Best Film Speeches and Monologues
||Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue
High Fidelity (2000)
Screenwriter(s): D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott
All-Time Five Most Painful Breakups
In the film's opening after the credits, when
his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) had just broken up with
him and had left his Chicago apartment, record store owner
and audiophile Rob Gordon (John Cusack) compiled a list of
his top-five, all-time, desert island most memorable breakups
to try to figure out what went wrong - seen with flashbacks
during his junior high, high school and college days throughout
much of the film:
My desert island all-time top five
most memorable breakups, in chronological order are as
follows: Alison Ashmore, Penny Hardwick, Jackie Alden,
Charlie Nicholson, and Sarah Kendrew. Those were the ones
that really hurt. (shouting so that Laura out on the
street could hear him) Can you see your name on that
list, Laura? Maybe you'd sneak into the top ten. But there's
just no room for you in the top five. Sorry! Those places
are reserved for the kind of humiliation and heartbreak
you're just not capable of delivering. (he opened his
window and shouted at Laura getting into her car) If
you really wanted to mess me up, you should have got to
Which brings us to number one on the top five
all-time breakup list: Alison Ashmore (Shannon Stillo). One
moment they weren't there, not in any form that interested
us, anyway. And then the next, you couldn't miss them. They
were everywhere. And they'd grown breasts. And we wanted
- actually we didn't even know what we wanted. But it was
something interesting, disturbing even. My relationship with
Alison Ashmore lasted for six hours: the two hours after
school before the 'The Rockford Files' for three days in
a row. But on the fourth afternoon, Kevin Bannister....It
would be nice to think that since I was 14, times have changed.
Relationships have become more sophisticated. Females less
cruel. Skins thicker. Instincts more developed. But there
seems to be an element of that afternoon in everything that's
happened to me since. All my romantic stories are a scrambled
version of that first one.
Number two on the top five all-time breakup
list was Penny Hardwick (Joelle Carter). Penny was great
lookin', and her top five recording artists were Carly Simon,
Carole King, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, and Elton John...She
was nice. Nice manners, nice grades, nice looking. She was
so nice, in fact, that she wouldn't let me put my hand underneath
or even on top of her bra. Attack and defense. Invasion and
repulsion. It was as if breasts were little pieces of property
that had been unlawfully annexed by the opposite sex. They
were rightfully ours and we wanted them back. Sometimes I
got so bored of trying to touch her breast that I would try
to touch her between her legs. It was like trying to borrow
a dollar, getting turned down, and asking for 50 grand instead.
I wasn't interested in Penny's nice qualities, just breasts.
And therefore, she was no good to me...I started dating a
girl who everyone said would give it up and who didn't. And
Penny went with this asshole named Chris Thompson who told
me that he had sex with her after something like three dates.
Number three in the top five all-time breakup
list? Charlie Nicholson (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Sophomore
year of college. As soon as I saw her, I realized she was
the kind of girl I'd wanted to meet ever since I was old
enough to want to meet girls. I mean, she was different.
She was dramatic and she was exotic. And she talked a lot
and when she talked she said remarkably interesting things
about music, books, film and politics. And she talked a
lot. And she liked me. She liked me. She liked me.
At least I think she did...We went out for two years and
I never got comfortable. Why would a girl, no, a woman, like
Charlie go out with me? I felt like a fraud. I felt like
one of those people who suddenly shave their heads and said
they'd always been punks. I was sure I'd be discovered at
any second. And I worried about my abilities as a lover.
And I was intimidated by other men in her design department
and became convinced she was gonna leave me for one of them.
Then she left me for one of them. The dreaded Marco... (One
rainy night, he caught Marco with Charlie) ... (A
while later, after reconciling with her, he realized that
she wasn't for him) And I lost it. Kinda lost it all.
Faith, dignity, about fifteen pounds. When I came to a few
months later, I found to my surprise I had flunked out of
school. Started working at a record shop. Some people never
got over 'Nam or the night their band opened for Nirvana.
I guess I never really got over Charlie. But the thing I
learned from the whole Charlie debacle - you gotta punch
your weight. You see, Charlie, she's out of my class. She's
too pretty. Too smart. Too witty. Too much. I mean, what
am I? I'm a middleweight. Hey, I'm not the smartest guy in
the world, but I'm certainly not the dumbest. I mean, I've
read books like 'Unbearable Lightness of Being' and 'Love
in the Time of Cholera.' And I think I've understood them.
