Courtesy of kottke
Somehow I found myself watching the
AFI 100 Best Movie Quotes show last night on TV. Don't know why, but I did. And as usual, I tended to agree with many of the choices, if not the order. But also, as usual, they forgot to actually credit the writer of the lines, ascribing the words to either the director or the actor who delivered them. In some cases, like the Godfather or Apocalypse Now, it was (at least partially) the same person ("The Godfather" and "The Godfather, Part II" by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo based on Puzo's novel (The Godfather), and "Apocalypse Now " by John Millius and FF Coppola, with narration by Michael Herr) but in many other instances it just pisses me off to see the creators of the work nearly universally ignored.
How about Paddy Chayefsky?
At least the list helps correct some mis-remembered quotes like these:
26. "Why don't you come up sometime and see me?", "She Done Him Wrong," 1933 by Harvey F. Thew and John Bright based on the play "Diamond Lil" by Mae West
(You always hear "Why don't you come up and see me sometime?")
36. "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!", "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," 1948 by John Huston based on the novel by B Traven
(Everyone gets this one wrong as "We don't need no stinkin' badges".)
A few of these seem totally arbitrary. I mean who actually remembers that line from "On Golden Pond" (Ernest Thompson)?
And "Dead Poets Society" ("Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary", Tom Schulman) or "Moonstruck" ("Snap out of it!" John Patrick Shanley) ahead of "I'll get you my pretty and your little dog, too" (Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf, plus uncredited help from Irving Brecher, William H. Cannon, Herbert Fields, Arthur Freed, Jack Haley, E.Y. Harburg, Samuel Hoffenstein, Bert Lahr, John Lee Mahin, Herman J. Mankiewicz, Jack Mintz, Sid Silvers)? Crikey!
But who can't be thrilled to see the great work of Brian Doyle-Murray, Harold Ramis and Douglas Kenney take its rightful place in the cannon:
"Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac ... It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole!" "Caddyshack," 1980.
Okay, so they're putting up a Bewitched statue in Salem, MA.
Best comment I heard on this was attributed to a member of the Salem City Council to the effect that installing a statue of Samantha Stevens in Salem, MA is like putting a statue of Colonel Clink at Auschwitz.
Could that be the sound of a lightbulb going off over the head of a Nick at Nite marketing genius?
as a reader, I do seek to be moved, even as I remain alive to the traps of sentiment that are cheap and easy and, worst of all, manipulative.
I often find that the parts of my own work that I must watch most closely are those which delve into emotional terrain. And yet, despite the pitfalls, those passages are often the most rewarding to get right.
Here's a paragraph I spent hours on, trying to figure out a way to describe how much a guy loves his daughter:
Menscher stood in the doorway, letting his eyes adjust to the light filtering into the room from the nightlight in the bathroom, his ears becoming attuned to the sound of her breathing. Gradually he was able to untangle the visual puzzle of long limbs, brown hair and pink sheets to recognize that she was sailing east-northeast in her northward-bound bed. Holding his breath, he crossed the creaking floor to primly cover one leg with the sheet even though it was warm enough to sleep without covers.
Re-reading it now, the writing still feels a little on-the-nose, but I'm trying to encode some pretty complex emotions in there.
Once again Mr. Cruft shows me the way to geeky cool-ness. In this case it is MyBlogLog a service that tracks where people go after they leave this site. Why do I care? I care because I'm curious about what (if anything) people find interesting on my site.
These kinds of services are out there in the commercial world, but this is a cool free one. (Okay, there is a 'pro' version which costs all of $25 a year and has more bells and whistles, but you can definitely get some cool info in the free one.)