Sunday, 14 November 2010

some favourite film quotations

My new curate suggested we watch David Fincher's Se7en the other night over a pizza. By the end of the film, he was being violently sick. Nothing to do with the film. Nothing to do with me (I think?) and everything to do with gastric flu.

I'm a fan of Fincher. He is one of those few directors who bridge the gap between popular cinema and more thoughtful subject matter. Last week I saw the first ten minutes of his latest film, The Social Network, before there was a power cut and the cinema was emptied. So that is still to be seen at some point.

I saw Se7en when it first came out in 1995 and wondered if it would stand a second viewing(it does on many levels even though Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow's acting are flat affairs). However, the thing I remember most about Se7en is a speech given by Kevin Spacey near the end of the film. Watching it again, the speech does not disappoint - a memorable piece of the kind of economical, flick-knife sharp writing that is especially suited to the cinema.

So, I thought I'd offer some of my favourite quotations from popular films. I was going to track down the relevant film clips, but I think I'll let the words do the talking and let you conjure in your mind's eye and ear the scene from each particular film.

1. Innocent? Is that supposed to be funny? An obese man, a disgusting man who could barely stand up; a man who if you saw him on the street, you'd point him out to your friends so that they could join you in mocking him; a man who, if you saw him while you were eating, you wouldn't be able to finish your meal...After him, I picked the lawyer and I know you both must be thanking me for that one. This is a man who dedicated himself to making money by lying with every breath that he could muster to keeping murderers and rapists on the streets. A ugly on the inside she couldn't bear to go on living if she couldn't be beautiful on the outside. A drug dealer, a drug dealing pederast, actually. And let's not forget the disease-spreading whore. Only in a world this shitty could you even try to say that these were innocent people and keep a straight face. But that's the point. We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it's common, it's trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon and night. Well, not anymore. I'm setting the example. What I've done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed...forever.
Kevin Spacey, Se7en

2. I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house. And that he's rather I shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted, if I could hit 'em, but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don't do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat people's garden, don't nest in their corncrib, they don't do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.
Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird

3. You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who do you think you are talkin' to? Oh yeah? Huh? Okay.
Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver

4. This an absolute good. This list is life.
Ben Kingsley, Schindler's List

5. I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!
John Hurt, The Elephant Man

6. I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet. The President of the United States, a gondolier in Venice, just fill in the names. I find it extremely comforting that we're so close. I also find it like Chinese water torture that we're so close because you have to find the right six people to make the right connection. I am bound, you are bound, to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people.
Stockard Channing, Six Degrees of Separation

7. Why did you go to the police? Why didn't you come to me first? What have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you'd come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if, by chance, an honest man like yourself should make enemies...then they would be my enemies. And then they would fear you.
Marlon Brando, The Godfather

8. You love playing with that. You love playing with all your stuffed animals. You love your mommy, your daddy. You love your pyjamas. You love everything, don't you? Yeah. But you know what, buddy? As you get older, some of the things you love might not seem so special anymore. Like your Jack-in-the-box. Maybe you'll just realise it's just a piece of tin and a stuffed animal. And then you forget the few things you really love. And by the time you get to my age, maybe its only one or two things. With me, I think it's one.
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

9. Extraordinary! On the page it looked nothing. The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse - bassoons and basset horns, like a rusty squeezebox. Then suddenly, high above it, an oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, till a clarinet took over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight. This was no composition by a performing monkey! This was a music I'd never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God.
F.Murray Abraham, Amadeus

10. The final passage is the famous Ezekiel 25:17 from Pulp Fiction. Too long to write out so I have tracked down the clip. I should warn people that it does contain some rather colourful language, but not, I think, gratuitously so. It is Quentin Tarantino at his best and Samuel L. Jackson at his coolest. Enjoy

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