07 March 2015

Dialogue Is Like a Box of Chocolates

© zazzle.fr
To John Floyd’s dismay, his computer broke, busted, died, demised, kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil… He thus asked me, as if I'm a miracle worker, to resurrect an article from seven years ago. He then mentioned a bottle of Southern Comfort, so herein, John combines what John loves best… movies and lists. Say an incantation for John’s machine and enjoy a Hollywood golden oldie…
— Velma

by John M. Floyd

I’ve decided to make you an offer you can’t refuse. Awhile back I mentioned that I suspect most fiction readers enjoy movies too, and that fiction writers can sometimes learn almost as much from movie dialogue as from the written word. Surely that’s true — and don’t call me Shirley.

On that basis — and because I don’t need no steenking badges — I’ve put together a quiz of fifty movie quotes. They range from easy to hard, unless you’re a fellow victim of severe moviemania, in which case you’ll probably answer them all and then feel guilty as a result. To get in the mood, ask yourself these questions: Do I feel lucky? Can I handle the truth? Is it safe? Can I swim, or will the fall kill me? Do I need a bigger boat?

Anyway, I figured if I built it you would come, so I’ve rounded up the usual suspects. Many of these are crime/suspense because those are my favorite movies, but frankly, my dear, others are not, and what I’ve done on some might be a failure to communicate. Asterisks indicate final lines, and you get extra credit if you remember who said what, and to whom. So hasta la vista, baby — I wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner. Open the pod bay doors, Hal, and may the Force be with you …
  1. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
  2. Where’s that Joe Buck?
  3. Be careful, out there among them English.*
  4. In the end you wind up dying all alone on some dusty street. And for what? A tin star?
  5. Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passing.
  6. You design TOY airplanes?
  7. Fat man, you shoot a great game of pool.
  8. I’m George, George McFly. I am your density. I mean … your destiny.
  9. He did it! He missed the barn!
  10. Remember me? I came in here yesterday and you wouldn’t wait on me. Big mistake.
  11. We in the FBI don’t have a sense of humor that I’m aware of.
  12. I saw it. It was a run-by fruiting.
  13. Any man don’t wanna get killed, better clear on out the back.
  14. Throw me the idol, I throw you the whip.
  15. That’s a negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full.
  16. You can’t fight in here — this is the War Room.
  17. I’ve got the motive, which is money, and the body, which is dead.
  18. They say they’re going to repeal Prohibition. What will you do then? / I think I’ll have a drink.*
  19. All these things I can do, all these powers … and I couldn’t even save him.
  20. The next time I see Blue Duck, I’ll kill him for you.
  21. He can’t go down with three barrels on him. Not with three, he can’t.
  22. A wed wose. How womantic.
  23. How will you die, Joan Wilder? Slow, like a snail? Or fast, like a shooting star?
  24. Oh, my. I hope that wasn’t a hostage.
  25. I’ll take these Huggies and whatever you got in the register.
  26. He saved my life, and yours, and Arliss’s. You can’t just kill him, like he was nothin’!
  27. Stay on or get off? STAY ON OR GET OFF?
  28. Snake Plissken? I heard you were dead.
  29. And for a brief moment, Gordo Cooper became the finest pilot anyone had ever seen.*
  30. He kissed you? What happened next? / Then he had to go invade Libya.
  31. Nobody ever won a war by dying for his country. You win a war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
  32. I wish they wouldn’t land those things here while we’re playing golf.
  33. Oh Captain, my Captain.
  34. I don’t reckon I got no reason to kill nobody.
  35. Goodnight, you princes of Maine, you knights of New England.
  36. Sometimes nothin’ can be a mighty cool hand.
  37. Today I saw a slave become more powerful than the Emperor of Rome.
  38. Talk to her, Dad. She’s a doctor. / Of what? Her first name could be Doctor.
  39. Come on, Hobbs, knock the cover off the ball.
  40. Way to go, Paula! Way to go.*
  41. I see you’ve been missing a lot of work. / Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it.
  42. I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.
  43. Docta Jones, Docta Jones! No more parachutes!
  44. Now you run on home to your mother, and tell her everything’s all right. And there aren’t any more guns in the valley.
  45. I’m thinking your head would make a real good toilet brush.
  46. Left early. Please come with the money … or you keep the car. Love, Tommy.*
  47. Active is pinging back something really big.
  48. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.
  49. I need a ride in your el trucko to the next towno.
  50. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.
And this is me, signing off. Answers will be appear in an upcoming column — meanwhile, leave the gun, take the cannolis. Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

HAL, close the pod door. Close the pod door. HAL…


  1. John, I hope the computer EMTs are on their way. On second thought, is it time for your computer to take residence in Boot Hill, or wherever no-longer-working computers go?

  2. Could be, Louis. (It'd probably be Boot-up Hill.)

    I'm posting this comment via my wife's laptop--hope I don't jinx it as well. -- John

  3. Love your side comments. I scored eighteen. Good luck with the computer!

  4. Hey Rob. Believe me, this is one of those times when you don't want to score TOO high. If you did, it would mean you're watching too damn many movies, like someone else I know . . .

    My puter, thank God, is being repaired by gurus as we speak. I'm making do with my iPhone, iPad, and Carolyn's laptop, but BOY I'll be glad to get it back.

  5. There are some toughies in there, but I got several. Yet who said what to whom… oh, geesh.

  6. Great list. I think I got about a dozen right. A few more and I coulda been a contender. Looking forward to seeing the answers. I’ll be back.

    PS – And thanks to Velma for rescuing the post. Here's looking at you, kid.

  7. Thanks, Peter. I will have those answers up as a part of my next column, which I hope and expect to write using a new computer.

    Velma, I am indeed thankful to you and Leigh for rescuing me. As you know, anytime you help a friend in need, that friend will always remember you , . . when he's in need again.

  8. Loved this! Glad your 'puter is on the mend, John. "Ziggy" here has it's ornery days! Speaking of movies, we watched "Carry On Spying" this morning. All about a bungling secret agent and his boss, "The Chief." It pre-dates "Get Smart" by about a year...

  9. Jeff, I think I've watched most of the "Carry on" franchise, and I love those movies. I hope Ziggy remains in good health.

  10. Great list, John. Some of them are pretty challenging.

  11. Thanks, Paul. To me, reading quotes like these is like hearing songs from a movie soundtrack--they bring back good memories. My problem is, I probably remember too many of them.


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