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A Geek’s Top 5 Romantic Speeches

by on 2011/12/15

“I just want to say hi to my girlfriend, okay?
Yo, Adrian! It’s me, Rocky!”


One of our better-performing posts is Grushenka’s Top 5 Romantic Speeches. It routinely shows up in the top hit list which, while remarkable, is always slightly . . . irksome for me.

Its position is less a concern than the fact I would have made completely different choices. After all, drawing romantic quotes from multiple Buffy episodes is a bit like picking a secret agent whose names begin with the letters “J” and “B”.

Putting aside the argument that top fives are ever-evolving, I resolved to make my own list of speeches — with blackjack and hookers! — to set the record straight. These aren’t necessarily the “best” or “greatest” or definitive in any universal way, but they represent dramatic scenes which I’ve found consistently moving, even despite having seen them multiple times. It’s probably unsurprising I gave them all five-star ratings; it takes some powerful romance to get past a geek’s defense mechanisms.

What did surprise me, however, were the sources, subtexts, and speakers. When I took a thorough look at the films I considered romantic, I found Star Trek references and Wild West villains. I also realized many of the “monologues” were exchanged between at least two same-sex characters. And finally, I noticed that every single speaker was a male.

(Allow me to pause while the tiresome Brokeback Mountain jokes die down.)

These observations led me back to Gru’s original list, which confirmed her selections were also all spoken by men. Despite our relative political correctness, do we still find the vulnerability of romantic declarations more affecting when delivered by a traditionally dominant figure?

Whatever the case may be, here are my top five picks for most romantic lines, with a somewhat geekier twist, arranged in alphabetical order by movie title.

And, no, it couldn’t wait for Valentine’s Day. I already have other plans, and nothing especially romantic . . . because geeks really hate romance. Or something.

Before Sunrise (1995) on 2011/02/18

* * * * *

“I have to catch an Austrian Airlines flight tomorrow morning at nine-thirty, and I don’t really have enough money for a hotel, so I was just going to walk around, and it would be a lot more fun if you came with me, and if I turn out to be some kind of psycho, you know, you just get on the next train. All right, all right, think of it like this: jump ahead ten, twenty years, and you’re married, only your marriage doesn’t have the same energy it used to have, you know? You start to blame your husband. You start to think about all those guys you met in your life, and what might have happened if you’d picked up with one of them, right? Well, I’m one of those guys, that’s me. So think of this as time travel, from then to now, to find out what you’re missing out on.”

— Jesse Wallace (Ethan Hawke)

Chasing Amy (1997) on 2011/02/14

* * * * *

“I love you. And not in a friendly way, although I think we’re great friends. And not in a misplaced-affection puppy dog way, although I’m sure that’s what you’ll call it. I love you, very simply, very truly. You are the epitome of everything I have ever looked for in another human being. And I know that you think of me as just a friend, and crossing that line is the furthest thing from an option you would ever consider, but I had to say it. I just can’t take this anymore. I can’t stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can’t look into your eyes without feeling that longing you only read about in trashy romance novels. I can’t talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are.”

— Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck)

Free Enterprise (1998) on 2011/02/08

* * * * *

“Someone once said it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Succeed or fail, we must make the attempt. It’s our nature. Now if it were up to me, as it usually is, I would order this, but it’s not, because Claire is right in pointing out the enormous danger potential in any relationship with a man as intelligent, but fantastically flaky, as Robert. But I must point out the possibility, the potential, for true love and happiness are equally great. Risk! Risk is our business. That’s what relationships are all about. That’s why we’re out there.”

— Mark Altman (Eric McCormack)

Seven Men From Now (1956) on 2011/06/07

* * * * *

“[She wasn’t] near as pretty, ma’am. Her eyes, they didn’t show a deep blue like yours. Can’t recollect her hair too well, but it couldn’t have been near as soft or as black as yours. And the way she walked? Nothing like you. You move like you’re all over alive. And you say words quiet, soft, kind of making a man wish that you was talking to him and nobody else. Yeah, she looked a lot like you, ma’am, but not near as pretty.”

— Bill Masters (Lee Marvin)

Tombstone (1993) on 2011/06/26

* * * * *

“Say goodbye to me. Go grab that spirited actress and make her your own. Take that beauty and run, and don’t look back. Live every second, right on to the end. Live Wyatt, live for me. If you were ever my friend, if you ever had even the slightest feeling for me, leave now. Please.”

— Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer)

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