How Many Movies Have You Quoted Today?
One of my favorite movies to quote is Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. The movie stars Steve Martin and Rachel Ward, is directed by Carl Reiner, and affectionately dedicated to its costume designer, Edith Head. The New York Times called it a “charmer.” Which I thought was an odd way to say, hilariously funny; but who am I to question a New York Times film critic?
I’ve exhausted friendships quoting this movie. At every available opportunity I refer to Germans as, “Gemermans,” and a cleaning woman is always a “Heinemacher Frau.” I have also pantomimed Rigby Reardon making his cup of java, countless times. Always, while making "shh shh shh shh shh shh shh shh" sounds. Here's a video of it, it's towards the end.
In my opinion, there is something incredibly satisfying about a well-placed movie line. It’s an art form. Throwing out a quote is also a way for us to gauge our group. It helps us make quick assessments about which complete stranger we will hang out with based solely on who laughed at, “there’s always money in the banana stand.” I know that’s not a movie quote, but if you get it, we can be friends.
Richard Harris, a professor from Kansas State University, did some interesting research on this in his study, Social Movie Quoting: What, Why and How?. According to the report, “nearly 100 percent of Americans quote a movie in conversation,” and nearly always from a comedy. Harris says quoting from movies is, “kind of a way to cement in-group membership.” It creates solidarity and forms a bond which challenges newcomers, saying “We all get this, it’s our special thing, we have limited space for new people, so the quotes will be harder for you, and in French.” I made that last part up.
Beware, however, this exercise in coalition building can backfire horribly if poorly appropriated, as one student found out. “The worst is when you might quote a dirty line from a movie, and you just get a blank stare ….They just think you’re a total pervert.” I think we can all learn something from that.
Other movies I quote from regularly:
The Other Guys
The Life Aquatic
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
Love and Death, and most every other Woody Allen movie
Young Dr. Frankenstein
What are your favorite movies to quote from?