What’s Your Line?

“I’ll be back.”


                Okay, it’s not the greatest line written, but iconic nonetheless. What lines come to mind when you go through your favorite movies, books, and shows? Written works, good and bad, often have that perfect mix of tone, that scene where the right turn of phrase catches all of us the same way.

When I served aboard submarines in the navy, a conversation could be made with only a few original sentences mixed with lines from the movies we’d all seen in the crew’s mess the night before. Or in order to cut the tension while also delivering a message, we’d borrow these lines that stuck in everybody’s head. I remember a particularly bad day, tons of work, dozens of problems, and we couldn’t catch a break. “Tombstone” had been a big hit during that deployment. One young sailor looked at our situation and said, “It’s like playing cards with my brother’s kids.” (Billy Bob Thornton’s line). Despite the fatigue and frustration, we couldn’t help but bust out laughing.

Joss Whedon’s work on Firefly produced some good ones lost to obscurity only because Fox couldn’t figure out the allure of the show until it was too late. Any Browncoats out there can certainly sympathize. Even more remarkable for that show, was his ability to deliver zingers for a wide range of characters. Wow, so Fox gave Charlie Sheen a second chance but Mal and the crew of Serenity get dumped off like Inara did Saffron in the ‘Trash’ episode. But I digress.

I think the Governator’s catchy lines allowed witty writing to bridge the gap in his acting. His Planet Hollywood pals got the same treatment, and as a result they’re sitting on top of the world. I can’t help but wonder, where’s the genius behind those clumsily delivered words? Does he too enjoy the kind of swanky comfort as those whose fame he propelled into the sky? But, again, I digress.

What are your favorite lines and why? Is there a seldom repeated one that holds some special place in your heart?


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