A friend recently introduced me to a BBC 6 Music podcast by Adam and Joe. Being Australian, I had never heard of these guys before but I quickly got into the spirit of things and have become an avid fan of the podcasts, or as Adam and Joe themselves might say, I’m one of the podcats.
I am thankful for this podcast for many reasons, but chiefly because it introduced me to a side of Pierce Brosnan I had never seen before. Brosnan appears in a 1988 film called ‘Taffin’ and delivers a line in it with such passion and precision that it is still quoted over twenty years later. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ‘Taffin’:
“Then maybe you shouldn’t be living heeeeeeeeere!” Brilliant. This clip got me thinking. Obviously, ‘Taffin’ wasn’t Brosnan’s finest moment and this scene went horribly wrong, but there are countless examples of scenes that positively jump off the screen and create magic because of a blistering performance or cracking dialogue. Here are some lines that work:
1. “Nobody’s perfect.” – Joe E. Brown, ‘Some Like It Hot’
Billy Wilder’s classic cross-dressing comedy has one of the most memorable final lines in cinema. One of his other masterpieces, ‘The Apartment’, has a ripper final line, too (which also features a gobsmacked Jack Lemmon), but I’ll let you find that for yourself. What a knack that guy had for screenwriting.
2. “You’re all individuals.” – Graham Chapman, ‘Life of Brian’
There are countless classic lines in this film, but the one that made me unable to get up off the floor for several minutes was this. Michael Palin’s response is the icing on the cake.
3. “What kind of beer?” – Kate Hudson, ‘Almost Famous’
Before she started making forgettable romantic comedies, Kate Hudson set the screen on fire in Cameron Crowe’s almost perfect, ‘Almost Famous’. It’s hard to get crying scenes right, but I think she does the job beautifully here.
4. “Coffee is for closers.” – Alec Baldwin, ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’
It’s not easy to stand out when the cast includes Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Jack Lemmon and Ed Harris, but the young and thin Baldwin plays an arrogant, cocky pig as well as anyone.
5. “Hey you! Get your damn hands off…” – Crispin Glover, ‘Back to the Future’
There’s just no way I could do a movie list and not mention ‘Back to the Future’. George McFly alters Marty’s history and his own future by standing up to everyone’s favourite douche bag, Biff.
There are obviously hundreds of scenes that I could have included here, but these are just a few of my favourites. What else do you think deserves to be on the list?