5 WAY-Too-Common Movie Lines No Actual Human Has Ever Said
Hey Champ, do you like movies? Sure you do; the talkies are all the rage these days, and with good reason. Ample bosoms, explosions, riveting drama -- there's nothing that isn't available at your local theater. Plus you can get delicious popcorn and sometimes beer. But wait a sec, some of these movies seem a little suspect. A little peculiar, if you will. Yeah, it turns out that some of that dialogue is what Grandpa used to call "fucking dumb." Characters in movies say things all the time that you and I don't say, because our lives aren't dictated by a script some coke-head wrote out on a napkin at Starbucks.
"Did I Say That Out Loud?"
I'm almost positive this joke was used twice a season on Friends for its entire run, like one simian on the writing staff would endlessly chortle-snuffle their way through the idea of Chandler "accidentally" spilling his inner dialogue until they shot Yoo-hoo out of their snout and then forced it into the script at the threat of tearing off the limbs of other writers and using them as clubs. It was probably funny once, to a tween, the first time they heard it in something in the '80s, and that's where it died.
The reason this line isn't funny and has no business being plumbed for any depth of comedy is simple -- it's as hollow as my uncle's wooden leg. What kind of madman actually goes through life questioning whether or not they've actually just uttered random thoughts aloud? No one with all their faculties does this, and those without should not be the subject of NBC Thursday-night lineups. That's cruel and unnecessary.
Chandler Muriel Bing never had a chance.
You've never genuinely said, "Did I just say that out loud?" about anything in your life, and you know it. Moreover, if you met someone who said it, some smug prick who'd say it then look around the room waiting for laughs like an organ grinder's monkey waiting for nickels, you'd punch that fuckwit right in the jejunum and be totally justified in doing so, because that asshole deserved it.
"We Need To Talk"
From Taken to Terms Of Endearment to Horns, this trope is endlessly available to slip under the radar and annoy those of us who own a phone more or less for the purpose of using it to speak to others who aren't in the room.
More or less.
Picture it: You're watching the latest hilarious rerun of Family Feud starring Steve Harvey and announced by former N'SYNC member Joey Fatone, and you get a call. You lift your cellphone, see it's from your good friend, and answer right away:
You: Hey, what's up?
Friend: We need to talk.
Friend: Meet me at 5th and Main. Bring gasoline and a disguise.
That's how shit goes down in movies and on TV. In real life, this would be your conversation:
You: Hey, what's up?
Friend: We need to talk.
You: Good thing we are, then. What's going on?
Friend: I have lupus.
"Damn you, Obamacare!"
For whatever reason, "We need to talk" is code in movies for "Let's meet somewhere and change the scenery. If you're super lucky, my character will actually die before you find out what I wanted to talk about."
No one in real life should ever abuse a phone this way. Call someone, say you need to talk, and then ... what? Not talk? The phone is for talking. Talk on the goddamn phone. Don't needlessly complicate things. If for no other reason than you're causing undue stress on the person who now has no idea what your deal is. Are you dying? Are they? Are you pregnant? Is your lupus sexually transmitted? Say what you mean right away; it's why we invented telecommunications in the first place -- to make conversations easier.
Saying "We need to talk" is one of those curious redundancies that language needs to weed out anyway. Once you start talking, you're talking, no need to say you need to do it; you already are. It's like asking someone if you can ask them a question. So help me God, you just did. You just did ask, and what if the answer was no? You already broke the goddamn rule once; just keep going with it and ask the important question.
"What Did You Just Say?"
You're in a tense situation. All hope seems lost, you're at your wit's end, and suddenly some unsuspecting dingus says something that gives you a perfect eureka moment. But because you're in a movie you must make it stunningly clear just what that person said. So you ask, "What did you just say?" and the person hilariously says what they said after the important line. And then you say, "No, before that." And maybe here we double down on hilarity by having them say the thing they said before the important part, so it bookends what you focused on and also makes it abundantly clear that you heard them clearly and they also somehow know exactly that you wanted them to say, because it's the only thing they omitted. How could this happen? The script said so!
In real life this utter-bullshit scenario has never and will never occur. The only time you ask this in real life is when you legitimately didn't hear the person, not when you've been struck by insane inspiration. Because in that scenario you heard them and it inspired you! Of course you heard it; it's what set off that little lightbulb above your head. The only possible reason for the repetition is so an audience can join in the fun of trying to figure out the mystery.
"Coffee bean ... beanbag chair ... electric chair ... the defendant is totally guilty! Great job, guys!"
