Sunday, August 14, 2011

Diversion 2.0 Thirty Day Movie Challenge -- Day 27

Day 27 – A Movie You Can Quote Extensively

As a man who loves puns, I think movie quotes are positively swell. I love taking film dialogue and applying it to a situation out of context; like any good pun, it gives the words a double-meaning, and unlike puns, the people who catch on actually laugh. There’s something communal about movie quoting as well – get a group of people together who can swap quotes, and there’s a good chance they’ll grow closer as friends, all while entertaining themselves. Today’s entry is the first film I’ve been able to quote extensively, and I’ve been doing so for almost twenty years.

Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin is one of my favorite movies ever. Not favorite Disney movies, not favorite animated movies, favorite movies period. It’s on the very select list of Disney’s out-and-out comedies, and its wacky, devil-may-care attitude gives me a pleasantly warm sensation. There are “better” Disney pictures in the canon, with “better” songs and “better” characters (few with better animation, though; even for the Renaissance, this movie looked damn good), but Aladdin is easily my favorite.

There’s no way you don’t, to some extent, know about the plot in Aladdin, but here goes anyway. Aladdin (Scott Weigner) is a young street rat living in the Middle Eastern city of Agrabah, and though he spends his days in poverty, he knows he’s meant for something greater than scrimping for food. Meanwhile, in the palace castle, Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin) dreams about a life where she is buried under fewer rules and allowed to be free. The two meet and fall in love, but Aladdin is soon spirited away by the treacherous vizier Jafar (Jonathan Price) in order to retrieve a magical lamp from a temperamental cave.

Aladdin botches the lamp extraction, but meets the genie of the lamp (Robin Williams), a fast-talking, pan-dimensional being that yearns to be free of his brass prison. Aladdin promises to free the genie after he uses two of the genie’s three wishes, and the rest of the film follows Aladdin’s efforts to win over Princess Jasmine, while Jafar continues to scheme about how he will overthrow the Sultan and rule Agrabah.

"Yessir, we pride ourselves on service..."

Aladdin was my favorite movie as a child, and I watched it innumerable times on VHS. As a result, I can probably quote over half of the thing from memory. Not just the "good" lines or the songs, but half of any given scene in the movie, ancillary dialogue and all. Watching it only increases my near-total recall of the film, and turns the movie into a bit of a sing-along, sans bouncing ball.

Because it’s not tricking if you got it, here are some of my favorite non-traditionally-quoted lines from Aladdin:

  • “It never fails. You get in the bath, and there’s a rub at the lamp.”
  • “Allah forbid you should have any daughters!”
  • “Look at this! Combination hookah and coffee maker! Also makes Julian fries!”
  • “I can’t believe it, I’m losing to a rug.”
  • “They’re after me! They’re after you?!”
  • Tonight, the part of Al will be played by a tall, dark and sinister ugly man.”
  • “You were born a street rat, you’ll die a street rat, and only your fleas will mourn you!” (only because I like impersonating Prince Achmed)

Other movies are certainly more quotable (Anchorman, for example), but Aladdin, for personal reasons, is my favorite to quote.

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