Groucho Marx: “Duck Soup” (1933)

From the 1933 Marx Brothers movie “Duck Soup“. Groucho Marx works himself up a temper and slaps the ambassador from Sylvania, causing a war.

You can find this monologue and hundreds of others on Colin’s Movie Monologue page.

Mrs Teasdale (Margaret Dumont): Your Excellency!

President Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx): What’s on your mind, babe?

Mrs Teasdale: In [on] behalf of the women of Freedonia, I’ve taken it upon myself to make one final effort to prevent war.

Firefly: No kidding!

Mrs Teasdale: I’ve talked to Ambassador Trentino and he says Sylvania doesn’t want war either.

Firefly: Either.

Mrs Teasdale: Doesn’t want war either.

Firefly: Either.

Mrs Teasdale: Hmmmph!

Firefly: Skip it.

Mrs Teasdale: I’ve taken the liberty of asking the Ambassador to come over here because we both felt that a friendly conference would settle everything peacefully. He’ll be here any moment.

Firefly: Mrs Teasdale, you did a noble deed.

I’d be unworthy of the high trust that’s been placed in me if I didn’t do everything within my power to keep our beloved Freedonia in peace with the world.

I’d be only too happy to meet with Ambassador Trentino, and offer him on behalf of my country the right hand of good fellowship. And I feel sure he will accept this gesture in the spirit of which it is offered.

But suppose he doesn’t. A fine thing that’ll be. I hold out my hand and he refuses to accept it. That’ll add a lot to my prestige, won’t it? Me, the head of a country, snubbed by a foreign ambassador. Who does he think he is, that he can come here, and make a sap out of me in front of all my people?

Think of it – I hold out my hand and that hyena refuses to accept it. Why, the cheap ball-pushing swine, he’ll never get away with it I tell you, he’ll never get away with it!

[Trentino (Louis Calhern) enters]

Firefly: So, you refuse to shake hands with me, eh?

[Firefly slaps Trentino with his glove for the second time in two days and the war begins]

Trentino: Mrs Teasdale, this is the last straw. There’s no turning back now! This means war!

Ratatouille (2007): The Critic’s Job

The 2007 animated movie ‘Ratatouille‘ tells the story of a rat, Remy, who dreams of being a chef. Towards the end of the movie, he cooks a simple dish of ratatouille for the feared restaurant critic Anton Ego (voiced by Peter O’Toole). The dish reminds Ego of his mother’s cooking. He writes a review calling Remy ‘the finest chef in France.’

Anton: In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.

But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

But there are times when a critic truly risks something and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.

Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core.

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.

Julia Roberts: ‘Erin Brockovitch’ – A Lame-Ass Offer

Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovitch, a woman who, despite having no legal background, investigates cases of cancers and illnesses in a poor community caused by contaminated water from a Pacific Gas and Electric plant in Hinkley, California. She went on to win one of the largest settlements in US history agains the plant.

You can read the script at Script-O-Rama. The movie is based on a true story.

ED (Albert Finney): Counselors –

SANCHEZ (Gina Gallego): Counselors.

SANCHEZ:…Let’s be honest here. Twenty million dollars is more money than these people have ever dreamed of.

ERIN (Julia Roberts): Oh, see, now that pisses me off. First of all — since the demur, we now have more than four hundred plaintiffs…and “let’s be honest”, we all know there are more out there.

Now, they may not be the most sophisticated people, but they do know how to divide, and twenty million dollars isn’t shit when you split it between them.

ED: Erin —

ERIN: And second of all — these people don’t dream about being rich. They dream about being able to watch their kids swim in a pool without worrying they’ll have to have a hysterectomy at the age of 20, like Rosa Diaz — a client of ours — or have their spine deteriorate like Stan Bloom. Another client of ours.

So before you come back here with another lame-ass offer, I want you to think real hard about what your spine is worth, Mr. Walker – or what you’d expect someone to pay you for your uterus, Miss Sanchez — then you take out your calculator and multiply that number by a hundred. Anything less than that is a waste of our time.

By the way, we had that water brought in special for you folks.

