10 truly memorable Harold Ramis moments
Raja Sen lists the late comedy great's most memorable dialogues.
There's only that much one can write about an influential writer.
One tries, of course, but nothing comes close to describing his spirit, his flair, like his own words.
Harold Ramis is gone, but his films will live on.
Here are 10 fantastic bits of Ramis dialogue, from movies down the years.
Bill Murray, playing John Winger, a former taxi driver who loses his job and joins the army on a goof, is trying his best to rally the troops around him, even though they seem to take the army less seriously than even Winger does.
John Winger: We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We're the underdog. We're mutts! Here's proof: his nose is cold! But there's no animal that's more faithful, that's more loyal, more loveable than the mutt. Who saw "Old Yeller?" Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end?
(Raises his hand)
(Sarcastically) Nobody cried when Old Yeller got shot? I'm sure.
(hands are reluctantly raised)
I cried my eyes out.
So we're all dogfaces, we're all very, very different, but there is one thing that we all have in common: we were all stupid enough to enlist in the Army. We're mutants. There's something wrong with us, something very, very wrong with us. Something seriously wrong with us -- we're soldiers.
But we're American soldiers! We've been kicking ass for 200 years! We're tan and wan! Now we don't have to worry about whether or not we practiced. We don't have to worry about whether Captain Stillman wants to have us hung.
All we have to do is to be the great American fighting soldier that is inside each one of us. Now do what I do, and say what I say. And make me proud.
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Image: Movie poster of Stripes
In this film about a gopher that threatens to destroy a golf course, Bill Murray plays the eminently quotable Carl Spackler, a man entrusted with the responsibility of exterminating the gopher.
In this line, Spackler is talking less about the gopher and more about the quality of the great turf the golf is being played on.
Carl Spackler: This is a hybrid. This is a cross, ah, of Bluegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Featherbed Bent, and Northern California Sensemilia.
The amazing stuff about this is, that you can play 36 holes on it in the afternoon, take it home and just get stoned to the bejeezus-belt that night on this stuff.
Image: Movie poster of Caddyshack
Analyze This (1999)
Billy Crystal plays psychiatrist Ben Sobel, who finds himself in the strange position of treating mob boss Paul Vitti, played by none other than Robert De Niro.
In this particular exchange, the doctor is trying to get to the root of Vitti's marriage issues.
Dr Sobel: What happened with your wife last night?
Boss Vitti: I wasn't with my wife, I was with my girlfriend.
Dr Sobel: Are you having marriage problems?
Boss Vitti: No.
Dr Sobel: Then why do you have a girlfriend?
Boss Vitti: What, are you gonna start moralising on me?
Dr Sobel: No, I'm not, I'm just trying to understand, why do you have a girlfriend?
Boss Vitti: I do things with her I can't do with my wife.
Dr Sobel: Why can't you do them with your wife?
Boss Vitti: Hey, that's the mouth she kisses my kids goodnight with! What are you, crazy?
Image: Movie poster of Analyze This
In this expository yet hilarious exchange from the classic film, Ghostbusters Dr Egon Spengler (Ramis himself) is explaining to fellow ghostbuster Winston (Ernie Hudson) the size of a problem looming, as he says, on their horizon.
Egon Spengler: I’m worried, Ray. It's getting crowded in there and all my data points to something big on the horizon.
Winston Zeddemore: What do you mean, big?
Egon Spengler: Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area.
Based on this morning's sample, it would be a Twinkie... thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.
Image: Movie poster of Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters II (1989)
In these lines from the sequel, the team of parapsychological investigators Spengler, Winston, Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) are discussing an evil spirit they might soon have to face.
Egon: Vigo the Carpathian. Born 1505, died 1610.
Venkman: 105 years old, he hung in there, didn't he?
Ray: He didn't die of old age, either. He was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disembowled, drawn and quartered.
Winston: Guess he wasn't too popular at the end, huh?
Egon: No, not exactly a man of the people. Also known as Vigo the Cruel, Vigo the Torturer, Vigo the Despised, and Vigo the Unholy.
Venkman: Wasn't he also Vigo the Butch?
Ray: And dig this, there was a prophecy. Just before his head died, his last words were "Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I'll be back."
Image: Movie poster of Ghostbusters II
National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)
This was a raucous comedy about a particularly wild fraternity in college, and had a great ensemble cast.
This is a line spoken by Sarah Holcomb who plays the interestingly named Clorette De Pasto, trying to break some important news to her parents.
Clorette De Pasto: Dad! Mom, Dad, this is Larry Kroger. The boy who molested me last month. We have to get married.
Image: Movie poster of National Lampoon's Animal House
In Ramis' remake of the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore classic, he wisely avoided most comparisons with the original by casting a very hot Elizabeth Hurley as The Devil.
Poor Brendan Fraser, as Eliot, a young man selling his soul in exchange for wishes, never stood a chance.
Eliot: I wish I were the most sensitive man in the world.
The Devil: (smiles) Right. Okay.
Eliot: Oh, wait! I wish I were the most *emotionally* sensitive man in the world.
The Devil: Damn. I was hoping you wouldn't catch that. I could've had a lot of fun with that one.
Image: Movie poster of Bedazzled
Year One (2009)
In Ramis’ last feature, he went back to biblical times with Jack Black and Michael Cera playing hunter-gatherers called Zed and Oh respectively.
The film is more miss than hit, but true to Ramis form, there are some sparkling lines. At this moment, Jack Black’s Zed runs into Hank Azaria’s Abraham, about to sacrifice his son to God.
(Abraham draws back with the knife, about to stab Isaac)
Zed: STOP! What are you doin' with that kid?
Abraham: <freezes, with the knife still held high> ... Nothing.
Abraham: This is my son, sir. We were playing a game, alright? It's called... "Burny Burny Cut Cut".
Image: Movie poster of Year One
Groundhog Day (1993)
Groundhog Day is the Ramis masterpiece, a film where television weatherman Phil (Bill Murray, in one of his most immortal roles) keeps living the same day over and over again.
In this particular instance Phil -- who has already described several people in the diner around him -- is trying to demonstrate to Rita (Andie MacDowell) that he knows her well enough, having lived the same day hundreds of times.
Rita: What about me, Phil? Do you know me too?
Phil: I know all about you. You like producing, but you hope for more than 'Channel 9 Pittsburgh.'
Rita: Well, everyone knows that!
Phil: You like boats, but not the ocean. You go to a lake in the summer with your family up in the mountains. There's a long wooden dock and a boathouse with boards missing from the roof, and a place you used to crawl underneath to be alone. You're a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones. You're very generous. You're kind to strangers and children, and when you stand in the snow you look like an angel.
Rita: (dumbstruck) How are you doing this?
Phil: I told you. I wake up every day, right here, right in Punxsutawney, and it's always February 2nd, and there's nothing I can do about it.
Image: Movie poster of Groundhog Day
In this film about a summer camp -- a not really great summer camp, it must be said -- Bill Murray plays the camp counsellor Tripper, a man who you really don’t want guiding your impressionable youngsters.
Here is when he's trying to get them excited about 'Sexual Awareness week.'
Tripper: But, the real excitement of course is going to come at the end of the summer, during Sexual Awareness week.
We import two hundred hookers from around the world, and each camper, armed with only a thermos of coffee and two thousand dollars cash, tries to visit as many countries as he can.
The winner of course is named King of Sexual Awareness week and is allowed to rape and pillage the neighbouring towns until camp ends.
Image: Movie poster of Meatballs