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Unquotable quotes

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My coworker has insisted that I have to see Old School, that it was just the funniest movie in ages. The day it came out he rushed out to buy it, watched it immediately, and has been quoting lines from the movie ever since. I should know by now, having suffered through previous suggestions of movies from him, such as my “most-loathed movie of all time” pick – the atrocious Saving Silverman. Alas, I somehow get talked into watching these awful movies, and even at the price I paid – free – I feel I was grossly ripped off.

I just read Roger Ebert’s review and, in lieu of wasting any more of my not-so-precious time on this excuse of a movie, I suggest you read it yourself. It’s exactly how I feel about it. Except he doesn’t mention the overabundance of Will Ferrel’s ass in this movie. I really didn’t need to see that quite so often. Or at all. I’m not gay, but if I have to see a man’s ass multiple times in a movie, it should at least be a decent looking one. Will Ferrel’s butt, and any of the other male butts so gratuitously on display in the movie, need not be seen in all its glory in order to understand that it is not an attractive feature of most males. It’s just assumed. (I also did not need to see the multiple angles of Geoffrey Rush’s bum in Quills, but it was a much better movie, and also had the lovely Kate Winslet to counteract the effects of Rush’s wrinkly, saggy bottom.)

I should have paid more attention to those “quotes” – not a single one of them was even remotely funny, which is what the movie basically was, too. That’s the thing lately, so it seems – to quote random lines from a movie without any regard for whether they mean anything or not. I’ve heard the phrase “good stuff” at least a dozen times in the past week at work, and I really expected it to be something that was given some depth in the movie. I thought it was something that was constantly repeated and became one of the characters’ calling cards. No, it was just a single line, spoken precisely once in the entire movie. What happened to good quotes? I’m talking about “It’s only a flesh wound” good, “This one goes to eleven” good. These are quotes that not only reveal a depth of devotion to a film, but also reveal something about the humor of the film itself. But this trend of un-worthy quotes seems to be a big phenomenon, as we have seen, multiple times now, an ad at the local theaters which proposes a “quotable quote” for you to figure out what movie it came from. The one that I see most often is “this is what happens when you lie” or something equally lame – so lame that I can’t even remember it exactly. What film was that? This spring’s John Travolta dud, Basic. It’s like people pick random lines out of movies to memorize and say back to other people, without realizing that quotes are supposed to mean something.

Quotes used to be a sort of signal to others that you were in with a particular crowd. Those of you who picked up the quotes above, and they are true classic quotes, are obviously fans of the same thing I am. They’re a sort of oath of membership to a “club” who appreciates whatever particular thing is represented by the quote. It’s not even that they’re particularly exclusive – the two films are widely known and loved, but they represent your sense of humor and even your worldview to others. But like most things today, quotes have become watered down and simplified by the masses so that anyone can join in. Just memorize a line, any line, and use it as a bargaining chip in the next conversation you join into. The game used to be that if someone else could pick up another line from the film, you had a sort of bond with that person. Now, the quote is uttered and everyone says, “Huh?” The quoter then has to clue everyone in on the name of the film, and often on the particular scene. “Oh, yeah, that was funny,” is a common response. If your quote has to not only be explained, but elicits such a dull reaction, that’s not a good quote. And no, it’s not that the quote in question is particularly exclusive. It’s that it sucks, and so likely does the movie it came from.

(I have to point out that A Mighty Wind plays on this particularly well, as Fred Willard’s character is an idiotic manager who was once a short-time TV star long ago. He is still quoting his unmemorable catch-phrase “Wha’ happened” even now, to no response. I can’t sum up the problem better than they can. Rent or buy the movie.)

(There’s always more quotable goodness at unproductivity.)

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About Tom Johnson

  • “Can I borrow your towel? My car just hit a water buffalo.”

  • “Have you ever seen a spleen that large?”

    “No…not since breakfast”

  • nightofthelivingBRICKLAYER

    Gabba Gabba.

  • “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

  • dawnoftheBRICKLAYER

    “John Wayne was a fag”.-REPO MAN

  • JR

    “What’s-a behind me, is not important.”

  • the first rule of italian driving…

  • revengeoftheBRICKLAYER

    What the !*#! is a frush?