"What did you just say?" is the only way the screenwriter could think of making that character's internal monologue external. Because the movie doesn't have a narrator, or they would have said it, so the only other option is this stupid-as-balls maneuver. It serves one purpose: to inform an audience that must be watching the events playing out, which means it doesn't exist in the "real world" of the film; it exists in our world of the audience watching a film. It's the same as Deadpool talking directly to us, only dumber, because it's less honest.
The only reason you would ever say this in real life is if you think people are watching you or you're one of those awful people who has changed the way they speak to reflect fictional narratives. Like, I knew this kid in school who really had a thing for early Jim Carrey movies and would speak in that annoying early-Jim-Carrey-movie dialect, like from Ace Ventura and The Mask, where he wasn't so much speaking to other people, just to a room in a series of catchphrases. Made me want to punch him all the time, because he ended every statement with "alrighty then!" and would often turn his head in such a way that suggested he was looking away from a camera that wasn't even there. I hope he lives an unhappy life these days.
Related: Happy Birthday, Badass - August 3
"You Were Just What?"
This one's big in books and film. Do a quick search on Google for dialogue with "I was just" and "You were just" as search terms and you should get at least half a dozen books, plus you can parse through the rest for dialogue from various films over the years. Here's a book called Dark Descendant by Jenna Black that sounds quite rousing;
Here's another one from Luna, the first book of The Luna Chronicle by S.C. Dane.
Sounds exciting! Here's just four more for flavor.
Lots of writers like the idea of one person shitting on another person's train of thought. But in most cases when you're speaking to someone, you have at least some desire to know what they're actually saying. So by interrupting them as they try to explain themselves, for no other reason than to demand they explain themselves, it's not just a waste of everyone's time, it's pretty much a mega-dick move, like one of those dicks you see on a niche porn site where the girls are all, "Oh my god, I can't take that," but then they do. You know what I mean? One of those dicks. Like, there's this one dude, dick like a 4-year-old's leg. It's just staggering.
There's no conservation of language here and no real purpose behind doing this to someone. It shows one character is an impatient dick. Are you an impatient dick? Maybe you say this sort of thing to people, but probably not. If you do, stop it because they're literally about to answer the question you don't need to interrupt them to ask. Doesn't that sound more efficient than doing things your way? Of course it does.
"I Have To Do This Alone"
This is the most magnificently stupid trope in fiction, the equivalent of hitting one's head against the wall to see how hard it is. Only the most dunderheaded of fools would ever do this in real life, and with good reason -- it's dangerous and dumb. But dammit, that's how we like our heroes.
The gist of this foolish exchange is that you're about to embark on some kind of super dangerous mission or endeavor. And sure, you already have a team of people willing to help you assembled, but let's ignore them in favor of letting one person go ahead to face the ultimate challenge.
"Don't worry; they'll hang back and fight me one by one. It makes perfect sense."
This is how the movie Labyrinth ends, with the stupid girl who has a history of making the wrong decision every single goddamn time she has to make a decision deciding she needs to fight David Bowie's bulging crotch alone, despite having a giant Muppet that can control rocks on her side. If this were the real world, if I were on my way to David Bowie's house back when he was alive, God rest his soul, intent on finding my little brother that he kidnapped for some reason, do you know what would happen? Within five minutes, David Bowie would have fucked me so hard I would have forgotten why I was there. That's the power David Bowie had. That and musical genius. Point is, when he's the Lord of Goblins and his most noticeable skill is a prehensile cock in bicycle shorts, don't send the teenage girl in alone. That would never work. Only in fiction.
Transformers: Age Of Garbage also features this scene, but of course you don't know that because the human mind is genetically hardwired to not retain memories of Transformer movies. Optimus Prime assures everyone he must fight the Dinobots alone, because Roboreasons. Also the Creators or whatever the fuck they are, because Roboreasons The Squeakquel. He does lots of stuff for reasons, and that's why he's the leader, and that's why guys like Bumblebee and Gridsquat and Trampsmash just sit in the background Transforming into Audis or whoever the fuck sponsored the film.
"We'll just be over here, destroying the ozone. No hurry."
In real life, what kind of twat does anything alone that could be better accomplished with a group? A giant one, I guess. But not a regular one.
"Need help carrying that sofa up those stairs?"
"No, this is something I need to do alone."
"You sure? This thing weighs like 400 pounds."
"I'm sure. You see ... I'm an idiot."
Screw that shit. You get everyone and their uncle to move that sofa for you so you don't even have to get off the thing. That's the way a real hero works, by delegating and making everyone marginally miserable/happy.
Check out how even the greatest of movie quotes could be made stupid in 18 Great Movie Lines Ruined By Changing A Single Letter, and learn why Dorothy was close to not singing in 5 Iconic Movie Scenes Almost Cut For Idiotic Reasons.
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