Monday, August 15, 2005

Taking the Off-Ramp

Time to send the Madden Cruiser off on a detour while I dispense with some thoughts from my weekend.

1. The Ballpark Promotion that Wasn't

A friend and I took in a baseball game on Friday night at the shrine to minor-league baseball that is Fifth Third Field in Toledo, OH. Seriously, this place is much better than some major-league stadia. This means you, Minnesooooota Twins and Florida Marlins. Anyway, the game promotion listed on the schedule and on the tickets themselves was "Italian-American Night." As one of roughly 17 people of Italian descent in the Toledo area, I felt obliged to make an appearance. We arrived at the ballpark early, maybe 30 minutes before game time. Three hours later, we had yet to see any indication that the promotion extended beyond a line of type. Now, I suppose one could argue that the utter lack of activity was meant to symbolize Italian politics, or that especially solid contact on a fastball may have created an onomatopoedic "Wop!," but I otherwise felt cheated. Couldn't we have at least replaced the hot dogs in the animated scoreboard race with meatballs and Italian sausage? A skit where the umpire gets cement shoes, maybe? Anyway, the game itself and the surroundings were excellent as usual, and for $8 per ticket, it's cheap entertainment.

2. A Lot of Effort for One Quarter of Manning and Dilfer

After polishing off the class I teach on Saturdays, it was time to temporarily trade baseball for football. The same friend from the night before had been offered free tickets to the Giants-Browns preseason game in Cleveland. We left mid-afternoonish to meet another friend for dinner. After a pretty decent meal at Dave and Buster's, it was off to the joy of traffic. We hit the downtown area around 7:40pm, hoping to miss the traffic for the 7:00 Indians game, yet still make the 8:00 Browns game. As 8:00 came and went, we sat still under ominous skies, perhaps a mile from our destination. We decided to pull onto a side street that offered a $5.00 spot in a parking garage, knowing that we could likely walk to the game from there faster than we could drive down the clotted East 9th. No more than 30 seconds after we left the garage on foot, the downpour began. We made a quick decision to return to the car and wait out the storm, and it was an excellent choice. Upon finding the football game on the radio, we discovered they were in an indefinite lightning delay. Instead of giving up and heading back to the turnpike, we opted to play superball in the garage and had an absolute blast! After about 25 minutes and 1 lost superball, we tuned in once more to the game telecast in time to hear that they'd be getting the players back onto the field soon, and expecting a 90-minute gap between two lines of storms in the area. We immediately started walking to the field, arriving at 9:25 or so, just in time to see the first play of the resumed action. The seats were excellent, 5th row from the field at the 10-yard line, near the Dawg Pound. I can't wait to enter the sea of orange in my blue Urlacher jersey when the Bears play Cleveland in October. Anyway, the new Browns Stadium is of markedly higher quality than the football that was played there on Saturday night. We did get to see a nice TD pass from Eli Manning to new teammate Plaxico Burress, along with about 28 holding penalties, before we felt raindrops returning at 10:15 or so. By then, most of the starters had completed their work for the evening, and we chose to hurry back to the car before the next soaking. We hopped a cab back to the car, and quickly hurried past the people streaming out of Jacobs Field as the rains came, just beating the gridlock to reach I-90. So, the final tally was 9 hours from departure to return, including 50 minutes of what could loosely be called professional football. Was it worth the effort? Hell, yes. Through all the uncertainty and hassles, we maintained a very fun and flexible attitude and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

3. Sunday, Cruddy Sunday

Apparently on doctors' orders to look for polyps, my entire softball team played our game on Sunday with its collective head up its ass. I have no problem dealing with physical errors, like misplaying a grounder or overthrowing a base, but stupid play frays my nerves immensely. Well, I pitched reasonably well (1 walk and 6 or 8 strikeouts) and went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, and had one of my least enjoyable games ever. We were short a player, and took on our opponent's extra girl to even up the sides. It felt like we were playing 9-on-12, as our new teammate consistently dropped throws that hit her squarely in the mitt, as if purposefully sabotaging our team, and the umpire (also provided by our opponent) made horrendous calls all game, with approximately 2 of the 150 falling in our favor. Add these things to our own boneheadedness, and what should have been a 20-run victory turned into a 20-16 loss. Thankfully, however, the day was salvaged to some extent by a trip to BW-3 for dinner and trivia. I arrived about 5 minutes after my friend, who was kind enough to log in on my game board for me, and played out the remains of one general trivia game. Our first full game resulted in a 20th-place national ranking for me, even with the good-but-not-great score of 13,700 I turned in. By then, I had relaxed and was having a great time, and it showed on the Sports Trivia Challenge, in which I earned a #3 ranking nationally. I had my name in a few places on the national and local leaderboards after those two games, but there was one minor problem. My friend Owen (clumsy poop!), who has a notorious spelling problem, had typed my trivia name incorrectly, so someone named "Allumi" had a very good evening.

