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CINE-LIST: Ten Great Movie Quotes from 2013

by Beth Hanna
December 19, 2013 2:22 PM
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James Franco, as Alien, in "Spring Breakers"

Great films leave a mark. A shot will linger in your mind's eye, strains from a score will haunt you, and the perfect quote will always be associated with your experience of seeing a film.

Below, Cine-List selects and ranks ten memorable movies quotes from 2013.

10. The quote: “I’m a firm believer in Karma, and I think this situation is a huge learning lesson for me.  I want to lead a country one day, for all I know.”

Who said it: Emma Watson, as Nicki, in Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring.”

Why it’s so great: Self-delusion, vapidity, false spirituality and vanity as a form of escape are all at the heart of Coppola’s dreamy, spikey film about celebrity culture. This line from the leader of a teen crime ring is spot-on in that regard -- and Watson’s delivery is hilarious. (Screenplay online.)

9. The quote: “We’re only here briefly. And while I’m here I want to allow myself joy.”

Who said it: Amy Adams, as Amy, in Spike Jonze’s “Her.”

Why it’s so great: There’s a pleasantly non-judgmental tone to Jonze’s sci-fi romance, a genuine curiosity about what would happen if humans started up relationships with computers. This line from Amy Adams’ character sums that up: If something makes you happy, if a non-person somehow makes you feel like more of a person, is it so wrong?

Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in "The Counselor"

8. The quote: “Convince them this is just some sort of odd coincidence. Because they don’t really believe in coincidences. They’ve heard of them, they’ve just never seen one.”

Who said it: Brad Pitt, as Westray, in Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor.”

Why it’s so great: When it comes to beautiful, badass, elegiac dialogue, there’s no one like Cormac McCarthy. This line from Pitt’s henchman Westray captures the feeling of mythologized dread throughout this terrifying neo-noir. Who are “they,” anyway -- and what won’t they do?

7. The quote: “I apologize for my appearance. I have had a difficult time of things these past many years.”

Who said it: Chiwetel Ejiofor, as Solomon Northup, in Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave.”

Why it’s so great: This near-final line in John Ridley’s screenplay is not only a pointed understatement (more than a decade of slavery is a “difficult time”?) but also a mark of Solomon Northup’s remarkable will, and his refusal to stoop to self-pity in the face of horrific circumstances. (Screenplay online.)


6. The quote: “I get it, it’s nice up here. You can just shut down all the systems, turn out all the lights... and just close your eyes and tune out everybody. There’s nobody up here that can hurt you. It’s safe. I mean, what’s the point of going on? What’s the point of living? Your kid died. Doesn’t get any rougher than that. But still, it’s a matter of what you do now. If you decide to go, then you gotta just get on with it. Sit back, enjoy the ride. You gotta plant both your feet on the ground and start livin’ life.”

Who said it: George Clooney, as Matt, in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity.”

Why it’s so great: The visuals in “Gravity” are incredible, and charismatic stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are undoubtedly a large part of its success. But the film, co-written by Cuaron and his son Jonas, also has a go-for-broke affirmation of life that audiences have truly responded to. This line by Clooney’s character -- when he seemingly returns at a key moment -- is right on that pulse. (Screenplay online.)


  • Lawrence | January 5, 2014 9:35 AMReply

    I believe the quote that Michael Polley read in "Stories We Tell" is from Margaret Atwood's novel, "Alias Grace." I could be wrong, but I believe that this was indicated in the film as well. Great quote, but not written by Polley.

  • Beth Hanna | January 5, 2014 11:25 AM

    @Lawrence -- Sharp eye, thanks. I edited for accuracy. Indeed a beautiful quote.

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