Don’t Call Me Shirley – Best Movie Scenes (AIRPLANE)

AIRPLANE was one of my favourite movies growing up as a child. It was a film that our 1980s household owned on VHS, so it was an easy pop-in to the VCR whenever I wanted to giggle. (The other films we owned: Steel Magnolias, Lethal Weapon 2, and Big.  I have no idea why we owned these four specific movies.)

This scene from the film always made me laugh and still makes me laugh today:

Interesting enough, as a child I had no context to the spoof of the comedy. That is was making fun of the 1970s AIRPORT franchise, plus other iconic and pulp cultural references of the time. I just liked the comedy. How these actors were performing in a thriller/drama, while the audience was the only ones in on the joke.

Take a look at this scene. No actor is “trying to be funny”. They are just saying the lines that they were given while the tone and direction forces everyone to laugh. I feel that these films must be extremely difficult to direct because the there is such a fine line to tip-e-toe in the tone. They must keep the film grounded in reality to the comedy punchlines are so profound.

Leslie Nielsen, who utters the iconic “Shirley” line, went on to more “parody” fame with The Naked Gun franchise, is a master of the  “I am doing comedy by doing drama” acting technique.

I know there are other spoof films out there, but they don’t feel as smart as the AIRPLANE! movies, or the Mel Brooks films that pioneered this type of comedy. Or, perhaps I’m getting old and I don’t get the new films.

All I can say is that I was up in the middle of the night last week as my newborn daughter didn’t feel like sleeping and AIRPLANE was on the television. And I laughed as much as I did when I was 6 years old when I first saw this movie. AIRPLANE holds up and stands the test of time. That’s the bottomline.

Surely you cant be serious - Airplane

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Favorite Movie Quotes – Maya (Virginia Madsen) on Wine in the film SIDEWAYS (2004)

I was working late last night, flipping through the channels and the film Sideways (2004) came on. I haven’t seen Alexander Payne’s film on life, wine, and legacy since it was in the theaters over 10 years ago. It’s a pretty solid film that still holds up today.

One of the great speeches for a female character in the 2000s is Maya’s speech on wine. I’ll assume many actresses have performed this speech when they have to prepare a monologue for an audition. It’s terrific:

…I like to think about the life of wine…How it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now.

I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your ’61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline…And it tastes so f*****g good.

Or watch it here:

She’s basically talking about people and life in general. Miles (Paul Giammati) needs to hear this because he’s almost ready to pack it in and stop the growing because it’s all too painful for him. We’re here to evolve and sometimes it gets better and sometimes it gets worse. Some of us are an amazing wine as most of us are perhaps the $10 bottle we can buy at the supermarket. Or perhaps we are all the same and nobody really can taste the difference.

It’s about passion. I know nothing about wine at all, but I’m always fascinated to hear people describe their passions. We are here to love and that’s what Maya’s speech is about. And Giammati’s performance reacting to the monologue is just as good as the monologue performance itself.