Actions Speak Louder Than Words…Sometimes
In a new era where so many films are premiered in 3-D with insane special effects, I find that I miss movies with great scripts, movies with dialogue and quotes that change our lives. I’ve decided to recognize those movies again, movies that depend on words rather than action.
5. Pulp Fiction (1994), written by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary:
Mia: “That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence. ”
The dialogue in this movie was profound to me even at the age of 7 when I first watched the movie with my dad. Of course he fast-forwarded the part with Marsellus Wallace and Butch, but getting to watch and listen to the rest of it might be why I love movies so much. From Jules and Vincent’s discussion about Quarter Pounders in Paris to Vincent and Mia’s comfortable silence at the diner, this script is legendary.
4. Jerry Maguire (1996), written by Cameron Crowe:
Dorothy: “Do you know what most other women my age are doing right now? They are partying in clubs, trying to act stupid, trying to get a man, trying to keep a man… not me. I’m trying to raise a man.
This movie sparked my childhood obsession with Tom Cruise. Ambitious and self-obsessed, his guard falls when he meets Dorothy Boyd and her adorable son, Ray. In the end, Jerry Maguire is a story for people about people. I remember most movies around this time were still all about the dialogue, but this one stuck out for me, even up until now.
3. Casablanca (1942), written by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein & Howard Koch.
Rick Blaine: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
Bogey. Who doesn’t love Bogey? I suppose I love movies from this time period because of the actors’ voices. This man’s man and his voice make this movie a classic. I also think I hold a soft spot in my heart for the “guy who’s rude and mean to everyone else but the woman he loves.” Even then, this war-time romance is one of the greats. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman have such great chemistry, it almost seems tragic they weren’t in love off-screen.
2. Gone with the Wind (1939), book written by Margaret Mitchell, screenplay by Sidney Howard:
Scarlett: “Oh! You sir are no gentleman.”
Rhett: “And you, miss, are no lady. Don’t think I hold that against you. Ladies have never held any appeal for me.”
Rhett Butler, quite possibly the most attractive man ever written. With simple words, Mitchell paints the portrait of a man, selfish and uncouth with only one vice: the only woman he’s ever loved is in love with someone else. Scarlett O’Hara is written with conviction and strength, both traits uncommon in real women at the time. Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara’s tragic love affair is one of the ages, entrancingly written as well as acted by Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.
Rhett: ” No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”
1. Closer (2004), written by Patrick Marber:
Dan: “What’s so great about the truth? Try lying for a change, it’s the currency of the world.”
This movie depends on the script, spoken beautifully by the ensemble cast of Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owens. A story about heartbreak, deception and real-life love and loss, Closer was actually almost rated NC-17 for its crude language. Marber does a brilliant job of writing what everyone in relationships think but don’t say. Alice is damaged and desperate, Dan is debonair and deceitful, Anna is cynical and logical, and Larry is crass and vindictive. This is all portrayed in just words, words between only four people ever on-screen throughout the movie.
Alice: “Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off — but it’s better if you do.”