The sun is shining and my mouth is open. That can only mean one thing: I’m talking crap whilst rubbing myself in the front garden…
11. Aliens. (1987, Cameron): Aliens has a nice blend of Science Fiction, Drama, Horror, Comedy, even Romance, and dialogue which would shine in any genre film from the aforementioned genres, AND manages to blend into a seemless whole. Nothing seems out of place, and the balance between the gung-ho and the tender is perfect. Most of the film fixes on our group of hard as nails Marines, but we also get great lines from Scientists, suits, mothers, and children. Bit players like pilot Ferro get to say future Buffy classic ‘Five by Five’, and Frost (when informed they can’t use their firearms) ‘What the hell are we supposed to use man? Harsh language?’ while Sgt. Apone gets the best military dialogue sounding like a hardened, Vietnam vet: ‘Check those corners’, ‘Look into my eye’, ‘Assholes and elbows’ etc etc. Ripley and Hudson get the best bits. Everyone knows Hudson’s ‘Game over, man’ and Ripley’s ‘Get away from her, you BITCH’, but rarely a minute passes without something special being uttered; I honestly can’t pick a favourite, but I imagine it would be something from Paxton.
12. Battle Royale. (2000, Fukasaku): Battle Royale is less about the quotes and more about the action, emotion, and general Japanese wackiness. Although the likes of Kitano and Mitsuko get some memorable one liners, I think my favourite (and yours) has to be taken from our favourite fun-filled BR survival video; Woman is explaining that you each get a back-pack with food, water, and special item/woman produces hatchet from back-pack/woman grins and says ‘This one’s super lucky!’
13. Dawn of the Dead. (1979, Romero): Romero’s epic is filled with entertaining pie, gore, and blood pressure machine related hijinks, as well as plenty of well documented social commentary. Naysayers would say that this is just a mindless zombie film, but in many ways the power of the script is in the quiet moments where nothing is said; Fran staring through the shop windows at begging zombies, the utter horror of the situation felt by a suicidal soldier in the opening segment. The script does have plenty of zingers and memorable speak, best of all when discussing the inevitability of it all. Fran says ‘It’s really all over… isn’t it?’ when viewing the last gasp talk show solutions, Roger gives the simple comment ‘Jesus, it’s everywhere’ and gives my current favourite line in his final moments when hoping that he won’t die and come back as a zombie ‘ I’m gonna try… not to… I’m gonna try… not to… come back. I’m gonna try… not to… ‘ It’s at once funny, pathetic, tragic, and horrific.
14. The Crow. (1994, Proyas). The Crow made superhero movies Tits at a time when superhero movies were Balls. A lot of this was down to the Proyas look and feel, but most of it was down to the faithful adaptation of O’Barr’s grim comic. While there is the expected assortment of action movie one-liners, the script transcends the norm with moments of poignancy, thankfully none of which require the volume to be turned up to 11 and a world language/accent chip inserted into your brain.
The message of the film is ultimately one of redemption and remembrance, though it is the downbeat lines which come off strongest such as ‘Victims; aren’t we all’ and ‘childhood’s over the moment you know you’re going to die’ and my current favourite ‘nothing is trivial’ which can be understood in many ways.
15. The Stand. (1994, Garris): Stephen King’s greatest standalone epic gets an insane but justified amount of praise. The TV mini-series which adapts it? Not so much. Looking past the cheese, the (at times) cheap feel, the Molly Ringwald, you’ll find there is a bad-ass story about the end of the world which retains a bright outlook throughout even though almost everyone dies. Not to mention the glorious soundtrack. King wrote the screenplay, so you can be sure that there will be plenty of creative swearing and memorable one lines.
There is plenty of religious and spiritual spewing and some classic baddy lines from Flagg and crew, and even those who haven’t seen it or read the book know about M-O-O-N – that spells Meme. If I’m ever in dire need of some motivation though, nothing helps quite as much as a dose of Mother Abigail. ‘I’m 106 years old and I still makes my own bread’ is great while ‘mayhap it is or mayhap it ain’t’ gets used at least once a week. My choice today goes to immortal poultry related madness, a quote which I will endeavor to reenact frequently once the apocalypse hits: ‘Come down and eat chicken with me, beautiful, it’s sooo dark!’ Beautiful indeed.
