I love quoting movies. Doesn’t everyone to some extent or another? OK, I shouldn’t speak for everyone, but even my girlfriend, who doesn’t get off on that kind of thing, loves to quote lines from her favorite movie, “What About Bob?” (Believe it.) I’ve formed relationships based around a mutual love of movie-quoting. It’s an addicting, compulsive activity, and one that I thoroughly enjoy. I don’t think I’ve sent Mike Carminati an e-mail yet that didn’t contain a reference to “Stripes.”
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that loving to quote movies is what got me a job working for Joel and Ethan Coen, but it didn’t hurt. (I had previously worked for Woody Allen, and did my impression of the Wood man talking about the Knicks went over well with the guys.) The Coen brothers make extremely quotable movies themselves, and I think that is because they love to quote movies. When I first went to work for them I would pepper every day conversation with lines from “Raising Arizona”-which may be their most quotable movie. (Since I worked on “The Big Lebowski” I’m partial to that one, which is chock full of good lines too.) They would laugh, repeat the line, and quote another one. Or they would correct how I misquoted a line. (Don’t some people just hate when you get the words/lyrics wrong?)
During the production of “The Big Lebowski,” I recall driving Ethan to the bowling alley set in East Hollywood one day, and we went back-and-forth quoting from “Raging Bull.” It was a great treat to work in the editing room with them. As they put the movie together, we inevitably would quote our favorite lines. Ethan and I especially were fond of the Dude groaning, “Mmíaaww, man,” when he wakes up from getting cracked on the jaw by Julianne Mooreís goons. On some days, thatís all Ethan and I would say to each other. (Our other favorite was when the Dude is riding in the back of Maudeís limo and he tells the driver, “Yeah, I got a rash, man.”)
I mention the Coen brothers because they were brought up in the All-Baseball American League East Roundtable earlier this week. Jon Weisman wondered what kind of movie they would make about the Yankees-Red Sox feud. I responded in an e-mail:
I don’t think the Coen brothers would have much to say about the Yankees and Sox at all. Both teams are way too stuck up for the likes of the Coens. Coppola, Scorsese, DePalma, Speilberg: These are the kind of directors who have enough inherent hype in their styles to do the Yanks-Sox justice. The Coen brothers could do the Pirates vs. the Padres, though MLB is probably way too sophisticated and boring for Joel and Eth. Those guys love losers. Not self-satisfied, pompous losers like the Sox. The Cubs come close. But if they ever made a baseball movie–which I doubt would ever happen–it would be set in some minor league some time in the past. Don’t you think?
So what are some of your favorite Coen brother quotables? (Actually, a better question is: What are some of your favorite quotable movies of all-time?) Here are some that jump to mind:
“The important thing is we wall want it to have that Barton Fink feeling. I guess we all have that Barton Fink feeling, but since you’re Barton Fink I’m assuming you have it spades.”
“‘Lo Tom, what’s the rumpus?”
“Well, we could start for instance with the Schmatte, like where’s the Schmatte? You could maybe tell us that.”
“You ate sand?”
“We’re set to pop here honey.”
“Mind you don’t cut yourself, Mordicai.”
Jon added two good ones:
“Her insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase.”
“You know – for kids!”
Here are two more than are not from the Coen brothers, but very well could be:
“Nice boy, but about as sharp as a sack of wet mice.” Foghorn Leghorn
“It’s as hot as two rats fucking in a sock in August in Kansas City.” Ichiro’s favorite American expression, as told to Bob Costas.
And Will Carroll noted that:
“The Ladykillers” looks to be one of those eminently quotable movies, along the lines of “The Big Lebowski.” I find myself saying “We need waffles, forthwith” already and that’s just the trailer.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Tom Hanks fares with Joel and Eth. I suspect it will be a lot of fun. Do yourself a favor though and see the original “Ladykillers.” The 1955 Eailing comedy stared Alec Guinness and featured Peter Sellers– a big radio star in England at the time on “The Goon Show”–in a supporting role.