Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Top Movie Quote

“You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying-hard copycat.”

If there was an official list of most memorable movie lines from Filipino movies, I think this one will top the list. Nora Aunor’s “Walaaaang himalaaa!” will also be there, as well as her “My brother is not a peeeg!” I shudder to think that Mark Lapid’s “Saging lang ang may pusooooo!” line will make it to the list, so let’s not get into that.

I think what makes the Bituwing Walang Ningning line so memorable is a combination of copy and execution.

The line is a study in elegant construction. The words have a natural cadence that makes them easy to deliver. The pauses fall at very strategic points. “You’re nothing,” pause. What a powerful intro! Then the rest of the sentence is structured in a classic 1-2-3 build-up to a crescendo. “But a second-rate,” pause. Bring it up a notch. “Trying-hard,” pause. Hit the peak. “Copycat!” Notice how the last three phrases each have three syllables? “Se/cond/rate,” “try/ing/hard” and “co/py/cat.” A perfect 3-on-3 structure that delivers a 1-2-3 knockout punch.

Then the execution. Cherie Gil is a master at playing the bee-yotch. Her voice dripping with venom, she brackets the line with a pitch-perfect delivery of “You’ll never make it” (she actually does a subtle sing-song starting with the word “never” and you can swear there’s a smile behind those scathing words), and the ultimate exclamation point: she splashes water on Sharon Cuneta’s face. Take that, Mr. DJ!

To this day one can hear the line uttered by drag queens, stand-up comics and even ordinary folks. Such is the power of that line.

1 comment:

kawadjan said...

omg, so you're into filipino movie lines as well. i've been looking them up on the net and found a few ones like this: "Noong una hinangaan kita,pero ng makilala kita,
sinabi ko sa sarili ko na hindi lang kita papantayan, lalampasan pa kita!". this is again from Bituing Walang Ningning. lingaw noh?