Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Movie Lines

I haven’t done a Tuesday Top Ten list in a very, VERY long while, but recently I was watching a movie (My Best Friend’s Wedding) while procrastinating on studying, and I was inspired by a particularly funny scene to make this list. Specifically, it got me thinking about my favorite lines from movies – the ones that have stuck with me over the years, whether for being poignant, wise, or (in most cases) hilarious. These lines aren’t necessarily from the movies I consider best, but they are the bits of dialogue I find the most memorable and often wind up quoting with alarming frequency.

(1) Inception:

inception

  • The Line: “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”
  • Why It’s Great: Nobody is more suave than Tom Hardy, amirite?! I also like this quote because, thinking beyond the context of the movie itself, it’s just solid life advice in general.

(2) When Harry Met Sally:

when harry met sally

  • The Line: “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
  • Why It’s Great: I had to pick at least one unabashedly cheesy romantic comedy moment for this list, and there’s no better choice than the ending monologue from my all-time favorite movie. It is, quite simply, perfection.

(3) 500 Days of Summer:

500 days of summer

  • The Line: “Who’s Lars from Norway?” “Just some guy she met at the gym with Brad Pitt’s face and Jesus’ abs.”
  • Why It’s Great: I love Tom’s little sister, who dispenses words of wisdom way beyond her age bracket throughout this movie. Plus, the mental image of a guy with both Brad Pitt’s face and Jesus’s abs is priceless.

(4) Love Actually:

love actually

  • The Line: “We need Kate, and we need Leo. And we need them now.”
  • Why It’s Great: The father/son relationship in Love Actually is one of the most unexpectedly wonderful parts of the film. And, don’t we all know exactly how it feels to be depressed and to need a little Kate and Leo now?!

(5) My Best Friend’s Wedding:

my best friend's wedding

  • The Line: “Crème brulée can never be Jell-O. YOU could never be Jell-O.”
  • Why It’s Great: When it comes to describing relationships and compatibility, this is a great analogy, and the barely concealed venom with which Julia Roberts delivers it to Cameron Diaz is perfect. (Unrelated side note: In this movie, Julia Roberts’s character is supposed to be 27. Twenty-seven! AKA, my age! My mind is officially blown/I feel old).

(6) Little Women:

little women

  • The Line: “Jo, how could you, your one beauty!”
  • Why It’s Great: I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Little Women holds a special place in my heart; it’s just one of those movies that I’ve loved since I was a child. What I’ve always found special about the film is that it’s a mixture of sentimentality, drama, and moments – like this one – that make me laugh. It’s also utterly quotable; my family has been saying variations on this line to each other for years (which makes us sound mean, I know, but trust me – we say it with love).

(7) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  • The Line: “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
  • Why It’s Great: This comes from what is easily my least favorite movie on the list, but despite my apathy toward the film, this quote has always stuck with me. Perhaps it’s cheesy, but I think it’s pretty profound and true as well.

(8) Bridesmaids:

bridesmaids

  • The Line: “There’s a colonial woman on the wing. She’s churning butter.”
  • Why It’s Great: The entire airplane scene in Bridesmaids is hilarious and could generate its very own Top Ten list of quotations. Narrowing it down to just this one was tough, but there’s something about the colonial woman (in traditional garb!) that just gets me. Runners up: “Help me, I’m poor” and “It’s called civil rights. This is the 1990s.”

(9) Gladiator:

gladiator

  • The Line: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
  • Why It’s Great: Because this is one of the most badass verbal smackdowns in the history of movies. You tell them, Maximus. Respect.

(10) Bridget Jones’s Diary:

bridget-jones-diary-snow-kiss

  • The Line: “Wait a minute… nice boys don’t kiss like that.” “Oh, yes, they f*&$ing do.”
  • Why It’s Great: Colin Firth is a god among men. The end.

What are your favorite movie lines?

