No matter how swamped I am during the Christmas holidays, I always enjoy transcribing stretches of dialogue that I think are particularly good. Is it because somebody else did the hard work of writing them in the first place? Maybe a little bit, but mostly I like savoring these words that were put down in such pleasing fashion as I look back on the year in film. As always, I don’t have access to the scripts, I’m just transcribing the words as they’re performed in the finished film. Also, WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE AHEAD. Last thing: No One Will Save You and Silent Night do not make this list.

Cord Jefferson is a former pop culture writer who made a sparkling filmmaking debut with American Fiction, a literary satire from a Black point of view. Here’s an early example from his film of the terrific comic writing he does, as struggling novelist Thelonious “Monk” Ellison returns to his hometown of Boston and calls up his literary agent, Arthur, to inquire about what the publishers are saying about his latest manuscript.

ARTHUR: Welcome back. How’s it feel to be home?
MONK: Great. Already had a guy in a Bruins jersey ask me if I think I’m better than him.
ARTHUR: That’s good luck here. That’s Boston’s version of a ladybug landing on you.
MONK: Any news?
ARTHUR: Patrick at Echo is passing, but who fucking cares? He’s an old alcoholic.
MONK: What is that, nine now?
ARTHUR: He says, (reading from his phone) “This book is finely crafted with fully developed characters and rich language, but one is lost to understand what this reworking of Aeschylus’ The Persians has to do with the African-American experience.”
MONK: There it is, there it is!
ARTHUR: They want a Black book.
MONK: They have a Black book. I’m Black, and it’s my book.
ARTHUR: You know what I mean.
MONK: You mean they want me to write about a cop killing some teenager or a single mom in Dorchester raising five kids.
ARTHUR: Dorchester is pretty white now, but yes.
MONK: Jesus Christ! You know, I don’t even really believe in race.
(He tries to hail an approaching taxi, but the cab passes him by and stops for a white man.)
ARTHUR: Yeah, the problem is that everybody else does. Anyway, have fun at the book festival, and just don’t insult anyone important, please.


Micah Bloomberg’s script for Sanctuary might have come from a tightly written play, and to hear Broadway critics tell it, it’d probably be better than most of the new plays out these days. In this scene Hal is about to take over as CEO of his late father’s hotel chain and he has just fired his dominatrix Rebecca. She leaves their hotel suite but then comes back after realizing she doesn’t have to just walk away.

