Archive for February, 2010

What Movie?

February 11, 2010

[This post has been modified from its original form: it now includes the answers.]

“And now,” as Monty Python says, “a bit of fun.” Here’s a game Marquee Movies and I used to play in college. (Well, he played it with pretty much everyone — and I suspect most of us have played it before to one degree or another.)

The objective is simple: I throw out movie lines, and you try to identify the films they’re from.

I’ve limited myself to lines I’m pretty certain of. But still, I’m working from memory here, not scripts, so I can’t absolutely guarantee the accuracy, but I think these are correct to about 95% or more — close enough, anyway, to make the game work. My apologies to any screenwriters whose lines I’ve butchered.

Ready? Okay, here we go. . . .

1. You Americans are all the same: always overdressing for the wrong occasions.

Raiders of the Lost Ark. Arnold Todt says the line to Marion inside the tent. I always thought it was an amusing line because Todt himself insists on wearing his stifling long coat in the desert heat.

2. A: This place scares me. B: Really? I find it stimulating.

The Name of the Rose. The first speaker is Adsol, the young novice monk, who is creeped out by the gloomy “remote abbey in the dark north of Italy” where, to quote Brother Hubertino, “the devil is hurling beautiful boys out of windows.” The second speaker is, of course, William of Baskerville.

3. A: How old are you? B: Twelve. More or less.

Let the Right One In. Speaker A is the boy Oskar; Speaker B is Eli, his mysterious new neighbor.

4. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.

A River Runs Through It. From the closing narration, this is one of my all-time favorite final passages in a movie and book (it’s the same in the book).

5. Ice is civilization! — and the same movie: Dead things go downstream.

The Mosquito Coast. The speaker is Alley (sp?) Fox. This is the movie that showed us all that Harrison Ford could play much more than the dashing swashbuckler. I’ll never forget the weekend in college when I finally convinced a girl I was pursuing to go out to a movie with me. She was Japanese, and we saw this film, in which Alley Fox repeatedly expresses extreme dislike for Japanese and Japanese products! (The girl sort of smiled vaguely, and I was wishing I could melt into the seat cushions.)

6. A: Something’s going to happen. B: What? What’s going to happen? A: Something wonderful.

2010: Odyssey Two. Remember when 2010 was WAY off in the future, a science-fictional date? For that matter, remember Space 1999, which was also set way in the future, when we were sure we’d be hopping shuttles to the moon and to neighboring planets all the time? Anyway, Speaker A is the entity that was David Bowman, and Speaker B is Dr. Heywood Floyd, played by the wonderful Roy Scheider.

7. [Character speaks in a muffled voice, face mashed against a wall.] Put . . . the candle . . . back!

Young Frankenstein. The speaker is Dr. Frankenstein, the descendent of the first Dr. Frankenstein, back when the family was pronouncing the name differently.

8. They’re all so beautiful. . . . I should have three heads!

Amadeus. The speaker is Mozart, trying on wigs.

9. It’s too early in the day for killing princes.

Troy. The line is delivered by Achilles, when he encounters Hector in the Temple of Apollo on the coast of Troy.

10. I never drink . . . wine.

Dracula. I’ve heard the anecdote that Bela Lugosi did not speak English when this film was made. He would repeat the lines phonetically that the script people told him to say. So he was saying lines he didn’t really understand, which works perfectly for making his character seem unearthly.

11. A: Son, someday all this will be yours! B: The curtains?

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The speakers are a king and a prince.

12. Ze Arctic? Ze ArcTEEC? [Character name], zat’s ridiculous! Eet can’t be done! Zat’s impossible! We would need food, supplies, fuel for ze motairs. . . .

The Island at the Top of the World. The speaker is Captain B. (I have no idea of how to spell his name. It’s pronounced Brey-YOU.) He’s ready to launch his airship Hyperion on its brief maiden voyage with pomp and ceremony, but the ship’s new owner, Sir Anthony Ross, announces that he wants to depart with the Hyperion immediately to the distant and perilous Arctic to search for his lost son. This was the movie that had us building dirigibles out of balloons and tiny cardboard boxes (and lots of string). And Chris and I would write stories / make dramatic audio tapes in which the adventure began with taking a dirigible into some remote wilderness. And you know what’s in the wilderness: Lost Civilizations and Dinosaurs.

13. You know, I think there’s a secret to this island. And whether we go or stay, live or die, may depend upon that secret.

