Some movies you see once, and move on. But some others are just so darn re-watchable—and so quotable. As much as I adore TV and books, there’s nothing like a movie for quotability. There are a few films that I’ve seen far more times than I could ever count. There are certain lines I think of every time a similar event happens in the real world. For instance, if anyone ever mentions trouble digesting dairy, in my head I immediately hear Meg Ryan’s character from French Kiss yelling “Lactose intolerannnnncccee!!!” and I picture her asking Kevin Kline to “stop the rocking” of the train.
These moments are burned into my brain forever, some from sheer repetition, but others because the moment, and the words the character spoke in that moment, just fit into this little space in my mind, and my heart.
There are so many quotes I could list, but here are my top five. More than just great movie quotes, if you ask me, these are words to live by.
5. “We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all”
-Andrew from The Breakfast Club
In a movie full of quotable lines (provided you’re not watching the censored version on broadcast TV) this one seems to me to really sum up the message of the film. None of these kids really felt like they had it all figured out. The fact that Andrew, one of the two members of the popular clique to be in Saturday detention that fateful day, was the one to say it gives the message even more weight.
4 “Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we're nothing?"
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
-Sam and Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Okay, so this movie is based on a book, so it’s cheating a bit, but, wow. What a line. I can’t imagine Charlie’s reply not resonating with everyone who reads/hears it.
3. “Donger's here for five hours, and he's got somebody. I live here my whole life, and I'm like a disease.”
-Sam, Sixteen Candles
I have personally recited this one throughout my life. Sam’s grandparents brought their foreign exchange student to her house on the afternoon of her birthday; by nine PM he had a girlfriend. Meanwhile Sam’s had a crush on the same boy for at least a year and (she doesn’t think) he even knows she’s alive. Such a relatable moment (at least for me!)
2. “That's your problem, you don't want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie.”-Becky, Sleepless in Seattle
The genius of Nora Ephron: I could easily do a top-ten list of just her quotes. This line is so perfect. Who doesn’t want to be in love in a movie? And how many of us at least strongly suspect that romantic books and movies have probably ruined us on some fundamental level?
1. “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.”
-Kathleen, You’ve Got Mail.
Ephron again, of course. I love this movie so much. I love these lines (which the protagonist writes in an email to Tom Hanks’s character) even more. There’s so much here. I feel sad and happy reading these words, every time. It’s amazing that the email/social media world had barely begun when this movie was written, and yet how perfectly does this sentiment still feel today? And then there’s the idea of wondering if we’ve chosen the best life because it’s what we want, or if we haven’t been brave—that part’s got to be timeless.
In a way, every blog post ever written (and most of them were written after this screenplay) is an echo to this idea. Whether or not we receive an answer, there’s something sort of comforting about sending our cosmic questions out into the void.
Goodnight, dear void.