Well, I've typed far too much, and none of my 3 or 4 actual readers is probably still conscious at this point, so it's time to close. See you soon, when the Cruiser re-emerges from the rest stop.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Origins of the JohnMadden Project

The humble inception of this plot took place in a small Chinese apartment in 1948, with the following conversation, which I have been kind enough to translate into English:

Mao Zedong: Come, Zhou, we must prepare for tomorrow night.
Zhou Enlai: Why, Mao? What are we going to do tomorrow night?
Mao Zedong: The same thing we do every night, Zhou. Try to take over the world!

As Communist Party leaders in China, the duo had extensive experience in persuasive speaking, but they undoubtedly knew that their influence was limited by the need to communicate face-to-face with an audience. This tactic might be useful for consolidating power within China, but its application to world dominance was minimal at best. The Soviets had, of course, already embraced communism, and thus Mao and Zhou turned their sights to The United States. Small pockets of Americans had embraced the socialist ideology, but it was clear to these visionaries that the idea would not take root without significant changes to the American national identity. Fully aware that a traveling band of manifesto-spewing, middle-aged Chinese men might arouse suspicion within the U.S., the Commiemint Twins turned their attention toward technology.

In 1948, well over half of the 800,000 homes with television sets were located within the 48 States, and the programming offered had become very popular. Initially, the Dim Sum Duo, absorbed in the success of their rising fortunes in the Chinese Civil War, thought it would be sufficient to broadcast their message to America, earning converts by the millions. Soon, however, it became apparent that Americans were so entrenched in their capitalist ways that mere persuasion would not be enough to earn cultural victory. The Americans were strong-minded and had established superiority in technology and innovation. Only drastic measures to eliminate America's intellectual head start could bring success to the Chinese plot. Knowing that television was still the best way to reach the largest number of Americans, the Pinko Pals dispatched spies to the major cities of the U.S. West Coast. Their mission entailed finding charismatic Americans to lead the mental erosion of the populace.

With the Red Scare ongoing in America at the time, the spies found no influential figures willing to support the communist Chinese in such a plot. In his travels around the San Francisco area, a master spy code-named Wang Hung Lo stumbled upon a revelation. A large young man was regaling his classmates with stories of the most inane variety, and the other students were listening intently and cheering him along. Certainly, if the Beijing Bigwigs could harness the power of this and similar youngsters, their desires would come to fruition.

The next day, worried parents in that same neighborhood filed a Missing Persons report on 12-year-old John Madden.

Next: The Adventures of John the Red...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Nefarious Plot

While killing time last night, watching an entirely meaningless football game (it doesn't get more meaningless than Bears-Dolphins preseason, unless we find some way to get the Browns and 49ers involved as well), I stumbled upon a conspiracy hatched to destroy America. It should take no more than a cursory look at popular culture to show that the moral and intellectual fiber in our country is looking more frayed than my nerves after 5 minutes of watching Fox News. What is to blame for this phenomenon? Republicans will cite those darned Godless Liberals, with their unpatriotic disgust for war, censorship, and Big Brother in the Justice Department. Democrats can point to the influence of the fundamentalist right wing ("We didn't come from no monkeys!"), Republicans' characterization of intellect as "elitist," and the GOP's preference for big business over education and social programs. Well, neither of these views is entirely right (although you can guess which one I think is closer).

As the venerable Monday Night Football telecast slipped away to a commercial in the 4th Quarter, when viewership had dwindled to a group roughly equal to the size of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays season ticketholders list, something strange appeared in the corner of the screen. A man who bore a striking resemblance to the owner of our local "China Buffet" quickly ducked his head around the bulbous neck of John Madden and reconnected a tiny wire that had come loose from the game analyst's head. Strange things were certainly afoot at the circle ABC, and I was willing to bet my Turducken sandwich that this almost imperceivable glitch in the usually-sound MNF production was a sign of something greater under the surface.

Oppenheimer, Fermi, and the boys never conceived a weapon with the true destructive capabilities of that which imperils us today... The JohnMadden Project!

More to come...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Top 100 Movie Quotes, #10-#1

10. UHF

[On the game show, "Wheel of Fish", Phyllis Weaver has just spun the wheel and landed on a red snapper]
Kuni: Ahhh, a red snapper. Mmmmm, very tasty. Okay, Weaver, listen carefully. You can hold on to your red snapper... [Hiro-San emerges, carrying a table with a box]
Kuni: ...or you can go for what's in the box that Hiro-San is bringing down the aisle right now! What's it gonna be? [Phyllis Weaver decides between the Red Snapper and the box. The audience points to the box]
Phyllis Weaver: I'll take the box. The box! [the audience applauds]
Kuni: You took the box? Let's see what's in the box! [Hiro-san opened the box, and the audience gasps in silence]
Kuni: Nothing! Absolutely nothing! STUPID! You're so STU-PIIIIIIIIIIID!