HAL (on his phone): Um, I don’t have a strong opinion, so whatever you think is best is —
(He opens the door. Rebecca is there.)
HAL: Hi.
REBECCA: There’s one more thing.
HAL: Okay.
REBECCA (coming back in): Can I come back in?
HAL (on the phone): Can I call you back? Someone’s here. Because I’m not a flowers guy. No, I do care, but can we just talk about this in a little bit? You too.
(He hangs up.)
REBECCA (going straight for the copy of his father’s biography): Who was that?
HAL: Uh, nobody. It’s…
REBECCA: Didn’t sound like nobody. She wants you to pick out flowers.
HAL: What did, what did you need?
REBECCA (opens the book and reads): “The first thing and the hardest thing in business is to know who you are. So before I give a presentation, before I walk into a meeting, before I sit down for a cup of coffee, I always do the same thing. I match up my insides with my outsides.”
HAL: You read my dad’s book. Congratulations.
REBECCA: “I remember that while there are lucky strokes and setbacks in life, over any considerable period of time, the truth becomes clear.” (closes the book) “There are those who win and those who don’t, and I remember that I have answered that question for myself. I am a person who wins.”
(She puts the book down.)
HAL: Thank you for that.
REBECCA: You couldn’t even fire me without stealing from him.
HAL: I mean, come on. Obviously I’ve learned things from him.
REBECCA: That’s not what I’m talking about. I want to know something. Which is it?
HAL: Which is what?
REBECCA: Do you tend to win or do the other thing?
HAL: Do you want me to acknowledge that I have been lucky? That I have had it better than most people? I will, so…
REBECCA: Answer the question.
HAL: I don’t feel like doing that.
REBECCA: Well, what did your father think?
HAL: Judging by the fact that he left me the company, I mean…
REBECCA: We know that’s what he wanted. I’m asking what he thought of you.
HAL: Listen, this is completely inappropriate, and it’s weird what you’re doing.
REBECCA: Okay, so we’ve established what he thought. You tend to lose.
HAL: And what about you?
HAL: Yeah. You know, deep down, without any doubt, that you’re a winner? You can say that about yourself?
REBECCA: The first time that I went to the dentist, I was 19 years old.
HAL: Okay.
REBECCA: He took one look inside my mouth, and do you know what he said?
HAL: No.
REBECCA: He said, “Perfect.” (grinning to show her teeth) He said, “A-plus.” I did that. Me, because nobody else gave a flying fuck. That is who I am.
HAL: Okay, it doesn’t matter what my father thought. I am in this position, and I can say with confidence that I can do this job. I know what it takes, and I am prepared. That is all that matters.
REBECCA: I believe you when you say that.
HAL: Because?
HAL: I do believe it.
REBECCA: Yeah, why?
HAL: Why what?
REBECCA: Your dad didn’t believe you could. Where did you get the idea, the gall to think that you could step into his huge, old, priceless shoes? (pause) From me. You would be unfit if it were not for me.
HAL: What are you talking about?
REBECCA (going over and fixing herself a drink): I’m saying your new job, you wouldn’t be able to do it without what I taught you.
HAL: What you taught me? I, but, you know, what we do here, it’s for fun. It’s not, you know…
HAL: Real.
HAL: It’s not. It has nothing to do with the real world, and that is what I love about it.
REBECCA: You don’t look it, but you really are so stupid.
HAL: I don’t want to play right now.
REBECCA: I’m not.
HAL: So what do you think you taught me?
REBECCA: You know.
HAL: I don’t.
REBECCA: Confidence.
HAL: By doing everything you tell me to do? By submitting to you, that taught me confidence?
REBECCA: Okay, when you first emailed me, you were like this, “Meh meh meh meh meh.” And you could barely speak. Now look at you. Look at you. You write me a script and you tell me exactly what I should say and exactly what I should do. You don’t even know what happened. I taught you to ask for what you want. You couldn’t do that before you met me.
HAL: I thanked you and I meant it, and if I have been disrespectful in any way, then I apologize.
REBECCA: An apology? What am I supposed to do with that?
HAL: Okay, also, I got you a gift also, by the way.
REBECCA: The watch? (going over to it) This is what, $15,000? $17,000?
HAL: $32,000.
REBECCA: $32,000. You own 112 hotels. Your market cap is $185 million. What is $32,000 compared to what you have? You want to talk about matching up your insides to your outsides? Do you want to talk about who around here knows what it takes to win?
(She drops the watch in the flower vase.)
HAL: Okay, what do you want?
REBECCA: I want what I’m worth relative to what you have. A real number.
HAL: I don’t, what does that mean?
HAL: Half?
REBECCA: Half of the first year of salary of the job that I got you.

Rebecca Miller wrote She Came to Me, and I’ve been waiting for the chance to spotlight this inconsistent but sometimes brilliant filmmaker. In this scene, creatively blocked composer Steven is encouraged to take a walk around the block to clear his head, and he winds up in a bar where tugboat captain Katrina is enjoying her day off.

