Hooray for Hollywood!!

My family, half jokingly, says, were it not for sarcasm and movie quotes, we would never speak to one another. While that statement is slightly hyperbolic, the truth is that we watch movies. A lot of movies. And we quote them early and often. When it comes to films, we’re fairly omnivorous and enjoy a good “film for the common man” as much as we do rarefied ones. Essentially, we’ll quote The Jerk in the same conversation as The 400 Blows and think nothing of it.

We quote them for distance, seeing who can go the longest without muffing a line. FYI—I still hold the record because I managed to do most of the “damage control” scene from One, Two, Three.

***

We quote them for accuracy in all mediums as evidenced by this text conversation my brother and I had regarding one of our all time favorite flicks, The Fugitive.

However, there is something even more wonderful about movie quotes than simply parroting them for an appreciative (or sometimes annoyed) audience, and that is delivering one that is perfectly timed and fitting for a specific situation. As you can see by this top five list, sometimes the quote is perfect in its purest form, and on other occasions, a slight bastardization is required for optimum humor and applicability.

So, without further ado, I give you our best uses of movie quotes in various situations…

***

5. “The nine-year-olds from the karate school are karate-ing the picket fences.”–Jaws

Image from http://stars.ign.com

This one is mine. My cousin, who was then nine, was taking Tae Kwon Do lessons. My aunt had given him specific instructions not to use his rad new moves on any of his friends as school, which of course prompted me to say, “Why not? All the nine-year-olds from the karate school are karate-ing the picket fences,” perfectly mimicking Polly’s voice and karate-ing gesture, of course.

***

4. “Sweep the leg, Johnny.”–The Karate Kid

This one was executed by Jarrod while standing atop the Hoover Dam. Yes, many a “dam” jokes were made, but after that, he looked over and saw a young man in a huge air cast and using crutches to hobble around the national landmark. (Though why anyone would put up with sore, aching armpits for a tour of a dam is beyond me.) Jarrod looked over at his friend and delivered the line under his breath. Sadly, only the group he was with (all there for a Vegas bachelor party) got the joke.

*** 

3. “Let Polly do the printing.”–Jaws (Yes, again. Don’t judge.)

Image from http://www.yourprops.com

My dad flawlessly delivered this one when he and Mom were driving home one afternoon. They passed one of the ubiquitous fruit stands common to Florida roadsides, this one offering boiled peanuts and peaches. Well, the enterprising young man stationed there had crafted his sign using a piece of plywood and some paint offering his wares from “Geogria.” Well, he started out with grand plans, making each letter gargantuan in size. But by the time he got to “peaches,” the most essential term to advertise, he’d run out of room and had had to cram it in the corner. My father saw the sign, snorted, and said nonchalantly, “He should have let Polly do the printing.” Genius. That is all.

***

2. “I have to push the pram a lot!”–Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail

Once again, Jarrod was behind this masterpiece. We were in my father’s new store–a Sam’s Club–without any of the steel in place. It was a glorious span of virgin concrete, and two forklifts sat parked by the front door. Dad handed us each a set of keys and told us not to go crazy. Naturally, we drove around the store at full speed (which was nearly equal to the brisk pace attained by elderly mallwalkers) and quoted Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider episodes the entire way.

We ended up near the receiving docks where the baler (A.K.A–“The Cram-A-Lot”) was housed. Jarrod looked at it then at the stack of uncrushed boxes sitting outside it and finally at my dad who nodded like a some kind of retail Caesar. Jarrod squealed with joy and exclaimed, in mock baritone, “We get to use the Cram-A-Lot!!!!!!!!!” He finished the beautiful moment by dancing up to the leviathan machine singing the closing bars of the song.

***

 
1. “A couple of wavy lines…”–Ghostbusters
 

Strangely enough, though we are a family who prides ourselves on our comic film quoting prowess, the number one pick was uttered by a relative stranger–a friend of mine named Brock who came in to help me when I was the director of a Sylvan Learning Center. (I needed a calculus tutor, and he was perfect for the gig.) Well, before the center opened for tutoring, he and I were setting up and had a few minutes to spare. A deck of multiplication flash cards was on his table, and I grabbed them to see if he could do the entire stack before I had to open the door and let in the insufferable hooligans adorable children eager to learn. About eight cards in, I said, “What about this one?”

No lie…Brock looked at me nonchalantly, raised his left hand and gestured the shape as he delivered the quote, “A couple of wavy lines.” I’m only sad because no one else but I was there to witness this samurai-level quote. Thank you, Brock, for allowing me to experience “The Quickening”… albeit by proxy.

***

How about you all? Are you movie quoters? What are some of your favorite lines? Any great stories about perfectly-delivered ones? I’d love to hear about them. 

Also, what are some of your favorite quotable films? As you can see, we usually go for the classics, but I bet there are some hilarious ones (GASP!) we’ve never seen we might want to plumb the depths of for new material. Please leave a list in the comments below!

Shrieks and Squeals to Shout About!

Image from muppet.wikia.com

Wayne and I took Mom and Dad to visit the Center for Puppetry Arts here in Atlanta this weekend to see a live performance and take in the exhibit “Jim Henson: The Wonders of His Workshop.” We saw Fraggles, Doozers, Emmett and Ma Otter, and a plethora of other favorites. However, as I lovingly stared at the Sir Didymus puppet (sadly sans Ambrosius), Wayne openly admitted he’d never seen Labyrinth. We corrected that rather egregious oversight that evening, and while he was slightly weirded out, he admitted he enjoyed it. It had been quite a while since I’d seen it, and I came to realize that there are many scenes involving David Bowie in a codpiece, Jennifer Connelly vapidly staring off into the distance, and a copious amount of yelling. Well, the last fact got us to discussing our favorite movie screams. This ended up being our top five list…

5. Albert Goldman (A.K.A. Starina) in The Birdcage

I don’t know if it’s the timing or how he manages to pitch the scream at the exact same range as the car horn, but this always cracks me up.

4. Doc Brown in Back to the Future

The jaw drop in combination with the sound makes this gasp priceless. It’s quirky and befitting of Doc Brown, the mad and loving genius friend of Marty McFly. Christoper Lloyd has several great moments of hollering in the trilogy.

3. Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (at 0:21)

This montage is proof positive that Harrison Ford is one Hollywood actor who knows how to yelp, howl, and cry out like a pro. I’ve always been fond of some of the Han Solo moments collected here, but the scene where he’s bashed in the chin by the full length mirror when he’s already beaten half to death is classic. I also love the fact Lucas chose to pull back and give us a shot of the boat to accentuate the size of Indy’s pain and the barbaric epicness of the yawp.

2. Person in the Hallway in Ghostbusters

This one happens so quickly it’s easy to miss it. However, it’s one my family has used early and often when we come upon a scene we didn’t expect. I have to hand it to the actor who huffs this one out. After all, you have to be on your game to express such surprise and horror when looking at..well…nothing.

1. Lando Calrissian in Star Wars VI: The Return of the Jedi

Like Han, Lando is a man’s man. An adventurer. A scoundrel. Which is why the scream that bursts out of his throat when he’s snagged by the Sarlacc Pit is one of the funniest on record. It’s half cartoon sound effect and half girly squeal with a dash of flair thrown in for effect.

**Honorable Mention** Marv in Home Alone

It’s a little too obvious because there’s a tarantula involved. However, the bloodcurdling shriek that Daniel Stern emits when that spider is placed on his face is nearly Oscar worthy for sheer volume.

How about you all? What’s your favorite movie outburst? Is it one caused by terror, surprise, or sheer vomit-inducing grossness? I’d love to hear your top five!