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Suspiciously Specific Denial / Live-Action Films

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  • Zodiac
    • Nobody specifically uses the "R" word.
      Graysmith: Hey, does anyone ever call me names?
      Paul Avery: You mean like retard?
      Graysmith: Yeah.
      Paul Avery: No.
    • When the Zodiac threatens Paul Avery, everyone begins to wear "I am not Paul Avery" buttons, including Paul Avery.
    • And when Leigh is being interviewed by police:
      Leigh: [to police officers] Those knifes with blood on them were from a chicken I killed.
      Leigh: [to police officers] I'm not the Zodiac, and if I was, I certainly wouldn't tell you.
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  • Star Wars: Subverted with "These are not the droids you are looking for," since this highly suspicious statement raises no suspicion whatsoever, as the recipient was being mind controlled.
  • From Spaceballs:
    Helmet: Did you see anything?
    Sandurz: No, sir! I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!
  • In All the President's Men:
    • The reporter is explaining something to the managing editor, Howard Simons:
      Woodward: They said Hunt hadn't worked there for three months. Then a PR guy said this weird thing to me. He said, "I am convinced that neither Mr. Colson nor anyone else at the White House had any knowledge of, or participation in, this deplorable incident at the Democratic National Committee."
      Simons: Isn't that what you expect them to say?
      Woodward: Absolutely.
      Simons: So?
      Woodward: I never asked about Watergate. I simply asked what were Hunt's duties at the White House.
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    • There's another scene with a suspicious denial: Woodward's call to the Committee to Reelect asking about Kenneth Dahlberg.
      MacGregor: I don't know. You're implying that I should know. If you print that, our relationship will be terminated.
      Woodward: ... sir, we don't have a relationship...
  • At the end of Iron Man, Tony says that it is one thing to question the official story but quite another to suggest he was some sort of superhero. When the lady reporter says she wasn't suggesting that he then says good, because that would be bizarre and fantastic (with emphasis on the fantastic).
  • The aliens from The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra do a very bad job pretending to be human. "My wife sometimes forgets that she is not a space alien."
  • In Outbreak, Morgan Freeman's General Ford has a change of heart about the imminent incineration of an infected town. He gets on the horn to the chopper carrying Dustin Hoffman's character — who has been unable to convince the army to call off the bombing — to deliver the following warning:
    Ford: This is General Ford. I remind you that you are interfering with presidential authority. Sandman has a specific line to the target. If you are in his way, he cannot complete his bombing run and there will be hell to pay. Do you understand?
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  • Wag the Dog: The main characters use these as one of their techniques to start a war and spread misinformation.
    Brean: And it's most certainly NOT about the B-3 bomber.
    Levy: There is no B-3 bomber.
    Brean: I just said that! There is no B-3 bomber. I don't know how these rumors get started!
  • A Few Good Men:
    Danny: You know, Ross said the strangest thing to me just before I left. He said that the platoon commander, Lieutenant Jonathan Kendrick, held a meeting with the men and specifically told them not to touch Santiago.
    Sam: So?
    Danny: I never mentioned Kendrick. I don't even know who he is.
  • Air Force One:
    President Marshall: [held at gunpoint by the bad guy while a phone line is covertly open to the White House] What more can my people do? Tell the F-15s to fire at the plane? Even if they tried, we're equipped with tactical countermeasures... I just want you to feel secure. That way no one will get hurt. The computer will fly circles around any missile they fire at us. And no hit, just a shock wave. Believe me, all that would happen is that we'd get knocked off our feet. That's all!
  • In Quiz Show, it is suggested that when Charles Van Doren agrees to issue a denial before he's personally been accused of anything, it's deliberate, knowing that it will give an impression of guilt.
    Dick Goodwin: I said to myself, "Why would he do that? He knows I'll come after him." And then it occurred to me: "He knows I'll come after him."
  • A counterexample is found in Sahara (2005): "No gold belonging to the United States...". Since the gold they recovered belonged to the Confederate States, this is False Reassurance behaving very similarly... unless the ones being reassured were unaware there was gold at all.
