23 Quotes of Modern Hollywood Wisdom

by Kelly on November 14, 2008 · 38 comments

in Film. TV. Books. Music


I haven’t done a film post for a very long time now and that’s strange because I am obsessed with movies. Unfortunately I haven’t been amazed by a film for quite awhile and scathing reviews are really not my style.

Despite the fact that I am depressed about the number of formula films being pumped out, the two dimensional characters given to most actresses, and the studio focus on delivering cinema for teenagers only, my eternal optimist says there has to have been some great film writing in recent years, even if it was just a few lines.

Therefore, I went and made it my mission to trawl through the films of the past 10 years to find some modern film quotes that offer some wit and wisdom about life.

At this point I would like to acknowledge Reel Life Wisdom, a wonderful resource for film buffs such as myself. This post was taking ages to research until I stumbled upon the site. It’s a real treasure.

Wise and Witty Quotes from 10 Years in Hollywood Cinema

J. K Simmons, Juno, 2007

“The best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out of your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”

Clive Owen, Inside Man, 2006

“The further you run from your sins, the more exhausted you are when they catch up to you.”

Homayoun Ershadi, The Kite Runner, 2007

“When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.”

Steve Carell, Dan in Real Life, 2007

“Instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised.”

Paul Bettany, Wimbledon, 2004

“It’s sad. Everything they used to love in each other now seems to drive them crazy.”

Tony Benn, Sicko, 2007

“If we can find money to kill people, we can find money to help people.”

Paul Rudd, Knocked Up, 2007

“I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.”

Brad Garrett, Ratatouille, 2007

“If you focus on what you’ve left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead.”

Casey Affleck, Gone Baby Gone, 2007

“I always believed it was the things you don’t choose that makes you who you are.”

Randall Duk Kim, Kung Fu Panda, 2007

“One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.”

Meryl Streep, Adaptation, 2002

“There are too many ideas and too many people and too many directions to go. The reason it matters to care passionately about something is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size.”

Hugh O’Conor, Chocolat, 2000

“I think we can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.”

Joan Allen, the Contender, 2000

“Principles only mean something when you stick to them when it’s inconvenient.”

Robin Williams, Patch Adams, 1998

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I’ll guarantee you’ll win.”

Brad Pitt, Fight Club, 1999

“The things you own end up owning you.”

Ryan Reynolds, Van Wilder, 2002

“Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001, Richard Harris

“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”

Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby, 2004

“Sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step back.  But step back too far and you ain’t fighting at all.”

Sean Bean, Troy, 2004

“War is young men dying and old men talking.”

Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004

“Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.”

Stephen Fry, V is for Vendetta, 2005

“You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.”

Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine, 2006

“Losers are people who are so afraid of not winning, they don’t even try.

Blythe Danner, The Last Kiss, 2006

“Life is pretty much in the grays for the most part and if you insist always on black and white, you are going to be very unhappy.”

Photo by jek in the box

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1 Tom / Delightful Work 11.14.08 at 9:47 am

Hey Kell, you put my two favorites back to back. I liked the films too.

Joan Allen, the Contender, 2000

“Principles only mean something when you stick to them when it’s inconvenient.”

Robin Williams, Patch Adams, 1998

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I’ll guarantee you’ll win.”

Tom / Delightful Work’s last blog post..Does a Business Startup Have To Be Hard?

2 Natural 11.14.08 at 9:50 am

hey kelly, funny thing is i’m scrolling through netflix looking for some movies to put in my queue..this came at the right time. i will definitely be looking these up. thanks. the movies today are horrible which is why i hardly go to them, maybe 3 or 4 a year.

Natural’s last blog post..Oh, Sense Less One

3 BC Doan 11.14.08 at 10:02 am

This is awesome! I love quotes, and you have given me some good titles to look for!

4 Kelly 11.14.08 at 10:05 am

@Tom / Delightful Work
These are also two of my favorites in terms of my own personal philosophies on life. People often talk about having principles but so many people and countries will dump said principles the second they no longer serve their interests. And Patch Adams is an all out great film.

Glad to help. I can’t believe how many crappy movies there are today and like i said, I don’t like to be critical. I am even a huge fan of action films so believe me when I say I don’t need to watch only “art”; I judge movies according to what they’re supposed to provide. if you claim to be pure entertainment, then entertain me for gods sake! Juno is one of the last truly fantastic films I have seen. And Waitress is good and quirky as well.


5 Kelly 11.14.08 at 10:06 am


We must have just missed each other :)


6 Davina 11.14.08 at 11:20 am

Hi Kelly. Chocolat, Patch Adams and Harry Potter, some of my favourites! How bout this one from The Bucket List?
“Here’s something to remember when you’re older Thomas – never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard-on, and never trust a fart.” :-)

Davina’s last blog post..Video — Preparation Inspires Self-Confidence

7 Kelly 11.14.08 at 11:27 am

I love it! I haven’t seen ‘The Bucket List’, but the quote alone is enough of a reason to. Thanks :)


8 Patricia 11.14.08 at 11:48 am

I went to the Secret Lives of Bees recently and was glad it was so well done and stuck reasonably close to the book; it was grand to see the woman cast and remember the 60s. i was on a singing tour with my college choir in the south and was arrested for being a white girl in a car with two black men – The film felt very true. I haven’t gone to a movie for along time. I have been renting BBC series and Masterpiece Series from my mail rental group. I just get tired of the current fare. The theaters are too expensive.
I liked all the quotes and read a whole group from Einstein on SU today. I am doing Cath Lawson’s recommended tuitorial and slowly progressing!
This was fun – I appreciated looking over the list, smiling, and contemplating.

