Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friday fun: Why are there no more cool movie lines?

"You talkin' to me?"

"Go ahead, make my day!"

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

"Hitler... there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in ONE afternoon! TWO coats!"

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

"I can get you a toe, dude.  There are ways."

This New York Times editorial asks where have all the great, or at least memorable, movie lines gone?  Blame it on the internet.

Sticky movie lines were everywhere as recently as the 1990s. But they appear to be evaporating from a film world in which the memorable one-liner — a brilliant epigram, a quirky mantra, a moment in a bottle — is in danger of becoming a lost art.

. . . .

Maybe it’s that filmmaking is more visual, or that other cultural noise is drowning out the zingers.

“I’m at a loss, because the lines for a while were coming fast and furious,” said Laurence Mark, who had us at “hello” as a producer of “Jerry Maguire,” and is a producer of “How Do You Know,” which is written and directed by James L. Brooks and scheduled to open just before Christmas. (In 1987 Mr. Brooks mapped the media future in seven words from “Broadcast News”: “Let’s never forget, we’re the real story.”)

If film lines don’t stick the way they used to, Mr. Mark said, it is not for lack of wit and wisdom in Hollywood. “What I don’t believe is that the writers are less talented,” he insisted. “I don’t think that’s true, I just don’t.”

Speaking by phone recently, however, Mr. Mark was hard-pressed to come up with a line that stuck with him in the last few years. “I will try my darnedest to think of one,” he promised.

It may be that a Web-driven culture of irony latches onto the movie lines for something other than brilliance, or is downright allergic to the kind of polish that was once applied to the best bits of dialogue.

You can read the rest here.


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