Wit, Pretense, and Smart Aleckyness

Do people ever ask you questions and you find yourself unable or unwilling to answer because you

A. Do not have an opinion.

B. Do not know where to begin answering it.

C. Do not understand the question.

Instead of probing your brain for a suitable response, why not deliver verbatim film dialogue?

The next time someone asks you how you’re feeling, regardless of context or company, go with:

You know those days when you get the mean reds?…The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?…Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!

Or if you say something that someone finds to be nonsensical, respond with:

Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear.


I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you already turn to your favorite movie quotes to get through certain conversations, but have you considered using film review quotes from the front or back of a DVD?  For example, if you’ve just met your brother’s new girlfriend and he asks you what you think of her, you could say:

She’s like a perfectly pitched (coming-of-age) comedy.” *

She’s riveting and terrifying.” **

If your parents ask you how your first day of school went, instead of a shrug, a grunt, or hand gestures, you could reply with:

“It had an undeniable and authentic vitality, an exuberance of spirit that feels welcome and rare.” ***

“It was like a deadpan delight.” ****
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Should your child ask you how the big game went or how the first day of work was, you can tell him/her:

“It was just like a rousing celebration of the human spirit…filled with heart and soul.” *****

“It was a guilty pleasure by any standard. Most entertaining.” ******


* Kyle Smith for New York Post on Adventureland (Greg Mottola, 2009).

** Claudia Puig for USA Today on Hard Candy (David Slade, 2005).

*** A.O. Scott for The New York Times on Rachel Getting Married (Jonathan Demme, 200eight)

**** Lisa Schwarzbaum for Entertainment Weekly on Wristcutters: A Love Story (Goran Dukic, 2006)

***** David Sheehan for KCBS-TV on Remember the Titans (Boaz Yakin, 2000)

****** Owen Gleiberman for Entertainment Weekly on The Last Boy Scout (Tony Scott, 1991)

6 thoughts on “Wit, Pretense, and Smart Aleckyness

  1. Christopher

    This is one of my favourites:

    You remember that night *in the Garden?*
    You came down to my dressing room,
    And said, ‘Kid, this ain’t your night,
    We’re going for the price on Wilson’
    You remember that?
    ‘This ain’t your night!’
    My night!
    I coulda taken Wilson apart!
    So what happens?
    He gets the title shot outdoors in the ballpark,
    And what do I get?
    A one-way ticket to Palookaville,
    You was my bother, Charlie,
    You shoulda looked after me a little bit,
    You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit
    so I wouldn’t have to take them dives
    for the short end money,
    I coulda had class,
    I coulda been a contender,
    I coulda been somebody,
    Instead of a bum, which is what I am,
    Let’s face it,
    It was you, Charlie.

    Reply
  2. Andy C. Smith

    Was that Vincent Chase in ‘Empire Records’? Or whatever his name is? My default response is “A”, because that answer does not encourage dialogue. You can’t be wrong if you don’t talk to people.

    Reply
  3. Andy C. Smith

    Fair enough. In that scene, Rory Cochrane is a doppelgänger for Adrian Grenier (IMO).

    I like your idea of using quotes from movie case covers to handle tricky conversations. Funny stuff.

    II’ll take it a step further, and use the coming attractions formula. Next time someone asks what I am up to, I will growl in a deep baritone: “in a time of global catastrophe and economic collapse, the world is a dangerous place. And now, one man, must risk it all, in a journey across space and time, to save what he holds dearly, from complete annihilation.” Or something to that effect.

    Reply
    1. sittingpugs Post author

      I see the resemblance and yet I also don’t see it.

      Movie trailer voice-overs as ways of getting through unsolicited conversations–it could work.
      You’re at the grocery store and the cashier asks you, “You’re not from around here, are you?”
      You could reply with, “I am from a world destroyed by the T-virus. One tin soldier must go where no one dares. Coming summer 2012.”

      Reply

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