Play it again, Danny Rubin

2 Feb

I’ve stopped a few times today to think “Gosh, Danny Rubin must be proud.” Rubin, in case you didn’t know, wrote the script for Groundhog Day. And it seems that the notion of Groundhog Day being a day – or a thing – that endlessly repeats has entered our collective consciousness. People who have never even seen the movie know that meaning – some even think of that before the odd notion of a groundhog seeing its shadow when they think of Groundhog Day. That is a very impressive piece of scriptwriting. Of storytelling.

And this all reminded me of the Writer’s Guild of America’s marvelous campaign: Somebody Wrote That. What better gift could a writer have than their lines becoming part of our everyday lives? I quote Princess Bride on a regular basis. William Goldman wrote that. Thank you, Mr Goldman, for “Inconceivable!”, “I do not think it means what you think it means”, “I’m not saying I’d like to build a summerhome here, but the trees are actually quite lovely” and of course, “as you wish”. One of my plays is entitled “I’ll Have What She’s Having”, a line by the phenomenal Nora Ephron from When Harry Met Sally. And I’ve been known to throw around a few Terminator lines, by James Cameron and William Washer Jnr. Heck, I was even taught how to say “Go ahead, make my day” – Joseph C Stinson’s immortal line – in Latin. Age fac, sunt gaudeum, if you’re interested. (CORRECTION: I am informed that my Latin teacher stuffed this up, and there should be no “sunt”. Age fac gaudeum.)  I recommend it, it sounds most delightfully rude. Oh, and one of our cats is named Tallulah, inspired by Bugsy Malone (which also gave us the pleasing “rat bastard” insult).

Schnitzel was never served with noodles until Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the lyric into the Sound of Music – now it frequently is. You don’t have to have seen James Dearden’s classic Fatal Attraction to know what a bunnyboiler is. And several of us wish for a TARDIS of our own.

I asked some people which films and TV shows they can’t go without quoting, which have become part of their daily lives, and here are some of those gems – and, where possible, links to the scripts. It’s a delightfully motley collection, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Thanks to all of you for your ideas.

And thank you again, Danny Rubin, for giving us a curious quirk of culture. Here’s to many more.

“Free to those that can afford it, very expensive to those that can’t. ”

– from Bruce Robinson’s Withnail and I

“Put the candle back!”

– Gene Wilder’s Young Frankenstein

“That rug really tied the room together. ”

– the brothers Coen, The Big Lebowski

“Vanity, my favourite sin.”

– Jonathan Lemkin and Tony Gilroy, The Devil’s Advocate

“Dude. Where’s my car?”

– from Philip Stark’s movie of the same name

“I haven’t processed everything yet. My brain isn’t really functioning on the higher levels. It’s pretty much fire bad; tree pretty”

– from the team behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, led by Joss Whedon

“Alright Mr De Mille, I’m ready for my close up.”

– Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, DM Marsham Jnr’s Sunset Boulevard

“Were you surprised. I was SO surprised.”

– Eddie Izzard

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

– William Goldman’s The Princess Bride

“And where truth, crushed to earth, rises again, more phoney than a dark eye.”

– Ben Hecht’s Nothing Sacred

“I’m feeling very Olympic today.”

– Lynn Siefert, Tommy Swerdlow, Michael Goldberg’s Cool Runnings. Devastated this script isn’t available.

” It’s a victimless crime, like tax evasion or public indecency. ”

– the writing team behind Will and Grace

“A man with a mole on his nose.”

– from the writing team of Moonlighting

“You’re all gonna die. The only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet? Or on your fuckin’ knees… begging? I ain’t much for begging!”

– Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusset, Vincent Ward’s Alien3

“Anyway don’t listen to her coz everyone knows her fanny goes sideways. ”

– Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ Little Britain

“How am I not myself?”

– David O Russel and Jeff Baena’s I Heart Huckabees

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

– Sidney Howard, in his script adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind

(BONUS: read this post on Letters of Note about producer David Selznick’s plea to the censors to keep that line in.)

“Carpe Diem”

– NH Kleinbaum’s Dead Poet’s Society might not have originated the line, but it did make it familiar to a new generation

“Boy, I would love to see the world through your eyes.”

– David Lynch and his team on Twin Peaks

“I’d buy that for a dollar.”

– Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, Robocop

“This is going to be legen – wait for it – dary.”

– from the legen-waitforit-dary writing team of How I Met Your Mother

“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today. ”

– Danny Rubin, Groundhog Day


3 Responses to “Play it again, Danny Rubin”

  1. Samesh Naidooo February 2, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    The Boondock Saints, written by Troy Duffy, introduced me to: “Catch you on the flipside”. I can’t bring myself to use this enough because I’m just not cool enough.

    I think the line from Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire more often than actually saying it: “You lack the courage of your conviction, sir”.

    Also, I’m watching Chinatown now, so I’m forced to mention another favourite: “She’s my sister… She’s my daughter… My sister, my daughter.”

    And then when eating something not very appetizing, “Soylent Green is people”.

  2. graffitiliving February 2, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Quoting from The Princess Bride and The Big Lebowski should probably be mandatory, but it’s so much fun when you say it and someone gets what you mean – and even more so when no-one else does but you two. Listen in on a conversation between me and my brother and you’d think we’d gone nuts, but usually we’re quoting random lines from films we grew up watching together as kids. There’s also an unwritten rule that whenever we’re in polite company we have to try and slip lines into the conversation without anyone noticing, until one of us cracks up. (Sad, but true).

  3. Samesh Naidooo February 2, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    “How do you like them apples?” is a rhetorical question used in many movies.

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