Students speak with celluloid tongue

Forsooth, graduates may have lost the art of rattling off rhyming couplets, but, writes Ed Granby, why quote the Bard when you've got the barbed wit of Tarantino at your disposal?

All students, not just those studying English, will have to put up at some time with older people complaining that we cannot quote Shakespeare, Dickens and Pope. It is further alleged that our interpersonal skills have become impoverished as a result.

Well that, as Clint Eastwood says in In The Line of Fire, is a lot of cockamamy bullshit. The truth is that our generation has its own cultural heritage, and we do quote from literature - just a different kind of literature. Here then, as proof to the grown-ups and a refresher course for the kids, is an indispensable guide to cool student film-speak.

"Wind the frog!" (Toy Story)

This is the cue to activate the clockwork amphibian creature which sets off the toys' complex escape plan at the end of the film. Cinema has given us thousands of lines to start things off with, but few as pricelessly jocular as this one. You can use it to start something pleasant, but its ideal use is to make light of what would otherwise be a very serious matter. For example:

Judge: I am minded to give you a custodial sentence. I have here a list of your previous marijuana convictions, which I would like to read to the court.

You: Wind the frog!

"The guns ... they've stopped!" (Star Wars)

Spoken by an actor called Jeremy Sinden, reaching the peak of his career here in his two-line part as Gold Two. His X-wing fighter is being fired at by huge Death Star laser cannons which suddenly and mysteriously stop shooting. Hurrah! After a few seconds, however, it becomes clear that the guns have stopped because the Death Star has mobilised its own fighters representing a far deadlier threat to Gold Two than the laser cannons.

As such, this is the ideal quote for all those occasions when something goes so suddenly and inexplicably right that you know it can only be a prelude to everything going far more terribly and disastrously wrong again:

Your flatmate: I've done your washing-up for you.

You: The guns ... they've stopped!

Your flatmate: Yes, we're throwing you out of the flat.

"F---ing Dante. F---ing poetry-writing piece-of-shit faggot f---!" (Seven)

Brad Pitt's frustration with the great 13th-century Italian poet has been shared by many a student of literature, and his critique can be adapted for almost any poet with only minimal change. If your tutorial is going nowhere, simply say in your cleverest voice that Shakespeare/Wordsworth/Auden/whoever always reminds you of Mr Braderick Pitt's perceptive comments on Dante. When your tutor asks, eyes wide with amazement and admiration, what exactly Pitt said about Dante, simply let rip.

(And if it blows up in your face, try to slip in Kevin Spacey's murderous little line from the same film: "I've gone and done it again").

"Who's the fellow owns this shit-hole?" (Unforgiven)

Clint Eastwood is probably the Shakespeare of cinema (only with more gunfights), and has come up with a vast array of quotable lines. This one is chosen only because of its usefulness in announcing your presence at the beginning of a social encounter (Clint uses it to establish who has gone "decorating their saloon with the body of my friend" - and thus who will be first to die). You can use it, however, when you first turn up at a party and wish to be introduced to your host; when you arrive for a job interview and are looking for the boss, or indeed when you wish to establish who has gone decorating their saloon with the body of your friend.

"I'm shaking." (from Hard Boiled)

This is obviously a standard sarcastic "Ooh, you really scare me" line, but what singles it out from all the others is the delivery. John Woo's tale of Hong Kong Yakuza is dubbed into English, of course, so what we have here is a second-rate voice-over artist reading the line totally without sarcasm - and a tough-as-nails gangster telling his tormentors that he is, indeed, shaking. Echo his impressive non-ironic tone whenever you are threatened with anything, and your persecutor will be thrown totally off-balance.

"I got two words for that: learn to f----in' type!" (Reservoir Dogs)

Steve Buscemi's advice to poorly paid waitresses (part of his forthright defence of his non-tipping stance) is an ideal response to the tiresome worries and panics of your final-year friends as they contemplate the prospects of graduate unemployment. Around January, they will, inevitably, start whining about how society undervalues the skills they have gained on their Russian Literature in Translation course, or how employees fail to understand the value a knowledge of Restoration Comedy could have for their companies. At this point, curtly issue Buscemi's sound - if numerically inaccurate advice - and leave the room.

"No more foreplay." (Goldeneye)

Pierce Brosnan at last confirms his status as a real James Bond with this little beauty. In true 007 style he says the line as he pulls a gun on some Iron Curtain cutie, and it is not entirely clear whether he is referring to actual foreplay or saying something rather more prosaic, like "Okay, down to business. Who are you working for?" This ambiguity is what gives the quote such amazing flexibility. You can use it as you finally turn the TV off and buckle down to that too-long-put-off essay; you can use it to cut through a lengthy or boring reply to your question ("No more foreplay, Dad. Do I get the loan or not?"), or - advanced use only - you can use it during sex to indicate that you've actually had enough foreplay.

For an interesting and surprisingly successful combination move, you may want to try "No more foreplay. Wind the frog!"

"It's alive!" (Frankenstein and others)

A good one for refuting the arguments of the Whinging Grown-ups. Tell them you can quote the line spoken in the film when the Monster first comes to life (above), and offer them a tenner if they can quote Mary Shelley's own, slightly less memorable line. Their line is "... by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs ..." You win.

Usage need not be confined to electrical monsters, however: the words "It's alive" can be applied to the bit of pizza stuck down the back of your sofa since last month, to the first stirrings of a drunk-unconscious flatmate, or to the fiendish machinations of the photocopier that's conspiring to give you 50 copies when you wanted only one.

"Kobayashi." (The Usual Suspects)

Not an actual quote, as such, but instantly recognisable as the brand- name printed on the bottom of Agent Kujan's coffee cup - and as the final piece of the puzzle that explains the whole story.

While sad oldsters attempt to "get with it" on popular culture by saying "Aiih don't beliiieeeve it!" when sudden realisation strikes, those with their fingers anywhere near the pulse are simply slapping their foreheads and saying "Kobayashi!" A typical Kobayashi Moment comes after you have been wondering for days why your girlfriend has been cold-shouldering you, and then suddenly - Kobayashi! - you remember your anniversary (last week).

It is at this point that you apologise for being such a complete Keyser Soze

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm - London

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Sauce Recruitment: Financial Accountant -Home Entertainment

£200 - £250 per day: Sauce Recruitment: 6 month contract (Initially)A global e...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea