Longing for the Lines That Had Us at Hello

Summary

Are quotable movie lines becoming a lost art? The New York Times investigates. Back to Article

Comments

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

I've long thought that "It's not who I am underneath, but what I DO, that defines me" from "Batman Begins" is a great line. I used that one a lot around the time of the movie's release and still use it now from time to time.

Oct 20 - 12:08 PM

Sean A.

Sean Altly

While it's been overdone to death on the internet, I really believe people will still be quoting the Dark Knight's "Why so serious?" line for years to come. I'd say that's the most recent enduring movie one-liner I can think of.

Oct 20 - 12:57 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

My favorite, oft-repeated quote from Dark Knight is "Come on! Hit me!!" I almost lost my voice yelling that thing over and over and over again. :)

Oct 20 - 07:15 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

In terms of language and linguistics, This New Generation isn't as COMPLEX and witty as previous generations.

The further we move away from Shakespeare the less complex the meanings in our sentences will be.

Hence, witness the Intellectual Wealth found in Shakesearse language and compare it to the Intellectual Poverty of Hollywood's "If it Bleeds We Can Kill It" "modern writing"

Every line in Shakespeare's opening soliloquy of RICHARD III is PACKED with PRISMATIC meaning.

Linguistics: Intellectual Wealth vs. Intellectual Poverty

From: Bardweb dot net
Now is the winter of our discontent
As Shakespeare often does, he uses a trochaic inversion to begin the speech; otherwise, the line scans normally. Note how Shakespeare uses metaphor in this line and the one that follows, comparing the Yorkist ascension to the throne to a change in seasons. Discontent in this context can either denote "dissatisfaction" or "sorrow"; given Richard's character, it is more likely the former.
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
The completion of the metaphor is arguably a line of strict iambic pentameter. This presumes that glorious is pronounced more like "GLOR-yus" than "GLOR-e-us," but the scansion would seem to indicate that intent. Sun is a pun in this line, playing upon the word son.

And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house;
In this straightforwardly iambic line, Richard extends the metaphor by comparing the erstwhile reign of Lancaster to the gloom of a cloudy sky, playing upon the "sun of York" line that precedes it. Lour'd?Shakespeare uses the apostrophe to signal that "loured" should absolutely not be pronounced as "louréd"?is an archaism (from the Middle English louren; probably deriving from Middle High German luren "to lie in wait") that meant "to look sullen; to frown upon." The reference to "our house" refers primarily to the family of York, although it could also play off one of its meanings as "the management of domestic affairs" (referring to the War of the Roses).
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
This line demonstrates another common occurrence in Shakespeare's blank verse, in which he begins an iambic line with a pyrrhic followed by a spondee. Sometimes it's used to reinforce meaning; other times, as it seems here, it merely adds a rhythmic changeup to the speech. The line also breaks up the iambic regularity by employing a feminine ending (an extra unstressed syllable). Notice also how Shakespeare uses ellipsis to omit the implied "are" in the line, helping to maintain the meter.

Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;This line employs a pair of trochaic inversions back to back. Victorious seems to warrant the same pronunciation as glorious in the second line above. As tasty and well known as this soliloquy is, its dramatic pitfall is that it's the opening speech of the play. Richard is serving as his own chorus here. So what we have over the course of the ensuing 23 lines is largely exposition of backstory and character. It may be well written, but it's still a character telling the audience everything they need to know to understand what's going to happen in the next five acts.
Our bruiséd arms hung up for monuments;Note in this line how the acute "e" (é) serves as another metrical road sign. Much like the apostrophe in "lour'd" signals the speaker not to pronounce the "ed" as an extra syllable, the é is the poet's way of ensuring that bruiséd is pronounced as two syllables rather than one. The phrase bruiséd arms in context can be read as a slight double entendre; it can refer to both weapons (as bruised's archaic meaning of "battered or dented") or limbs (as bruised's more traditional meaning of "contused or wounded").

Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,Another line, another feminine ending. Alarums here is an archaic version of alarms, which derives from the Middle English alarme (alarom) via the Middle French alarme, which in turn derives from the Old Italian all'arme (literally meaning "to the arms"). Richard's comparison also employs antithesis and alliteration in this construction and the one that follows.
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Like its predecessor, this line employs a feminine ending; scanning the "to" as unstressed is debatable but makes sense given the construction and the sense of the line. This is also a great example of how Shakespeare tightly combines rhythm, sound, and rhetoric within an individual line. In addition to the stressed syllables of blank verse, Shakespeare uses both antithesis and alliteration to highlight the opposite ideas here. Dreadful contrasts delightful, and marches (denoting the drum-dominated compositions typically used to accompany soldiers in marching) contrasts measures (denoting more melodious and formal dance compositions)

Grim-visaged War hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
The line begins with a spondee, but is otherwise straightforward iambic pentameter. This line begins a transitional turn in

Oct 20 - 01:14 PM

dodgerblue

Bruce Wayne

I disagree vehemently with this article. If anything this only shows the journalist's age and unwillingness to enjoy new movies. My friends and I quote nonstop from movies as recent as Star Trek ["FIRE EVERYTHING", "Who was that pointy eared bastard?" "I dont know. But I like him!"] and The Hurt Locker ["You know we can shoot people here, right? You dont have to throw wrenches"].

The New York Times is a great newspaper, but this article is exceedingly stupid, uninformed and wrong.

Oct 20 - 03:44 PM

dodgerblue

Bruce Wayne

Actually, I dont disagree. This article is just flat out wrong.

