These are films that I just wouldn’t put on any list or in any top, because it just goes without saying that they are good. “Of course” films. Clichés in the sense that one shouldn’t even mention them, they are so true.
Der Himmel über Berlin (1987, Wim Wenders)
“When the child was a child, it was the time of these questions. Why am I me, and why not you? Why am I here, and why not there? When did time begin, and where does space end? Isn’t life under the sun just a dream? Isn’t what I see, hear, and smell just the mirage of a world before the world? Does evil actually exist, and are there people who are really evil? How can it be that I, who am I, wasn’t before I was, and that sometime I, the one I am, no longer will be the one I am?”
“Must I give up now? If I do give up, then mankind will lose its storyteller. And if mankind once loses its storyteller, then it will lose its childhood.”
LIFE OF BRIAN (1979, Terry Jones)
“All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”
“Brian: Have I got a big nose, mom? Mother: Stop thinking about sex!”
“Brian: I am NOT the Messiah! Arthur: I say you are Lord, and I should know. I’ve followed a few.”
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971, Stanley Kubrick)
“Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!”
“Initiative comes to thems that wait.”
NUOVO CINEMA PARADISO (1988, Giuseppe Tornatore)
“Once upon a time, a king gave a feast. And there came the most beautiful princesses of the realm. Now, a soldier, who was standing guard, saw the king’s daughter go by. She was the most beautiful one, and he immediately fell in love with her. But what could a poor soldier do when it came to the daughter of the king? Well, finally, one day, he managed to meet her, and he told her that he could no longer live without her. The princess was so impressed by his strong feelings that she said to the soldier: “If you can wait 100 days and 100 nights under my balcony, then at the end of it, I shall be yours.” Damn! The soldier immediately went there and waited one day. And two days. And ten. And then twenty. And every evening, the princess looked out of her window, but he never moved. During rain, during wind, during snow, he was always there. The bird shat on his head, and the bees stung him, but he didn’t budge. After ninety nights, he had become all dried up, all white, and the tears streamed from his eyes. He couldn’t hold them back. He no longer had the strength to sleep. All that time, the princess watched him. And on the 99th night, the soldier stood up, took his chair, and went away.”
DROWNING BY NUMBERS (1988, Peter Greenaway)
“The object of this game is to dare to fall with a noose around your neck from a place sufficiently high enough off the ground, such that the fall will hang you. The object of the game is to punish those who have caused great unhappiness by their selfish actions. This is the best game of all, because the winner is also the loser, and the judge’s decision is always final.”
UNDERGROUND (1995, Emir Kusturica)
BRAZIL (1985, Terry Gilliam)
“Don’t fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating.”
“-Excuse me, Dawson, can you put me through to Mr. Helpmann’s office?
-I’m afraid I can’t sir. You have to go through the proper channels.
–And you can’t tell me what the proper channels are, because that’s classified information?
–I’m glad to see the Ministry’s continuing its tradition of recruiting the brightest and best, sir.”
ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD (1990, Tom Stoppard)
“Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occured to you that you don’t go on forever. Must have been shattering. Stamped into one’s memory. And yet, I can’t remember it. It never occured to me at all. We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it. Before we know that there are words. Out we come, bloodied and squawling, with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, theres only one direction. And time is its only measure.”
“We’re actors! We’re the opposite of people!”
“For a handful of coin I happen to have a private and uncut performance of “The Rape of the Sabine Women,” or rather woman, or rather Alfred, and for eight you can participate.”
AMÉLIE (2001, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
“On September 3rd 1973, at 6:28pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottle fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre. At the same moment, on a restaurant terrace nearby, the wind magically made two glasses dance unseen on a tablecloth. Meanwhile, in a 5th-floor flat, 28 Avenue Trudaine, Paris 9, returning from his best friend’s funeral, Eugène Colère erased his name from his address book. At the same moment, a sperm with one X chromosome, belonging to Raphaël Poulain, made a dash for an egg in his wife Amandine. Nine months later, Amélie Poulain was born.”
