Monday, September 21, 2009

Salute to Screenwriters - Best Movie Lines

With the recent news about the passing of beloved actor Patrick Swayze, we've all been reminded of his quality work as an actor. In particular, the delivery of the moving dialogue from the movie Ghost, and the memorable line, "It's amazing Molly, the love inside - you take it with you!" I smile when I'm reminded of Patrick Swayze's talent, and that line has even new meaning now that he's passed away. The other day I also thought about the talent of the person who wrote those moving words. Yes, the actors are amazingly talented, the photography and music and wardrobe and sets are superb, but the words - those words, are emotion generating and unforgettable.

Now that I'm a writer, I watch movies differently, as I'm sure most authors do. Even though at times I wish I didn't, I always pay close attention to the use of symbolism, the unfolding of story, and of course, the writing - just as I would when reading a novel. Sometimes actors garner the credit, as they should, though rarely, if ever, does your average moviegoer exit a theatre and say, "Whoever wrote that movie should win an Academy Award."

One group of words does not make a movie, but it can cause us to walk away reciting a line or two that sticks with us. Those unforgettable lines that sealed a scene and moved us to laughter or to tears. This is a salute to those who write movie scripts - works written with mainly dialogue - those gifted screenwriters who bring a story to life with words.

This week, my favorite line is from the movie Ghost, but it changes depending upon what a certain line means to me at a particular time. That's part of the joy of spending a Sunday afternoon watching movies, especially the ones I've already seen - a movie I know will deliver quality dialogue, time after time. This coming Sunday, in honor of Patrick Swayze, that movie will be Ghost.

What is your favorite or most memorable movie line? Here's to the writer whose mind's eye birthed those words. From novel writer to screenwriter - write on!

And by the way, writer Bruce Joel Rubin did win an Academy Award for Best Original Sceenplay in 1990 for Ghost- cheers!


Genella deGrey said...

Not a day goes by when I don't quote a movie. In '04 when I went to New Orleans with my friend Fallon, we made a game out of quoting movies at every turn.

Here are a couple off the top of my head that I quote weekly if not daily:

"Well, bye." - Tombstone

"Screws fall out all the time. The world's an imperfect place." - Breakfast Club.

Can't think of any more - but they happen when the occasion calls for it.

Liane Spicer said...

"Go ahead. Make my day." Clint Eastwood, Sudden Impact

There are so many others that have become part of the idiom. I never used to think of screenwriters, but over the last ten years I often do, especially when I hear a particularly clever bit of dialogue.

Farrah Rochon said...

There are so, so many, yet I can't think of a single one. G, I love that one for The Breakfast Club.

Unknown said...

"The world is mine and everything in it." From Scarface.

"REDRUM" From The Shining.

"One game, one-on-one."
"For what?"
"Your heart."
[. . .}
"Hey -- double or nothing."
From Love and Basketball

And my favorite line that wasn't a line at all would be from Set it Off. (Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett). At the end when Jada makes the phone call and says nothing, the look on Blair Underwood's face is priceless.

Alexis J. said...

Farrah, I agree - Genella, I, too, love the "Screws fall out all the time . . " quote. :-)) The writer has obviously lived a little. Liane, I wonder if the writer knew how often "Go ahead. Make my day," would be repeated. Sooo memorable! Stephanie, good ones!! I use that line from Love & Basketball all the time, usually when I'm playing Scrabble. :-) And I give a head nod when you say some lines aren't lines, but looks. I watched Set it Off recently. Sometimes, silence speaks louder. That was a dramatic and heartfelt scene. Nice!!

Phyllis Bourne said...

My favorite movie lines are from Finding Forrester, where Sean Connery plays a reclusive writer mentoring a young teen.

"No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!"

Short Person's Mom said...

It's sappy and romantic, but I still love the line, "I'd rather fight with you than make love to anyone else." ~The Wedding Date

There are also about a million lines from Steel Magnolias that stick with me, but right now the one on the forefront is "Ouisa could never stay mad at me, she worships the quicksand I walk on."

"Life is like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get."