As good a paper as it is, the New York Times is no stranger to puffy trend pieces they write just to get page views-- and the one they posted yesterday in the movie section was a doozy even by their standards. "Have we heard the last (truly memorable) word from Hollywood?" ponders Michael Cieply in his piece, wistfully titled "Longing for the Lines That Had Us at Hello." It's more than just some paean to movies from the days when the bulk of the Times readership was young, but an argument that in the last decade specifically, there haven't been nearly as many movie lines worth quoting.
Of course, over the course of his thin article, Cieply brings two counter-examples-- "I drink your milkshake," from There Will Be Blood, and "That's a bingo!" from Inglourious Basterds. The ubiquity of the milkshake line in particular should be enough of a rebuke to the whole concept of the article, but in another bit of self-awareness that would have served him better before he decided to write the damn article, Cieply even finishes with a quote from screenwriter Eric Roth: “The minute you write this, you’ll be proved wrong."
Well, game on. I don't just feel the need to stand up for the movies of the last decade because I believe they're as well-written and memorable as anything that's come before, but because I can come up with five more recent counter-examples just off the top of my head, all of them much more memorable and less irritating than something like "Stupid is as stupid does" or "Life is like a box of chocolates"-- both from Forrest Gump, mentioned in the article, and both written by none other than Eric Roth. It's not that I think any of these are equal to "Here's looking at you kid," which Cieply suggests as the slightly unreachable gold standard of worthwhile movie lines, but they're the kind of lines that, when mentioned to me decades from now, will immediately evoke both the movies and their cultural appeal. They're movie quotes that are, to use Cieply's term, truly memorable-- and I'm not even using the two recent ones he rightly pointed out. Hey. he already invited someone to prove him wrong-- I'm happy to take the bait.
This is obviously just the beginning of quotable lines from the last decade or so. Chime in with your own in the comments, and prove to Michael Cieply that the modern era of movie lines is plenty memorable, so long as you know where to look.
"Stop trying to make fetch happen."
Regina George (Rachel McAdams), Mean Girls
"Why so serious?"
The Joker (Heath Ledger), The Dark Knight
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"I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal. People know me."
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), Anchorman
"The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club."
Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), Fight Club
"Why is the rum gone?"
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
This list is just the beginning! Chime in with your favorite movie quotes of the last decade or so in the comments below.