Patricia’s last blog post..Hats Off for Cleft Palates

9 Evelyn Lim 11.14.08 at 12:05 pm

Thanks for putting these quotes together. I love quotes myself!! It’s nice that you put in the effort to collate those from the movies. Not just real life people, we can also learn from reel lives!

Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..My Vision Board Tops Amazon’s Bestseller List?

10 Maya 11.14.08 at 12:16 pm

What a cool post!!

Million DOllar Baby and Adaptation quotes really hit home for me :)

Maya’s last blog post..Are you a storyteller? What is your story?

11 Vered - MomGrind 11.14.08 at 1:23 pm

These are great, Kel. I tried to pick my favorite but I can’t – I love all of them!

Vered – MomGrind’s last blog post..In Defense Of The Nine To Five Grind

12 Shamelle-TheEnhanceLife 11.14.08 at 11:53 pm

I am a movie fanatic as well! I have watched all the movies you mentioned expect V is for Vendetta.

I didn’t quite notice these wisdom quote while watching. Seeing these quotes here, there are things we can all ponder on.

13 Dot 11.15.08 at 12:42 am

I loved those, too. Juno was a great film. I really enjoyed it. Another interesting film about women besides The Secret Life of Bees, which I haven’t seen yet, is one called “Now and Then.” Roger Ebert hated it, and I almost always agree with him, but in this case I didn’t. Loved seeing the women as they had been as girls and their camaraderie.

Dot’s last blog post..Featured Readers

14 Urban Panther 11.15.08 at 4:40 am

I think you will really like this one, Kelly. It’s my ultimate favourite. It’s from The Holiday.

Arthur Abbott: Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.
Iris: You’re so right. You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god’s sake! Arthur, I’ve been going to a therapist for three years, and she’s never explained things to me that well. That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant.

Urban Panther’s last blog post..Faerie glasses

15 mark_hayward 11.15.08 at 6:15 am

Hi Kelly – what a fabulous idea for a post!! My favorite quote from above is Alan Arkin’s, “Losers are people who are so afraid of not winning, they don’t even try.” It sucks to fail but it SUCKS even worse if you don’t at least try…..

Hope you have a terrific weekend. :)

mark_hayward’s last blog post..Triathlon Training and Six Life Lessons Learned

16 Marelisa 11.15.08 at 8:38 am

Hi Kelly: Love this post, I’m going to stumble and twitter it. Here’s an exchange I love from “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”:

Jack Sparrow: That’s the second time I’ve had to watch that man sail away with my ship.

Elizabeth: But you were marooned on this island before, weren’t you? So we can escape in the same way you did then.

Jack Sparrow: To what point and purpose, young missy? The Black Pearl is gone and unless you have a rudder and a lot of sails hidden in that bodice – unlikely – young Mr. Turner will be dead long before you can reach him.

Elizabeth: But you’re Captain Jack Sparrow. You vanished from under the eyes of seven agents of the East India Company. You sacked Nassau Port without even firing a shot. Are you the pirate I’ve read about or not? How did you escape last time?

Jack Sparrow: Last time… I was here a grand total of three days, all right? Last time, the rum runners used this island as a cache, they came past and I was able to barter passage off. By the look of things, they’ve long been out of business.

Elizabeth: So that’s it, then? That’s the secret, grand adventure of the infamous Jack Sparrow. You spent three days lying on a beach drinking rum.

Jack Sparrow: Welcome to the Caribbean, love.

Marelisa’s last blog post..Six Ways to Do Less and Achieve More

17 Mark 11.15.08 at 8:41 am

Awesome post! :) Have a nice weekend!

18 Kelly 11.15.08 at 9:15 am

I don’t think we’ve had ‘The Secret Life of bees’ out here yet. I’ll make sure to catch it. Sounds like a movie to see with mom.

Yes, I love a good quote too :)

You’re welcome. Million Dollar Baby is one of my all time favorite movies.

Well, I wouldn’t have chosen them if they weren’t great :)


19 Kelly 11.15.08 at 9:18 am

I have seen some of these movies and also not noticed the lines. But I’ve been o a Sex and the City bender and all the great writing there had me thinking there had to be some wise lines in films, eve in films that in themselves are not wise!

‘Now and Then’ – never heard of it, but I’ll check it out. Thanks :)

Now that you’ve typed this, I completely remember it. I loved this scene in the movie too and at the time I thought “Wow, that is insightful.” Thanks for reminding me, and it;s very appropriate for many women, I think.


20 Kelly 11.15.08 at 9:21 am

Thanks mate. That was a great movie actually – did you see it? Will come over today to read about how the triathlon went.