(Image Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10)

Mini Movie Reviews: Zero Dark Thirty, Side Effects, and

zero dark thirty, side effects, admission

Zero Dark Thirty: This movie, about the search for Bin Laden, was fascinating and suspenseful. Like almost everything I’ve watched lately, it felt too long, possibly because there are two really compelling parts to this story: the actual search, and then the mission itself. Either of those stories on its own would have made for an interesting movie, but together they were pretty lengthy. Despite that, this movie is quite good – in large part due to Jessica Chastain, who basically stars in every movie nowadays (and not without good reason). As Maya, the CIA agent who ultimately finds Bin Laden, Chastain simultaneously portrays someone who is bad ass enough to stick to her convictions, but who also seems as confused and unsure of herself (and the methods she employs to find the truth) as any ordinary person would be. Grade: A-

Side Effects: I thought I would enjoy this movie more than I actually did; from the previews, I was hoping for some twisted-but-fascinating psychological drama. Instead, I got a movie that was mostly quiet and slow. There was nothing bad about the film per se – it’s well-acted and suggests some thought-provoking questions about modern medicine – but it just underwhelmed me. It also wasn’t too difficult to figure out what the big “twist” at the end was. I kept hoping for some cool reveal but, nope, it turned out pretty much how I suspected it might. Finally, I feel like between this movie and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I’ve now seen Rooney Mara portray the same character twice – the vacant, vulnerable, sullen girl. I hope she does something different for her next role. Grade: B

Admission: Where Tina Fey and Paul Rudd lead, I will follow, but I wish this movie had been better than it was. Admission is pretty much your standard issue romantic comedy, and while I love me some romantic comedies, I wish it had been a bit more inventive or clever than it was. Also, Fey’s character, Portia (who works as an admissions officer at Princeton) does something toward the end of the movie that I found pretty irredeemable, and that sort of turned me off from the film. However, despite Admission’s flaws, watching Paul Rudd be adorable for 1.5 hours is well worth the price of a ticket. Grade: B+

Image Sources: 1 / 2 / 3

Mini Movie Reviews: The Impossible, The Hobbit, and Life of Pi

the impossible

The Impossible: This movie is gut-wrenching and difficult to watch – but definitely worth it if you do. It tells the story of one family coping in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami and, even though I knew going in that they all survived, I was still on the edge of my seat the entire time. The performances here are fantastic – Naomi Watts is getting lots of Oscar buzz, and rightly so, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why there aren’t more people talking about Ewan McGregor, who’s equally wonderful. However, my favorite performance of all belongs to Tom Holland, as the eldest son. He takes the lead in the movie and provides some of the most emotionally affecting moments – I was incredibly impressed. Grade: A

the hobbit

The Hobbit: I don’t think I’m quite the target audience for these movies – I’ve never read the books, I don’t particularly enjoy the fantasy genre, and I find myself bored during long, drawn-out sword battles. Still, despite all that, I must admit that The Hobbit is kind of charming in its own way. The ragtag band of dwarfs is pretty funny, Martin Freeman is charming as Bilbo, and the scenery is fantastically beautiful. My major complaint is that there isn’t much plot here; I’ve read criticism of the decision to split one book into three movies, and based on this movie, such criticism seems warranted. There were a few too many pointless meandering diversions along the way, but still it’s a fun journey overall. Grade: B

life of pi

Life of Pi: I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this movie, but I loved it. First, it’s beautifully made – the visuals are gorgeous and each scene looks meticulously put-together. Second, it’s just a really great story; I was totally sucked in, even though most of the time it’s just a boy (Pi) and a tiger. In that sense, the movie reminded me of Castaway – except I found this movie much more compelling. As with The Impossible, even though I know how the story ended (the adult Pi is telling the story, so it’s obvious from the outset that he makes it), I was nervous every time the tiger growled or sharks circled the raft. Just great storytelling – and now I can’t wait to read the book. Grade: A

(Images via Indiewire, Forbes, and Slate)