  • Clue:
    Motorist: [stumbling into the affair after his car breaks down, after having asked about using the phone] So where is it?
    Wadsworth: The body?
    Motorist: The phone. What body?
    Wadsworth: No body! There's no body in the study! But I believe there is a phone in the lounge.
  • Citizen X:
    Bondarchuk, secretary of ideology for Rostov-on-Don: There are no serial killers in the Soviet state. It is a decadent Western phenomenon.
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life:
    Major: Search the thickets.
    Man in front end of tiger suit (in Africa): Oh come on! I mean, do we look like the sort of chaps who'd creep into a camp at night, steal into someone's tent, anaesthetise them, tissue-type them, amputate a leg and run away with it?
    Major: ...Search the thickets.
  • From The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, the members of Police Squad interrupt a formal banquet and ask the people to evacuate the building. Inverted, as it's not a denial of the bomb which will explode (which is kind of key to it being a suspiciously specific denial).
    Nordberg: I want you to calmly file toward the exits... that's it, that's it, nobody run, just walk, single file... that's it... now if we just stay calm, no-one's gonna be harmed by the huge bomb that's gonna explode any minute.
  • From The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
    Jane: Now I know why Ed's been calling every half hour. You've been back on a case, haven't you?
    Drebin: No, no, I swear, it's another woman.
    Jane: In your wildest dreams.
  • Aliens in the Attic often features Hannah making these, such as insisting that the contents of a metal box are "definitely not an alien", but justified as she's only six.
  • Inverted (or similar) in There Will Be Blood. Daniel and H.W. are scouting out the Sunday ranch for oil, but they don't want to let the Sundays know. So, even though the Sundays display no evidence of suspicion, Daniel repeatedly emphasizes, "We're just hunting quail, that's all."
  • In Men in Black II, K does this after neuralizing several witnesses when he doesn't have time to make up a decent story. It's a bit of an inversion in this case, though, since it is deliberately used to rewrite the witnesses' memory, as opposed to raising further suspicion of the event.
    K: You did not see a room full of shiny weapons, you did not see four alien nightcrawlers. You will cherish and love each other for the rest of your lives.
    J: Which could be the next 27 or 28 minutes, so y'all should get to lovin' and cherishin'. Oh, and she gets to stay up as late as she wants and have candy and cookies and cake and junk and stuff.
  • Austin Powers comments, "You know what's remarkable is how much England looks in no way like Southern California!"
  • Mike Myers had used this exact joke before in Wayne's World 2.
  • Discussed and subverted in Bedknobs and Broomsticks:
    Officer: Ahoy! You there! Which way to Pepperinge Eye?
    Man: Can't say, sir. It said on the blackout list to paint over all the signposts in case the Nazis invade.
    Officer: I'm not a Nazi! I'm a British officer!
    Man: Now that's what you'd say if you was a Nazi, isn't it, sir?
    Officer: Carry on, sergeant. [they drive off]
  • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Kirk & Co. land in 1980s-era San Francisco, in a cloaked Klingon Bird-of-Prey, right in front of two garbage men:
    Garbage Man 1: Did you see that?
    Garbage Man 2: No, and neither did you, so shut up.
  • In Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian, General Custer signals the charge by yelling, "WE ARE NOT GOING TO ATTACK... RIGHT NOWWW!"
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Elizabeth asks Jack Sparrow where Will Turner is, to which he replies:
    Jack Sparrow: Darling, I am truly unhappy to tell you this, but through an unfortunate and entirely unforeseeable series of circumstances that has nothing whatsoever to do with me, poor Will has been press-ganged into Davy Jones' crew.
  • In 1941, Ned Beatty's character, Ward Stevens, recites the following from memory while performing the actions on the anti-aircraft gun the army had left in his yard.
    Ward: Do not disengage the gun carriage lock.
    Do not place a clip of ammunition into the feed rollers.
    Do not pull the charging handle to the rear.
    Do not return the charging handle to the forward position.
    Do not turn the traverse wheel to align the gun.
