“You Talkin’ to Me?”: The Definitive Guide to Iconic Movie Quotes

Among the endless wonders of the Lowbrow Reader’s eleventh issue, unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in the heat of 2020, was Brian Abrams’s lively investigation of a single punchline from The Naked Gun: “Hey! It’s Enrico Pallazzo!” How great was Abrams’s article? Within minutes, the nation’s book publishers came knocking! How could they not? Their attention now comes to fruition, with the publication, from Workman, of Abrams’s incredible book, You Talkin’ to Me?”: The Definitive Guide to Iconic Movie Quotes. 

As in his Lowbrow piece, the author dives deeply into famed film quotes through copious research that sees him tracking down screenwriters, directors, and scholars. The book has sweep: We begin on “Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” (from 1927’s The Jazz Singer) and end, nearly 300 pages later, with “Wakanda forever” (Black Panther, 2018). In between there are lines from Spartacus, Soylent Green, and Chinatown, as well as plenty of entries in the Lowbrow canon. About Blazing Saddles, we learn that the golden line in question—“Mongo only pawn in game of life”—was the work of Mel Brooks’s co-screenwriter Richard Pryor. “At that point in his career,” Abrams writes, “Pryor hadn’t yet had the chance to explore the stereotype of a meatheaded yokel. Nowhere in a sold-out Vegas performance or one of The Mack’s dire subplots would you find Pryor conjuring countryfolk like Mongo—a brutal yet inexplicably philosophical aberration.”

Itching for more? Of course you are! You are in luck, for “You Talkin’ to Me?” lands definitively in bookstores this week. What’s the wait? There’s no excuse! Order it, buy it, read it, praise it, read it again, gift it to your friends, then read it another time…today!