Friday, February 13, 2009

"You're insulting them and you're embarassing me."

Here's where we diverge a bit from my "favorite" lines. I don't particularly like this line, but it's quite representative of why everyone hates Temple of Doom. My feelings for it aren't quite as nagative as the general populace, but I see where people are coming from.

So after Indy, Short Round and Willie Scott crash into the mountains and eventually ride an inflatable raft down into India (yeah, I know), they end up in a hut in a desolate Indian village. The locals think Indy is their savior because as a prophecy predicted, he "fall from sky," so they give them what little food they have. Only Willie is a used to the finer things in life so she refuses to eat. Indy gets quietly furious with her and says under his breath. "You're insulting them and embarassing me."

Why did I include this line? Because it could have been uttered by the audience watching this film. Kate Capshaw's character was so irritating that this line captured exactly how we all felt in the theater. Our intelligence was insulted and we were embarassed at every bit of whining intolerance spewing forth from the carefully painted mouth of Willie Scott. Ugh.

Friday, January 2, 2009

"What are we gonna do?"

This line has always blown me away. But if you're not immediately familiar with the sequence leading to it, here it is.

The night before the fight with Apollo, Rocky goes out for a walk to think about things, a trip that includes a stop by the arena and a brief chat with the promoter. He returns to his apartment, sits down on the bed and says to a sleeping Adrian, "I can't do it." She groggily responds, "What?" Rocky says, "I can't beat him." Adrian asks, "Apollo?" Rocky explains, "Yeah. I been out there walkin' around, thinkin'. I mean, who am I kiddin'? I ain't even in the guy's league." And then after a brief pause, Adrian asks, "What are we gunna do?"

But it's more what she doesn't say that makes that line so memorable. She doesn't say, "You can beat him!" She doesn't say, "What are you talking about, you're great!" She doesn't say, "Oh you're just nervous, go to sleep." She offers neither encouragement nor a solution, she simply asks, "What are we gunna do?"

It says so much about the complexity of her character and the simplicity of their relationship that Adrian accepts Rocky's lamentation immediately. Maybe it's her lack of experience with adult relationships that causes her to avoid any false support. Or maybe it's her tacit belief that Rocky is right about everything that leads to her easy acceptance. But something about that line is just RIGHT.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"You' number one."

In "Batman", there is a scene where Jack Palance is convincing Jack Nicholson to take on the task that will ultimately lead to the creation of The Joker. Palance grabs Nicholson's shoulders and says, "...because you're..." and then he makes this weird inhaling hiss sound, " number one."

Something always struck me as bizarre about that scene and it took me years to figure it out. Palance is explicitly stating that Nicholson is his toadie. And the latter's actions prove it. Why is that strange? Well, how many times in his career has Nicholson taken on that role? He's always the dominant character and never answers to anyone other than his arrogant self. We're so used to seeing the "Cuckoo's Nest" Jack, the "Shining" Jack, even the "As Good as it Gets" Jack that you just know he can't remain sebverient for long. In this case we're right, and it only takes immersion in acid for the watershed moment to occur.

Perfect line.

"Good. For a minute there I thought we were talking about a FUCKING MASK!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone hates this movie. Not me. Vanilla Sky is constantly criticized for being a self-indulgent piece of Cameron Crap that steals its only positive (the story) from Abre Los Ojos, the South American film that also starred Penelope Cruz. But for some reason Vanilla Sky always cheers me up. I don't know if its the irresistably cute Cruz or the fact the Tom Cruise has a mangled face for half the movie, but something in this film is just extremely hopeful.

Anyway, the reason that line always sticks in my head is because it's the one time in Cruise's career he's uttered anything remotely funny. And best of all, he doesn't follow up the line with that creepy, over-the-top laugh of his.

"Shut up, Mr. Burton."

Let's start with the name of the blog. Late in "Big Trouble in Little China" when Jack & Co. infiltrate David Lo Pan's palace, Jack is running his mouth when the decrepit, crippled version of Lo Pan snaps at him. This line kills me for so many reasons. First, it's the way Lo Pan phrases it. It comes out like "Shaht ahp...", which sounds approximately nothing like a thousand-year-old Chinese guy would say it. Second, for some reason it scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. I'm not sure why that was. A half-dead, wheelchair-bound Asian man says "shut up" and I remember thinking, "Uh oh, this guy means business. Don't say anything Jack, he's already mad!"