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June 22, 2005

AFI's Top 100 Movie Quotes

If you care about these dumb lists.

I find this list especially lame. These are all very well-known lines, but... they're sort of not free-standing. They depend on context. LIke, the line "Plastics" is cited for The Graduate.

They're not the greatest quotes in movie history, they're merely the best-known.

I suppose just citing the "Plastics" line conjures up the whole exchange (which is, I admit, sort of funny, or at least I used to think so). But "Here's Johnny!," "They're here!," and and "Is it safe?" are good lines in context, but what the hell do they mean outside of the movie?

More interesting I think would be a real list of the genuine best quotes from movies. Quotes that say something on their own, either a bit of wisdom or a put-down or boast or an ironic take on life, rather than just referencing the fact that there are poltergeists in the television.

It would be a tricky list, because lines are written to tell a story rather than impart wisdom, or they should be at least, and attempts to wax philosophical in movies are often embarassing or obvious (in that you can see the writer's fingers hitting the keys as he takes a stab at greatness). Still, there's a lot of quotes that have unobtrusively both served the story and said something that makes sense out of the context of the movie.

Gotta admit, I don't mind this one:

98. "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," "Dirty Dancing," 1987.

It's so ridiculous it has to be on the list. And it really is quotable outside the movie (even though I've never seen the whole movie and, in fact, didn't even ever see this line actually spoken).

People love saying "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." And it just doesn't jump the shark. I guess maybe because the line jumped the shark so hard the first moment it was even written, it is therefore immunized against all further shark-jumping through repetition.

Thanks to Chickpea.

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posted by Ace at 12:39 PM

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