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AFI (A Fine Idiocy)

AFI (A Fine Idiocy)

“Listen to me, mister. You’re my knight in shining armor… Don’t you forget it. You’re going to get back on that horse, and I’m going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we’re gonna go, go, go!” – Katharine Hepburn as Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond (1981).

Yes, folks, it’s that time of the summer again, when AFI trots out another not-just-pointless-but-actively-stupid list populated by the same 33 titles of American movies in rotation. Didn’t get enough of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? in 1998 when you rented it to satisfy an unnatural urge brought on by the AFI claiming it as one of the 100 best movies ever made in this country? Well, then odds are you’ll get to see it again some time, when AFI releases its list of 100 Best Reaction Shots, 100 Best Closeted Gay Movie Stars, or my favorite, 100 Best PG-Rated Films with Pedophilic Undertones.

The quote above, one that’s constantly on many a movielover’s lips every day of the calendar year, is a touching moment from the climax of the indelible, certainly-not-dated-at-all On Golden Pond, although I would have probably gone for young Doug McKeon’s explaining to Henry Fonda’s Norman Thayer what it’s like to “cruise chicks and suck face.” And if that didn’t work, why not Fonda’s aching struggle to find the words when he gets lost out picking blueberries in the backyard. I mean, if we have to go the Pond route.

Now, of course the only thing worse than something forgettable like the quote above, is the indeed eminently quotable list provided otherwise. Still on their, as they say on their official site, “mission to reignite an interest in classic American cinema,” the AFI has summarily whittled cinema down to a few touchstone movies, and now, reduced it even further to a few extractable sound bites. Of course, the criteria being movie dialogue that “viewers use in their own lives and situations; circulating through popular culture, they become part of the national lexicon,” how could we expect anything more than the most degraded of self-aggrandizing social activities in list form. For anyone who has either been disgusted by (me) or been (me) one of those people who can’t stop quoting The Big Lebowski, or is sick and tired of the AFI monopolizing American film experience with endless rehashes of On the Waterfront and It Happened One Night, I offer up an alternate list of the stupidest quotes from one of the stupidest movies in recent memory.

All of the following culled from the Best Picture-winning AMERICAN BEAUTY, the CASABLANCA of bad movie quotes:

“Remember those posters that said, ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’? Well that’s true about every day but one: The day you die.”

“It’s just stuff!”

“I will sell this house today!”

“Oh yeah, well at least I’m not ugly!” “Yes you are. On the inside.”

Please, everybody, join in the fun! Take it from the AFI, and let’s reduce American films even further!

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