What’s My Line?

The following are listed as “AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes” (See more here!)

  1. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a…” (Gone With the Wind1939)
  2. “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” (The Godfather, 1972)
  3. “I coulda been a contender.” (On the Waterfront, 1954)
  4. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” (The Wizard of Oz, 1939)
  5. “Here’s looking at you, kid.” (Casablanca, 1942)
  6. “Go ahead, make my day.” (Sudden Impact, 1983)
  7. “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” (Sunset Blvd., 1950)
  8. “May the Force be with you.” (Star Wars, 1977)
  9. “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” (All About Eve, 1950)
  10. “You talking to me?” (Taxi Driver, 1976)

To which quote can you most relate?

One of the reasons that films appeal so much to us is their ability to make connections to our lives, our past and experiences, our inspirations and aspirations. We remember iconic scenes and unforgettable lines for years–perhaps out of context–almost like fragments from actual experience.

Why does it resonate?

George Gerbner developed cultivation theory in the late 1960s. His work in this area became a seminal part of mass communication research from the 1960s through the 1990s. Although the theory has had its detractors, it has indisputably furthered the way we study mass media. Cultivation theory purports that heavy media viewers of TV (or film) will more likely believe the version of “reality” shown on TV than that they actually experience in real life. It predicts that heavy viewers will have mainstreaming effects in which their views of society will line up with that depicted on media. It further predicts a resonance effect, in which media portrayals seems to resonate (or ring true) to what a heavy viewer is experiencing, thus, lending further credibility to media’s versions of reality overall.

What’s the take away for mass comm students?

Nothing is irrelevant. Everything, no matter how subtle, has a potential effect on media audiences. I try to remind my students that writing is more than an academic exercise. They need to think about the effect of words (and actions). What seems at first like mere words on a page will soon become some form of reality for those who hear (and/or see) the results of what is written. I want them to want to critically analyze media writing and depictions, as well as their own creations, anticipating the results of mass communicated messages.

I would also remind them of what Jesus said.

“After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”12 Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

15 Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17 Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” (Matthew 15:10-20, NASB)

Dr. Darrell Roe (Ph.D., UGA, 1998) is an Assoc. Prof. of Mass Communication at ETBU. His specialty is analyzing the content of visual media and its effects on audiences.