Thursday, June 7, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks - Monologues

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Join in the fun by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them!

This week, on Thursday Movie Picks, we're looking at speeches AKA soliloquies AKA monologues. AKA one character talking at length, just by themselves. In the spirit of that, I'm going to get out of their way and let these great monologues speak for themselves.

Also, I'm going a little overboard this week, because I just couldn't help myself.

Jerry Maguire (Cameron Crowe, 1996) It's become a cliché for a reason.

Chasing Amy (Kevin Smith, 1997) If you've ever fallen for a friend, you'll know how perfect this is. 

Romeo & Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli, 1968) Has any romance ever topped this scene?


The American President (Rob Reiner, 1995) If only we had a real President who said these things. And a public who listened.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939) The climax of this is a series of brilliant, impassioned monologues by Jimmy Stewart to an unfeeling political machine. Should be required viewing for every American of voting age... but long before they reach that age and become too cynical. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Robert Mulligan, 1962) Another one that is sadly still relevant today, more than 50 years later.


Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976) In which Beatrice Straight shows how to win an Academy Award in less than five minutes.

Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) In which Christopher Walken delivers the best performance of his career.

Doubt (John Patrick Shanley, 2008) In which Viola Davis steals a whole damn movie from Meryl Freakin' Streep, and becomes a star in the process.


Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982) Every single goddamn second of this is perfection.

Animal Crackers (Victor Heerman, 1930) Everything that makes Groucho Marx great in one perfect monologue.

Addams Family Values (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1993) In which Joan Cusack puts all other monologuing villains to shame.


  1. I also chose Doubt and Pulp Fiction! (though a different Pulp Fiction scene) Great picks.

    I'm kicking myself over not thinking of To Kill A Mockingbird ugghhhhh perfect.

    1. Great minds think alike! I do like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction but I've always preferred this monologue to his big one. Walken plays it so perfectly straight and even despite it being completely absurd.

      To Kill A Mockingbird is just... GAH. The way Peck growls "in the name of GOD" is so incredible.

  2. Great choices (except for Jerry Maguire which is so gooey and I'm not a fan of Pulp Fiction though I must admit it has some fine monologues) and so elaborate! We match on Mr. Smith but I'm kicking myself for not thinking of some of the others particularly Tootsie. That is a brilliant film and that scene is amazing.

    I stuck to three though I had four with Gordon MacRae's performance of Soliloquy in Carousel the first thing I thought of but I've used it before. Oh well, still a great number.

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)-Idealistic greenhorn Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) is selected by the political machine of his state to complete the term of a recently deceased senator. Arriving full of purpose and dreams of justice the bumpkin is taken under the wing of an esteemed but secretly crooked senior senator (Claude Rains) and guided by the at first cynical and doubtful reporter Diz Moore (Thomas Mitchell) and Smith’s secretary Clarissa Saunders (Jean Arthur). Won over by his honesty the pair try and help him when his awareness of the breathe of malfeasance in government threatens to crush his spirit. Attempting to right many wrongs this climaxes in a memorable filibuster.

    Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)-Ted and Joanna Kramer (Dustin Hoffman & Meryl Streep) are in a failing marriage. Feeling suffocated Joanna leaves not only Ted but deserts their young son Billy (Justin Henry) as well to find herself in parts unknown. Up to this point a distracted, obtuse father focused on his career Ted is required to assume all parental responsibilities and forges a strong bond with his young boy. Time passes and Joanna reappears wanting Billy back regardless of the fact that she abandoned him. Ted puts up a fight and in the court case that ensues there are several memorable monologues.

    A Few Good Men (1992)-On the Guantanamo Bay military base two marines perform a Code Red on a fellow marine resulting in his death. Charged and moved to the nation’s capital their case is assigned to hotshot officer Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise). They affirm that they were under orders to perform the act while their superiors Lt. Kendrick (Keifer Sutherland) and Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson) deny any involvement. Moving into the courtroom Kaffee takes drastic measures to uncover the truth leading to many confrontations and an epic showdown monologue.

    1. I was THISCLOSE to picking A Few Good Men, but I prefer American President of Sorkin's work. Same as how I ALMOST picked Almost Famous (Frances McDormand's phone call), but I prefer Jerry Maguire of Crowe's work.

      I also desperately wanted to do a Musical section, but the two all-time greatest musical monologues ("Soliloquy" from Carousel and "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy) I don't think were done very well on film. (Poor Roz Russell. She knew she couldn't do that part and soldiered on as best she could.)

      I feel like a philistine because I still haven't seen Kramer vs. Kramer. And I REALLY should have seen it by now.

  3. Yes! Easy topic to go overboard with, ain't it? Great picks. My faves are Peck from TKAMB and Walken in Pulp Fiction.

    1. OMG SO EASY! Love that those two VERY different ones are your favorites.

  4. Pulp Fiction! That is indeed Walken's best performance and I'm glad you went with his monologue rather than Jackson's.

    1. Thank you! I've always preferred this because of how bizarre it is and how well Walken delivers it.

  5. I had to watch every scene and enjoyed all of them. I almost picked To Kill a Mockingbird but I chose that one before. We match with mr. Smith which is a brilliant film. I have not seen Doubt but now i really want to and have it on my list. Pulp Fiction I need to revisit and that scene is priceless! I was so into that scene and when he talked about where he his it I was gobsmacked as they say and then laughed like hell. Nothing beats Groucho and Tootsie is brilliant. I almost picked Planes, Trains and Automobiles for the scene where Steve martin says John Candy is like the Chatty cathy doll and then the great John Candy says "I Like me." How I wish there was an American president like the one portrayed by Michael Douglas and today I hang my head low because our new Ontario premier is like a Trump mini me (Doug bleccchhhh Ford). Great picks!!

    1. I am SO SORRY about Doug Ford. No one should ever have to know the pain we Americans have right now with our President.

  6. Yes!!!! Joan Cusack was FIRE in this movie!!

    1. YAAAAAY for Addams Family Values love!!!