What lingers most about a film?
Sometimes it’s a heart-wrenching display of acting that leaves you shaken (Ryan Gosling) if not stirred (Michelle Williams).
Sometimes it’s a disturbing plot twist (Winter’s Bone) that crumples your brain like a ball of aluminum foil.
Sometimes it’s the musical score; I can still feel the droning strings of Inception pounding its way through my prefrontal cortex: Brrrrm! …Brrrrrrrrrrmm! … BRRRRRRRRRRRMMMMM!!!!!!
Sometimes it’s an indescribable feeling of good will towards men. Leaving the theater after Toy Story 3, I held the door open behind me to let a group of apathetic teenagers pass through, and I never do that. They didn’t even say “Thank You” but I was still too beaming from Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the comeuppance of Lotso Huggin Bear to really care.
And sometimes it’s just a few words. You know: one-liners. Turn of phrases that stick with you and have you doing lame versions in the car on the way back home from the theater: “You talkin’ to me?”, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”, “Show me the money!”, “Veronica Corningstone and I HAD SEX, and now WE ARE IN LOVE!”
Here are some lines from the past year in movies that left an impression on me. Just to keep it simple and recognizable, I’m limiting the lines to those that appeared in the ten Best Picture nominees for the Academy Awards.
Best One-Word Line of the Year:
Colin Firth as King George VI in The King’s Speech.
It’s a fornicating shame that The King’s Speech might steal best picture from The Social Network after the DGA’s and SAG awards isn’t it?
Best Rambling Stream of Consciousness Line Of the Year:
James Franco as Aron Ralston in 127 Hours.
“You know, I’ve been thinking. Everything is, just comes together. It’s me. I chose this. I chose all this. This rock, this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. It’s entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It’s been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I’ve been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I’ve taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the surface.”
You know how some movies you have to keep reminding yourself that the story is fake? This movie I kept reminding myself that the story is real.
Bad Ass Line of the Year:
Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit.
“You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don’t have time to think about how many’s with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that’s about to set down on him.”
Although I’m not so sure how bad ass Mr. Cogburn would be if his arm was wedged in by a ten-ton boulder for 127 hours with nothing but his own piss to drink.
Redundant Line of the Year:
Mark Wahlberg as Mickey Ward in The Fighter.
“I’m the one who’s fighting. Not you, not you, and not you.”
Almost felt like Mark Wahlberg was going to turn towards the audience, point his finger straight into the camera and say, “and not you with the box of Jujubes either.”
Provocative Line of the Year:
Pretty much every other line uttered by Lily as played by Mila Kunis in Black Swan. If Nina Sayers was Kobe Bryant seeking perfection at the free throw line, then Lily was the rowdy fan seated courtside taunting him about his rape case and how he’ll never measure up to Michael Jordan. Mila Kunis essentially served the role of heckler and all-around agitator throughout the film.
Rural Wisdom Line of the Year:
Dale Dickey as Merab in Winter’s Bone.
“Talkin’ just causes witnesses.”
Maybe I’m just slow, but this line perplexed me and took me a while to figure out (if at all). Talking just causes witnesses as in: witnesses like to talk? witnesses come forth when they hear other people talking? when you talk you make yourself a witness? Is it some kind of weird colloquialism of the Ozarks? Is there a double entendre involved? There’s a double negative somewhere in there right? Double negatives always throw me off. This was warping my mind more than Inception. By the time Jennifer Lawrence was well on her way towards uncovering the truth I was still puzzled by the conundrum that is “Talkin’ just causes witnesses.” Then again, I’m also the guy who has to read a fortune cookie fortune a few times over before figuring out what Confucius is trying to tell me.
Rustic Wisdom Line of the Year:
Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross in True Grit.
“There is nothing free in this world… except the grace of God.”
Don’t it seem like country folk love to be philosophical about things? I would discuss further but apparently talkin’ just causes witnesses, whatever that means.
Snarky Line of the Year:
Jesse Eisenburg as Mark Zuckerburg in The Social Network.
“If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.”
I just want to say, I hate the word snarky. I think it popped up sometime around the apex of Juno. I wish snarky would go away. Ironically the only way for snarky to go away is to say something snarky about snarkiness, in which case it still remains. So we’re stuck with snark. Thanks so much Diablo Cody.
Line That Could Have Been from Any Movie Line of the Year:
Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers in Black Swan.
“I just want to be perfect.”
Deep down don’t we all? Only some of us don’t go el pollo loco and sprout chicken wings over it.
The Trying Too Hard For Poignancy Line of the Year:
Rashida Jones as Marylin Delpy in The Social Network.
“You’re not an asshole, Mark, you’re just trying really hard to be one.”
Doh! And your script was so whip-smart right up to the very end there Aaron Sorkin.
Best Aaron Sorkin Line Not Actually Written by Aaron Sorkin:
Marion Cotillard as Mal in Inception.
“You keep telling yourself what you know. But what do you believe?”
I believe I heard Tom Cruise say the exact same thing in A Few Good Men. But it doesn’t matter what I believe. It only matters what I can prove!
Best Line That Would Have Bombed If It Was In A Tyler Perry Movie Starring Queen Latifah And Janet Jackson But Since It’s In A Clever Indie, We Give It The Benefit Of The Doubt And Laugh Along Uproariously Like George Clooney And Brad Pitt In Ocean’s Twelve:
Julianne Moore as Jules in The Kids Are All Right.
“My tongue was numb … and my tongue started working again.”
Ahahahahaha! …. AhahahaHAAHAHAHAH! … uh …. AhahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Line That We Will Still Remember 10 Years From Now:
None really stands out. And maybe that’s a good thing. I’m still trying to erase, “I’m the King of the World!” from my mind.
Inspirational Line of The Year:
John Morris as the voice of Andy in Toy Story 3.
“The thing that makes Woody special is: he’ll never give up on you. Ever.”
And now you know why I held a door open for apathetic teenagers (when I never do) and why it didn’t even bother me when they didn’t say “Thank You” (but I did throw in a snarky, “You’re Welcome”).
What are some of your favorite movie lines of the year? What are some of your all-time favorites? Are you talkin’ to me? ‘Cause if you are, talkin’ just causes witnesses.