Have we seen the death of the memorable movie quote?

21 Oct

A recent article in the New York Times poses the question, have we heard the last (truly memorable) word from Hollywood?

Sticky movie lines were everywhere as recently as the 1990s. But they appear to be evaporating from a film world in which the memorable one-liner — a brilliant epigram, a quirky mantra, a moment in a bottle — is in danger of becoming a lost art.

Life was like a box of chocolates, per “Forrest Gump,” released in 1994 and written by Eric Roth, based on the novel by Winston Groom. “Show me the money!” howled mimics of “Jerry Maguire,” written by Cameron Crowe in 1996. Two years later, after watching “The Big Lebowski,” written by Ethan and Joel Coen, we told one another that “the Dude abides.”

But lately, “not so much” — to steal a few words from “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” Released in 2006, that film was written by Sacha Baron Cohen and others and is one of a very few in the last five years to have left some lines behind.

The article goes on to suggest that the lack of memorable lines in today’s film may be a symptom of filmaking being more driven by visual aesthetic and CGI as opposed to script.  I’m not so sure? I think this is a debate that is doomed to be laced in both cultural and generational bias. The spate of Frat-boy comedies that came out in the oughts are imminently quotable – Anchorman, Old School… But because they are Frat-boy comedies do they not have the same merit as Gone With the Wind? “Paging Dr Faggott” or “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” You be the judge.

Read the full New York Times article here.


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