The Democratic National Convention sure knows how to put on a good show. Following Michelle Obama's career-launching speech on Tuesday night, Former President Bill Clinton proved his aptitude in the trade of improv, going off script to deliver a 50 minute-long diatribe on behalf of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.
Clinton's off-the-cuff speech wowed attendees of the DNC, and earned the former pres his spot on the Twitter's top trending topics list Thursday. It isn't just anybody who can make the spouting of facts about Medicaid feel like Showtime at the Apollo, but Clinton managed to land himself duly among the ranks of some of the greatest pieces of improv in pop culture history. So what other figures in Hollywood history have wowed the world with well-timed quick thinking? Clinton's in good company...
Harrison Ford in The Empire Strikes Back
At the very end of the second original Star Wars movie, you may recall Han's heartbreaking goodbye to Princess Leia as he is doomed to the fate of carbonite imprisonment. The script called for Han to respond to Leia's profession of love with the standard, "I love you too." But Ford didn't feel as though this was in character for Han, and dealt the unforgettable, "I know."
Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver
One of the most quoted scenes in cinematic history came from actor De Niro himself on the set of Martin Scorsese's classic Taxi Driver, thanks to a relationship between the director and his star that bred creativity.
Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs
You know that hissing sound Hannibal Lecter is so famous for making? That was all Hopkins.
Bill Murray in Caddyshack
In this case, it wasn't just a line or a few odd phrases that were improvised, but an entire scene. The comic grandmaster Murray invented his much beloved "It's in the hole!" scene all on his own for his pal Harold Ramis' comedy classic Caddyshack.
Jack Nicholson in The Shining
It's not surprising that one of the creepiest, most hair-raising moments in the definitively spooky The Shining came from the mind of the manic Nicholson himself. When dull boy Jack Torrance sets out on a violent prowl for his frightened wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall), he spouts the unforgettable catchphrase, "Heeere's Johnny!" And we never watched The Tonight Show in peace again.
Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca
Perhaps the most memorable example on this list comes from the great Humphrey Bogart, who topped off the unforgettable ending to Casablanca with a line that would make even the toughest viewer well up a bit. When Bogart's Rick bids his final farewell to Ingrid Bergman's Isla, that tear-inducing line came straight from the mind of the actor himself: "Here's lookin' at you, kid."
[Photo Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo]
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In yet ANOTHER summer romp from the Judd Apatow factory line Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a beefy rotund guy who delivers subpoenas for a living. He also dates a young jail-bait cutie Angie (Amber Heard) when he’s not visiting his sweet stoner of a pot dealer Saul Silver (James Franco) to score the latest and greatest weed. In this case that’s the title star Pineapple Express a marijuana combination so lethal and unique Dale is almost (we said ALMOST) reluctant to destroy it by inhaling. But when he sets out to deliver a subpoena to drug kingpin Ted Jones (Gary Cole) he is spotted by the man as he commits a bloody murder. Freaking out Dale ditches the scene so fast he dumps some of the precious weed leaving it behind like a trail of breadcrumbs dropped by Hansel leading a trail to Saul. Reefer madness ensues as a full-blown freak out is set in motion and Dale and Saul hit the pedal to the metal in order to evade Ted and his loony goons (Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson). This leads to so many crazy-weird encounters and near-death experiences it makes a Road Runner cartoon look like the work of Ingmar Bergman by comparison. Smashed heads sliced and diced ears banged up bodies galore--you want it Pineapple Express has got it. As the film’s ad line implores ‘put that in your pipe and smoke it!’ Rogen and Franco are the yin and yang of comedy here with wildly divergent styles that complement each other perfectly. Rogen plays Dale with such over-the-top hysteria and a high pitched sense of desperation he’s fun to watch--until you just want him to calm down and take a breath. Franco steals the film lock stock and barrel with his stoned-out weed maestro who clearly has ingested so much of the stuff himself that he qualifies for a place in the slacker hall of fame. With his parade of non-sequiturs and nonsensical ramblings Franco turns gentle Saul into one of the year’s most endearing and hilarious creations. Although the movie belongs to these two special mention should also go to Danny McBride who takes it on the chin (and everywhere else) as Red Saul’s unfaithful drug buddy and supplier. Cole is all evil menace while Rosie Perez shows up as his cop-tease accomplice. David Gordon Green a director previously known only for small downer indie films like All The Real Girls and Snow Angels seems to be getting off on all the toys producer Apatow has given him to play with. Adeptly handling the car crashes extreme violence and general anarchy on screen Green keeps the action moving and the laughs coming. The film is handsomely shot and production values are strong even though what’s on screen basically comes down to a how-can-you-top-this destruction derby. Working off a script from Superbad writers Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg Green manages to evoke the spirit of a mismatched buddy movie along the lines of a Midnight Run but ratchets up speed tempo and noise levels to the needs of the average attention span for this type of flick. Take that Harold and Kumar! Although not as supergood as Superbad it’s all a lot of fun if you like your frivolity generously mixed with carnage. Huey Lewis also contributes a catchy title song that perfectly captures the whacked-out stoner spirit of the whole enterprise.