Best Film Speeches
and Monologues


Best Film Speeches and Monologues
Title Screen
Film Title/Year and Description of Film Speech/Monologue

High Fidelity (2000)
Screenwriter(s): D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg

The 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 me earlier!

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") 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. Welcome.

High Fidelity (2000)
Screenwriter(s): D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg

A 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 above him:

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

"Top 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 Grace

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 smorgåsbord 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.

Memento (2000)
Screenwriter: Christopher Nolan, from the short story by Jonathan Nolan, Memento Mori

"I Have to Believe..."

Play clip (excerpt): Memento (short) Memento (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 DONE IT").

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."

He 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

"The Vast Unmarked Grave Which Is Home For Those Lost at Sea is Of No Consolation" - Eulogy

Play clip (excerpt): The Perfect Storm

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 (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Gregory Allen Howard

Take a Lesson From the Dead - "Maybe We'll Learn to Play This Game Like Men"

Play clip (excerpt): Remember the Titans

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 (2000)
Screenwriter(s): Hubert Selby, Jr., Darren Aronofsky

"I'm 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 - after he had given her the gift of a new TV, and then he became surprisingly concerned about her addiction to uppers - her new diet pill regimen! She told him about her sad feelings regarding getting old and feeling lonely and useless, but suddenly had become enlivened by the loss of weight and her upcoming appearance on the TV game show. She was momentarily happy about the opportunity to wear her red dress - her deceased husband's favorite:

I'm going to be on television. I got a call and an application...I'm going to be a contestant on television....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 (2000, UK)
Screenwriter(s): Steven Katz

"What 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 an actor!...Dedication!"

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