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Oscars Month: Classic quotes and new movies

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LIFE IMITATES ART Many of the quotes we use regularly are straight out of the movies. (Illustration:

Sitting in a cold movie theater with a Diet Coke and a bag of popcorn used to be on my list of favorite places to be on Saturday nights (or summer afternoons or Tuesday evenings or…).

Then Covid happened, and for two years nobody even knew if the theaters were open. Until this year. 

Finally, 2023 brought a slew of box-offices openings promising the movie-theater experience we thought might have disappeared forever. 

Not only that, but two of the major Oscar contenders – both nominated several times and both for Best Picture – opened on the same day in June, causing a meme-fest from fans debating whether a double-feature was in order and, if it was, which movie should be watched first. Oppenheimer and Barbie were dichotomies – one historical, gray, and pensive, about the creator of the atomic bomb, and the other pink and buzzy and light (at least on the surface). Still, movie buffs and internet chatter launched so many franken-names for the big opening day that there are long threads on discussion platforms spawning ideas: Barbenheimer? Boppenheimer? Boopenheimer? Hoppenheimer? Whoppenheimer? Also, there are the images: think pink-smoke nuclear explosions.

With March being Academy Awards month, there’s a new focus on all the films released this past year. (The Oscars will air on ABC Sunday, March 10, at 7 p.m., with Jimmy Kimmel hosting.) Contenders for Best Picture are: American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall, Barbie, The Holdovers, Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, Oppenheimer, Past Lives, Poor Things, and The Zone of Interest.

But as much as the critics are talking about these movies and all their social observations, will the films leave us with memorable quotes? Most of us, whether or not we’ve actually seen the movies, probably can’t answer that question today. But we asked readers to share some all-time favorite movie quotes, and here’s what they had to say…. 

Michael Holthouse:

“Go ahead… make my day!”

Sudden Impact (1983)

Wayne Kearney:

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubblegum.”

They Live (1988)

Joy Yeager:

“Okay. Everybody just pretend to be normal, okay?”

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Allan Fradkin:

“My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” 

Forrest Gump (1994)

Charles Fletcher:

“We used to look up in the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”

Interstellar (2014)

Paul Danziger:

“You f---ed up. You trusted us.” 

Animal House (1978)

Nancy Beck:

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”

Auntie Mame (1958)

Peta Rubenstein:

“Big mistake. Big. Huge!”

Pretty Woman (1990)

Jacqueline Kenneally says they use this line every day when saying goodbye to their boys: 

“Have fun storming the castle!” 

The Princess Bride (1987)

Bernie Milstein says he uses this quote to describe and answer questions, as in, “That’s a Frankly Scarlett question.” 

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

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Wendy Gold:

You know what the happiest animal on earth is? A goldfish. You know why? Got a 10-second memory. Be a goldfish, Sam.

Television series “Ted Lasso” (2021)

Julia Humphreys has a few favorites:

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

“You can’t handle the truth!”

A Few Good Men (1992)

“I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

Steel Magnolias (1989)

“It’s a funny thing about comin’ home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. Then you realize what’s changed is you.”

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Ryan Dilling:

“Good morning. And in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!”

The Truman Show (1998)

Jennifer Block also has several favorites:

“Is it just me or does Do You Want to Build a Snowman from Frozen sound suspiciously like Papa Can You Hear Me? from Yentl? And nobody f---ing realizes it.”

Deadpool 2 (2018)

“I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.”

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

“I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom.”

Mean Girls (2004)

Donna Gershenwald says, “This movie was pre-screened at Cornell, and I have a vivid memory of her saying that line. It has resonated ever since!”

“Well, it's official. I’ve become my mother.”

About Last Night (1986)

All these classic quotes have me thinking: It’s time for some serious Academy Awards nominee movie-watching, ears open for some new favorite quotes. I’ll be getting the Diet Cokes and popcorn ready.

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