I’m a meat-and-potatoes moviegoer more than I am a nuts-and-bolts one. Admittedly, considering my weird hardware-and-hearty-fare metaphoric and personal terminology, that no doubt means nothing to you. Here’s what it means to me, and here’s how I can best explain it:
I usually stay for the end credits, but not because I’m a cinema snob-o-rama who absolutely needs to take note of all the production details to find out who the 2nd Assistant Gaffer was. What I am most curious about - and this information is pretty much stuck on at the tail end of the credits -is the location settings and the music used; I’m resourcefully cheap enough to vicariously use films as travelogues and song sampling buyer’s guides. And as long as I’ve waited the thirteen minutes to get to that point in the eye-glazing acknowledgments, I’ll stick around to see if any animals were harmed in the making of the movie.
Another essential cinematic nutrient lies in keep-it-simple offerings. There’s nothing terribly wrong with fast-food for thought, and I’m too impatient and restless for most multi-course feasts. Ninety minutes is a perfect length for a movie - a constraint conducive, like a short story, to disciplined craftsmanship.
But the most important ingredient for the best meat-and-potatoes fare lies in the good writing, of course; pearls of wit and wisdom that are contained in the bon mots and repartee make for a more memorable and evocative film, resonating long after the sticky floors, popcorn smells and nine bucks shelled out fade to black and blocked memory.
I may not always be able to tell you who-done-it, but I can usually remember who said it and what was said - committing quotes to recollection much better than problematic plots, cardboard characters, and the name of that 2nd Assistant Gaffer. Here’s some of my favorite lines - some the usual suspects, others not AFI-approved - that satiates an aphoristic appetite and satisfies a hunger for gift-of-gab confabs, from stuff ‘n’ nonsense to a deeper truth-delving. The quotes are grouped into three classifications - other than that, no particular order. I don’t need no stinkin’ order:
1. The Appetizers. Usually non-essential to the plot, these do little to advance the story line but whets a desire for a film’s full flavoring. Many are stand-alone lines or non-sequiturs that are funny, astute or absurd in and of themselves, regardless of who is saying them, although most are hinged upon an appropriate delivery and a few are almost inseparable from the character or actor:
"It's in that place where I put that thing that time." - Nancy Ticotin, Hackers.