Wednesday, June 22, 2005



Lists of "bests" and "worsts" and "most powerful" and most this and most that ... are always fun.

So it's not surprising that I watched AFI's "100 YEARS... 100 MOVIE QUOTES" instead of Paris Hilton's mother's reality (?) show.

The most unusual feature of the show was that instead of calling these moments the best lines, they called them, "quotes". And the most disappointing aspect of the show was the old-fashioned choices that came out on top. "...don't give a damn," from Gone With The Wind topped the list, and the tired... "... ready for my closeup ..." from Sunset Boulevard was high on the list. Six lines from Casablanca were picked, including "Here's looking at you, kid." They did point out that the (possibly) most famous line from the same movie (which Woody Allen used as the title of one of his early plays), "Play it again, Sam," was never actually spoken in the film.

There's only one quote from this century, "My precious," from Lord Of The Rings, Two Towers. The oldest line is "Elementary, my dear Watson," from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1929.

But for all this carping, the show was still fun. I enjoyed hearing other actors try to reproduce some of the signature lines, rarely successfully. Many of these lines sound very different in context that they do when spoken alone as quotes. The original line readings, not surprisingly, are mostly realistic and dramatically appropriate, while out-of-context they have a completely different emphasis.

Lots of my favorite lines were there and I enjoyed seeing them again. Last year's AFI show, "100 Years... 100 Songs," rated high enough to be re-broadcast again in August. So, if you missed this show, watch for the possibility of another presentation.

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