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Friday, February 28, 2014

Quotations: From Perfect Movies

So the recent departure of Harold Ramis and my thinking about The Princess Bride have aligned to make me think of what movies are just about as perfect as can be. I think Raimis directed two of them, maybe a third.

Now, a perfect move, in my mind, doesn't mean that everybody loves it. It just means that there's no real possible way to make it better without making it an entirely different movie. I remember learning somewhere in film school that John Wu or somebody like that thought the movie Le Samourai, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, was perfect. And it is pretty fantastic. It's not the sort of movie that I'd want to watch over and over again, but it's been a while and I'm thinking of revisiting it.

People used to ask me what my favorite movie was. I never really knew how to answer that question. But some of my thinking about favorites has gone into thinking about perfection. A favorite doesn't need to be perfect (my favorite movies often have huge plot holes--such as The Matrix, The Professional--seriously, have you seen the international version of this?--and others).

One thing a perfect movie does is lodge into your head, and it does this in part through the strength of the dialogue. Here's a list of movies that could possibly be considered perfect. This shouldn't be taken as listed in order of preference or anything. Anyway, I've listed some below with one of the best quotes from them. Some of them could just have been transcribed whole.


He's just like every other man, only more.



I cut myself shaving.

Who knows what they're saying in this movie? It's all in French.

You're right. No human being would stack books like this.

I've come to the end of me, Rita.

Stop snoring. You'll wake up the lice.

Never start a land war in Asia.

What heart?

We all go a little mad sometimes.

My theory is that everyone is a potential murderer.



I'm tempted to put Vertigo on this, but it just drags a bit in the middle (Citizen Kane is the same, and besides The Lady from Shanghai is better). Would that be too much Hitchcock? Sorry there's no Nicholas Ray on here, I suppose. And also The Wolfman, but Lon Cheney's American accent needs to be accounted for first. I also want to say there's a Jackie Chan movie out there somewhere that deserves to be here, but I can't figure out which one.

Anybody got any to add?

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