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Fun Friday–Favorite Movies/TV for Dialogue

Friday, October 10, 2008

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My cousin Caleb suggested today’s Fun Friday topic—exploring some of my favorite movies/TV when it comes to dialogue. While these may not be some that are considered the “best” when it comes to dialogue (I’ve always heard that Woody Allen’s movies are great for this, but I’ve never been able to watch one all the way through), when I start thinking about movie/TV lines that get stuck in my head, these are the top ones:

5. Once again, I’ve had to include TV in this topic because of LOST. One of the things that the writers of this series did with the very large cast was give certain characters words/phrases that have become their signature. In fact, Lostpedia.com has a special area of the site devoted solely to “regularly spoken phrases.” Could Losties make it through an episode without hearing Hurley say, “Dude”? (Lostpedia actually keeps an episode-by-episode tally of how many times he says it) Or John Locke (or Jack or Ben) saying, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.” But the ultimate achievement in dialogue in LOST is with Sawyer and his cultural-reference nicknames for everyone on the island (Baby Huey, Cupcake, Freckles, Dimples, Captain Bunny Killer, Shaft, Shaggy, Kenny Rogers, Chicken Little, Deepdish, Grape Ape, Jabba, Han & Chewie, Jumbotron, Muttonchops, Rerun, Dr. Giggles, Crouching Tiger & Hidden Dragon, and my favorite, Gimpy McCrutch):

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4. I’ve quoted a few lines from A Knight’s Tale several times here already, but the dialogue is what really makes this movie so much fun—especially in the role of Chaucer. (Warning, Paul Bettany’s naked bum can be seen in this clip):

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3. The first time I watched the movie Serenity, I had to watch it with the captions on until I got the cadence of their dialogue and figured out the unique words Joss Whedon and the writers wrote for the cast. It began with the TV series Firefly, a science fiction series set in the future where humans had to leave Earth. Because English and Chinese speakers are the highest population, the writers imagined a future where the languages have become somewhat fused–sort of like Spanglish. (Plus, it gives them a creative way for the characters to curse without getting censored.) But the greatest thing about this series/movie is that just when you think you know what someone’s going to say next, they surprise you and pull out something completely random. It was hard to find a good example on YouTube, but hopefully this will demonstrate:

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2. The Princess Bride is one of the most quotable movies I’ve ever seen. It’s just one zinger after another:
— “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
— “Inconceivable!”
— “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
— “As you wish.”
— “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.”
— “You’ve been mostly dead all day.”
— “Have fun storming the castle!”

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1. Several weeks ago, I featured my favorite quotes from Steel Magnolias. This film came out the summer right before I started college, and my friends and I spent the next three or four years quoting it incessantly. There’s a line for every occasion in this movie!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, October 10, 2008 8:52 am

    The only one I’ve seen on the list is Steel Magnolias, which I loved. Great dialogue! I’ll have to check out Lost sometime because everyone seems to love it. Not that I need a new television addiction.

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  2. Friday, October 10, 2008 10:31 am

    That’s quite different from the kind of list I was expecting, but I enjoy the dialogue in everything included so I can’t really fault it.

    Mine ended up a bit more R-rated. Like 80% more R-rated.

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  3. Friday, October 10, 2008 11:00 am

    Wait two more years on LOST, Georgiana–and then the entire thing will be on DVD. That’s what I did with Battlestar Galactica—I just now started watching it knowing that it’ll all be on DVD once I get to that point.

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  4. Friday, October 10, 2008 11:52 am

    We have the same list, Kaye, except instead of Steel Magnolias I’d put in Ever After.

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  5. Friday, October 10, 2008 1:42 pm

    Your clip from LOST is an interesting choice since most of those weren’t actually written. From what I understand, that actor just kind of makes them up when they’re filming.

    Then there’s gold like this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_YHV5fdUiQ (NSFW)

    Or

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  6. Friday, October 10, 2008 2:25 pm

    According to the behind-the-scenes featurette on the season 1 or 2 extras, most of his nicknames were scripted, though after a few years, he’s now throwing in his own.

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  7. Friday, October 10, 2008 3:14 pm

    I haven’t watched those featurettes for years, so I might be thinking of post-Season 3 interviews.

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  8. Friday, October 10, 2008 6:11 pm

    Maybe I said this before, but my favs for dialogue include While you Were Sleeping, Sahara and the 1995 Sabrina.

    Princess Bride absolutely belongs here, and I knew you’d have Lost, if only b/c if I did a list like this I’d have Bones on mine.

    Fun list!

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  9. greyfort permalink
    Monday, October 13, 2008 8:03 am

    I think you already know I love the dialogue of Serenity/Firefly.

    This weekend I watched both the American premier of the 11th Hour and the British premier of the 11th Hour and besides the obvious American/British colloquisms it was interesting to see the dialoge changes between the two shows (the scripts were almost identical)

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