Let's all welcome back Gedde Watanabe. Talk about a charmed life...this guy had great parts in movies by both John Hughes and Weird Al! Then, if that wasn't enough, he gets to talk about the 80's on VH1. Anyway, Wheel of Fish is probably the best of the new U-62 shows, and it's all because of this quote. If you have not seen this movie, what are you waiting for?

9. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

Luke: All right, I'll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.

Some will argue that the quintessential Star Wars quote is "May the Force be with you." Although that line makes repeated appearances throughout the 6 films, I think this line really gets to the heart of things. The Master imparts this wisdom to the Padawan, knowing full well that Luke will need a singular focus and confidence in his Jedi abailities and in the Force to accomplish his mission. If only all of life's lessons could be imparted by wrinkly little green guys (OK, so Alan Greenspan is a start).

8. THE CUTTING EDGE
[Preparing to lift Kate]
Doug: You want me to put my hands *where*?

Now it's time to find a large bag to hold all of the Cutting Edge Hatemail. The delivery of this line is just superb, and it has many humorous applications in everyday life. Of course, it's a great funny flirting line, but it has also been used when cleaning nasty dishes and holding a nail for a shaky hammerer. I'm sure it also gets points for making me thing about putting my hands *there* on Moira.

7. THE GODFATHER

Clemenza: It's a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.

When the Corleone family unwraps the paper and finds the fish, the war truly begins. Luca, in addition to being my favorite Godfather character and living on the second floor, is the family's enforcer. He's a huge part of the fear that brings Don Vito power, and his demise makes it clear that things will increasingly become a struggle for the family. The matter-of-fact delivery of the line is also powerful, showing that death is a part of the job for a Mafioso.

6. FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF

[a Chicago Cubs baseball game is on television]
Ed Rooney: What's the score?
Pizza Joint Owner: Nothin' nothin'.
Ed Rooney: [not really listening] Who's winning?
Pizza Joint Owner: The Bears.

This one is more or less the "perfect storm" of quotes for me. It brings together a great movie, references to Sweet Home Chicago and sports, and a great comeback to a stupid question. This line is used consistently when my friends and I watch sports. Anytime there's a scoreless tie in a game, you can expect someone to ask who's winning. As it should be, it's always Da Bears.

5. THE PRINCESS BRIDE

Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong - that's what's so funny. I switched glasses when your back was turned. Ha-ha, you fool. You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia", but only slightly less well known is this: "Never go in against a Sicilian, when *death* is on the line.". Hahahahahah. [Vizzini falls over dead]

One of my readers may now breathe her sigh of relief, as this quote finally appears. It is the best quote, from the best character, in one of the best movies ever made. Of course, this part of the scene was preceded by the almost equally funny "logic" scene, in which Vizzini displays his "dizzying intellect." Even though I'm not Sicilian (my grandfather would always say "Sicilians are not Italians."), I use the line whenever possible, with liberal substitutions. For example, "Never go in against Alumni (my trivia name) when *trivia* is on the line!" For anyone who worried that this one might miss the top 10, that would have been inconceivable!

4. ANIMAL HOUSE

Dean Vernon Wormer: Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Ah, words to live by. I cannot count the number of times I've uncorked this one on an underachieving fraternity brother. Really, there's nothing more I can add to Dean Wormer's simple but eloquent statement.

3. BULL DURHAM

Crash Davis: You just got lesson number one: don't think; it can only hurt the ball club.

Many days and many quotes ago, I promised that you'd find Nuke's lesson from his initial fight with Crash. Even though I consider baseball a thinking man's game, this advice is true on many levels. Baseball, especially at the higher levels of play, is an instinctual activity. When players get into hitting slumps, it's often related to trying to overthink. If the player stops to think before acting on a difficult play, the opportunity is usually lost. Such is life in a game in which a good fastball reaches home plate in approximately 0.4 to 0.5 seconds.

2. THE BLUES BROTHERS

Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it.

After escaping from Princess Leia in the sewers of Wisconsin (and seriously, who has not been through that situation?), Jake and Elwood utter the line that has adorned a million dorm room movie posters. This quote neatly sums up the traits of the two characters. The more cerebral and analytical Elwood pauses to assess the situation before taking action, and the emotional and impatient Jake wants to get moving. If you know me and my musical tastes, also feel free to insert your own Corey Hart joke here.

1. BULL DURHAM

Crash Davis: After 12 years in the minor leagues, I don't try out. Besides, uh, I don't believe in quantum physics when it comes to matters of the heart.
Annie Savoy: What do you believe in, then?
Crash Davis: Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. [pause]
Crash Davis: Goodnight.

