—A campaign for TCM has Craig Redmond wondering if our appetite for content means we’re settling for fast food entertainment—
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
“Can you introduce me as Joker?”
“There’s no crying in baseball.”
“Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”
“I wish I knew how to quit you.”
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
“You talking to me?”
“You can’t handle the truth.”
“Just keep swimming.”
“They call me Mr. Tibbs!”
“Do you have a kiss for Daddy?”
“Life’s a piece of shit when you think of it… So, always look on the bright side of life.”
“Release the Kraken.”
These famous quotes are not intended to test your movie trivia knowledge. To the contrary, they are so obvious they are meant to demonstrate just how idiomatic they truly are.
And while many of the films they’re associated with may pre-date your arrival on earth (even readers of a finer vintage), almost all of them will be familiar. That’s how embedded in our skulls and seeped into our cultural bloodlines the language of cinema has become.
I think that’s why I struggle with Netflix a little.
In just a few years, the streaming platform has utterly transformed the art of filmmaking to keep up with our voracious binging addiction.
So, they’ve made movies faster, cheaper, and simpler than any Hollywood studio in the history of the industry has ever imagined.
Which, I contend, may have been to the detriment of the quality of screenwriting, production and even performances for many such films. And in turn, dulled our own discerning tastes in exchange for processed, on-demand, fast food entertainment.
So, one can only predict that because the product is so mass- and fast-produced, and its corresponding shelf-life in our psyche so fleeting, few of these Netflix films will ever achieve the same enduring imprint on society that the traditionally made movies cited above have enjoyed.
Yes, of course, Jane Campion’s Power of the Dog will likely clean up at this year’s Oscars. But will any of its dialogue take up residence in our collective consciousness for decades to come? I doubt it.
After penning the first draft of this story, I went up to get a tea and found my son watching/not watching Kindergarten Cop on TV while scrolling on his phone. So, I crouched in front of him, put on a stern face, and summoned the best Schwarzenegger impression I could muster before reciting another great line from cinematic lore: “Who is your Daddy and what does he do?”
I grunted. My boy erupted in laughter so volcanic I thought he was going to set off Tsunami sirens. But then he disarmed his device and returned his undivided attention to the Ivan Reitman masterpiece.
It’s a masterpiece that could have very easily lived in this campaign for Turner Classic Movies, which uses the very well-trodden formula of overdubbing famous movie dialogue in situations where you’d least expect it. It’s a very well-trodden formula that never fails to deliver a really good giggle.
Some films just stay with us. Indeed.