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|Written by April Yorke|
|Tuesday, 03 February 2009 11:08|
People in movies seem to be a lot better off than us. They have better cars, better homes, better clothes, better hair, better jobs, and their mouths seem to constantly overflow with quippy asides, clever bon mots, and quirky catchphrases. (Of course, we have to deal with fewer zombie attacks and earth destroying meteors.)
There is little in this world that can parallel the beauty of an exquisitely crafted put down, or knowing what to say the moment you need to say it, and while we may not have writers to craft perfect dialogue for us, we can crib from movies all we want!
At a certain point, however, quoting the same old familiar catchphrases can become boring, especially when everyone knows the source the instant you reference "Rosebud," "the Force," or "a hill of beans." Luckily, there are plenty of less well known but equally deserving phrases and lines that can be applied to your daily life. Memorize the list below and start using them today.
"You should never trust anybody who wears a bow tie." Doc Wilson (Michael Higgins), State and Main (2000)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that you should never trust a man with a moustache and a penchant for uniforms, but slightly less well known is the fact that neckties also make a difference. After Joe (Philip Seymour Hoffman) confesses to the town's doctor that he lied in court, he asks Doc Wilson just why the truth matters so much anyway. Sporting a bow tie, the doctor gives him a lesson in trust and authority figures instead: "The truth is you never should trust anybody who wears a bow tie. A cravat is supposed to point down to accentuate the genitals. Why do you want to trust somebody whose tie points out to accentuate his ears?"
"Every song's ‘Wipe Out' to Chad." Lenny (Steve Zahn), That Thing You Do! (1996)
Ah, the disdain and affection that go into that simple phrase. When Guy (Tom Everett Scott), the more talented but slightly outsider drummer, asks if Chad (Giovanni Ribisi) will solo during "Wipe Out" in Lenny's band's upcoming gig, Lenny knows the score, replying, "Every song is ‘Wipe Out' to Chad." Seven words to convey everything you need to know about Chad: he's not as a good a drummer as he thinks he is, but he's better than no drummer at all. It's a great sentence to apply to any obsession, preferably when that obsession is just out of reach.
"But what do I know? I'm a bear. I suck the heads off fish." Bear (Laurence Fishburne), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Shane Black's comeback film is littered with quotable one-liners and exchanges (many of which require repeat viewings to be truly appreciated), but none stand out more than the Bear's line in the Genaro's Beer commercial. Harmony's (Michelle Monaghan) biggest break was as the girl smiling and waving in the background of a beer ad, and the spot itself might be the pinnacle of this dark Hollywood satire. The self-defeating line (it directly follows "I drink Genaro's") is the perfect non-sequitur when you're not sure what the answer should be. (N.B. Sadly, the actual commercial could not be located, so you get to hear two people talking about said commercial).
"No, but you can have one." Everett (Patrick Dempsey), With Honors (1994)
When someone asks to borrow something, the implication is that the borrowed item will be used for a period of time and then returned. So why, then, do some people insist on using the word ‘borrow' for things that no one in his or her right mind would want to see returned after use (tissues, toilet paper, tampons, straws, hand cream, the list goes on and on)? More importantly, why pass up the opportunity to be condescending to a friend? When Courtney (Moira Kelly) asks to borrow a condom, Everett doesn't hesitate: "No, but you can have one." Such a generous soul, that Everett, dispensing prophylactics and diction advice simultaneously.
"Ideas are bullet-proof." V (Hugo Weaving), V for Vendetta (2005)
Whether you want to start a revolution or defend your steadfast position, V's closing line from his final battle will do the trick. V's quest for revenge hinges on a nation overthrowing an oppressive regime, but it's also as simple as they come: he wants to kill the people who ruined his life. Mr. Creedy (Tim Pigott-Smith) is last on his hit list. Creedy came prepared to kill V, and, finding that impossible, cries, "Why won't you die?" The answer is as beguiling as it is direct: "Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bullet-proof."
"And the irony of the whole thing is you don't even look like Yasu." Dave (Will Ferrell), Undeclared (2001)
Yes, that is the irony of it. It doesn't matter what the whole thing is or why it's ironic. It doesn't matter who Yasu is, or whether the ‘you' in question do resemble him or not. Sure, Dave is talking about Steven Karp's (Jay Baruchel) non-resemblance to Yasu, the opponent in one of Dave's video games. Sure, Dave confused the two because he did too much speed. And sure, now Steven will have to write his own term paper instead of buying one off Dave. The important take home lesson here is the ironic fact that Steven and Yasu do not look alike. Somehow, that sentence and Ferrell's weary, amazed delivery work as a stand-in to sum up any number of other sad situations, including the cancellation of the show that spawned it.
"Well, nobody's perfect." Osgood (Joe E. Brown), Some Like It Hot (1959)
Ah, one of the single greatest closing lines in movie history. Jerry (Jack Lemmon) finally explains to Osgood that Daphne isn't a real woman, but that leaves Osgood undeterred. He just shrugs it off. While this last one may be the most popular of the bunch (it's even on Billy Wilder's tombstone), it deserves to be far more famous than it is. It's the best way to deal with anything that comes up in a relationship that you'd really rather not get into. Just shrug, toss the line off, and then continue on, smiling. Let Wilder guide you when the right words are just beyond your grasp.