We are writers, aren’t we?

Why yes, by God we are, Blake!

And it is our business, is it not, to be interested in those lines of dialogue from movies and TV that stick in the minds of our audience, even to the point where they become part of the culture?

They call them “catch phrases” around the offices of Saturday Night Live, and some TV writers, like those who work on that late night comedy show, try hard to coin them.

In screenwriting, we like coming up with them too, but only occasionally are these planned.

There is a whole passel from those Arnold Schwarzenegger mooofies, when Arnold, say, dispatches a bad guy by dowsing him in gasoline and lighting a match, then casually notes: “What a hothead.”

He’s still doing that. Except now he’s governor of California. And his writers are a lot less funny:

“Vote Yes on Prop 12! You’ll Prop-ably be glad you did!”

I can’t imagine “I… Drink… Your… Milkshake!” the ultimate, frightening, all-powerful line delivered by Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood was meant to be one of these, but it is now.

This is from the scene where Daniel reveals to his final foe how he tricked him, explaining that the land his enemy thought was safe from Daniel’s oil drilling, was accesible via an adjoining tract. Like having a straw long enough to drink another fella’s milkshake. Screenwriter Paul Thomas Anderson took the line straight out of congressional testimony from the Tea Pot Dome Scandal in the 1920’s.

And it makes for dramatic testimony of its own in the final scene of his Academy Award-nominated film.

There Will Be Blood is my favorite movie of 2007, all in all, a close second being the un-Godly titled, miserably marketed Michael Clayton (memo to Warner Brothers: Next time call me!! Having seen MC, I really know how you could have sold this movie better!)

But I love Anderson’s movie the most, especially that final, scary scene, and now I find myself saying “I… Drink… Your… Milkshake!” every chance I get.

I hang around McDonald’s looking for an excuse to say it, spooking little kids, who think I actually want their milkshake. They don’t know who Daniel Day-Lewis is.

Or why his name is hyphenated.

“I… Drink… Your… Darjeleen!” I say while killing time at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Startled customers call over the manager to complain.

“Oh that guy,” he tells them. “He’s always in here pitching movie ideas.”

And it’s so much better than when I used to loiter near the ATM in the early ’90s saying: “Go ahead. Make my day.”

Yup. There Will Be Blood, people.

There Will Be Lunch.

There Will Be Dinner.

And later? There Will Be Snacks.

Do you think I am too into this movie?

What are your favorite movie lines from this year’s nominees, or any movie year? The more obscure, the better!

And 10 points for anyone who can tell me the reason I still say the line:
“Go ahead… Make…. Your… Bed!”

I’m sorry about that one, btw, but it was funnier on the page. I swear!