One of my previous Great or Overrated? lists dealt with great movie villains. The nominees for that list came from the American Film Institute's 100 Years series. For those who are unfamiliar, it is just the AFI's annual list of various movie related countdowns. The 2005 edition of the dealt with famous movie quotes. I will give you the top ten movie quotes from their list, and you simply need to rank each quote as truly "great" or is it overrated? If you're interested, here is a link to the entire list.
#10. "You talking to me?" Taxi Driver (1976): Great or Overrated?
Overrated. I think Taxi Driver is a good, though probably not great, movie, but I don't know that this quote is really deserving of all the hype. Maybe I'm just worn out by overuse, but I'm going with overrated on this one.
#9. "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night." All About Eve (1950): Great or Overrated?
Great. I really like All About Eve. If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch it. This is a quote that almost becomes great just because it belongs to such a great movie. Not to mention that Bette Davis is perfect in her delivery.
#8. "May the force be with you." Star Wars (1977): Great or Overrated?
Great. Just like many other people on this site, I grew up a Star Wars fan. Though this quote borders on the overuse problems that face "You talking to me?", it's greatness seems to defy such criticism. Star Wars was not just a film; it was a cultural phenomenon. I understand that the movie is not nearly as good as I remember it; however, when viewed through the golden haze of nostalgia, I can not help but rate it as great.
"All right Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup." Sunset Boulevard (1950): Great or Overrated?
Great. As much as I love All About Eve, I have to admit that Sunset Boulevard is the greatest film from 1950. Not only does the film make this quote great, it is the underlying tragedy of a woman losing her sense of purpose and her mind in the process that really makes this one shine. I think it's the first quote on the list that actually goes beyond just being sort of cool and has extra depth. If anything, this one should be ranked a little higher.
#6. "Go ahead, make my day." Sudden Impact (1983): Great or Overrated?
Overrated. First of all, this quote is so associated with Dirty Harry, that it seems odd that it didn't actually show up until this later entry in the series. Secondly, if I am going to give Taxi Driver the overrated rating, there is absolutely no way that this one gets rated as great.
#5. "Here's looking at you, kid." Casablanca (1942): Great or Overrated?
Great. If I counted correctly, Casablanca has five quotes on the list. I also believe that it has more than any other film. I guess you could make an argument for some of the others, "We'll always have Paris," "Play it Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'"(though often misquoted as "Play it again, Sam), or "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." When it's all said and done, I think this has to be the best of the lot.
#4. "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." The Wizard of Oz (1939): Great or Overrated?
Overrated. I am a fan of The Wizard of Oz, but my problem with this quote is that I think "There's no place like home," should be right here instead. If asked to guess without knowing, I would have assumed that "home" would have ranked higher than "Toto". Maybe I'm looking at it all wrong.
#3. "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am." On the Waterfront (1954): Great or Overrated?
Great. I am not really even a fan of On the Waterfront, but the emotion contained in this quote transcends the film. There is such a tragic aspect to the quote that I can't help but rate it great. I know it's overused, like others on this list, but sometimes that is the true mark of greatness.
#2. "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." The Godfather (1972): Great or Overrated?
Overrated. I absolutely love The Godfather. It's one of my all time favorite movies, but I just can't bring myself to say that this should be #2. I'm not sure it even belongs in the top ten. This one is just so tired and cliched now that I have a hard time judging it objectively.
#1. "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." Gone With the Wind (1939): Great or Overrated?
Great. This is not even close to my favorite movie, but it is hard to deny the impact of this line on cinema. This is a film that goes beyond being just a movie and moves into the realm of cultural milestone. It also helped, for good or ill, to break down some of the strict codes of early Hollywood. Of course, it would still be a long time before the production codes were done away with, but this seemed to help the movies grow up a little bit.
Oh cmon guys...Dr. Strangelove hasn't made it on this list yet?
"I can no longer sit back and allow: Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. "
"I found out the way your mind works and the kind of man you are. I know your plans and expectations - you've burbled every bit of strategy you've got. I know exactly what you will do, and exactly what you won't, and I've told you exactly nothing. To these aged eyes, boy, that's what winning looks like! "
I have to add "High Fidelity" to this list. John Cusack playing a character he has spent his career perfecting, Jack Black in one of his best roles, a multitude of lists, and a great soundtrack.
It's one of the finest movies of the last 10 years, and one of the most quotable.
"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"
"The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway... I've started to make a tape... in my head... for Laura. Full of stuff she likes. Full of stuff that make her happy. For the first time I can sort of see how that is done."