Thursday, April 1, 2010

THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984)


1001: A FILM ODYSSEY presents...
The Latterday Baby Boomer list of the 15 most quotable movies of all time during the years 1964-1987. (The contradictory nature of the title is intentional, though hopefully it’s better than one of those cheesy VH1 lists where they actually state that Gary Coleman is the #1 child actor of all time! But I ‘ll complain about that another time.

So what defines a quotable movie? Well, at least by my definition, (and yours may vary) it is a movie with a line or preferably lines that are recognizable to one of your own kind or, even better, one that can be answered as a comeback by another of that defined kind by the next line in the movie.

There are many titles during this period with one famous quotable line. Cool Hand Luke (What we got here is... failure to communicate.), Taxi Driver (You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? ) and Soylent Green (You got to tell them! Soylent Green is people!) all had one real quotable line, but I’m looking for a movies with a slightly longer string of quotability..

Now the parameters. Since the baby boom is usually credited with ending in 1964, this is a good point to start movies for consideration for this list (Sorry Casablanca, On the Waterfront, Gone with the Wind). A good ending point would probably be about 1987, as the influence on a latterday baby boomer’s MQQ (movie quotability quotient) would most likely have peaked by then. Besides, what quotable movies have there been since anyway? Office Space? The Seth Rogen comedy of the week?

Non-English language films aren’t included for this list. It’s just too hard to quote Kurosawa in the original Japanese.

Here are some of the also-rans for this list in no particular order: Dirty Harry, The Terminator, Blue Velvet, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Blazing Saddles, American Graffiti, Star Wars,E. T., Annie Hall, Taxi Driver, Rocky, Network, Deliverance, Saturday Night Fever, Apocalypse Now, Cool Hand Luke, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Exorcist, Raiders of the Lost Ark, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Amadeus, Rain Man, Arthur, Shaft, Billy Jack, Beverly Hills Cop, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, My Dinner With Andre, Soylent Green, Trading Places, MASH, Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Five Easy Pieces, The Godfather II, Chinatown, Jaws, Midnight Express, Heaven Can Wait, Manhattan, All That Jazz, Hannah and Her Sisters, And Justice for All, The Elephant Man, On Golden Pond, Tootsie, Aliens, Fatal Attraction, Wall Street, Moonstruck…etc.

And if I leave out one of your favorites (I’m sorry)

Or if I include one you don’t think belongs (I said I was sorry.)

Or if you don’t like my methodology (I said I was sorry already! Make your own damn list!)

Here is The Latterday Baby Boomer list of the 15 most quotable movies of all time during the years 1964-1987:

#15 1776 (1972) I realize the musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence might seem a strange choice, but there must be others out there that have seen this movie multiple times and repeat the dialogue of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin or John Hancock dramatically for anyone that will listen…or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway here are some samples:
Adams: Good GOD! A whole week! The entire earth was created in a week!
Jefferson: Someday, you must tell me how you did it.

Hancock: Gentlemen, forgive me if I don't join in the merriment, but if we are arrested now, my name is STILL THE ONLY ONE ON THE DAMN THING!

Adams: This is a revolution, dammit! We're going to have to offend SOMEbody!

This choice may have seemed better in its formative stage. The next choice is an important cultural movie from the end of my defined era, though I still don’t think I’ve seen it all the way through…

#14 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Samples:
Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller? (must be said in Ben Steinlike monotone)

You realize if we played by the rules right now we'd be in gym?

Boy who looks like Charlie Sheen: There's someone you should talk to.
Jennie: If you say Ferris Bueller, you lose a testicle.
Boy who looks like Charlie Sheen: Oh, you know him?

I may not have done as well with the quotes for this movie as someone who is a bigger Ferris Bueller fan, hopefully I can do better with…

(#13)The Shining 1980)
Samples:
Heeere's Johnny! (for maximum effect, say with a maniacal look and wield an ax if you got one)

Danny’s not here Mrs. Torrance. (must be spoken with the finger of your choice and with a voice that imitates Froggy of The Little Rascals)

Redrum! Redrum! (Preferably said repeatedly in a usually futile attempt to scare someone)

The next one helps if you can say things in the sardonic style of Bill Murray…

(#12) Ghost Busters (1984)
Samples:
This man has no dick. (If the person you say this too isn’t privy to the line, they may give you a funny look)

He slimed me! (Best said after you spill something on yourself)

We came, we saw, we kicked its ass! (Best said anytime, even randomly. Try it, it’s fun!)

So many lines from (#11) The Graduate (1967)

Elaine! Elaine! (Must be said while banging on glass, though imaginary glass is acceptable.)

Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. (If you say this to a girl and it turns out they aren’t trying to seduce you just tell them The Graduate is your favorite movie and you just felt like quoting it and you didn’t mean anything though they may not believe it and the rejection may cause you to have years of therapy and heartache…not that that happened to me or anything.)

And perhaps the most famous one word quote in movie history…
PLASTICS!

And so many more lines from (#10) The Godfather (1972)

Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes (Or replace Luca with name of anyone you have ill feelings about or are writing off.)

