I have chosen not to name the screenwriters because, in spite of what you might think, I am a merciful man.
A disclaimer: I have not fact-checked a single one of these lines. For the sake of the historical record, feel free to send corrections.
First prize of The Making of Alexander goes to Arthur Tiersky for this jaw-dropping monologue from the stinko John Belushi biopic, Wired:
John, there's a light within you. I want you to burn it out. BURN IT OUT! BURN IT OUT! In Vietnam, monks set themselves on fire. Artaud. Artaud said that actors should perform like they are on fire. Signaling through the flames ... THAT'S our job as comedians! To burn brightly and stand as a symbol. I will not give in to this consensus reality! Cut the demons loose, John! Let 'em loose! That's were your characters come from.
Second prize was not as easy to determine. It goes to Bret Thompson, and it's Lee Krasner's assessment of the painter's latest canvas in Pollack:
"You've done it this time, Pollack. You've broken it wide open."
A close runner-up (via Dan J. Vice, also cited in my Slate review) was the tribute of agent George Shapiro to his client, Andy Kaufman, in Man in the Moon: "You're insane—but you might also be brilliant." Also consider this, via Kevin Dafler, from the Richie Valens biopic La Bamba: "I'm going to be a star, and stars don't fall from the sky, do they?"
Category 2 offered some doozies, the chercest from Nicholas and Alexandra, via Paul Notley:
TROTSKY: You've been avoiding me, Lenin.
From the same movie, James Hynes remembers a Lenin line that went something like: "Nice work on the manifesto, Trotsky." A potential winner if the quotation had been exact!
Another good Category 2 exchange is this from The Greatest Story Ever Told, via Paul Hynes:
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.