' ' Cinema Romantico: The 10 Best Kicking and Screaming Quotes

Monday, October 19, 2020

The 10 Best Kicking and Screaming Quotes

Twenty-five years ago this month, Noah Baumbach’s debut feature film “Kicking and Screaming” was screened for the first time at the New York Film Festival and then, two days later, released into theaters – or, a theater, per Box Office Mojo, where it pulled down $77,000 down less than “Apollo 13” (which had already been in theaters for 3 months). If Baumbach’s indie earned solid critical marks and stuck around in theaters for another six months, it left little of a cultural imprint in the moment. No, as a talky indie with little visual style to stand out but hysterical snark and wit in spades, “Kicking and Screaming” was tailor-made for the small screen experience and being passed along word of mouth. (That was how I discovered it, from the the recommendations of a couple friends). The people watching it tended to be mired in a similar abyss to the characters, a quartet of college graduates stuck in that strange netherworld between having just received their diploma and starting real life, when all you really wanna do is sit around a table in a bar and toss back glasses of cheap beer and trade quotes from whatever thing you’ve all been watching. In “Kicking and Screaming”, the thing you’ve all been watching and existence merged. There is no movie I’ve ever found to be more quotable. To this day my friend Ashley and I occasionally sign off emails not with our names but “Kicking and Screaming” quotes. And that brings me to the point of this post.

I could write an essay about the film, of course, personal or otherwise, but an essay requires diligent work and thought and that does not feel true to a movie where Parker Posey’s Miami memorably says of her boyfriend “He says he’s doing homework, but I think he just watches TV and drinks Colt 45.” (See how I have already ingeniously squeezed a quote in here?) No, finally, definitively, arrogantly counting down its 10 greatest quotes, that feels right. Lists might typically be puerile where a movie that has graduated from cult status to Criterion might be concerned but in the case of “Kicking and Screaming” that puerility is sort of the point. And though there are so many quotes I could have done 20 or 25 or even 50, that feels like cheating, cheapening my task. These are the 10 best quotes in the most quotable movie ever; they need to count. And though some of these quotes are dependent upon their surrounding context and line readings, the staff at Cinema Romantico has nevertheless voted to present the list context-free. If you know, you know. If you don’t, get to it; “Kicking and Screaming” is streaming on Netflix. And now, let’s do it. 

Can you name the 10 best quotes from “Kicking and Screaming”? Ding!

The 10 Best Kicking and Screaming Quotes

10. “You know what I wish? I wish we were just going off to war. Or retiring. I wish I was just retiring after a lifetime of hard labor.”

9. “Well, there is that dark side to the nose ring.”

8. “Potato is an entrée?”

7. “You know what I noticed near the end of the book, when Grady goes to the prison? That the violence, which has up to then had a ferocious energy about it, departed from the emotional violence and became terrifyingly brutal and real. And particularly after he left the prison, and he went to find that horse. I found the descriptions of the horse to be, frankly astonishingly beautiful, and yet disturbingly arousing. What are your thoughts?” 
“Um, yeah. Yeah. Definitely. You really- you’ve pinned down what it is about the book. Uh, definitely with the prison when, um - when Grady is, um – there’s violence. There’s a lot of violence. And it’s like night and day. And when Grady, uh- he saw all those- those horses, I think you were saying, and it was... arousing. It was violently arousing.” 
“Otis, have you read this book?” 
“Yes. ... No.”

6. “It’s like a piece of chicken wing. Or a cheese fry.”

5.“You know, racism spans the globe. From Howard Beach to Crown Heights, we witness acts of hatred.” 
“What does that mean, ‘from Howard Beach to Crown Heights’? That’s like from the living room to the dining room we witness acts of hatred. Racism spans from here to the dance floor.” 
“So much anger.”

4. “Despite my efforts, my intense efforts to do nothing, things happen anyway.”

3. “Oh, I’ve been to Prague. Well, I haven’t ‘been to Prague’ been to Prague, but I know that thing; that, ‘Stop shaving your armpits, read The Unbearable Lightness of Being, date a sculptor, now I know how bad American coffee is thing.'” 
“Beer. They have good beer there.” 
“… ‘Now I know how bad American beer is thing.’”

2. “Ah. The fan. The trusty fan. Everyone brings this to school, uses it for about three or four days and then shoves it in the closet for the remainder of the semester.” 
“I use that fan all the time. All the time.”

1. “I’m nostalgic for conversations I had yesterday. I’ve begun reminiscing events before they even occur. I’m reminiscing this right now. I can’t go to the bar because I’ve already looked back on it in my memory, and I didn’t have a good time.”

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