My 18 Favorite Lines from My New Favorite Movie

I watched a movie last night and it changed my life.

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration–but only just a bit. I do, however, wonder how I was able to sustain life for 24 years without seeing this movie.

This movie made me laugh for about 105 minutes nonstop.

This movie stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. (Does that explain the laughing for 105 minutes nonstop?)

This is my new favorite movie.

This is also my new favorite movie to quote at every possible opportunity, appropriate or otherwise.

What? What do you say to a man who’s crying in your bathroom?

See?

I am absolutely convinced I could watch this movie every day for the rest of my life and never, ever tire of it.

This movie is The Odd Couple.

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Oscar (Matthau) and Felix (Lemmon) are best friends. They’re also polar opposites. Oscar still salvages food out of a refrigerator that hasn’t been working for two weeks and has a (dying) Christmas tree up in July. Felix makes sure everyone wipes their feet as they come through the door and has a coaster for their drink. After Felix and his wife Frances separate, Oscar, also recently divorced, invites a distraught Felix to move into his apartment with him. Hilarity ensues.

As much as I love the comedy bred from Oscar and Felix driving each other crazy, I love witnessing the depth of their friendship–how Oscar saves Felix from committing suicide by asking him to move in with him (yet is nearly driven to kill him because he drives him so crazy) and how Felix saves Oscar countless dollars by making meals at home so he can pay his alimony on time–and how they affect one another even though Felix once told Oscar he was unable and unwilling to change because “We are what we are.” I love watching how the seemingly care-free Oscar who seems to do little but enjoy life influences Felix to loosen up (if only ever so slightly), and I love watching how the meticulously neat Felix influences Oscar to chide his poker pals to “watch the cigarette butts” because he does not live in a pigsty. It is a film as much about friendship as it is about two extremely different people driving each other crazy while trying to share an apartment. And it is very, very funny.

And because it is so very funny, here are just 18 (hey, I initially had a list of twice as many) of my favorite lines from this film–in no particular order because each line is equally brilliant and funny, except for number one which is my absolute favorite. It was difficult to resist quoting the entire script; I don’t think there’s a single dud in it. Some of these may not appear as funny in mere print, and that’s due to the brilliance of Lemmon and Matthau–the perfect delivery of the line to convey just the right amount of irritation and resignation, the  facial expressions which manifest how each character is driving the other completely crazy, the way the actor can make something as simple and mundane as holding a ladle side-splittingly funny or cause a guffaw because of the pronunciation of a tiny little word like “cute” or “tartar.”

Public service announcement: If you need to go to the bathroom, I suggest you go now. Otherwise, I cannot guarantee the cleanliness of your undergarments once you’re through reading this.

18. Oscar: You’re not nothing. You’re something. You’re a person. You’re flesh and blood and bones and hair and nails and ears. You’re not a fish. You’re not a buffalo. You’re you. You walk and talk and cry and complain and eat little green pills and send suicide telegrams. No one else does that, Felix, no one. I’m telling you, you’re the only one of its kind in the world.

17. Felix: Ten minutes, that’s all I’m gonna be! Just ten minutes. I’m gonna do the dishes and go to bed.

16. Oscar: You make the same sounds for pain or happiness.
Felix: I know. I think I’m crazy.
Oscar: If it’ll make you feel any better, I think so, too.

15. Oscar: Live with it tomorrow. Go to bed tonight.

14. Felix: Once I get my potatoes in, I got all the time in the world.

13. Felix (to Roy, who has neglected to use a coaster): I don’t want to be a pest, but you know what wet glasses do.
Oscar (aside): They leave little rings on the table.
Felix (to Roy): Little rings on the table.
Oscar (aside): And we don’t want little rings on the table.

12. Oscar: Last night, I found you in the kitchen, washing the floor, shaking your head, and moaning, “Footprints, footprints.”
Felix: I didn’t say they were yours.

11. Oscar: Then at night, after we’ve had your halibut steak in your tartar sauce, I have to spend the rest of the evening watching you Saran Wrap the leftovers.

10. Felix: I wanna get one thing straight. This is the last time that I cook anything for you. Because people like you don’t even appreciate a decent meal, and that’s why they have TV dinners.

9. Oscar: Why doesn’t he hear me? I know I’m talking. I recognize my voice.

8. Felix:  You’re crazy. I’m a neurotic nut, but you’re crazy.

7. Oscar: Good night, Felix.
Felix: Good night, Frances.

6. Felix: In other words, you’re throwing me out.
Oscar: Not in other words. Those are the perfect ones!

5. Oscar: Now, kindly remove that spaghetti from my poker table. [Felix laughs.] What the hell is so funny?
Felix: It’s not spaghetti, it’s linguini.
Oscar: [Throws plate of linguini against wall] Now it’s garbage.

4. Oscar: He’ll kill himself just to spite me. Then his ghost will come back following me around the apartment, haunting and cleaning, haunting and cleaning, haunting and cleaning.

3. Felix: Well, it’s now 8:00, and my dinner’s finished. The meatloaf is done! Now if we don’t eat within 15 seconds the whole damn thing will be dried out!
Oscar: God help me.
Felix: Never mind helping you! Tell him to save my meatloaf!

2. Oscar: Listen, buddy, you wanna talk to me, put down that spoon.
Felix: Spoon! You dumb ignoramus! That is a ladle! You did not know that’s a ladle!

1. Oscar: I can tell you exactly what it is. It’s the cooking, the cleaning, the crying. It’s the talking in your sleep. It’s those moose calls that open your ears at 2:00 in the morning. I can’t take it anymore, Felix, I’m cracking up. Everything you do irritates me, and when you’re not here, the things I know you’re gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. I’ve told you 158 times I cannot stand little notes on my pillow. “We are all out of corn flakes. F.U.” Took me three hours to figure out that F.U. was Felix Ungar.

If you haven’t seen this movie, do yourself a favor and watch it and laugh. And laugh. And then laugh some more. You aren’t really living until you’ve seen it. Trust me!

P.S. I cannot allow you to live another second without watching this scene. I thought I was going to die laughing.

P.S.S. We are all out of corn flakes. F.U.

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3 thoughts on “My 18 Favorite Lines from My New Favorite Movie

  1. I LOVE this movie! So great to watch it again. Jack Lemmon was always a fave of mine. The combination of him and Matthau and the writing of Neil Simon are genius. I will never look at a box of corn flakes the same way again!

  2. Pingback: 2013: A Review | The Hand of Count Petofi

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