Call Me by Your Meme
In his second monthly column for LBB, Amplify’s ECD Alex Wilson discusses the decline of the iconic movie quote in favour of internet-fuelled memeable movie moments...
To read the original article, published on 2nd September 2022, visit Little Black Book.
“You're going to need a bigger boat”
“Show me the money”
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”
“Talk to me Goose”
Even if you aren’t 100% sure what movies these are from, I’m confident you have at least heard of them. However, iconic movie quotes are fast becoming a thing of the past.
Quoting one from the last decade or so is not impossible, think 'I am Groot' or 'Not my tempo'. Even looking further back to 2008 with; 'Why so serious?', being featured as a prominent asset in The Dark Knight’s marketing campaign as well as a direct quote from the film, but I hazard most default to classic quotes from before the turn of the century when pushed to think of one on the spot.
Internet culture has allowed audiences to visualise their reactions, harnessing GIFs and memes to make their point or encapsulate their emotional intent.
And with such a wealth of visual content to access, we have shifted from memorable movie moments to meme-able ones.
There are some very quotable lines from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (“mmm…this is a tasty burger”), but none that have stood the test of time as long as ‘confused Travolta’.
So much so that a whole generation of internet users will have seen or used this very meme having not seen the 1994 movie itself.
I too am guilty, with this nodding meme being my most overused GIF of the last five years, and until recently I had no idea who it was or where it was from.
It works for almost every occasion. Highly recommended.
And speaking of every occasion, some of these meme-able movie moments are not just restricted to reactionary use, but as a creative output too.
Sean Bean’s infamous “One does not simply…” moment from Lord of the Rings (2001) is according to Film School Rejects; “The Best Movie Meme Ever”. Made even more impactful if you’ve seen the film or are familiar with Sean Bean where you can achieve a synaesthesia-type effect of hearing it in his famed Yorkshire accent.
A year or so ago a fairly nondescript scene from Star Wars Episode II became a viral sensation 20 years after the film's release.
The title for the most movie memed actor however has to go to Leonardo DiCaprio. The Wolf of Wall Street, The Great Gatsby, Inception, Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood, Django Unchained and everything in-between has been harvested to fuel internet culture for years.
This shift towards memeable movie moments has not only proliferated culture and visual communication, but acted as a gateway for brands to adopt and speak the same language as their audiences.
Alex Wilson is executive creative director at Amplify.