16. The Thing. (1982, Carpenter): For a film which features only men, dogs, and aliens in extreme isolation , you’d be right in assuming that those on screen aren’t the chattiest bunch. Most of the men keep to themselves, either swearing at chess cheating computers (‘cheating bitch’), or following through after an Antarctic Curry (‘Which one of you disrespectful men have been tossing his dirty drawers in the kitchen trash-can, huh?’). All it takes to spice things up is the introduction of a spindly booty-stealing, arm-chomping alien freak. This leads to such treats as ‘I don’t know what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off whatever it is’ and ‘You believe any of this voodoo bullshit?’. However, one of the greatest movie shapeshifting scenes leads to one of the greatest sci-fi one liners ever. It’s not much of a line in and of itself, but after what we’ve seen and the way it is impeccably delivered, it is undoubtedly a classic: ‘You gotta be fucking kidding’.
17. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. (1989, Herek): As we eagerly await the inevitably disastrous 3rd film in the series, it’s good to look back at a more simple time – the late 1980s. This was a time when there was no such thing as terrorists in the US, when we had no idea what a Snooki was, when a Hilton was something to climb into at night and regret staying in for so long the next day
Music was more simple too, with MTV playing a healthy dose of good rock, bad rock, and crap rock. Senor Cobain and his wonderful ilk were on the verge of telling us that rock music did not have to be vacuous, empty, juvenile, flaccid garbage but until then we had to rely on Mr Reeves and Mr Winter for most excellent guidance. Amongst all the obvious ‘wooos’ , ‘boguses’ and ‘San Dimas High School Football Ruleses’ it is my little French friend, Napoleon, who gets my most quoted lines. ‘Le glace?’, ‘Attend!’ and of course, the reason why Bill’s little brother stopped looking after him – ‘He was a Dick!’
18. Edward Scissorhands. (1990, Burton): A timeless, perfect movie with wonderful performances all round, Edward Scissorhands is a bittersweet, twisted fairytale which catapulted Johnny Depp to superstardom. You’d expect a film about a weirdo with scissors instead of hands to be ripe with interesting dialogue
but Scissorhands charms us more with its imagery, quirky style, and performances. It’s also surprisingly funny, something which people seem to have forgotten over the years, with plenty of slapstick and visual gags. My favourite comedic line from Ed: ‘Mrs Monroe showed me where the salon’s going to be….. And then she showed me the back room where she took all of her clothes off’.
19. Scream. (1996, Craven): Scream was revolutionary in many ways, almost single-handedly bringing the horror genre back to profitability and back into the minds of critics who normally dismiss the genre for being dumb. Williamson’s script plays with plenty of tropes of the genre in a post modern way, but while poking fun at the genre it also pays its utmost respects. Unlike many of the other movies which were played for cools at the time, the dialogue here hasn’t aged at all – the only thing that has changed is that today we have a group of kids who are much more aware of horror clichés and old movies thanks to ease of access; in 96 it was still an unusual geeky thing to be a massive horror movie fan, now it’s much more widespread and acceptable. We all remember the questions and the rules, but what about Billy’s epic ‘That woman was a slut-bag whore who flashed her shit all over town like she was Sharon Stone or something’? or Sidney’s simple but evocative and pertinent ‘But this is life. This isn’t a movie’.
20. Wayne’s World. (1992, Spheeris): Like Bill and Ted before it, Wayne’s World can be accused of dumbing down the rock music genre and making its fans look like morons, but this isn’t a satire, it’s just a love story about our relationship with the music we adore with a lot of silly moments and appreciation for big hair and guitars. Once again, we all know the obvious lines which have gone down into folklore, or worse, memes. I offer my quartet of underappreciated delights from Garth: ‘If she were a president, she would be Baberham Lincoln’, ‘Hey Mr. Donut Man, who’s trying to kill ya? I don’t know but they better not! AUGH UGH oh, that’s not good, I’m not happy! Oh NO!’, Glen: ‘You know, if you stab a man in the dead of winter, steam will rise up from the wounds’ , and Wayne: ‘No Stairway. Denied!’