They're about girls, right? Just kidding... Anyway, me and
Charlie, we didn't match. Marco and Charlie matched.
But me and Sarah (Lili Taylor), number four
on the all-time list, we matched. She'd just been dumped
by some asshole named Michael...I'd just been run over by
Charlie...It made sense to pool our collective loathing for
the opposite sex and while we were at it, we get to share
a bed with somebody at the same time. We were frightened
of being left alone for the rest of our lives. Only people
of a certain disposition are frightened of being left alone
for the rest of their lives at 26. We were of that disposition.
So when she told me -- ("I met someone else")...it
was contrary to the whole spirit of our arrangement. So how
come I got dumped?...
For a couple of years, I was DJ at a club. I was good at it,
I think. And while I was doing it, it was the happiest I've
ever been. And that's where I met Laura. She was already a
lawyer but she worked for legal aid, hence the leather jacket
and clubbing. Oh, I liked her right away...To be honest, I
hadn't met anyone as promising as Laura since I started deejaying,
and meeting promising women is kind of what the deejaying thing
is supposed to be about. And anyway, we, we moved on from there.
She lost her lease on her apartment in Lakeview, and she moved
in with me. And it stayed that way for years. She didn't make
me miserable, or anxious, or ill-at-ease. And you know, it
sounds boring, but it wasn't. It wasn't spectacular, either.
It was just - good. But really good. So, how come I'm suddenly
an asshole?...One: That I slept with someone else...while she,
Laura, was pregnant...Two: That my affair directly contributed...
Three: That after the abortion, I borrowed a large sum of money
from her... And have not, as of yet, repaid any of it....Four:
That shortly before she left me, I told her that I was kind
of unhappy in the relationship and maybe sort of lookin' around
for someone else...Did I do and say those things?...Yes, I
did. I am a f--kin' asshole....That pretty much brings us up
to date....What's wrong with me? Seriously. What happened?
Why am I doomed to be left? Doomed to be rejected? I need answers...
Number five - Jackie Alden. Jackie Alden's
breakup had no effect on my life whatsoever. It was a casual
thing and I was glad when it ended. I just slotted her in
to bump Laura out of position. But now, congratulations,
Laura. You made it to the top five. Number five with a bullet.
High Fidelity (2000)
Screenwriter(s): D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John
Cusack, Scott Rosenberg
Reaction to Breaking Up
After a devastating break-up, 30-something record
store owner Rob Gordon (John Cusack) experienced a delayed,
hysterical reaction to the news that his ex-girlfriend Laura
was with a neighbor guy named Ian 'Ray' Raymond (Tim Robbins).
Ultimately, he decided that Laura qualified as breakup # 5:
(He grimaced) What f--king Ian guy?!
Laura doesn't know anybody called Ian. There's no Ian in
her office. She has no friends called Ian! I'm almost certain
she has never met anyone named Ian in her entire life.
She lives in an --"Ian-less"
universe. (He picked up a letter on the mail table in
the hallway of his apartment building - it was a cable service
bill to Mr. I. Raymond) 'I. Raymond' Ray. 'I.' Ian. (He
crumpled it, then spoke to the camera) Mr. I. Raymond, "Ray" to
his friends and more importantly, to his neighbor. The guy
who, until about six weeks ago, lived upstairs. I start to
remember things about him now. His horrible clothes and hair.
His music: Latin, Bulgarian, whatever world music was trendy
that week. He had rings on his fingers. Awful cooking smells.
I never liked him much then, and I f--kin' hate him now.
(He remembered how he and Laura had laid in bed together)
We used to listen to him having sex, upstairs.
He was unable to sleep - he had a nightmarish
dream of Ian and Laura having wild crazy sex on a creaky bed
You are as abandoned and noisy as any character
in a porn film, Laura. You are Ian's plaything, responding
to his touch with shrieks of orgasmic delight. No woman
in the history of the world is having better sex than the
sex you are having with Ian in my head.
High Fidelity (2000)
Screenwriter(s): D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John
Cusack, Scott Rosenberg
Five Things I Miss About Laura"
Top five things I miss about Laura.
One - a sense of humor. Very dry, but it can also be warm
and forgiving. And she's got one of the best all-time
laughs in the history of all time laughs, she laughs
with her entire body.