KATRINA: I just read you can get hepatitis from that.
KATRINA: Communal nuts.
STEVEN: I didn’t see you there.
KATRINA (moving to the stool next to his): Well, here I am. You off work?
STEVEN: Yeah, kinda. You?
KATRINA: Yeah, got the day off, so kickin’ back.
STEVEN: Well, that’s good. (pause) What do you do?
KATRINA: I operate a tugboat.
STEVEN: You operate a tugboat?
KATRINA: You thought they just putted around by themselves?
STEVEN: Oh, no. Just didn’t, wasn’t expecting that. Wow. Where do you live?
KATRINA: On the boat. Based in Baton Rouge at the moment, but I’m everywhere.
STEVEN: What brings you to Brooklyn?
KATRINA: Just towed a barge from Jackson.
STEVEN: Oh, yeah? What was on the barge?
KATRINA: Uh, salt, grit, airplane parts, shower curtains. Pretty much anything you can point a finger at has been on a barge at one point or another. And now I can relax and take a day.
STEVEN: What, what’re you gonna do?
KATRINA: After this beer, I’m goin’ straight out and buyin’ some luxury shampoo. What about you? What are you doing at a bar at 11 o’clock in the morning?
STEVEN: Oh, um, I’m trying to break some patterns. It’s a long story.
KATRINA: I’m breaking patterns, too.
STEVEN: Oh, yeah? That’s good.
KATRINA: Mmm-hmm. Just trying to. What do you do?
STEVEN: Composer.
KATRINA: A composter?
STEVEN (chuckling, mimes playing the piano): I’m a composer.
KATRINA: Oh, what kind of music?
STEVEN: Opera.
KATRINA: Oh, you mean like, “Ah!”
STEVEN: Yes. (singing high note) “Yes!” I’m suffering a temporary blockage at the moment, though.
KATRINA: That’s too bad.
STEVEN: Ever since I was a little kid, I wasn’t good at anything but music, and now, I’m not even good for that, so I teach composition too, but I’ve taken the semester off while I write. How long have you been a tug captain?
KATRINA: A long time.
STEVEN: What have you gotta do to be a tug captain?
KATRINA: My family was in tugs growing up, but after my illness, I…
(She trails off and takes a sip of her beer.)
STEVEN (cautiously): What illness?
KATRINA: Wanna see my boat?

Rye Lane is one of the year’s most exquisitely written romantic comedies, and Nathan Byron and Tom Melia’s script is a big reason why. In this early scene after Dom goes to a bar to confront his ex-girlfriend Gia and his ex-best friend Eric, who stole Gia away after Dom saw his penis in the background of a picture of Gia. It’s not going so well until Dom’s new friend Yasmine (who knows about the meeting) comes riding to his rescue. I love Eric’s total obliviousness here, as he doesn’t see why what he did should impact his friendship with Dom. Gia’s the evil one here, though, and she gets some comeuppance.

GIA: We got here a bit early and Eric was hungry, so we ordered some bits for the table.
DOM: Okay.
ERIC: My belly was rumblin’, bruh! People thought it was like a stampede of animals. I was like, “No, it’s my belly! I’m hungry!”
GIA: Baby, chill.
ERIC (subdued): Oh.
GIA (to Dom): So how have you been?
DOM: Yeah, good. You?
ERIC: Amazing!
GIA: Yeah, really really amazing.
ERIC: Amazing. Oh, shit! So, see that coaster next to you? Keep it on green. They just keep bringin’ food over.
GIA: It’s just kinda mad.
DOM: Yeah, I know. I’ve been here before.
ERIC: I’m never turning mine red. They’ll have to carry me out of this place. Ooh, try a croquette ting, man. These make you cream!
DOM: I’m good. Maybe later.
GIA: We’re so glad you decided to come today, D. Obviously this isn’t easy for any of us. You must have, like, a million questions.
DOM: Uh, no, I don’t.
WAITER (coming by the table): Thigh?
ERIC (to waiter): Pile it on, irmão.
GIA: That’s “brother” in Portuguese. We went for a weekend in Lisbon. So lit.
ERIC: Yeah, you should go, actually. We saw a lot of solo travelers, so…
WAITER (to Dom): Thigh?
DOM: (to waiter): I’m good, thanks.
ERIC (watching the waiter leave): G, you’re not good. Next time, get it anyway, and then forward it on to my plate.
GIA (to Dom): So, um, maybe I should start. Basically, what we want to come out of today is just for us all to move forward properly.
ERIC (with mouth full): Mmm, preach, babe.
GIA: Because there’s got to be a shelf life on guilt. Or is it gonna be a thing of every time we see something that reminds us of you, we’re gonna be all — you know what I mean?
DOM: Okay, yeah, I think I do have a question.
GIA: Great, go for it!
DOM: Why? Why did you cheat on me?
GIA: ‘Cause we weren’t happy, Dom. People grow apart. They grow up, they change.
DOM: Well, I didn’t change.
GIA: I was talking about me. I mean, this whole thing came as a surprise to me too, you know. Like, one day I woke up and I realized this just didn’t make sense anymore. (looking at Eric) But this did.
ERIC (still eating): You can’t mess with destiny, bro. When the stars align, the great conjunction happened.
DOM: I’m starting to think maybe this wasn’t…
(Yas bursts in, sits down next to Dom, kisses him on the cheek.)
YAS: Sorry. I was on a call with the New York office, I was like, “I gotta go!” And they were like “No!” (to Gia) Anyway, you must be Gia! Wow, girl, your profile pics do not do you justice. I’m Yas.
(She offers her hand, and Gia shakes it.)
ERIC: I’m Eric.
YAS: Ah, he of the low-res cock.
(Gia spits out her drink.)
ERIC (laughing): My rep precedes me. Geez!
YAS (to the waiter): Thank you, smells amazing.
GIA: Sorry, I’m a little bit lost. You are…
YAS: Yas. Dom’s new, well, we’re not really labeling it yet, are we? But I guess we’re just kind of low-key fucking at the moment. Uh, we’re vibing, so, y’know…
ERIC (laughing): Okay!
YAS: Who knows?
ERIC (to Dom): Okay, I see you, moving up in the world! (He spots the look Gia is giving him.) Not up.