  • attackofthe50footBRICKLAYER

    She’s my Rushmore.

  • astreetcarnamedBRICKLAYER


  • thesixdegreesofBRICKLAYER

    Aloha, Mr. Hand.

  • dialmforBRICKLAYER

    Learning about Cuba, having some food.

  • the dude

    “The Dude abides.” I’ll take comfort in that. It’s good to know he’s out there — the Dude — takin’ her easy for all us sinners.

  • coffee is for closers only!

  • “Bring me the machine that goes ‘PING!'”

    I see I unleashed a monster here with this post. Bricklayer, you never disappoint, but you’ve been too quiet lately. I expect at least . . . 18 . . . more quotes from you by the end of today.

  • JR

    Yes, this should be a big one.

    Unless somebody invokes Hitler.

    (That doesn’t count)

  • “Care for a little necrophilia?”

  • “Some men are Baptists…others Catholics. My father…was an Oldsmobile man.”

  • “I’m your huckleberry.”

  • “It was Greggie, and Dougie, and some of the other Hitler youth.”


  • “I don’t like my job . . . and I don’t think I’m going to go anymore.”

  • Hey, a Revenge of Nerds Booger reference in #8: What the !*#! is a frush? Right on, that movie rocked!

  • aBRICKLAYERinfull


  • theBRICKLAYERalwaysringstwice

    What we have here, is a failure to communicate.

  • birthofaBRICKLAYER

    I will now sell 5 copies of the Beta Band’s 3 EP’s.

  • BRICKLAYERportraitofaserialkiller

    Not funny ha ha, funny queer.

  • thehouseonBRICKLAYERhill

    Joel, sometimes you just have to say “what the !#*!

  • sixteenBRICKLAYERS


  • “You’re so money, and you don’t even know it.”

  • Eric Olsen

    “He’d better be the motherfucking Cary Grant of pigs”

  • Eric Olsen

    “Hold the phone, Chuck, I’ve got an idea coming through – put mayonnaise IN the can with the tuna … No, FEED mayonnaise to the tuna.”

  • Eric Olsen

    By the way, here’s a writing issue: I usually put a hyphen between “co” and whatever, especially “worker” because when I read it, I always see “cow orker” and the image I have of someone orking a cow is not sunshine at 7:30 AM, if you know what I mean.

    But it’s also perfectly proper to not use the hyphen.

  • JR

    “A lot of people died in that damn war”

  • “No. No. No. Light speed is too slow… We’re going to have to go right to… LUDICROUS speed”

  • Andy

    “You can’t really dust for vomit”

  • Eric Olsen

    “They come in pints??”

  • “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

  • Here’s a few:

    “I’m not even supposed to BE here today!”

    “Life IS pain, highness. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something”

    “I’m shocked..SHOCKED…to hear there is gambling in this establishment”

    “I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen”

    “In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed—but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

  • Oh..How could i forget?

    “We have a mine shaft gap!”

  • “Respect the c*ck… and.. tame the c*nt!”

  • “When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross.”

  • “There’s nothing more envigorating than pointing out the shortcomings of others is there?”

    “Stop looking at me SWAN”

    “Hey laser lips, your mother was a snow blower!”

    “Who’s your favorite New Kid?”

    “I am steel up theerty grand from this last time I stick it in you.”

    “There’s these people. There in my parents house. And they’re eating all their food!”

  • JR

    I want my two dollars!

  • Eric Olsen

    “I’d buy that for a dollar”

  • Joe

    “Don’t sell yourself short, you’re a tremendous slouch.”

  • duanethebarbarian

    “Conan! What is best?”
    “To crush your enemies. To see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women.”

  • JR

    “I thought if Casanova and I had nothing to say to each other he’d get bored, go away. Instead he uses it as a chance to put his testicles all over me.”

  • “The Dukes ruined my life over a bet? For how much?”

    “A dollar.”

  • duane

    “Back off, man. I’m a scientist.”

  • “Well, that’s just like your opinion, man.”

  • JR

    “It’s twue, it’s twue!”

  • Taloran

    “There ain’t no Santy Claus!”

  • “I love my dead gay son!”

  • Taloran

    re: #47
    “He puts his testicles all over you?”

    “Yes, testicles, like an octopoos”