Two - she's got character. Or at least she had character
before the Ian nightmare. She's loyal and honest, and she
doesn't even take it out on people when she's having a bad
day. That's character. (He held up three fingers)
Three - (long pause, hesitantly) I miss her smell,
and the way she tastes. It's a mystery of human chemistry
and I don't understand it. Some people, as far as their senses
are concerned, just feel like home.
(He lip-synched 'four' while holding up four fingers)
I really dig how she walks around. It's like she doesn't
care how she looks or what she projects and it's not that
she doesn't care. It's just, she's not affected, I guess,
and that gives her grace.
And five - she does this thing in bed when she can't get
to sleep. She kinda half moans and then rubs her feet together
an equal number of times. It just kills me. Believe me, I
mean, I could do a top five things about her that drive me
crazy, but it's just your garden variety women, you know,
schizo stuff and that's the kind of thing that got me here.
Meet the Parents (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Jim Herzfeld, John Hamburg
A Godspell Table
Conservative, over-compensating male nurse Gaylord
"Greg" Focker (Ben Stiller), the new boyfriend of old-fashioned,
ex-CIA agent Jack Byrne's (Robert DeNiro) daughter Pam (Teri
Polo), delivered the table grace at the Byrne's family dinner.
To please his Christian hosts, the Jewish Greg concluded the
blessing by improvising - and launching into a rendition of
"Day by Day" from Act 1 of Godspell:
O dear God, thank you. You are such a good
God to us. A kind and gentle and accommodating God. And
we thank You, O sweet, sweet Lord of hosts for the smörgåsbord
You have so aptly lain at our table this day, and each
day... by day. Day by day, by day. O dear Lord, three things
we pray: To love Thee more dearly, to see Thee more clearly,
to follow Thee more nearly day by day... by day. Amen.
Screenwriter: Christopher Nolan, from
the short story by Jonathan Nolan, Memento Mori
Have to Believe..."
Play clip (excerpt): (short) (long)
In this noir thriller's ending, anterograde amnesia
sufferer (with no short-term memory, and unable to create new
memories) - an ex-insurance investigator named Leonard
Shelby (Guy Pearce) posited, in voice-over, as he drove away,
that he had to believe in the reality of the world around him,
even though he knew that his memory was faulty. (In a quick
insert, he was fantasizing that his dead wife (Jorja Fox) was
caressing his chest, where he had just tattooed: "I'VE
I have to believe in a world outside my own
mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning,
even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when
my eyes are closed, the world's still here. Do I believe
the world's still here? Is it still out there?... (He opened
his eyes) Yeah. We all need mirrors to remind ourselves
who we are. I'm no different. Now, where was I?
Leonard had just met up
with crooked SF undercover cop John "Teddy" Gammell
(Joe Pantoliano), whose real name was John Edward Gammel (John
G), after Leonard strangled to death a drug dealer named Jimmy
Grantz (Larry Holden). "Teddy" recounted
that Leonard had already vengefully killed the junkie burglar-intruder
(who raped but did not kill his wife) a full year earlier,
with a similar name (John G): "We
found him. You killed him...But you didn't remember, so I helped
you start looking again, looking for the guy you already killed."
also learned the awful news that he had probably murdered his
own diabetic wife -- overdosing her with insulin -- the real
cause of her death. He had been reminded that his faulty memory
had helped him to forget his guilt about killing her: "Who
cares if there's a few little details you'd rather not remember...Well,
I guess I can only make you remember the things you wanna be
true...You don't want the truth. You make up your own truth,
like your police file."
The Perfect Storm (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Bill Wittliff
Vast Unmarked Grave Which Is Home For Those Lost at Sea is
Of No Consolation" - Eulogy
Play clip (excerpt):
For the perished crew of the swords-fishing boat Andrea
Gail capsized by a rogue wave in 1991, female captain
of the Hannah Boden Linda Greenlaw (Mary Elizabeth
Mastrantonio) offered her condolences during their memorial
service in the Gloucester church, remembering veteran captain
Billy Tyne (George Clooney) and others:
I knew Billy Tyne. I did not know his crew
very well, but any man who sailed with him must have been
the better for it. Robert Shatford, Dale Murphy, Michael
Moran, David Sullivan, Alfred Pierre. May you rest easy
long-liners, in fair winds and calm seas. For those of
us left behind, the vast unmarked grave which is home for
those lost at sea is of no consolation. It can't be visited,
there is no headstone on which to rest a bunch of flowers.