I could have chosen any number of scenes from Bottoms for this list, like the bad flirtation scene early on or the one where PJ invites Josie to punch her in the face, but instead I’m choosing this group therapy session where the two invite the girls in their fight club to share their experiences. I would have floated PJ’s rape line a lot softer, though. The script is by Emma Seligman and Rachel Sennott, though this scene contains plentiful ad-libbing by actors Ayo Edebiri, Summer Joy Campbell, Virginia Tucker, Kaia Gerber, Ruby Cruz, and Marshawn Lynch.

JOSIE: So we know that the club is a place where we can feel empowered physically, but we also thought it could be a safe space where we can open up and talk about our feelings.
PJ: Okay, so who’s been raped? Just, y’know, raise your hand.
(Nobody raises their hands.)
PJ: Gray-area stuff counts, too.
(All the girls raise their hands.)
SYLVIE: Everybody knows the situation with my stepdad. He’s just obsessed with Friday movie nights. I mean, God, I get it, you’re my new stepdad, but fuck, whatever. You know?
STELLA-REBECCA: Every time I call the police about my stalker, they tell me to fill out an online form, and then the form tells me to call, so I call, and then they say they can’t get involved until he tries to kill me, and he keeps saying he’s going to, but that doesn’t count, so it’s just, like, annoying.
PJ: Been there. We’ve all been there.
BRITTANY: Well, I’ve been assaulted, like, a million times. But I’m more annoyed that everyone knows me for being beautiful and popular, and no one knows that I’m actually smart and super-driven. Like, I literally own a jewelry business and no one talks about it. (silence) See?
HAZEL: Well, ever since my parents’ divorce, my mom has been doing this, like, mid-life crisis. I don’t know how it’s really sitting with me, y’know? It’s been really, really dark. This has been just really meaningful to me to get to know some new people who, like, want to get to know me.
PJ (cutting her off): I just want to bring it back to Brittany for a second.
JOSIE: I can go next, if that’s okay. I don’t really like talking about juvie and everything that happened this summer. Y’know, obviously, we get a lot of props or whatever ’cause people think it was so badass, but it really wasn’t. I mean, unless you consider getting hazed horrifically every single night badass. I mean, obviously, y’know, we had to survive the tributes and y’know, I did have to fight people, like, basically every single night. People were betting on us and we were given, like, shivs and rusty pocket knives and splintered wood and, um, pipes as well, and um, we had to fight people sometimes to the death and I still hear their screams at night, and that guilt will probably, like, shackle me forever. I realize now I don’t have to be that person anymore, like I don’t have to just let things happen to me ’cause of you guys, and I’m, like, really grateful for what the club has become. Um, just especially from where we started. (snapping out) Yeah, sorry. Guess I kinda killed the vibe. I guess I never really said that to anyone before. Sorry, people wanna, like, wrap up, maybe?
MR. G: I’m going through a divorce. (exhaling) Whoo! That shit felt good to say! Whoo, I tell y’all, men need therapy.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics picked The Holdovers as both the year’s best movie and the year’s best script, so gander at this exchange in David Hemingson’s script, when the wall-eyed teacher hands out exams marked with D’s and F’s to his students on the day before Christmas break. This is what it looks like when an educator has given up on his students. Oh, and Angus Tully is one of the few who has received a good grade on the exam, so when he protests at starting a new chapter just before the holidays, Mr. Hunham makes an extra effort to make him look bad.