Well, here it is...the be-all, end-all quote in cinematic history. Hopefully, I had left no doubt that Bull Durham (7 quotes on the list) would occupy the top spot. This speech by Crash also brings together so many of the things that make a movie quote great for me. First of all, it brings us major character development. This scene takes place very early in the film, shortly after the three main characters have met, and really defines them all. Annie is the off-center but intelligent woman, spouting wisdom while portraying an image of confidence that sometimes belies her insecurity. Crash is worldly and weary, but passionate about everything he does. He's comfortable expressing his opinions on everything from love to baseball to media interaction and even keeping clean shower shoes (hmmmm, a very open, knowledgable, and opinionated character who loves baseball...what could I possibly see in him?). Nuke (who speaks before and after the quoted section) is all id, open-eyed, not too bright, and ready to experience life one moment at a time. Millie's evaluation of Nuke is perhaps the best: "He fucks like he pitches, sorta...all over the place." In addition to character insight, we get baseball references and a chuckle, which are both high on my list. Finally, the content of Crash's speech is excellent. I agree with every one of his beliefs, aside from a distaste for scotch. I find it funny that in Bull Durham, Costner "believe[s] Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone," but in JFK, Costner plays Jim Garrison, who advocates a conspiracy theory directly contrary to Crash's opinion.

As the quote ends, with Crash bidding us "Goodnight," we have reached #1 of the Top 100 Movie Quotes. I can now put this long process to bed as well, and sit back to hear your comments. I look forward to hearing what you thought of my list, which great quotes you felt got robbed, and maybe even your own lists (likely a bit shorter than mine).

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Top 100 Movie Quotes, #20-#11

20. A FEW GOOD MEN

Kaffee: Oh, I forgot. You were sick the day they taught law at law school.

As you might guess, this line got a lot of mileage among my law school classmates. It was just a perfect retort anytime one of us said something wrong or stupid, and I'm always amazed by how many not-so-bright people manage to gain admission to law school.

19. GLADIATOR

Maximus: My name is Gladiator. [turns away from Commodus]
Commodus: How dare you show your back to me! Slave, you will remove your helmet and tell me your name.
Maximus: [removes helmet and turns around to face Commodus] My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

This is one of the highest-ranking quotes on the list from an action movie or a pure drama, and for good reason. It's played wonderfully, and Commodus' reaction to the revelation of Maximus' identity is outstanding. The finish to this quote is perfect. I can envision its application in any moment of true hatred. Taking into account Gladiator, Cinderella Man (a rarity - a movie with oscar buzz that was really great), and other roles he's played, I'm ready to annoint Russell Crowe as today's best actor.

18. THE NAKED GUN

[Jane climbs a ladder]
Frank: Saayyy, nice beaver.
Jane Spencer: [producing a stuffed beaver] Thanks. I just had it stuffed.

As previously discussed, I'm a sucker for a great double-entendre, and this one might be the best I've seen in a movie. Unfortunately, this one can create real problems when dealing with a woman who's not familiar with Mr. Neilsen's hijinks.

17. SIXTEEN CANDLES

Long Duk Dong: No more yankie my wankie. The Donger need food.

This is a very funny line on its own merits, but it achieves its lofty perch on this list because I have a good friend nicknamed Donger. Not only is said Donger a complete and utter horndog, but he can also eat like you wouldn't believe. Therefore, this line is apropos in so many instances. Gedde Watanabe's delivery, of course, adds a great deal here. Now, if I told you to guess an actor who has multiple quotes in the top 20, you might have some ideas. But Gedde Watanabe?!? Stay tuned.

16. THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN

Momma: Who the HELL are you?
Larry: I'm Owen's friend.
Momma: Owen doesn't have a friend!
Larry: That's because he's shy.
Momma: No he's not. He's fat and he's stupid!

Again here, my personal life and opportunities to use the quote come into play. Throw Momma is definitely an underappreciated movie, and Devito and Crystal turn in fine performances, but Anne Ramsey steals many a scene as Momma. Add in the fact that I have a (very good-natured, thankfully) good friend named Owen, and this one gets tossed around all the time. He also frequently has to deal with "Owen, ya clumsy poop!" and simply "O-wennnnnnn!" at regular intervals.

15. ZOOLANDER

Derek Zoolander: Oh, I thought you were going to tell me what a bad eugoogalizor I am.
Matilda: What?
Derek Zoolander: A eugoogalizor, one who speaks at funerals. Or did you think I'd be too stupid to know what a eugoogoly was?

All of my friends who've seen Zoolander either think it's terrific or terrible. Count me as a wholehearted member of the former group. I've not been a big fan of Ben Stiller in many of his roles, but he nails Derek Zoolander (more importantly, he nails Christine Taylor, his wife...lucky S.O.B.). I find it impossible not to smile when saying these lines. Try it...eugoogoly...isn't life much better now?

14. BULL DURHAM

[Mechanized bull noises in background]
Crash Davis: Well, he really hit the shit outta that one, didn't he? [laughs]
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: [softly, infuriated] I held it like an egg.
Crash Davis: Yeah, and he scrambled the son of a bitch. Look at that, he hit the fucking bull! Guy gets a free steak! [laughs]
Crash Davis: You having fun yet?
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: Oh, yeah. Havin' a blast.
Crash Davis: Good. [pause]
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: God, that sucker teed off on that like he knew I was gonna throw a fastball!
Crash Davis: He did know.
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: How?
Crash Davis: I told him.

