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August 15, 2012 6:01 AM   Subscribe

What makes a memorable movie quote memorable?
A news summary of how they went about it.
A short audio version (via NPR) of the story and research summary.
A Wikipedia list: AFI's 100 years, 100 quotes.
A short list of advertising slogans that fit the research model for movie quote memorability.
The research paper (automatic PDF download).

To automatically serve yourself up a .zippy helping of movie quotes, click here. This downloadable portion consists 894014 movie script lines from 1068 movie scripts. Additional nutritional bits found here!

Perhaps you'd prefer a heaping, metadata-rich plate of fictional conversations extracted from freshly picked raw movie scripts (contents contain 220,579 beans conversational exchanges between 10,292 movie character pairs in one giant serving!)

Or maybe you wanna take the test...Well, do ya, punk?
posted by iamkimiam (65 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
iamkimiam, this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:04 AM on August 15, 2012


I'm getting too old for this shit.
posted by thelonius at 6:04 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's hard not to be skeptical of the AFI list when a good number of them are universally remembered differently than they were actually spoken. The classic example is #28, "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By.'", but #11, #20, #26, #36, etc. all seem to fall into the same category.
posted by Ickster at 6:16 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for participating!

You got 9 out of 12 correct!

(On average, people get 9 out of 12 questions correct.)


What is this? Lake Woebegone?
posted by three blind mice at 6:18 AM on August 15, 2012


Also one of the top 100 quotes should be the entirety of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:20 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


No, all the kids are above average there.
(I got 10)
posted by TedW at 6:21 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great, now my Facebook wall will be filled with movie quotes for the next year.
posted by COD at 6:21 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


(responding to three blind mice)
posted by TedW at 6:21 AM on August 15, 2012


We're getting the band back together AND we're on a mission from God.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:26 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


On the flipside, what makes a movie line memorable enough to quote, but not correctly?
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:31 AM on August 15, 2012


No ma'am, we're musicians.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:32 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


For me, this is the difference between the original Star Wars trilogy and the new. Not a week goes by where "Laugh it up fuzzball" or "I find your lack of faith disturbing" isn't repeated in my household. As for the new, I can't recall a single line.
posted by pashdown at 6:34 AM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


"You have failed me for the last time" is fun to say to computers, coworkers, and household pets or appliances
posted by thelonius at 6:37 AM on August 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Well, I do remember lines from episode I, in particular, .."are you an angel?", spoken by player-to-be Anakin Skywalker to Queen Amidalia. Lordy, kid, that line ain't gonna get you any on this third rock from the sun nor from a galaxy, far, far away.
posted by jadepearl at 6:39 AM on August 15, 2012


What did that woman who is making all the noise order?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:41 AM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, some movie lines have near infinite quotability because they have genuine applicability and sincere meaning in real life. For example, when someone is leaving the house: "Have fun storming the castle!" Or to shine on some mockery: "laugh it up, furball." And in business meetings that have devolved to chaos, standing up and saying, "I will take it. I will take the ring to Mordor."
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:43 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know how to whistle, don't you? You just forcefully expel air through an aperture formed by your pursed lips.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:47 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


A brief technical derail: anyone interested in the paper might want to check out a couple of things from this year's NAACL Workshop on Computational Linguistics for Literature:

There were two papers on identifying quotable passages from text (PDF links):
A Dictionary of Wisdom and Wit: Learning to Extract Quotable Phrases (Michael Bendersky and David Smith)
Mining Wisdom (Anders Søgaard)
posted by (parenthetic me) at 6:49 AM on August 15, 2012


Go go go go go!
Move move move move!
Walk with me.
It's more X than you can possibly imagine.
(anything, but the speaker is unnaturally orange or teal-colored)

Well, I find these things memorable. That cause me to remember how much the movie sucks.
posted by JHarris at 6:53 AM on August 15, 2012


Glad to see my alma mater remains focused on the important stuff.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:54 AM on August 15, 2012


Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
posted by meadowlark lime at 6:54 AM on August 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


For obvious reasons, I say "No pathetic excuses!" a lot.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:07 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


On St. Patrick's Day this year, one of my housemates and his friend had spent the day fishing. They returned with three giant cod which they wanted nothing to do with (they don't like fish and didn't want to clean/gut them). So I happily took the fish, cleaned/gutted them (with the help of YouTube) and froze them for later. We ended up throwing a dinner party, invited a lot of friends and ordered takeout. During the night everybody asked why the kitchen smelled like fish (since we were in fact eating chicken and beef), so the story of their outing and the consequent fish gutting was retold often. My housemate and his friend eventually had to leave for other plans. As they were heading out the door, I waved and yelled, "So long, and thanks for all the fish!"

Nobody there got it. The moment passed and I died a little inside. I mean really, when would somebody ever get the chance to say that?! Stupid humans.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:13 AM on August 15, 2012 [33 favorites]


There was one?
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 7:13 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"It's a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart."

That's the only movie quote that has ever really stuck with me. Bonus being, quoted for truth.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:24 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Payoff lines that achieve their effect because of the situation in which they are placed are much to be preferred to self-standing witticisms and wisecracks. Fitting into the context is virtually the definition of good dialogue. To appreciate this you need only consider the effect of the most famous line of dialogue in the history of drama: "To be or not to be..." It means entirely different things depending on whether it is spoken i) by Hamlet in Hamlet (III/1), ii) a passer-by in the street, or iii) a theatre prompter (Adolf Licho) in the movie To Be or Not to Be .

"Thus a line of dialogue which appears totally unremarkable outside its context may strike the spectator as particularly resonant when set in an appropriate situation."

-- Yves Lavandier
posted by steinsaltz at 7:53 AM on August 15, 2012


Great, now my Facebook wall will be filled with movie quotes for the next year.

That wasn't sarcasm, was it? I can think of worse things posted on a Facebook wall. Like, everything else.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:55 AM on August 15, 2012


Also, that's a big twinkie.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:56 AM on August 15, 2012


Whenever I meet someone named Richter, I can't help but yell at him with delight "SEE YOU AT THE PARTY RICHTER!" as I throw his arms down the elevator shaft.
posted by Auden at 8:09 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"So, that happened."
posted by From Bklyn at 8:12 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps you'd prefer a heaping, metadata-rich plate of fictional conversations

Shit just got real.
posted by cortex at 8:23 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any quote list that has nothing on it from The Last Detail is necessarily an incomplete list.

"If I was a Marine, I wouldn't have to fuck with no thirteen buttons. I'd just take off my hat."
"I'd like to drink a toast to Batman, Superman, and....The Human Torch!"

Ah, if you love yourself some young Jack Nicholson, you have to see this movie.
posted by King Bee at 8:36 AM on August 15, 2012


A Facebook group I started with a friend, Real Fans for Real Movies, (all are welcome to join btw; it can get rough though, so enter at your own risk), had one person innocently ask members to comment with a quote from a movie if they so wished. The post lasted weeks atop the group wall because everyone would just add a line.

It’d get buried with some reviews and pictures but someone would eventually scroll down far enough and post a new line or quote and so the post would shoot to the top of the group wall again.

We had been quoting from a lot of movies throughout the year, but this post for some particular reason received the most responses ever, something over a 1000 comments.
posted by Mikon6 at 8:36 AM on August 15, 2012


(all are welcome to join btw; it can get rough though, so enter at your own risk)

I am frightened to ask what is meant by this.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:37 AM on August 15, 2012


Nobody fucks with the Jesus.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:38 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Nobody fucks with the Jesus.


I'm incredulous that Lebowski & Raising Arizona got frozen out.

On the other hand, Casablanca owns about half of it, so they got that part right.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:41 AM on August 15, 2012


Many, many sites have been nuked from orbit over the years. It is the only way to be sure.
posted by BeeDo at 8:41 AM on August 15, 2012


but at the same time are built upon a scaffolding of common syntactic patterns.
And where would an enterprising copywriter or screenwriter find those common syntactic patterns?

