Monday, May 26, 2008

Spoken Lines Worth Remembering

I really appreciate words. They make it so much easier to write and talk. Strung together in a unique series, they can evoke all kinds of emotion, from humor to sadness. I like to listen to people’s speech in movies, on TV shows, and even in real life for those special sequences of words that are worth remembering.

Movies are especially noted for their memorable lines. I like the humorous ones, but there are those that are less funny and more profound. Blazing Saddles is an old movie that continues to inspire with its vast array of one-liners. Who can forget the line, “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”

One of my favorite lines from a sitcom was spoken by Charlie on Two and a Half Men. After darting through the living room on his way out the door in a tizzy, a guest asked him if he was alright. He replied, “Yeah, I just can’t find my damn stalker.” I am always impressed by good irony.

Of course, movies such as Airplane and The Naked Gun were created around one-liners and sight gags. A good one from Airplane is, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.”

Some of the funniest lines of dialogue still occur on the long-running animated TV series, The Simpsons. While the family is sitting around the breakfast table, eating quietly, Homer jumps up and proclaims, “I don’t care what any of you say; I’m going to clown college.” To which Bart replies with a puzzled gaze, “I don’t think any of us expected him to say that.”

And on the Simpsons Movie, Homer’s neighbor, Ned Flanders, says from a high nearby peak, “Look at that, you can see the four states that border Springfield: Ohio, Nevada, Maine, and Kentucky!”

Another animated classic movie, Shrek, had some funny lines, too. Referring to Snow White, the Magic Mirror says, “Although she lives with seven other men, she's not easy.”

Good one-liners don’t necessarily have to come from movies or TV shows. Sometimes they happen in real life. You just have to remember to write them down. My daughter does that on her Web page.

One of her favorite college professors was in the middle of a lecture one day. She paused for a moment and then blurted out, “I’m not going to drop the f-bomb any more. I’m a lady.” Then she continued her lecture.

And, another of her professors told her, after she had worked very hard for a long time on a project that she wasn’t quite satisfied with, “Sometimes being done is better than being good.” That’s often a sentiment of mine.

Sometimes a line can stand on its own. Most of the time, however, a line from a movie needs to be put into context. One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day. And one of my all-time favorite lines was spoken by Bill Murray’s character. You just have to realize that his character in the movie is reliving the same day over and over.

He’s talking on the phone to the operator, trying to get a call to Pittsburg following a blizzard. He asks the operator when the phone lines will be fixed and she apparently tells him tomorrow. He replies, “What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”

I wish I could think of a clever one-liner of my own to end this column with, but I can’t. But as my daughter’s professor might say, “Sometimes being done is better than being good.”

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