carnage there are plenty of philosophical whispers and posturing, and many opposing ideas on power- how to gain it and how to keep it. The opening quote paraphrased from Nietzche – ‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger’ may be overused and as such weakened these days, but it has never been more appropriately attached as here. The opening massacre leads both to Conan’s growth and fate. While the big man doesn’t speak much himself, when he does it is to answer a riddle posed by another, or to scream while beheading someone.

Obviously there are great liners that everyone knows, from Conan’s ‘To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women’ to Valeria’s ‘All the gods, they cannot sever us. If I were dead and you were still fighting for life, I’d come back from the darkness. Back from the pit of hell to fight at your side’. However, Thulsa Doom gets the best lines (and name) and one of his best gets my vote: ‘Contemplate this on the tree of woe’. It’s not only the way that quote rolls beautifully off the tongue, but the way Jones delivers it with such disdain. Throughout the film he seems so bored with everything he sees, so passive with his power, and so pissed when he sees the strong failing to live up to his expectations.

8. Ringu. (1998, Nakata): The Japanese original Ring film is renowned for its scares, its atmosphere, its performances, and its climax. Off the top of my head I couldn’t think of any real zingers, although ‘Frolic in brine, goblins be thine’ has always haunted me ever since I first heard it.

9. Dumb and Dumber. (1994, Farrelly bros): Like most of my top 10, I quote from this one on a weekly basis, borrowing from main and small characters alike. Unfortunately in this part of the world, beverages rarely come grossly super-sized, so I don’t often get the chance to say ‘Big Gulps, huh? All right!’ but for general annoyance ‘We got no food, no jobs… our PETS’ HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!’ has served me well. ‘Let’s not’ (complete with Austrian accent) gets a solid hearing every so often, ‘suck me sideways’ is regular, as is ‘pretty bird!’ I’ll go for something a little different for Dumb and Dumber and pick, not a quote, but a sound. The most annoying sound in the world apparently. ‘EEEEEHHHHHHHHHH!’

10. Police Academy. (1984, Wilson): One of the original spawners of bad sequels, the original Police Academy remains a glorious snapshot of 80s madness. While there are the usual National Lampoon style visual gags and set pieces, these are offset by plenty of humourous pieces of dialogue. Mahoney gets the obvious dialogue, while Jones gets the laugh out loud noise moments, but there are tonnes of smaller, juvenile lines. ‘Your move, Mahomo’ for some reason always makes me giggle, but it is Lassard who gets the best lines. His many monologues and asides always bring laughter tears, my favourite being his podium speech. It’s not necessarily the quality of the dialogue (immature of course) but the delivery, with my highlight being ‘sliiiiiide!’

Come back soon for the next set of films and some more Booker Prize winning dialogue, and don’t forget to leave your favorites from the films mentioned above in the comments, and throw in favourites from films not mentioned!

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