You must be shocked by now to see a Bull Durham quote. Anytime someone just crushes the ball, this line is sure to emerge. We don't usually recite the whole scene, but "He hit the fucking bull" is a sure thing. This is a great moment in Nuke's evolution into a major-league pitcher, as Crash teaches him a lesson about shaking off a veteran catcher. Even though he drives a Porsche, Ebby Calvin is still "Meat" at this stage.

13. ANIMAL HOUSE

D-Day: War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough... [thinks hard]
Bluto: the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go!

Well, almost everyone knows this line, so it's very easy to quote liberally. John Blutarski (Zero. Point. Zero.) is certainly one of the funniest characters in move history, and Belushi seems to be having a lot of fun playing him. Bluto could easily have had a few more quotes on the list ("They took the bar, the whole fucking bar!" or "To-gaaaaaaaahhhhh, to-gaaaaaaaahhhhhh!"), but this is the best of his lines, in my never-humble opinion.

12. AIRPLANE!

Steve McCroskey: Johnny, what can you make out of this? [Hands him the weather briefing] Johnny: This? Why, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl...

Having already discussed the brilliance of Stephen Stucker / Johnny, we can turn to this line in and of itself. Of course, only someone as flaming as Johnny would opt for a brooch, but the pterodactyl really finishes the line well. Every time I think of this line, I envision Johnny flapping the crumped piece of paper through the air as though it's flying, while he makes bird noises. Brilliant!

11. THE PRINCESS BRIDE

Inigo Montoya: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

This line is, quite simply, a classic. Every time it's repeated in the film, it gains a slightly harder edge, until at last it is sprung on Count Rugen. Mandy Patinkin, like almost every other actor in this movie, turns in the best performance of his career as Inigo. This one gets bonus points because I once convinced a drunken college freshman that my name was Inigo Montoya (serves him right for not knowing The Princess Bride!). He had a rough time in a game of beer pong, and the next day was overheard saying "Don't play against Inigo Montoya. He'll fuck you up."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Top 100 Movie Quotes, #30-#21

30. THE LAST BOY SCOUT

[Joe has just found out that Mike was sleeping with his wife]
Mike Mathews: Look Joe, it just happened.
Joe Hallenbeck: Sure, sure, it just happened. Could happen to anybody. It was an accident, right? You tripped, slipped on the floor and accidentally stuck your dick into my wife. "Oops, I'm sorry, Mrs. H, I guess this just isn't my week".

Only Bruce could be this funny while angrily berating the guy who just mattress-danced with his wife. I just get a funny picture in my head when I envision the "trip, slip, and stick" maneuver.

29. FOR LOVE OF THE GAME

Gus Sinski: You know, a lot of little bottles makes a big bottle, Chappy.

A great drinking quote from a great and underappreciated baseball movie. Costner's Billy Chapel is awoken by catcher Sinski (John C. Reilly, who must be at least halfway to getting his own Kevin Bacon Game variation), quite hungover and surrounded by empty liquor bottles from the mini-bar. An additional plus to this line is that my long-past drinking days often included the little "airline bottles," enabling both myself and others to use the line frequently. I had 3 "Little Brothers" in my fraternity, and each of them received 21 little bottles of different liquor on his 21st birthday. Trust me on this one, a lot of little bottles definitely make a big bottle.

28. CADDYSHACK

Carl Spackler: What an incredible Cinderella story, this unknown comes outta no where to lead the pack, at Augusta. He's on his final hole, he's about 455 yards away - he's gonna hit about a two-iron I think. Oh he got all of that one! The crowd is standing on its feet here, the normally reserved Augusta crowd - going wild - for this young Cinderella, he's come outta no where, he's got about 350 yards left, he's gonna hit about a five-iron, don't you think? He's got a beautiful backswing - that's - Oh he got all of that one! He's gotta be pleased with that, the crowd is just on its feet here, uh - He's the Cinderella boy, uh - tears in his eyes I guess as he lines up this last shot, he's got about 195 yards left, he's got about a - its looks like he's got about an eight-iron. This crowd has gone deathly silent, the Cinderella story, outta no where, a former greenskeeper now - about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac - It's in the Hole!

This monologue lives at the intersection of outstanding writing and perhaps the best comedic actor of the last 25 years. Bill Murray could read the phone book, and I'd at least go and see it as a matinee. Of course, the "It's in the hole!" line is easily used in a golf situation, but among my crowd, it came to be used in almost any celebratory situation. When we played Swiffles(TM), a form of wiffleball, there was a garbage can behind home plate, and if the pitch landed in it, it was an automatic strikeout. So when I "canned" a hitter, Carl Spackler became an integral part of the game.

27. JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK

Whillenholly: We don't want to rub the C.L.I.T. the wrong way.

There's not a lot I can add to this one. Basically, any quote from the Jon Stewart-Will Ferrell news broadcast would've worked here. (i.e. "Citizens of Utah, stimulation of the C.L.I.T. is not recommended.")

