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A great way to lend gravitas to his argument, or simply to sound smart, is for a character to spout an aphorism. But sometimes nothing anyone famous said will do, so he just makes something up on the spot, or rehash something he previously said.
Often his interlocutor will tentatively attribute the quote to one author or another, and he'll admit, deadpan-style, that the aphorism is really his.
- Big Trouble in Little China: Jack Burton would constantly begin his words of wisdom with "Remember what old Jack Burton says at a time like this...". This is trope is invoked in the climax when he faces down the Big Bad and does this, only to have the villains ask, "Who?". Jack then growls, "Jack Burton... me!".
- Dead Poets Society:
McAllister: Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams and I'll show you a happy man.
Keating: But only in their dreams can men be truly free. 'Twas always thus, and always thus will be.
Keating: No, Keating.
Patton: You know what the poet said. "Through the travail of ages, midst the pomp and toils of war, have I fought and strove and perished countless times upon the star. As if through a glass and darkly, the age-old strife I see, where I fought in many guises, many names, but always me."
You know who the poet was? Me.
- The Wiz:
Scarecrow: Success, fame, and fortune, they're all illusions. All there is that is real is the friendship that two can share.
Dorothy: That's beautiful! Who said that?
Scarecrow: [modestly] I did.
- The Three Musketeers (1993) Aramis recites poetry to a tavern wench. D'Artagnan asks if it's Shakespeare and Aramis replies that it's Aramis.
- The last Harry Potter movie has a scene where Remus Lupin and Kingsley Shacklebolt are standing near each other at the start of the Battle for Hogwarts.
Lupin: It is the quality of one's convictions that determines success, not the number of followers.
Kingsley: Who said that?
Grissom: The best intentions are fraught with disappointment.
- In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, a coincidence involving this led to Mary mistakenly believing that Dick was really a wanted activist she knew during her hippie days in The Sixties:
History is made by the individual, not by the masses. Mary:
Who said that? Dick:
I did. Mary:
No, where's that from? Dick:
My mouth. Mary:
No, somebody said that! Dick:
Hellllloooo! That was me. Mary:
This is so weird.
(flashback to young Mary at Berkeley
This is so weird. Manny:
I mean, you've been rinsed and hung out to dry. Think about it. Dig it, babe, that's what's happened. History is made by the individual, not by the masses. Mary:
Who said that? Manny:
I did. Mary:
(return to present
- The Big Bang Theory:
Ramona: Didn't a great man once say, "Science demands nothing less than the fervent and unconditional dedication of our entire lives"?
Sheldon: He did.
Ramona: And who was that great man?
Sheldon: Me. Sorry, Leonard.
Leonard: Seriously? You're not coming?
Sheldon: You heard her. How can I argue with me?
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century:
Well, as someone said, "You're never more nostalgic than for the things you once knew and have no more." Twiki: Bidibidibidibidi
. Who said that? Buck:
- One episode of M*A*S*H crosses this with Quote-to-Quote Combat when Margaret asks Frank for a loan.
: "Neither a lender nor a borrower be." Polonius
: "To give and not count the cost." St. Ignatius Loyola. Frank
: "The holy passion of friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last throughout a whole lifetime if not asked to lend money." Mark Twain
: "Blow it out your ear." Margaret Houlihan.
- Leopoldo Fishman of Solamente Vos does this all the time. Each week he says some important quotation, and points that he said so at his latest book, now for sale. Buy it quickly, because he will write another new book to quote next week!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Treason is a charge invented by winners as an excuse for hanging the losers.
John Adams: I have more to do than stand here listening to you quote yourself.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Oh, that was a new one.
- After Agatha in Girl Genius surprises Zeetha by not only managing to fix a "magic" artifact but improving it as well, she declares "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!" Zeetha asks why it's in quotes and who said it, to which Agatha responds, "ME!"
- Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?:
Carmen: A philosopher once said, "Competition can make you stronger."
Player: Which philosopher said that?
- Starship Troopers: Invasion: The resident Hollywood Atheist has a penchant for quoting Atheist scholars at Holy Man, and snarks about how he finds no religious person ever had anything to say worth writing down. Holy Man replies with a particularly deep quote, followed with...
I'll get you a pen.