The only place we can revisit them is in our hearts, or
in our dreams. They say sword-boatmen suffer from a lack
of dreams. That's what begets their courage. Well, we'll
dream for you: Billy and Bobby, and Murph, Bugsy, Sully,
and Alfred Pierre. Sleep well. Good Night.
Remember the Titans
Screenwriter(s): Gregory Allen Howard
a Lesson From the Dead - "Maybe We'll Learn to Play
This Game Like Men"
Play clip (excerpt):
In the early 1970s, newly-hired African-American
Coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) for the Titans football
team at desegregated T.C. Williams High School spoke to his
racially-integrated team. They had just completed an uphill
training run to the Gettysburg battlefield of the Civil War
and its cemetery. He advocated racial harmony as a means to
triumph on the field:
Anybody know what this place is? This is
Gettysburg. This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg.
Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fightin'
the same fight that we're still fightin' amongst ourselves
today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin'
with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pourin'
right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men.
I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed
my family. You listen, you take a lesson from the dead.
If we don't come together right now on this
hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they
were. I don't care if you like each other right now, but
you will respect each other. And maybe - I don't know, maybe
we'll learn to play this game like men.
Requiem for a Dream
Screenwriter(s): Hubert Selby, Jr., Darren Aronofsky
Somebody Now, Harry" - A Reason to Live
Elderly widow, TV-addicted Sara Goldfarb (Ellen
Burstyn) spoke with her heroin-addicted son Harry (Jared
Leto) in her Brooklyn living room concerning her sad feelings
about getting old and feeling lonely and useless, although
delusional and suddenly enlivened about appearing on a television
game show - she was momentarily happy about the opportunity
to wear her red dress - her deceased husband's favorite - and
a new regimen of addictive weight-loss pills:
I'm somebody now, Harry. Everybody likes
me. Soon, millions of people will see me and they'll all
like me. I'll tell them about you, and your father, how
good he was to us. Remember? It's a reason to get up in
the morning. It's a reason to lose weight, to fit in the
red dress. It's a reason to smile. It makes tomorrow all
right. What have I got Harry, hmm? Why should I even make
the bed, or wash the dishes? I do them, but why should
I? I'm alone. Your father's gone, you're gone. I got no
one to care for. What have I got, Harry? I'm lonely. I'm
old. (Harry: "You got friends, Ma") Ah, it's
not the same. They don't need me. I like the way I feel.
I like thinking about the red dress and the television
and you and your father. Now when I get the sun, I smile.
Shadow of the Vampire
Screenwriter(s): Steven Katz
an Actor! Dedication!"
This fictionalized horror
film was about the making of director F.W. Murnau's classic
expressionistic 1922 vampire film Nosferatu - an unauthorized
retelling of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. The
film starred German actor Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe), playing
the part of vampirish Count Orlock/Count Dracula - who expressed
that he was a real centuries-old vampire.
During a break in filming, Orlock drank Schnapps
under the stars as he answered questions about the Stoker book,
posed to him by producer Albin Grau (Udo Kier) and screenwriter
Henrik Galeen (John Aden Gillet). He was saddened by the Dracula
character, he responded, since vampires lived alone so long
that they became aristocrats without servants, detached from
the details of human life (like buying bread, cheese, and wine).
As a method actor, he remained spookily in character even when
off the set:
It made me sad...because Dracula had no
servants... Dracula hasn't had servants in 400 years, and
then a man comes to his ancestral home and he must convince
him that he, that he is like the man. He has to feed him,
when he himself hasn't eaten food in centuries. Can he
even remember how to buy bread? How to select cheese and
wine? And then he remembers the rest of it. How to prepare
a meal, how to make a bed. He remembers his first glory,
his armies, his retainers, and what he is reduced to. The
loneliest part of the book comes when the man accidentally
sees Dracula setting his table. ("But if you're so
lonely, why don't you make more vampires?") I can't.
I'm too old. Although, I seem to remember I was never able
to. ("Then how did you become a vampire?")
It was woman.
Max snarled and abruptly grabbed a bat out of
midair, hungrily devoured it by ripping off its head, and sucked
its blood, before continuing:
...We were together in the night, and then
she left me. At first, I had a painting of her in wood,
then I had a relief of her in marble, and then, I had a
picture of her in my mind. But now, I no longer even have
that. What was I saying? (He gulped down some Snapps
to wash down the bat) This Schnapps they make in these
parts - I haven't tasted it in...
After Schreck left, Albin remarked: "What