26. A FEW GOOD MEN

Lt. Weinberg: "I strenuously object?" Is that how it's done? Hm? "Objection, your Honor." "Overruled" "No, no. I STRENUOUSLY object." "Oh. You strenuously object. Then I'll take some time and reconsider."

As we reach the top 25 or so, just about every quote could be prefaced with "My friends and I use this one a lot..." This one is no exception. This movie was on heavy rotation in our house during my college years, so many of the quotes joined our lexicon. Kevin Pollak is an extremely funny actor, and I highly recommend that you see his stand-up show if you have any opportunity.

25. COMING TO AMERICA

Clarence: Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you! Who's next?

Here's the perfect line for when a group of your friends have all joined forces to mock you. The barbershop scenes from this movie are some of the best, as Eddie Murphy dialogues with, errrr, Eddie Murphy.

24. BULL DURHAM

Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: A good friend of mine used to say, "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.

I love how this quote so neatly encapsulates the game of baseball. There are a few basic skills at its heart, and everyone is subject to winning, losing, and rain every year. Even the best team in baseball loses 50-60 games, and the worst team generally wins 50-60 games. The scene with Nuke LaLoosh being interviewed in "The Show" is outstanding, as he holds court and shows how much Crash has taught him. If you've yet to guess by this point (4th Bull Durham quote so far), you will probably soon figure out that Bull Durham is my all-time favorite movie.

23. BLAZING SADDLES

[Bart on grandstand to the townspeople]
Bart: Excuse me while I whip this out.
[Bart reaches into waistline as crowd gasps and screams. Bart pulls out paper]
Crowd: Ahhhhh.

Mel Brooks is a genius. Even Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates (morons!) could not routinely write movie scenes as funny as those in Mel Brooks films. Here's a tip, though: if you're going to use this quote, gauge the audience well beforehand. Once, at a loss for something to say (it's true!) while addressing a student government meeting, I reached into my pocket for a note I had written, and figured this line would get a laugh and buy me a minute. I got some very interesting looks from some of the Deans and Vice-Presidents of the University who were in attendance.

22. AIRPLANE!

Steve McCroskey: Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue

The writers build up to this line very well, starting a bit earlier in the movie with "wrong week to quit smoking," "wrong week to quit drinking," etc. Also, this line sets up a nice sight gag down the road, when McCroskey is high from the glue.

21. ANIMAL HOUSE

Greg Marmalard: But Delta's already on probation.
Dean Vernon Wormer: They are? Well, as of this moment, they're on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!

Animal House has many classic lines, and this is one that just about everyone knows. I'm sure that people who've been in fraternities have a greater appreciation for this movie in general, and I think that many of us see at least a bit of truth in some of the events of the movie. The scheming Deans/Administrators were very much a part of my college experience, as they tried to find ways to suck any potential fun out of college. Many times, I sat in a meeting, just waiting to hear we'd been placed on double-secret probation, or something similarly inane.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Top 100 Movie Quotes, #40-#31

40. MAJOR LEAGUE

Pedro Cerrano: Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.
Eddie Harris: You know you might think about taking Jesus Christ as your savior instead of fooling around with all this stuff.
Jake Taylor: Harris.
Pedro Cerrano: Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball.
Eddie Harris: You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?

Ah, President Cerrano the Insurance Salesman, welcome to the list. Here's another quote that tends to get a lot of mileage, especially when someone on our church team swings and misses. Come to think of it, even with a nice A.Fuente 8-5-8 and a bottle of Captain Morgan, Jobu never did show up and help me find my power swing. Up your butt, Jobu!

39. THE GODFATHER

Michael: My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
Kay Adams: What was that?
Michael: Luca Brasi, held a gun to his head, and my father assured him, that either his brain or his signature would be on the contract.

Hopefully you didn't think we'd make it through my whole list without a Godfather quote or two. The "offer he can't refuse" is certainly a classic reference, but I prefer the exposition Michael provides to the gravelly simplicity of Vito's version.

38. AMERICAN PIE

Michelle: This one time, at band camp, I stuck a flute in my pussy.

This line was a bolt out of the blue in my first viewing of the movie. Here we sit, expecting another long and lame story about band geeks, but tasty Alyson Hannigan (even though she's the "nerd" to the supposedly hotter Tara Reid and Shannon Elizabeth, she comes off far sexier) throws the curveball. The great Chevy Chase foreshadowed this great line years earlier, as Ty Webb informed us that "A flute without holes is not a flute."

37. HAPPY GILMORE

Happy Gilmore: Step right up, folks. See if you can out-drive the Amazing, uhhh, Golf Ball, uhhhhhhhh, Wacker Guy!

There's not much to add to this line, as it more or less speaks for itself. It's oft-quoted in my circle of friends, often with "softball" substituted for "golf ball."

36. JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK

Jay: [singing] / Fifteen bucks, little man, / Put that shit in my hand, / If that money doesn't show, / Then you owe me, owe me, owe, / My jungle love, yeah, / Owe-ee, owe-ee, owe, / I think I want to know ya, know ya, / Yeah, what?
Teen #1: What the hell are you singing?
Jay: You don't know "Jungle Love?" That shit is the mad notes. Written by God herself and sent down to the greatest band in the world: The mother-fucking Time.

Oh, where to begin with this one? First and foremost, it's just a lot of fun to say "Morris Day and the Muthafuckin' Time!" Further, it is a frickin' phenomenal song, and the little concert at the end of the movie was great. Hang in there, Morris...we know you kicked Prince's ass in Purple Rain. You was robbed! Finally, one thing I love about Kevin Smith movies: the cross references within the 5 films. Since Jay has already met God in Dogma, he knows to use the correct pronoun "herself" here. Outstanding!

35. BEVERLY HILLS COP

Axel Foley: What are you all, the second team?
Detective McCabe: We're the first team.
Detective Foster: Yeah, and we're not going to fall for a banana in the tailpipe.
Axel Foley: [Mocking him] You're not going to fall for the banana in the tailpipe? It should be more natural, brother. It shouldflow out, like this - "Look, man, I ain't fallin' for no banana in my tailpipe!" See, that's more natural for us. You been hanging out with this dude too long

One thing that surprised me when I finished selecting the Top 100 was the dearth of Eddie Murphy quotes. He's been in a number of really funny movies, and I expected to end up with lines from films like The Golden Child, Bowfinger, and 48 Hours. Basically, I just loved the actual banana in the tailpape gag, Axel's mockery of Foster, and of course the underlying innuendo.

34. CHASING AMY

Holden: So, uh, what do you wanna do tonight?
Banky Edwards: I dunno. Get a pizza, watch "Degrassi Jr. High".
Holden: You got a weird thing for Canadian melodrama.
Banky Edwards: I got a weird thing for girls who say, "Aboot."

I love this quote on so many levels. Before anyone knew of Kevin Smith, he and I shared a common obsession with the Canadian series Degrassi Junior High (later Degrassi High). I was within a year or two of the characters' ages when the show debuted, and I just really got into it. It helps that Stacie Mistysyn, who played one of the main female characters (Caitlin) rivaled Alyssa Milano as my early-teens dream girl. I actually ordered the first 2 seasons of the show on DVD just this week, and just last night discovered that one of my good friends also really liked the show back in the day. Furthermore, I'm just a sucker for "oot and aboot," "eh?," the superfluous U, and such. Yay for Canadia!

33. THE LAST BOY SCOUT

Jake: Shut up fuckface.
Joe Hallenbeck: I'm fuckface, he's asshole. [Jimmy smiles sarcastically, in agreement]
Scrabble Man: Jake? [Jake punches Joe in the face]
Scrabble Man: Advise Rodney Dangerfield here of the situation. Perhaps we can dispense with the fun and games now, yes?
Joe Hallenbeck: You want the envelope, right?
Scrabble Man: The envelope, very smart. See Jake, here is a man who knows when a situation is untenable.
Joe Hallenbeck: Good word.
Scrabble Man: You like that word? And you do have that envelope, don't you?
Joe Hallenbeck: Better give up, Jimmy. We're dealin' with a couple of geniuses here. [Jake punches Joe again]
Jimmy Dix: Hey man, just leave him the fuck alone. [Jake proceeds to kick Jimmy in the gut] Scrabble Man: Leave him alone? Yeah, sure Jimmy. Whatever you say. Jake here takes his job with a certain exuberance.
Jimmy Dix: Shit, we're being beat up by the inventor of scrabble.

Here's another great exchange from Bruce and Damon. How cool is it that the character is actually credited as "Scrabble Man?" I'll show my 45% nerdy side here and admit that I love playing Scrabble, and am riding a 16-year undefeated streak at the moment (my mom and my friend Jim each tied me once in that span).

32. THE CUTTING EDGE

Kate: Toe pick!

It's simple and classic. These two words make repeated appearances in many of the funniest scenes, and the quote comes in quite handy anytime one of my friends takes a fall in sports or otherwise.

31. TOP GUN

Stinger: Maverick, you just did and incredibly brave thing. What you should have done was land your plane! you don't own that plane, the tax payers do! Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash. You've been busted, you've lost your qualifications as section leader three times, put in hack twice by me, with a history of high speed passes over five air control towers, and one admiral's daughter!
Goose: Penny Benjamin?

James Tolkan is perfect here as Stinger, and the ego writing checks line is truly inspired. As usual, Goose adds a little extra to a line that was already good. Unable to keep quiet even as he and Mav are berated, he injects a bit of humor, and Cruise's little nod back to him is truly an outstanding subtle touch to the scene.

Top 100 Movie Quotes, #50-#41

50. SIXTEEN CANDLES

Samantha: I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek.

Mmmmmm, Molly Ringwald. I love the incredulous look and tone that go along with this line. "Have I really sunk this low?" "Can this day get any stranger?" I remember the feeling well from the night I got talked into renting Daredevil. Seriously, if you can run Jen Garner around in skintight clothes for 90 minutes and it still really stinks, what does that say about your script, fellas?