Mini Movie Reviews: This is Forty, Django Unchained, & Anna Karenina

One of my blogging changes in the new year is doing away with an individual recap post for each movie I see and condensing them to groups of reviews (probably in threes, like this one). The truth is, I’m (obviously) not a movie critic, and I tend to struggle to come up with enough to fill a whole post; after you’ve written a few of these, every compliment or criticism for a movie starts to sound the same. There will probably be a few films here and there that I have a lot to say about and will do a whole post for (think Les Mis), but for the most part, this is my new format. So here’s what I’ve seen at the movies lately:

this is 40

This is Forty: A common Judd Apatow criticism – movies that are too long and meandering – applies here. More importantly, my main problem with this movie was that I found the protagonists, a married couple played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, a little too unlikeable for me to fully invest in them solving their problems, of which they had many. I think that if I were older and married, this movie might have resonated more (and I might have been more sympathetic to the protagonists), but I mostly found the characters whiny and immature. The highlight was a fantastic supporting cast – Iris and Maude Apatow, as the daughters, almost saved the movie for me. There are also great performances by Chris O’Dowd, Jason Segel, Annie Mumolo, and Melissa McCarthy in smaller roles. Those guys made me laugh, but not enough to turn this into a great movie. Grade: B

django unchained

Django Unchained: If This is Forty was too long, Django was WAY too long. I enjoyed the movie’s first hour (when it was basically a buddy western movie with Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx) tremendously – it was crisp and darkly funny. Once the action moved to the plantation, the movie went off the rails for me. Leonardo DiCaprio, playing the villain, was excellent, but his performance was not enough to redeem the latter two-thirds of the movie. It felt like Django had about five endings and, quite frankly, the non-stop, over-the-top, extreme violence at the movie’s end felt tedious and excessive just for the sake of being excessive – which, I guess, is Tarantino in a nutshell. My ultimate verdict: great performances (Waltz especially), but in major need of editing. Grade: B-

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina: This movie is set largely in a theater and shot as if you’re watching a play – sets are moved in and out, just as they would be on a Broadway stage. That artistic choice seems polarizing; I’ve read several reviews where critics claim it’s a gimmicky distraction. For me, however, the gamble paid off – I thought the transition from scene to scene was beautifully done and fascinating to watch. In fact, this whole movie is gorgeous to see, from the costumes to the sets to the camerawork, and that artistry is worth the price of admission alone, in my book. If it’s not enough for you, luckily the movie also features lots of great performances – my favorites by Matthew Macfadyen as Count Oblonsky (wonderfully outrageous), Jude Law as Karenin (understated but sympathetic and noble), and Alicia Vikander as Kitty (perfect in capturing what it’s like to be young and foolish about love – a feeling most can probably relate to well). Grade: A-

If you’ve seen any of these movies, what did you think? And what other movies did you watch this holiday season?

(Images via Gawker, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and The Seven Sees)

Movie Review: Silver Linings PLaybook

If you were an Alias fan, you knew Bradley Cooper long before he became famous. And on Alias, he played Sydney’s friend Will, a lovable journalist who was sweet but who you felt sorry for, because you just knew Sydney was never going to end up with him. And then, somehow, Cooper transformed from that into a Hollywood actor who, I’m sorry to say, plays a lot of characters who are arrogant jerks. And despite my love for him from his Alias days, I started to wonder if he was kind of that way in real life too.

So you can imagine how wonderful I find it that, in Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper plays a character way against the type he’s been playing lately. As Pat, a man with bi-polar disorder who has just been released from a psychiatric hospital, Cooper is flat-out amazing, veering between crazy and vulnerable with ease. And Jennifer Lawrence, as Tiffany, is the perfect counterpart to Cooper. At first I thought she was too young to play a romantic role against Cooper, but she’s perfect here – Pat and Tiffany seem like true equals. Or, you know, equally crazy.

Besides Cooper and Lawrence’s performances, the other thing I loved about this movie was how it struck the perfect balance between drama and comedy. The subject matter here is kind of grim: Pat is bi-polar. Tiffany is a widow. Pat’s father (played by Robert DeNiro, who, it goes without saying, is awesome) has substantial anger issues of his own. And yet this movie was funny, albeit in a dark way at times. I love that combination – a movie that makes me stop and think about things, but that also makes me laugh.

Silver Linings Playbook draws to a close with a weird and wonderful sequence that involves two bets: one about the Philadelphia Eagles, the other about a dance competition. And I have to say, watching the dance scene unfold is what solidified my overwhelming admiration for this film. I loved, loved, LOVED the dance scene. Seriously, I can’t remember smiling that hard at a movie sequence in a long time. And if a movie about such tough subject matter can make you that happy, then it’s pretty brilliant in my book.