Oct 20 - 04:01 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Article fails to take into account nostalgia. Lines like" take'em to the matresses" and "here's lookin at you kid" have gained much more significance thru the years. Pixar alone is a treasure trove of quotes. V for vendetta, Any of Eastwoods new movies, Gladiator, though my personal favorite has to come from Ken Jeong in The Hangover "You gonna fuck on meeee!?!"

Oct 20 - 04:43 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Even though it truly has to be seen in context, as cringe-worthy as that Leslie Chao scene in "Hangover" was, the line I remember the most is "So long, gay boys!"

The flippant way in which he says it, and pointing at how obviously gay the character himself is, makes it hilarious.

Oct 20 - 07:20 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yeah, he was so delightfully over the top. Love Ken Jeong. He can do so many styles of comedy well. He's the anti-cera.

Oct 20 - 07:37 PM

v-alexander-the-great

victor alexander

I actually completely agree with this article, I've been saying this since 2007. To me the best movies are the ones with lines that become engrained in pop culture. It's not as simple as saying "Oh, my friends and I quote nonstop"...that just makes you sound like a nerd.

The FEW examples of lines that have stuck around in the past few years would be "Why so Serious", several of Borat's quips, "I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!", "Hello, I want to play a game", "THIS IS SPARTA!". Maybe something from Twilight?

But yeah, I think internet memes are the new "quotable quotes". Those and stuff from Jersey Shore.

Oct 20 - 04:52 PM

dodgerblue

Bruce Wayne

You realize all those examples are all from the last 4 or 5 years right? You just gave me 6-8 examples of movie quotes people say all the time all from movies from the last 4-5 years. Thats more than one "quotable quote" as you put it per year.

And "makes me sound like a nerd"? Quoting The Hurt Locker makes me a nerd? As Dr. Cox would say, "WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG! WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG! YOURE WRONG! YOURE WRONG! YOURE WRONG!"

Oct 20 - 05:26 PM

Rorrim P.

Rorrim Productions

Well he is right in the sense that just because my friends and I quote a movie constantly doesn't necessarily make that line a staple of pop culture in the same vein as other classic lines. There are too many responses here by posters who use themselves as evidence that a line is quotable.

But I disagree with him and this article. There are far too many lines from movies in the past decade to completely write it off as unquotable.

Oct 21 - 12:28 AM

dodgerblue

Bruce Wayne

You realize all those examples are all from the last 4 or 5 years right? You just gave me 6-8 examples of movie quotes people say all the time all from movies from the last 4-5 years. Thats more than one "quotable quote" as you put it per year.

And "makes me sound like a nerd"? Quoting The Hurt Locker makes me a nerd? As Dr. Cox would say, "WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG! WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG! YOURE WRONG! YOURE WRONG! YOURE WRONG!"

Oct 20 - 05:26 PM

Rorrim P.

Rorrim Productions

Well he is right in the sense that just because my friends and I quote a movie constantly doesn't necessarily make that line a staple of pop culture in the same vein as other classic lines. There are too many responses here by posters who use themselves as evidence that a line is quotable.

But I disagree with him and this article. There are far too many lines from movies in the past decade to completely write it off as unquotable.

Oct 21 - 12:28 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

There have been some great lines throughout modern cinema. Look at any of Christopher Nolan's films, There Will Be Blood, 300, etc.

Oct 20 - 05:40 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Speaking of Daniel Day Lewis I always liked his dialog in Gangs of New York. When he describes how" it was the finest beating I ever took..." one of cinemas great movie badasses.

Oct 20 - 07:41 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Yeah, and the line about the five burroughs coming together to make a fist.... epic stuff right there!

Oct 21 - 08:17 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

My favorite, oft-repeated quote from Dark Knight is "Come on! Hit me!!" I almost lost my voice yelling that thing over and over and over again. :)

Oct 20 - 07:15 PM

Stepping Razor

Stepping Razor

Even though it truly has to be seen in context, as cringe-worthy as that Leslie Chao scene in "Hangover" was, the line I remember the most is "So long, gay boys!"

The flippant way in which he says it, and pointing at how obviously gay the character himself is, makes it hilarious.

Oct 20 - 07:20 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yeah, he was so delightfully over the top. Love Ken Jeong. He can do so many styles of comedy well. He's the anti-cera.

Oct 20 - 07:37 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yeah, he was so delightfully over the top. Love Ken Jeong. He can do so many styles of comedy well. He's the anti-cera.

Oct 20 - 07:37 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Speaking of Daniel Day Lewis I always liked his dialog in Gangs of New York. When he describes how" it was the finest beating I ever took..." one of cinemas great movie badasses.

Oct 20 - 07:41 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Yeah, and the line about the five burroughs coming together to make a fist.... epic stuff right there!

Oct 21 - 08:17 PM

Rorrim P.

Rorrim Productions

Well he is right in the sense that just because my friends and I quote a movie constantly doesn't necessarily make that line a staple of pop culture in the same vein as other classic lines. There are too many responses here by posters who use themselves as evidence that a line is quotable.

But I disagree with him and this article. There are far too many lines from movies in the past decade to completely write it off as unquotable.

Oct 21 - 12:28 AM

What's Hot On RT

Critics Consensus
Critics Consensus

Transcendence is a Sci-Fi Snooze

Total Recall
Total Recall

Johnny Depp's Best Movies

24 Frames
24 Frames

Picture gallery of movie bears

Good Friday
Good Friday

50 movie posters gallery

Find us on:                 
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile