The film bracket consists of famous one-liners heard from the movies.
Memorable poetry was murdered by Modernism in the early 20th century; but it remained alive in America in popular song and popular film. Keats was taught in American colleges until the English professor was gradually replaced, from the middle to the late 20th century, by the Creative Writing professor.
Poetry isn’t poetry if it isn’t memorable.
By this definition, a line from a film, a line which everyone knows, is poetry in the consciousness of a nation.
So here we go with round one action:
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn versus. Elementary, my dear Watson
“What seems to be the problem?” “Death.” versus Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.
I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse. versus To be or not to be, that is the question.
Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown versus I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.
You’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well do ya, punk? versus You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore versus Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.
I coulda been a contender versus I want to be alone.
Bond. James Bond versus Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By.
Here’s 8 contests—the greatest movie lines of all time.
Is objective judgment possible here?
Is there too much associative baggage, too much context in each line, for any true objective aesthetic judgment to be made?
There are many who say no objective aesthetic judgment can ever be made.
However, one does not have to read Plato or Kant to understand that truth is not understood by something outside itself—the truth of something is how it presents itself to us from the inside out. Measurement, for instance, is a thing’s extension, or an event’s duration—and length or brightness or size can be, but is not, subjective; however, we don’t need “inches” or “seconds” to make something “true.” The truth is already in the measurement-potential. And the thing determines how it is measured, not the other way around. The thing in this case is a movie line—which has a real existence in the real world and makes an impact on the real world as much as any solid object we might want to “measure.”
So objectivity is possible—we just need to ascertain how this is to be measured.
First, poetry’s success is largely determined by its rhythm. If all else is equal, the more interesting rhythm must prevail in terms of movie lines, as well.
Second, movie lines—with their context—can evoke more or less, depending on the lucidity, interest, and focus of the ‘film scene’ they are from—the imagery, drama, or character of the movie line itself should be considered.
And third, we have language. Language can move inward towards specific definition and outward towards general truth—and speech which does both of these at the same time in a coherent manner, is certainly a sought-after quality.
And this pretty much covers it. This is how we “measure” the aesthetic excellence of move lines.
“Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By” has a more interesting rhythm than “Bond. James Bond,” though both are strong. Everything else is pretty much equal. “Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By” evokes more of a specific scene, too.
But why does this movie line get misquoted all the time as “Play it again, Sam?”
How can so many people hear something incorrectly into popularity?
How is there “room for error” when we are talking about a very short phrase in the minds of millions?
Does this automatically call into question the popularity, or the aesthetic quality of “Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By?”
It could, but we don’t think a popular line should be punished because it is misquoted. The original phrase, as spoken in the film, is still responsible for launching the success.
Sam beats James.