49. THE LAST BOY SCOUT

Milo: You think you are so fucking cool, don't you? You think you are so fucking cool. But just once, I would like to hear you scream in pain...
Joe Hallenbeck: Play some rap music.

If you haven't seen this movie, you're missing out. Chris Tucker, et al, owe a great deal to Bruce Willis, perhaps the master of the funny action movie. Bad guy Milo, played to the hilt of smarminess by the underrated Taylor Negron, figures into many of the film's best lines. Willis and the writers share credit here for the barrage of witty comebacks, expertly delivered. Plus, anyone who's heard any rap music in the last 10 years can attest to the truth in Hallenbeck's words.

48. HAPPY GILMORE

Shooter McGavin: I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast.
Happy Gilmore: [laughing] you eat pieces of shit for breakfast?
Shooter McGavin: No...

I asked Shooter to tell me about this quote over dinner at Red Lobster, but he never showed up. Jackass! The exchanges between Happy and Shooter are some of the best scenes in the movie, and this scene in the bar stands out in particular. Shooter's dumbfounded "No!" always elicits a chuckle.

47. THE BLUES BROTHERS

Elwood: Illinois Nazis.
Jake: I hate Illinois Nazis.

Once again, the deadpan delivery by those Good Ole' Blues Boys Brothers Band guys makes for a classic line. I never even knew there were Nazis in Illinois. Well, aside from the Blackhawks owner, that is.

46. THE BREAKFAST CLUB

John Bender: Well, Brian, this is a very nutritious lunch. All the food groups are represented. Did your mom marry Mr. Rogers?
Brian Johnson: Uh, no. Mr. Johnson.

This is a generally-forgotten line when people quote this John Hughes classic, but I love the interplay here. Again, in the "how the mighty has fallen" category, we see Judd Nelson. Judd went from Brat Pack superstar, to second fiddle to Brooke Shields in a weak comedy, to generic evil man in Lifetime Movies of the Week? His brief appearance in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is a recent high point ("Let's go back to the station and cornhole us a drunk"). Anthony Michael Hall's career, much like my athletic ability, peaked around age 16 and faded quickly thereafter. In this short exchange, however, they're forever young and on the prowl for their next coke binge.

45. AIRPLANE!

Steve McCroskey: Bad news. The fog’s getting thicker.
Johnny: [jumps behind large man, grabs the man’s belly and jiggles it] And Leon’s getting laaaaaaaaaaaarger!

If Stephen Stucker accomplished nothing else in his life, he'd still be able to claim that he played the funniest character in one of the funniest movies of all time. Every time the slight, bald, and thuper flight control assistant appears on screen, one of the movie's best lines is sure to follow. It must have been a joy to play this part, knowing that he could completely ham up every scene. The sight of Johnny, pouncing catlike into the screen and grabbing the rotund extra's gut, is just a bonus in addition to Stucker's hilarious voice.

44. BIG

Susan: I want to spend the night with you.
Josh: Do you mean sleep over?
Susan: Well... yeah.
Josh: Well, okay... but I get to be on top.

I so enjoy the double-entendre. Sometimes people tend to forget just how many good movies Tom Hanks has made, and Big is one of these oft-forgotten gems. Now, I'm unconvinced that a boy of 12 would be oblivious to the sexual meanings here, but it's still played very well.

43. JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK

Sissy: "See, Jussy and I are putting together this documentary for our human sexuality class and we need a male perspective on the clitoris."
Jay: "The female clitoris?"
Sissy: "Uh, yeah."

J&SBSB is another movie for which I had difficulty narrowing a long list of great quotes down to a few to make the list. I really do enjoy this scene in particular, as J&SB, along with the girl gang, prepare for the big "monkey heist." In addition to the excellent eye candy, it brings us the beginning of the running C.L.I.T. jokes and sets up the outstanding scene with Jon Stewart and Will Ferrell on the news show.

42. TOP GUN

Carole: Hey Goose you big stud!
Goose: That's me, honey.
Carole: Take me to bed or lose me forever.
Goose: Show me the way home, honey.

I can't say with any great certainty, but I do believe this movie established my thing for Meg Ryan. I absolutely love her character in Top Gun, with her mix of looks, sweetness, and bit of a dirty side. As I warned you previously, Mother Goose is a frequent contributor to this list. Plus, "Take me to bed or lose me forever" is an outstanding flirting line for general use.

41. THE PRINCESS BRIDE

Inigo Montoya: You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.
Westley: You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die.

The initial meeting of two of the three best characters (Vizzini being the third) produces many great lines, but this was my choice. I enjoy the foundation this early mutual respect sets for their eventual partnership. Like Stephen Stucker earlier, Cary Elwes can always say he played a great character in a great movie. Yes, I know he was decent in Hot Shots as well, but after Princess Bride, an actor does not have much of anywhere to go but down.