“Any normal girl would call the number, meet him, return the album and see if her dream is viable. It’s called a reality check. The last thing Amélie wants.”
“With a prompter in every cellar window whispering comebacks, shy people would have the last laugh.”
HABLE CON ELLA – Talk to her (2002, Pedro Almodovar)
MAR ADENTRO – The Sea Inside (2004, Alejandro Amenábar)
“Out to sea. Out to sea, and in the weightlessness of the deep where dreams come true, two souls unite to fulfill a single wish. Your gaze and mine, over and over like an echo, repeating silently: “Deeper, and deeper,” beyond everything that is flesh and blood. But I always awaken and I always wish for death, my lips forever entangled in your hair.”
PULP FICTION (1994, Quentin Tarantino)
…Forget it, the whole movie is one big quote and everyone knows it by heart anyway…
And also – I just realized this by reading my own list – these clearly show that there are some “pretty awesome” movies made in the States, no matter how much I or anybody else trash “American” films.
NATURAL BORN KILLERS
1994, Oliver Stone
“The media is like the weather, only it’s man-made weather.”
“Mickey and Mallory are the best thing to happen to mass murder since Manson.”
“It’s just murder. All God’s creatures do it. You look in the forests and you see species killing other species, our species killing all species including the forests, and we just call it industry, not murder.”
AMERICAN HISTORY X
1998, Tony Kaye
“-There was a moment, when I used to blame everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed white people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn’t get no answers ’cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.
–Has anything you’ve done made your life better?”
1999, David Fincher
“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
1999, Spike Jonez
“Anyway, the point is… this is a very odd thing. It’s supernatural, for lack of a better word. I mean, it raises all sorts of philosophical-type questions, you know… about the nature of self, about the existence of a soul. You know, am I me? Is Malkovich Malkovich? I had a piece of wood in my hand Maxine. I don’t have it any more. Where is it? Did it disappear? How could that be? Is it still in Malkovich’s head? I don’t know! Do you see what a metaphysical can of worms this portal is? I don’t see how I could go on living my life the way I’ve lived it before.”
1977, Woody Allen
“There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. The… the other important joke, for me, is one that’s usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud’s “Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious,” and it goes like this – I’m paraphrasing – um, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” That’s the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.”
SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE
1989, Steven Soderbergh
“I remember reading somewhere that men learn to love the person that they’re attracted to, and that women become more and more attracted to the person that they love.”
2002, Spike Jonez
“-Anyway, listen, I meant to ask you, I need a cool way to kill people. Don’t worry, for my script.
–I don’t write that kind of stuff.
–Oh, come on, man, please? You’re the genius.
–Here you go. The killer’s a literature professor. He cuts off little chunks from his victims’ bodies until they die. He calls himself “the deconstructionist”.
“Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn’t be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There’s something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I’m way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn’t fat I would be happier. I wouldn’t have to wear these shirts with the tails out all the time. Like that’s fooling anyone. Fat ass. I should start jogging again. Five miles a day. Really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing. I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need to have a girlfriend. I need to read more, improve myself. What if I learned Russian or something? Or took up an instrument? I could speak Chinese. I’d be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese and plays the oboe. That would be cool. I should get my hair cut short. Stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that? Just be real. Confident. Isn’t that what women are attracted to? Men don’t have to be attractive. But that’s not true. Especially these days. Almost as much pressure on men as there is on women these days. Why should I be made to feel I have to apologize for my existence? Maybe it’s my brain chemistry. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me. Bad chemistry. All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that. But I’ll still be ugly though. Nothing’s gonna change that.”
2001, David Lynch
“I’m scared like I can’t tell you. Of all people, you’re standing right over there, by that counter. You’re in both dreams and you’re scared. I get even more frightened when I see how afraid you are and then I realize what it is. There’s a man… in back of this place. He’s the one who’s doing it. I can see him through the wall. I can see his face. I hope that I never see that face, ever, outside of a dream.”