Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I’m back again (along with everyone else in the world) to bash an article with incredibly poor logic and taste, this one surprisingly coming from the prestigious New York Times. Michael Cieply published an article entitled “Longing for the Lines That Had Us at Hello,” lamenting what he called the “lost art” of the one-liner. Such a statement is just begging to be refuted.
Clearly Cieply has been living under a rock for the past decade. Perhaps he missed when “Juno” started a revolution in vocabulary and shook up the jargon like no movie had ever done before? I probably quote that movie in some form or fashion EVERY DAY, be it through the use of one word or rattling off an entire line.
Comedy over the past decade has churned out many a great one-liner; two particular favorites of mine are “Role Models” and “Knocked Up,” both of which hit you with quotable line after quotable line.
But even if comedy is too “low-brow” for Mr. Cieply, plenty of dramas over the past ten years have quotable lines. I’ll run you through one for each year among the Best Picture nominees.
- 2000: “What we do in this life echoes in eternity!” (Gladiator)
- 2001: “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” (LOTR)
- 2002: “My precious!” (LOTR)
- 2003: “We wash our sins, we bury them clean.” (Mystic River)
- 2004: “Anyone can lose one fight.” (Million Dollar Baby)
- 2005: “I wish I could quit you.” (Brokeback Mountain)
- 2006: “Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe go f*** yourself.” (The Departed)
- 2007: “Call it, friendo.” (No Country for Old Men)/”I drink your milkshake!” (There Will Be Blood)
- 2008: “Jamal! Latika!” (Slumdog Millionaire)
- 2009: “That’s a bingo!” (Inglourious Basterds)
So needless to say, there ARE great lines in non-comedies nowadays. And it’s not like this problem has escalated this year; as Vulture points out, we have an outstanding quotable movie in “The Social Network.” Here are the ten lines they pull out of Aaron Sorkin’s phenomenal script that they think we will be quoting soon enough.
1. “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you would have invented Facebook.”
2. “I’m six-foot-five, 220 pounds, and there’s two of me.” Great for bar fights!
3. “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.”
4. “You better lawyer up, asshole.”
5. “Like my brother and I are dressed in skeleton costumes chasing the karate kid around a high-school gym.”
6. “Because we’re gentlemen of Harvard.”
7. “I like standing next to you, [insert name]. It makes me look tough in comparison.”
8. Using “The Winklevi” in a sentence. When being dismissive, generally.
9. “If your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try.”
10. “I believe I deserve some sort of recognition from this Ad Board.”
So, Mr. Cieply, here’s my proof that you are indeed very, very wrong. I’ll keep quoting movies all day long, and you can continue living on your cloud of ignorance if you so desire.
(P.S. – Is it something in the New York water? See Random Factoid #376 for a similarly styled refutation of a detestable article published in New York Magazine a few months ago.)