I'll make him an offer he can't refuse. (Best said directly before tapping someone lightly on the cheek and feel free to let go and do your best Brando.)

Look how they massacred my boy...(A personal favorite line, Don Corleone almost breaks down yet manages to regain his composure, however this is a hard one to fit into conversation.)

I’ve already done a blog on (#9) A Christmas Story (1983), but I really couldn’t leave it off the list…

Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!

and of course…
You'll shoot your eye out, kid.

(#8)The Princess Bride’s (1987) inclusion comes mostly from the lisping voice of Wallace Shawn that I can almost here now uttering the immortal line…

INCONCEIVABLE! (Not quite as good as PLASTICS!, but a good one word quote in its own right)

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. (Which proves you can create a movie catch phrase if you repeat it enough times in a single film.)

Have fun stormin' da castle. (A latter baby boomer might say this to their teenage offspring as they are going to a party or on a date, usually to the embarrassment of said teenage offspring.)

And how could I leave out (#7)Young Frankenstein (1974) since I did a previous blog made up of Young Frankenstein quotes
Samples:
My grandfather's work was DOO-DOO! (I seem to like this line more than others for some reason)

Puttin’s on the Ritz! (Best said when accompanied by a clumsy dance of some kind)

Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I've found you! (To be sung as a prelude to…ah, never mind)

(#6) Animal House (1978)-A movie I probably saw 20 times the year it came out.
The most famous quote would be…

See if you can guess what I am now.
A zit. Get it? (If you don’t have something to explode in your mouth between these two lines, saying it could come across as a little awkward.)

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

Or the other Dean Wormer quote: I hate those guys. (If you can say this when someone is veering down on you about to make your life miserable, this would be the maximum effective use of this quote.)

Animals of another kind can be found in (#5) Planet of the Apes (1968)

Take your stinkin’ paws off me you damn dirty ape (Though if you say this when the wrong person puts their hand on you it could make a bad situation worse)

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell! (Maybe the greatest end line in movie history even if you know what the ending is.)

Heston:Keep 'em flying. –
Teenage Ape:What?
Heston: The flags of discontent (Just enjoy hearing Heston supporting hippienation)

(#4) Dr. Strangelove (1964), Hard to narrow it down to three quotes here…

Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. (If you are with your best girl and not in the mood, use this line as an excuse)

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room. (If your best girl takes offense at the above line and takes issue with you, try to calm her down with this line.)

Mein F├╝hrer! I can walk! (If neither of the above lines work with your best girl, try this one as a diversion. In another context, use this line if you’ve been sitting a long time and you try to stand up and your foot is asleep)

(#3) Monty Python and the Holy Grail's (1975) many quotable lines include…

It’s just a flesh wound (Say it thorough gritted teeth after a serious injury for extra points)

She turned me into a Newt!
A Newt?
I got better. (If the person you say the first line doesn’t respond by saying “A Newt?” it can fall pretty flat.)

We are the Knights who say… NI. (Of course, you must then start repeating NI NI NI)

Some may think of Monty Python as a potential winner here, but how could we forget…

(#2)Airplane (1980)
You ever seen a grown man naked? (RIP, Peter Graves)

Surely you can’t be serious
I am serious and don’t call me Shirley. (Anytime anyone says surely in any context, feel free to use.)

A hospital? What is it?
It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now. (Don’t miss an opportunity to say this line if anyone gives you the opening, or you will probably regret it.)

So what could possibly beat Airplane? Well, there’s one and by the title of this blog it’s pretty anti-climactic that the
#1 The Latterday Baby Boomer list of the 15 most quotable movies of all time during the years 1964-1987 is

THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984).
So strange that the #1 quotable movie on this list was largely improvised…
I was going to do a top 10 list of Spinal Tap quotes, but no,
this list goes all the way up to 11...

#11
David St. Hubbins: He died in a bizarre gardening accident
Nigel Tufnel: Authorities said... best leave it... unsolved.

#10
The official explanation was he choked on vomit…It was actually someone else’s vomit.
You can’t really dust for vomit.

#9
Lyrics-
Big bottoms
Big bottoms
Talk about bum cakes
My Girls Got ‘em!
Big bottom drive me out of my mind
How could I leave this behind?

#8
Record review of Spinal Tap-They’re treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry.

#7
Two word record review of Spinal Tap’s Shark Sandwich-Shit Sandwich

#6
These go to 11.

#5
It’s such a fine line between clever and stupid.

#4
Nigel: I'm really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it's sort of in between those, really. It's like a Mach piece, really. It's sort of...
Di Bergi: What do you call it?
Nigel: Lick my love pump.

#3
The problem may have been there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage in danger of being crushed by a dwarf!

#2
If I told ‘em once I told them a hundred times to put Spinal Tap first and puppet show last!

And the #1 quote from the #1 movie of The Latterday Baby Boomer list of the 15 most quotable movies of all time during the years 1964-1987 is…

SMELL THE GLOVE!

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