Friday, August 27, 2004

Silence, the Anti-Quote

I don't think it's right that great movies are always getting raped by quote junkies. It happens all the time: some funny movie comes out, and before you even see it, you've heard it quoted 40,000 times. Wow, you think, this movie sounds dumb as hell.

But it's actually a GOOD movie, it has just been distorted by bad-quoting; people flinging out lines that sound nothing at all like how the actor said it, and usually only vaguely close to the actual line.

Or, after seeing a movie, you want to relish in the fond memories of a great flick, but instead have to relive it through constant, painful quoting.

Shame on you Excessive Movie Quoters. You know who you are.

This happened recently to me with Napoleon Dynamite. This is an absurd comedy about a nerdy guy from Preston, Idaho. It's whacky, it's original, it's entertaining. But, man, is it over quoted. I hear it quoted at work, among friends, at gatherings, and even in the theatre before the lines are delivered!

Just because the film was funny, doesn't make YOU funny by endlessly repeating lines. Sure, once in a while, here and there. But not ALL THE TIME. It's obnoxious, it's annoying. It's what Satan wants.

Another example is Monty Python. You really have to be in a silly British-humor sort of mood to laugh at Python. But when it's quoted, you are usually not in that mood. Plus, the high-pitched cockney accents are always way off. Eric Idle would turn over in his grave. (No he's not dead, but if he were, he would turn.)

Not only has over-quoting ruined many movies, it has also damaged people's ability to distinguish between original humor and scripted humor. You know you're in a sad, sad situation when you're with a group of people and someone says something absurdly funny and someone else asks, “Where's that from?” Sometimes I want to smack that person.

It's all an interesting paradox, really. Yes, constant quoting can make a good movie seem bad, but it also has the reverse effect. Terrible movies, when quoted often enough, seem a whole lot funnier. Take Event Horizon for example. This movie is perhaps one of the worst I have ever seen. Yet there are so many delightfully horrid lines, I could quote it all day. Dune, the original movie adaptation of the old Sci-Fi novel, can be hilarious when quoted.

So there you have it. Don't quote great movies; they can stand on their own. It's the bad ones that need a boost. So, in conclusion, if you're ever in the mood to rent the American Idle classic “From Justin to Kelly,” do us a favor: quote away.


Mr. What said...

It seems that nobody has posted a comment for some reason or another. Perhaps we fear the judgment that will surly come when we are exposed as shameless 'Excessive Movie Quoters.'

Well in response I say, "I'll be back!"

(And so there is no confusion please read the "I'll be back" in some strange European/Austrian/Californian accent.)

Jeremy said...

I think we're all guilty at one time or another. I think the Monty Python example was aimed at my younger self, who used to enjoy that sort of thing. This was also the younger self who was really into Star Trek and owned an Allanis Morrisette album. Let us never speak of him again.

C.K. said...

that was a funny movie.

but, God, was/is is over quoted.