I’ll turn the microphone over to Mr. Brown Snowflake, who will tell us that the answer is The Land that Time Forgot. The speaker is the captain of the U-33, Baron Manfred Friedrich von Schoenvorts. Someone should have warned the U-boat’s crew that the wilderness is full of Lost Civilizations and Dinosaurs.

14. [Character speaking disdainfully of Americans]: They can even vulgarize ice cream.

Tea with Mussolini. I don’t remember the character’s name, but she’s a well-bred Englishwoman, gazing across the patio to another table, where a server has just delivered the sort of gaudy, excessive monstrosity that Americans think makes a good sundae.

15. “Beware the beast Man, for he is the devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport, or for lust, or for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him out; for he is the harbinger of death.”

Help me out again, Mr. Snowflake! Is this The Planet of the Apes or Beneath the Planet of the Apes? It’s one of the two. It’s a passage from the Sacred Scrolls of the Apes.

16. Don’t go! I’ll eat you up, I love you so!

Where the Wild Things Are. The speaker is . . . the Wild Thing that goes by initials — C.W.? I’m not sure of the initials.

17. A: [Character name], what on Earth are you doing? B: [Character name], I’m tryin’ to drive you to the stoh.

Driving Miss Daisy. Speaker A is the eponymous Miss Daisy; B is Hoke, her new driver, hired by her son against her wishes.

18. [Character surrending the bullets from his gun to be hidden]: Don’t put ’em in the peaches.

Witness. Another Harrison Ford line here. His character, John Book, is hiding out and recuperating in an Amish community, where firearms are not acceptable. The last time Rachel hid his bullets for him, it was in a not-quite-empty can of flour.

19. A: [Character name], do you know what a blood oath is? B: Yes. A: Good, because you just took one.

The Untouchables. The first speaker is Malone, the second is Eliot Ness.

20. A [proposing to climb a makeshift rope]: I’m the lightest. B: But I’m the most foolhardy. [Same movie]: Go now. Go now. Go north.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. I saw this film at least twice in the theater when I was a kid. The characters are trapped inside the Well of the Oracle, which has become a near-inescapable oubliette. Haroun wants to climb the makeshift rope made of the crew’s sashes; Captain Sinbad insists on taking the risk himself.

21. He lost his sight in the Big War. I believe it was the Battle of the Somme. He doesn’t much like to talk about it. Do you, [character name]?

Places in the Heart. The speaker is the banker. He’s talking about his brother, Mr. Will, played by John Malkovitch. This is on my short list of truly great movies.

22. Back East, someone’s wonderin’ “Now why don’t he write?”

Dances with Wolves. The speaker is the crude Timmons, as he and Lt. Dunbar gaze at a skeleton found among the prairie grass.

23. “Through dangers untold and perils unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City, to take back the child you have stolen.”

Labyrinth. The speaker is Sarah, the film’s main character, who has to get all the way through the Labyrinth and brave its dangers to rescue her baby brother Toby from the Goblin King. (I know someone will remind us that technically it’s more of a maze than a labyrinth, but Labyrinth makes a better title, okay?)

And finally, this is one I’m paraphrasing. I may be off on the wording or order, but the concept overshadows the wording, so I think it’s still fair:

24. It doesn’t ruin it. It completes it. The pain then is part of the joy now. And the joy now is part of the pain then.

Shadowlands. I’d long been curious about this movie, but I may never have seen it if Jedibabe hadn’t made it possible. I’m grateful! — it’s a very good one. The speaker is C.S. Lewis’s wife. She says this on an idyllic day they’re spending together in the countryside, where they’ve tracked down a beautiful valley in a picture that hangs on Lewis’s wall, a magical place that really does exist on Earth. She reminds Lewis that she’s going to die of her terminal cancer. He tells her not to spoil the perfect day with such talk. That’s when she says this line.

It seems to me that human life is like a musical chord. It’s made up of notes from the past and the present. (And the future, too, for that matter, although we can’t fully hear those notes yet — but we know they’re there, filling out the chord.) The point is that who we are now is also made up of all these notes from the past. At the height of their happiness, Lewis and his wife know that she will die, and he’ll be alone again. But his extreme sorrow then is an affirmation of the happiness they have together; and that happiness will help him then, in his grief. It’s all part of the chord.

At times when I’m not too self-absorbed, I’m able to draw some comfort and strength from those parts of the chord that are there in the future, unheard as yet; and always I can draw it from the resounding notes of the past, which are a part of me.

There you have it: an even two dozen. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little romp. How did you do?