Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just One Line

I must be on a movie kick or something. Have you ever noticed that certain lines from popular or hit movies are the lines that would sound stupid or make very little sense except for the brilliance of the delivery?

I’m thinking It’s all in the execution. Has to do with the character, the vocal tone, accents, and most importantly, the ability of the actor saying the line. Do you agree?

We already discussed, “Never say die.” So how about some other great lines from movies. Consider the following:

“Failure is not an option.” And “Houston, we have a problem.” ~Apollo 13

“You had me at hello.” ~Jerry McGuire

“I see dead people.” ~The Sixth Sense

"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you." ~Star Wars, The Phantom Menace

“Luke, I am your father.” ~Empire Strikes Back

"My Mama always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get.'"
“Mama says, ‘Stupid is as stupid does.’” And “Run, Forrest, Run!” ~Forrest Gump

"Are you crying? There's no crying! There's no crying in baseball!" ~A League of Their Own

"I want the fairy tale." ~Pretty Woman

“That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.” ~Babe

All memorable quotes, right? But while most of us can probably imagine the exact scene from which each quote was spoken, none of the lines has anything else in common with the others. So what makes them so memorable?

Character, scene, situation, and story combined with timing. These same techniques can also combine to create quoteable lines in books.

What are some of your favorite memorable lines? And how can we write lines like this into our books?

Okay, I can’t resist. Who knows what movie this is from: “Hey, there are skittles in there!”

7 comments:

lotusgirl said...

I knew all the ones except the quiz one at the end. Ah well.

Tess said...

skittles? I don't know...but I want to!

Kellie said...

great post. It's something I'd never thought of before.

L.T. Elliot said...

Dang! I love movie lines and I have no idea where that last one comes from! *shakes fists at sky* Noooo!

One of my favorite movie lines is from The Painted Veil with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. All he says is: "Does it matter?" And it is the single, most powerful line in that movie. Incredible.

Michael Knudsen said...

"You're gonna need a bigger boat."

--Richard Dreyfuss, JAWS

I still see that one whenever I see a large, threatening sea creature. And even sometimes when it's just an ugly goldfish.

http://michaelknudsenauthor.com

C. K. Bryant said...

OH, OH! I know this one. "Hangover"

My favorite line from a movie? Hmmm: "She just likes me for my body."

Any guesses???

ali said...

"Never give up! Never surrender!" Galaxy Quest.

"Big badda boom" from Fifth Element.

"She's alive!" from Weird Science.

These movies produced several lines that we still say in my family, lol. That and Wayne's World and So I Married an Axe Murderer.

I'd say they're all kind of iconic, larger than life, so their witty lines stick with you longer. :)