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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Five Best: Memorable K-12 Movie Speeches

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Last week was the debut of the child-centric, Martin Scorsese film Hugo, which has opened to rave reviews. Starring Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz, my guess is that it will offer plenty of dialogue just from these young actors. This got me thinking - what films offer great speeches by characters 18 or younger? Obviously, not all these actors were that young, but they played a character that was in high school or younger. So, here they are, in chronological order.

NOTE: I couldn't get the video clip for one of these.
NOTE: One of these speeches is a HUGE SPOILER ALERT. So, I would recommend still reading this article, unless you haven't seen the fourth movie below. If you haven't, don't read the speech and see the movie.

Phoebe Cates as Kate in Gremlins (1984)

A Merry Christmas

The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple of hours went by. Dad wasn't home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. And that's when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney on Christmas Eve, his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.

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Jeff Cohen as Chunk in The Goonies (1985)

The Confession

Everything. OK! I'll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max's toupee and I glued it on my face when I played Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog... When my Mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then they served lunch, I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out. But the worst thing I ever done - I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa - and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And t-t-then, this was horrible, all the people started gettin' sick and throwin' up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life.

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Matthew Broderick as Ferris in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

How to Fake Sick

They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second. How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this? This is my ninth sick day this semester. It's getting pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I'm probably gonna have to barf up a lung, so I'd better make this one count. The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It's a good non-specific symptom. I'm a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh, you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor's office. That's worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you're bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It's a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it. I do have a test today, that wasn't bull-s--t. It's on European socialism. I mean really, what's the point. I'm not European. I don't plan on being European, so who gives a crap if they're socialists. They could be fascist anarchists and it still wouldn't change the fact that I don't own a car. (Singing in shower) It's not that I condone fascism or any 'ism' for that matter. Ism's, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an 'ism,' he should believe in himself. I quote John Lesson: 'I don't believe in Beatles. I just believe in me.' A good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off of people.
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Edward Norton as Aaron Stampler in Primal Fear (1996)

The Plot Twist Confession 

Will you t-tell Miss Venable I'm sorry? Tell her I hope her neck is OK....Well, good for you, Marty. I was gonna let it go. You was lookin' so happy just now. I was thinkin' - but to tell you the truth, I'm glad you figured it, 'cause I have been dyin' to tell you. Ha-ha. I just didn't know who you'd wanna hear it from. Aaron or Roy, or Roy or Aaron. Well, I'll let you in on a little secret, a sort of a client- attorney-privilege type of a secret, do you know what I mean? It don't matter who you hear it from. It's the same story. I j-j-just had to kill Linda, Mr. Vail. That-that c--- just got what she deserved. But cuttin' up that son of a b---- Rushman? That was just a f----- work of art. Ha-ha-ha...Yeah, I did get caught, though, didn't I? (Marty: "So there never, there never was a Roy")

Jesus Christ, Marty. If that's what you think, I'm disappointed in you. I don't mind tellin' you. There never was an Aaron, counselor. (Marty left the cell) Come on, Marty, I thought you had it figured there at the end. The way you put me on the stand like that, that was f------ brilliant, Marty. And that whole thing, that 'act-like-a-man.' J----, I knew exactly what you wanted from me. It was like we were dancin', Marty!...Oh come on, don't be like that, Marty. We did it, man. We f------ did it. We're a great team, you and me. You think I could've done this without you? You're just feelin' a little anger here because you started to care about old Aaron, I can understand that, but - you know, love hurts, Marty. What can I say? Hey, I'm just kiddin', Bud! I didn't mean to hurt your feelings! What else was I supposed to do? I guess you'll thank me down the road, 'cause this'll toughen you up, Martin Vail! You hear me? That's a promise!

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Reese Witherspoon/Jessica Campbell/Chris Klein in Election (1999)

Pre-Election Prayers

Tracy (Witherspoon): Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn't, as you well know. I realize that it was your divine hand that disqualified Tammy Metzler and now I'm asking that you go that one last mile and make sure to put me in office where I belong so that I may carry out your will on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Tammy (Campbell): Dear God, I know I don't believe in you, but since I'll be starting catholic school soon, I though I should at least practice. Let's see. What do I want? I want Lisa to realize what a b---- she is and feel really bad and apologize for how she hurt me and know how much I still love her. In spite of everything, I still want Paul to win the election tomorrow, not that c--- Tracy. Oh, and I also want a really expensive pair of leather pants and someday, I wanna be really good friends with Madonna. Love, Tammy.

Paul (Klein): Dear God, thank you for all your blessings. You've given me so many things, like good health, nice parents, a nice truck, and what I'm told is a large penis, and I'm very grateful, but I sure am worried about Tammy. In my heart, I still can't believe she tore down my posters, but sometimes, she does get so weird and angry. Please help her be a happier person because she's so smart and sensitive and I love her so much. Also, I'm nervous about the election tomorrow and I guess I want to win and all, but I know that's totally up to you. You'll decide who the best person is and I'll accept it. And forgive me for my sins, whatever they may be. Amen.

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Thanks to for provided the dialogue print-out for each of these.

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