Came from a well in Hinkley.

SANCHEZ: I think this meeting is over.

ED: Damn right it is.

Kelly McDonald: ‘The Girl in the Café’, 2005

From the British film The Girl in the Café (2005): Kelly McDonald plays Gina, a girl who falls in love with Lawrence (Bill Nighy) a top civil servant. At a dinner of the G8 leaders she speaks out against poverty. Read the complete film transcript here at

Note: ‘indent’ means to make a dent or impression, a small change or effect, and that’s the word given in the transcript. But I think the Prime Minister says “end debt,” although this doesn’t make sense in the sentence. If you would like to see the movie and work out for yourself, get a copy of the DVD here.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Corin Redgrave): Five years ago, the world made a series of the most magnificent promises. And we have determined to use this conference seriously to indent the most extreme curses of poverty in the world today. We shall not let them out of our sights, even if we may not yet have the power to fulfill them all.

Gina: That’s not true. That’s not true…

Prime Minister: Aah, I’m sorry Madam, but heckling isn’t really a tradition at these gatherings.

Gina: What are the traditions, then? Well-crafted compromise and just sort of ignoring the poor?

Prime Minister: Perhaps we can talk about this later?

Gina: I doubt it. I imagine I’ll be thrown out later so it’s probably got to be now. I don’t know how much the rest of you ladies know about what’s going on, but my friend here tells me that while we are eating, a hundred million children are nearly starving. There’s just millions of kids who’d kill for the amount of food that fat old me left on the side of my plate – children who are then so weak they’ll die if a mosquito bites them. And so, they do die, one every three seconds.

There they go. And another one.

Anyone who has kids knows that every mother and father in Africa must love their children as much as they do. And to watch your kids die, to watch them die and then to die yourself in trying to protect them – that’s not right. And tomorrow, eight of the men sitting ’round this table actually have the ability to sort this out by making a few great decisions. And if they don’t, someday, someone else will, and they’ll look back on us lot and say: ‘People were actually dying in their millions unnecessarily, in front of you, on your TV screens. What were you thinking? You knew what to do to stop it happening and you didn’t do those things. Shame on you.’

So that’s what you have to do tomorrow. Be great, instead of being ashamed. It can’t be impossible. It must be possible..

Prime Minister: As I was saying before I was so cogently interrupted…

(End of transcript)

Clark Gable: ‘It Happened One Night’ 1934

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in ‘It Happened One Night’ (1934). Read more about the movie on the movie review site, or more about Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert on Wikipedia.

Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert):
Well, thank you. Thank you very much, but— you’ve been very kind.

Reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable): Oh, yeah? It’s all right with me. Go on out in the storm, but I’m going to follow you, see? Yeah. And if you get tough I’ll just have to turn you over to your old man right now. Savvy? Now that’s my whole plot in a nutshell. A simple story for simple people. Now if you behave yourself, I’ll see that you get to King Westley; if not, I’ll just have to spill the beans to papa. Now which of these beds do you prefer? This one? All right.

Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert)That, I suppose, makes everything quite all right.

reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable): Oh this?

Well, I like privacy when I retire. Yes, I’m very delicate in that respect. Prying eyes annoy me. Behold the walls of Jericho! Uh, maybe not as thick as the ones that Joshua blew down with his trumpet, but a lot safer. You see, uh, I have no trumpet. And just to show you that my heart’s in the right place, I’ll give you my best pair of pajamas. Uh, would you mind joining the Israelites? You don’t want to join the Israelites?

All right. Perhaps you’re interested in how a man undresses. You know, it’s a funny thing about that. Quite a study in psychology. No two men do it alike. You know, I once knew a man who kept his hat on until he was completely undressed. Yeah, now he made a picture. Years later, his secret came out. He wore a toupee. Yeah. Now I have a method all my own. If you notice, the coat came first, then the tie, then the shirt. Now, uh, according to Hoyle, after that, the, uh, pants should be next. There’s where I’m different. I go for the shoes next. First the right. Then the left. After that, it’s, eh, every man for himself.