My Grade: A

(Image via MTV)

Movie Review: Skyfall

Confession time: I have never before seen a Bond movie from start to finish. My dad is a big fan, so of course I’ve seen bits and pieces of all the movies over the years, and I’m familiar with the basic premise, characters, and idea behind them. But this was my first time actually going to a theater to watch one.

As a Bond newbie, my big reaction was: this is not what I expected. First, Daniel Craig’s Bond is less sleek and more gritty, and in this movie, he seems downright old at times. I get that Bond (and M) aging was a part of the storyline, but it didn’t seem like typical Bond fare to me and, more important than that, it wasn’t very compelling. Second, this movie was…boring. Despite some cool action sequences, I never felt like much was happening. Sometimes you see a movie that’s roughly 2.5 hours and it breezes by because you’re enjoying it so much. Other times you see a movie that’s roughly 2.5 hours and you are aware of every minute slowly passing by. Guess which one this movie was.

The other thing I found unexpected was how much of the movie truly belongs to Judi Dench, playing M. In fact, part of the reason that this did not seem quite like a Bond movie was that it seemed so much more like an M movie. I can’t really complain about that, however, because Dench was pretty fantastic here – a solid combination of poignantly aging while still fiercely clinging to her old job and old ways. In fact, Dench is so good that I think it becomes a problem for the movie: I found her more compelling than Craig’s Bond in a lot of ways.

Also creepily compelling was Javier Bardem, playing the role of terrifyingly bleached blonde villain Silva. I’ve read several articles saying Bardem should (but probably won’t) get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this role, and while I would not go that far, he is damn good in this movie. I also liked that Silva had a well-defined back story here; he wasn’t just one of those movie villains who randomly wants to cause death and destruction because he’s eeeeeevil. Even though the character was majorly twisted, you could sort of understand how he became that way.

And so Dench and Bardem give great performances here, meaning that I left my first foray into the wild world of Bond thinking that, though Skyfall had some real high points, it was more lackluster than I had expected. If you’ve seen the movie, what do you think? Am I just missing something as a Bond newbie, or was Skyfall really a tad underwhelming?

My Grade: B

(Image via Coventry Observer)

Movie Review: Lincoln

Prior to seeing this movie, I read quite a bit about Daniel Day Lewis’s method acting and his approach to truly embodying the role of Lincoln. The lengths he went to (writing letters to Sally Field and signing them “Abe,” having Steven Spielberg only call him “Mr. President) were incredible. My verdict? It worked, like whoa.

I can’t even adequately describe what it’s like watching him play this role. In fact, it isn’t even like watching him play a role at all. You watch and think, “Oh, there’s Sally Field. There’s Joseph Gordon Levitt. There’s Tommy Lee Jones. There’s Lincoln.” Daniel Day Lewis is Lincoln. Everyone gives fantastic performances, but he is simply on another level (and, let’s be honest, should probably start practicing that Oscar speech now).

The movie’s, and Daniel Day Lewis’s, portrayal of Lincoln is fascinating, and two things stuck out. First, the film really emphasizes Lincoln as a father. I watched a piece on 60 Minutes about how Spielberg’s evolving relationship with his own dad shaped his portrayal of fathers in his movies, and you can definitely see that in play here – there are some extremely poignant scenes of Lincoln with his son, Tad. The second detail I noticed was how the film depicted Lincoln as having a wry sense of humor; I’m not sure if the real Lincoln was like that, but it plays very well in the film.

But what struck me most about the movie was that, despite the Daniel Day Lewis heroics and the film’s own title, it’s not so much about Lincoln as it is about the political process itself. And as a political and legal nerd, I found that incredible to watch. I loved all the behind the scenes strategizing, the impassioned debates on the House floor, and the political scheming (and, let’s be honest, vote buying). To watch this movie is to marvel over how incredible it is when big changes actually happen in Washington – a message that feels just as relevant today as it did in 1865.

My Grade: A

(Image via The Washington Times)