Why, in ancient rhetoric, of course!
posted by notyou at 8:43 AM on August 15, 2012


er, classical rhetoric.
posted by notyou at 8:45 AM on August 15, 2012


@shakespeherian I am frightened to ask what is meant by this.

It just means everybody is super opinionated and passionate about their tastes, but there has been some FB fighting, standard stuff with FB though right?

My friend and I do try to moderate though and so we're careful there's no all out hate, etc.
posted by Mikon6 at 8:46 AM on August 15, 2012


Why, I have too-passionate opinions about films! Mayhap I shall pay visit to this locale.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:47 AM on August 15, 2012


I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.
posted by George Lucas at 8:51 AM on August 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yes, @shakespeherian, go for it. I think you'll like it.
posted by Mikon6 at 8:54 AM on August 15, 2012


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "It's a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart."

What the hell is that singin'?
posted by Reverend John at 9:00 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You wanna be a farmer? Here's a couple of achers!
posted by Anything at 9:10 AM on August 15, 2012


I keep trying to work this into a conversation:

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.
posted by randomkeystrike at 9:22 AM on August 15, 2012


Some motherfucker's always trying to ice skate uphill.
posted by zix at 9:22 AM on August 15, 2012


12 out of 12! I'm smrt!
posted by trip and a half at 9:41 AM on August 15, 2012


As I was reading this, I thought to myself, "iamkimiam would really be interested in this!"
posted by Mister_A at 9:43 AM on August 15, 2012


Impressive.


Although it's really only quotable if you can make yourself sound like James Earl Jones.
posted by Ickster at 9:48 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.
posted by George Lucas at 11:51 AM on August 15 [+] [!]


George, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can't say it.
posted by Aznable at 10:05 AM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dying ain't much of a living.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:09 AM on August 15, 2012


If they ever calculate what movie has the highest percentage of memorable lines, it has to be The Sweet Smell of Success. It has so many snappy, badass lines that you need a smoking' 50s jazz quintet following you around to syncopate your dialogue when you say them.

"Cat's in the bag, bag's in the river."
"You are in moral twilight."
"You're a man of 40 faces, all duplicitous and none too pretty."
"You're a cookie filled with arsenic. I'd hate to take a bite out of you."
posted by jonp72 at 10:12 AM on August 15, 2012


Ha. I didn't realize until now that the two episode titles for Breaking Bad "Cat's in the bag" and "And the bag's in the river" were from that movie!
posted by iamkimiam at 11:50 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Often a quote is made by its delivery, not its archness or cleverness or pith. I give you this example:

How'd it get burned.

Nothing when written. But when delivered by a skilled -- and possibly mad -- actor, it becomes a symphony.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:03 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Never get out of the goddammed boat"
posted by clavdivs at 12:05 PM on August 15, 2012


Every time I set an out of office email autoresponse, I have to grit my teeth to resist making it say "I am on vacation until ----. You are an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill."
posted by thelonius at 12:27 PM on August 15, 2012


The task at hand calls for a larger vessel!
posted by Mister_A at 12:28 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


You take the blonde, I'll take the one in the turban.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:56 PM on August 15, 2012


But seriously, "Show me the money!" over Hauer's deathbed speech in Blade Runner?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:30 PM on August 15, 2012


Let me tell you about my mother.
posted by Twang at 8:18 PM on August 15, 2012


I totally bombed that test. I suspect the memorability of a line frequently depends on the context it was put into originally.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:36 PM on August 15, 2012


What I don't understand about the AFI list is why they have "Open the pod bay doors, HAL" and not the line that comes right after it. Makes no sense.
posted by palidor at 8:55 PM on August 15, 2012


Leave the gun, take the cannoli.
posted by crossoverman at 5:21 AM on August 19, 2012


In other news, Citizen Kane no longer best film ever, toppled by the recent blockbuster Vertigo.
posted by Anything at 6:42 AM on August 19, 2012


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