MR. HUNHAM: I can tell by many of your faces that you are shocked by the outcome. I, on the other hand, am not, because I have had the misfortune of teaching you this semester, and even with my ocular limitations, I witnessed firsthand your glazed, uncomprehending expressions.
KOUNTZE: Sir, I don’t understand.
MR. HUNHAM: That’s glaringly apparent.
KOUNTZE: No, it’s, I can’t fail this class.
MR. HUNHAM: Oh, don’t sell yourself short, Mr. Kountze. I truly believe that you can.
KOUNTZE: I’m supposed to go to Cornell!
MR. HUNHAM: Unlikely.
KOUNTZE: Please, sir, my dad’s gonna flip out!
(The other students remonstrate along with him.)
MR. HUNHAM: All right, all right, in the spirit of the season, I suppose the most constructive way of dealing with your shortcomings is to offer a makeup exam. You’ll all get a second run at this after break. Of course, it will not be the same exam. You will now be responsible for new material as well.
(The students groan.)
MR. HUNHAM: It will be the average of the two. Please open your books to Chapter 6. The Peloponnesian War, gentlemen. We’ve already met Pericles, now prepare yourselves to meet Demosthenes.
TULLY: No offense, sir, but is this really the best time to be starting a new chapter? I mean, we all appreciate the makeup exam gesture, but our families are here and most teachers have already canceled class. We have chapel in 40 minutes, then we’re out of here.
TULLY: Our heads are elsewhere.
MR. HUNHAM: And where exactly is your head, Mr. Tully?
TULLY: I don’t know, St. Kitts?
MR. HUNHAM: Ah, yes indeed. I see you’ve brought your valise.
TULLY (putting his hand on his suitcase): Spot-on, sir. It’s been a really long, exhausting semester. Getting into new material before the break? Honestly, it’s a little absurd, sir.
MR. HUNHAM: Well, I would hate to be absurd. So let’s just scuttle the whole thing, shall we? Let the original grade stand.
(He claps his book shut. The students moan.)
KOUNTZE: Uh, excuse me sir, I think we all like the first option better. What’d you say the guy’s name was? Demisthee?
MR. HUNHAM: Of course, I expect you all to be familiar with Chapter 6 upon your return, so pack those textbooks, boys. And if displeased, take it up with your champion, Mr. Tully. Dismissed.

Here’s a therapy session that takes a turn in Nicole Holofcener’s You Hurt My Feelings. Psychotherapist Don is counseling dysfunctional married couple Jonathan and Carolyn when they make an outrageous demand. Don handles it rather well, because when they don’t listen to his explanation that therapy doesn’t work this way, he figures their outrageousness deserves something in kind. It’s awesome, even if Don and Carolyn later send him a bill.