And there’s why I love the Caribbean :)
Thanks for the tweet and stumble.

@Mark Salinas
Thanks. You too :)


21 Lance 11.15.08 at 8:37 pm

Kelly, what a great list of quotes from different movies! And, since I happen to love quotes – thanks as well for the link to “Reel Life Wisdom”! Maybe it shows that I live with kids, but the two that jump out at me first are the ones you have from “Kung Fu Panda” and “”Ratatouille”. And really the “Kung Fu Panda” quote about destiny is very much one that is making me really ponder this morning. Thanks for this list Kelly!

Lance’s last blog post..Thanks For The Cookie

22 Kim Woodbridge 11.15.08 at 11:35 pm

Great quotes.

I haven’t been watching any movies lately – even at home. I think I spend too much time watching The Office and making ‘that’s what she said jokes”.

I really like the Fight Club quote. Didn’t he also say “I am not my inbox” ?

23 Kelly 11.16.08 at 3:29 pm

I loved both those movies but I saw Kung Fu Panda with mom and Bunny at the movies and I don’t know if there was a strong adult thread through the film, but mom and I were definitely laughing more than Bunny, who kept saying “That’s not funny. Why are you laughing?” He did like it, but I think we liked it more!

@Kim Woodbridge
You know, I must be an anomaly but I just don’t find The Office that funny. Not sure why. I’ve seen the original British version too and it’s the same – just okay. I do like Steve Carell though.


24 Jannie 11.17.08 at 4:03 am

If I ever get off this computer I will check our those on your list I have not yet seen. THANKS!

Jannie’s last blog post..And “The Real Jannie” is…?

25 Kelly 11.17.08 at 6:31 am

Ah yes, the classic case of movie competition from the internet. I know your struggles my friend :)


26 Dot 11.18.08 at 2:26 am

Congratulations on being one of the (Not So New) Blogs of the Week!

27 Kelly 11.18.08 at 7:53 am

Thanks Dot. I was chuffed Barbara picked me :)


28 Cath Lawson 11.18.08 at 10:05 pm

Hi Kelly – there’s some brilliant quotes here. I haven’t watched a lot of these films. I think I’ll be referring back to this list next time I try to choose a film. Did you see the new James Bond yet? It’s brilliant.

29 Kelly 11.18.08 at 10:49 pm


Off to see Bond, James Bond in Thursday with MusicMan. It’s one of the things we are doing to kick off our 4 day long weekend to celebrate 10 years of marriage. Can’t wait – Daniel Craig is so hot!


30 Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations 11.19.08 at 8:55 am

hi Kelly, I saw a good handful of movie names that I hadn’t heard of. I jotted them down for my netflix list. Thanks for the referals. They looked good!

Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations’s last blog post..Are you Planning for the Fog?

31 J.D. Meier / Sources of Insight 11.19.08 at 9:36 am

I love quotes and you picked a beautiful set.

You reminded me of a couple of my favorite quotes …
“The past is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, today is a gift … that’s why it’s called the present.” – Kung Fu Panda
“When there’s no wave, make one” – Surf’s Up
“Find a way, that’s what winner’s do” – Surf’s Up
… they’re from memory so they might be a little off.

J.D. Meier / Sources of Insight’s last blog post..Design a Routine for Exceptional Thinking

32 Stacey / Create a Balance 11.19.08 at 3:15 pm

These are great quotes! I can relate to being with a person who loves me for exactly what I am… “good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty”, etc. That being said, there are things I used to love about my love that now drive me crazy. I think that is human nature.

Stacey / Create a Balance’s last blog post..My First Video Blog! Take Back Your Life Episode #1 – Assessing Your Actions

33 Kim Woodbridge 11.20.08 at 2:19 am

Hey – you changed your theme! It looks great :-)

Kim Woodbridge’s last blog post..5 New(ish) WordPress Themes

34 Vered 11.20.08 at 1:15 pm

What Kim said. :) Love the new look!

35 Pam 11.24.08 at 10:13 am

Kelly, I love the idea of this article. Too often films are blindly watched for pure entertainment – sometimes there are lessons. These are great lines of dialogue.

However, as an ‘aspiring novelist’ would it be more appropriate to give credit to the screenwriters who penned the words? Rather than the actors who regurgitated them (with great skill)?

Would also be interesting to see how many were female screenwriters.

36 Kelly 11.24.08 at 2:03 pm


Thanks for the comment. I see what you mean about crediting the screenwriters. I guess I wrote this as a film lover, not as a writer so I was trying to give people a guide as to who says what in the movie. Point taken about crediting the people who create the story world though. There is no film without a screenplay/


37 Bruce McKenna 08.18.10 at 5:59 am

Nice to see these quotes – I do wish you’d included the names of the people who actually thought them up , rather than the actors who just read the lines off the writers’ pages.

38 Doubleclick 04.15.11 at 2:53 am

I just read a lot of weblogs recently as well as your own is among the best. I like reading through you – obvious and well crafted. Your web page will go straight to my bookmarks. I acquired some good inspiring ideas reading it.

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