DON: So how are you two doing?
JONATHAN: Well, we’ve been talking about it, and we’ve been coming here for two years, and as I’ve said many times before, I don’t feel like you’re helping us.
DON: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I really am. I care about you both very much.
JONATHAN: Um, can I ask you a question?
DON: Of course.
JONATHAN: Why don’t you ever empty your trash can? No, every week I come in here and I notice it. You never empty it.
DON: Why do you think it bothers you?
JONATHAN: Why don’t you empty your trash can?
DON: I, I empty it when it’s full.
JONATHAN (eyeing the can that has six inches of empty space under the rim) That’s not full? See, I think you keep it that way as, like, a little brag. So everybody walks in here and sees it and they’re like, “Wow! Must be a lot of crying going on in here.”
DON: Let’s figure out how I can better help the two of you.
JONATHAN: We decided we don’t want to see you anymore.
DON: Well, we need to talk about that.
CAROLYN: There’s nothing to talk about. We already talked about it and we already decided.
JONATHAN: Yeah, we’re not gonna discuss it, but we did want to tell you.
DON: Okay, um, well, I’m really sorry to hear this. Want to see someone else? I’m happy to recommend someone.
JONATHAN: No, we don’t want to see another therapist. We’ve seen too many therapists. Uh, we want our money back.
DON: I’m sorry, what?
CAROLYN: We want our money back.
DON: I don’t understand. From whom?
JONATHAN (sarcastic): Oh, we were thinking Bill Gates might give us the money. You! We’ve been coming here for two years, okay? We have added it up. We have spent nearly $33,000. On you!
DON: I see, okay.
JONATHAN: Yes, and because nothing has really changed between us, we feel, and this might be the one thing we do agree on, that we are entitled to a refund.
(Carolyn nods her head.)
DON: Going into therapy, it doesn’t have a guarantee. It’s not like that.
JONATHAN: Well, it should be, okay? ‘Cause we’re barely hanging on here, and you don’t help. Nobody helps!
DON: I try to do my best, Jonathan, but honestly, I can’t be the one to solve your problems.
CAROLYN: What? Then why are we coming here?
DON: You have to solve your own problems. I’m here to help you do that, and I understand. It can take you a long time sometimes to make progress.
JONATHAN: How long?
DON: Well, as long as it takes.
CAROLYN: That’s not a real answer.
JONATHAN: We’re not kidding around here, and listen, if you need to pay by installments, that’s fine. We’re totally cool with that.
DON: So, let me get this, you’re angry because you guys, you just fight in here and I don’t help. I don’t tell you how to fix things.
CAROLYN: You don’t.
(Jonathan nods his head.)
DON: And you’ve been married how long?
CAROLYN (simultaneously): Nine years.
JONATHAN (simultaneously): Ten years.
DON: Have you ever considered ending your marriage?
DON: I’m going to tell you something that I think probably is worth your money, and I feel like it’s my job as your therapist. I think you need to consider separating. You want to stop therapy? Get a divorce.
JONATHAN: What the fuck, Don? You can’t say shit like that!
CAROLYN: How dare you?
DON: Honestly, from what I’ve seen, there’s nothing left between you. I’m doing you a favor by saying this.
CAROLYN: You really think that?
JONATHAN: Don’t listen to him!
DON: Yeah, that’s exactly what I think.
CAROLYN: I don’t want a divorce!
JONATHAN: Fuck it, Carolyn. Let’s go. Oh by the way, doctor? We’re not paying for this session.

I cited the script for Air as the best thing about the movie, so I’d better have something from the sports drama here. Alex Convery pens all manner of tasty conversations among sports-loving bros, and here’s one when Sonny Vaccaro tries to sign Michael Jordan to Nike and sounds out Jordan’s agent, David Falk, over the phone. No wonder the actors tear into this scene with such gusto, when the dialogue is this good.

SONNY: Good morning, Falk.
DAVID: It’s afternoon for those of us in the real world. What’s new in the wilds of Oregon? I hear Nike’s getting out of the basketball business.
SONNY: Who told you that?
DAVID: You know, I have clients in other sports. I just signed Boomer Esiason, great-looking kid, and Boomer, it’s interesting, because what Boomer does…
SONNY (cutting him off): David, David, David, I don’t give a fuck. I’m calling about Michael Jordan.
DAVID: I told Strasser months ago it’s never gonna happen.
SONNY: Well, you never talked to me.
DAVID: I’m doing you a favor. Michael’s not even taking a meeting with you.
SONNY: What do you mean?
DAVID: A meeting? Group of two, maybe four, five executives in a room. They hear a pitch from a company. It’s common business practice. Michael’s not going to be doing that at Nike.
SONNY: Don’t fuck with me, Falk. Come on. Okay, what are the bids looking like?
DAVID: It’s not about the money.
SONNY: When someone says it’s not about the money, I know for sure it’s about the money.
DAVID: We decided to stretch the envelope. We want to hear what each company can do to promote Michael.
SONNY: Okay, well, then we’re thinking along the same lines. That’s why I want to have a meeting.
DAVID: Sonny, world-class players don’t wear third-rate shoes.
SONNY: Just get me in the room.
DAVID: Sonny, as a friend, it’s a waste of time. Off the record, even though UNC was a Converse school, Michael wore Adidas during practice. Put on Converse right before the game started. The second the final buzzer sounded (snaps his fingers), Adidas back on.
SONNY: Bullshit.
DAVID: Ask Dean.
SONNY: You said it was off the record.
DAVID: I didn’t say you had to tell him where you heard it. Trust me, Converse knows it, too. I’ve already seen Adidas’ mock-up presentation. Three words: State of the art.
SONNY: That’s four.
DAVID: You’re a stalking horse at best. And a slow, fat stalking horse, so you’re not even credible.
SONNY: You know he’ll be miserable at Adidas. I mean, it’s a shit show over there since Adolf died.
DAVID: Adi, Sonny. He went by Adi.
SONNY: His name was Adolf. I mean, the guy’s name was literally Adolf.
DAVID: He was a good man.
SONNY: He kept the name.
DAVID: It’s Adi! Adi Dassler! Adi-das. Adidas. That’s what it stands for.
SONNY: He was in the Hitler Youth.
DAVID: No, he wasn’t! Don’t say that!
SONNY: I saw a picture of him personally wearing a swastika. The guy had the haircut.
DAVID: We all have a past.
SONNY: Look, David, some of us have our past and some of us were Nazis. There’s a line.
DAVID: Well, he’s dead. We’re meeting with the whole family.
SONNY: When’s the meeting?
DAVID: Uh, Jordans go to Boston, uh, on Thursday. That’s Converse. And then Nuremberg for Adidas on Saturday and then we’re gonna close.
SONNY: Nuremberg?
DAVID: Would you cut the shit? It’s close to, it’s near there. They want to close, is the point.

I don’t have Ferrari on my list of the year’s best movies, but this monologue did stick out when I saw the film. In it, Enzo Ferrari meets with his drivers after one of them pulls out of a challenge with a Maserati driver and loses a prominent road race as a result. In the hands of screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin (based on Brock Yates’ book), this is a pep talk stripped of its rah-rah qualities, leaving only the cold drive to win underneath.

ENZO: You lack commitment. Look at the Maserati team: Fangio, Behra, Stirling Moss. Hard-nosed pros. Men with a brutal determination to win. With a cruel emptiness in their stomachs. Detachment. Loyal to one thing, not the team. Loyal to their lust to win. It rains, the track’s slippery with oil, even land on a car, will they falter? No. My sprint team: courageous, skillful, yes. Recently in school. Aristocrats straight from Almanach de Gota. Gentlemen sportsmen, very nice. On a straight line to a tight corner, there’s only one line to it. Behra pulls up next to you, challenging. You’re even. Two objects cannot occupy the same point in space at the same moment in time. Behra doesn’t lift. The corner races at you. You have perhaps a crisis of identity. Am I a sportsman or a competitor? How will the French think of me if I run Behra into a tree? You lift, he passes. He won, you lost! (He pounds the table with his palm and upsets a plate.) Because at that same moment, Behra thought, “Fuck it, we both die.” Make no mistake, we are all racers. I have been. We all are certain, “It will never happen to me.” My friend is killed, I give up racing forever on Monday. I’m back racing by Sunday. We all know it’s our deadly passion. Our terrible joy. But if you get into one of my cars, no one is forcing you to take that seat. Brake later. Steal their line. Make them make the mistake.