    Do not align the sight on your target.
    Do not disengage the safety lever on the right side of the gun.
    And do not, under any circumstances, ever depress the foot trigger!
  • From The Fugitive:
    Assistant Marshal: We need some information about a Dr. Lentz who was on the staff here. I want to know if he knew or had any contact with a Dr. Richard Kimble?
    Orderly: I haven't seen Dr. Kimble.
    Marshal: That's not what I asked, sir.
  • The opening disclaimer for (500) Days of Summer:
    AUTHOR'S NOTE: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch.
  • In the RiffTrax for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Harry asks Hagrid what he was doing in Knockturn Alley, Hagrid assures Harry that he was looking for flesh-eating slug repellent and "certainly not hookers."
  • Done intentionally in Good Morning, Vietnam when a news report about a bomb is censored.
    Adrian Cronauer: In news, officially nothing happened today. A bomb unofficially went off in Jimmy Wah's and 4 G.I.'s unofficially died.
  • In O Brother, Where Art Thou? when asked who Everett is, Everett's ex-wife says, "He's not my husband. Just some no-account, drifter, I suppose."
  • In Stripes, when John and Russell are sitting at the recruiter's office, the recruiter asks them have you ever been convicted of a felony, Russell looks at him, giggles and says, "Convicted? ... No, never convicted!"
  • In Casino, gangster Nicky Santoro, explaining his move to Vegas to Ace Rothstein, does this:
    Nicky: Don't worry about it. What am I gonna do? I'm especially not gonna involve you in anything.
  • In Clerks, "but you're a sexy motherfucker, I'd get down on my knees and suck your dick and four other guys' dicks, like a circus seal...No, no, I hate guys, I love WOMEN!"
  • Played very much for drama (and tears) towards the end of The Children's Hour, Martha lapses into this. She starts rambling after her best friend said her boyfriend broke up with her due to believing the rumor the two woman were lovers. She then proceeds to deliver an Anguished Declaration of Love to Karen.
    Karen: But this isn't a new sin they say we've done. Other people haven't been destroyed by it.
    Martha: They're the people who believe in it, who want it, who have chosen it for themselves. We aren't like that. That must be very different. We don't love each other. We've been close to each other. Of course, I-I've loved you like a friend, the way thousands of women feel about other women. You were a dear friend who was loved, that's all. Certainly there can be nothing wrong with that. It's perfectly natural that I should be fond of you. Why, we've known each other since we were seventeen. And I always thought that—
    Karen: Why are you saying all this?
    Martha: ...Because I do love you.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, Tom Servo has Exetor act like this for This Island Earth.
    Servo: [as Exetor, freaking out] I'M NOT AN ALIEN!
    Servo: [as Exetor] ...then I ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay your eggs in your chest, but I'm not an alien!
  • In GoldenEye, Jack Wade officially claims that he is not currently meeting James Bond in Cuba, and the CIA has nothing to do with his mission there.
  • In Talladega Nights, when gay driver Jean Girard takes the first-place position at the time trials, the commentator reminds his viewers that him "sitting on the pole" is merely a statement of fact and in no way a comment on his sexuality.
  • In The Three Stooges' "Sing a Song of Six Pants":
    Terry Hargan: All right, bub, where's that piece of paper that was in my pants pocket?
    Shemp: You mean the one with the numbers on it?
    Terry Hargan: That's it. That's it.
    Shemp: And the letters "L-R-L-R-L"?
    Terry Hargan: Yes! Yes! Where is it?
    Shemp: ...I never saw it.
  • In ET The Extraterrestrial, when the mother asks where Elliot has gone. Gert: "Anyways, why Elliot go to the forest? Why would he do such a thing?" Smooth.
  • In Drop Dead Gorgeous, John Dough (the not-at-all-perverted judge) does this all the time:
    John: Never judged a pageant before in my life. Nope. No way. Never around young girls. Even if I was, why would I wanna be, y'know? I- I- I don't get off on that kinda thing and that's really why you're askin', right?... S- someone say somethin'?
  • Wayne's World manages to combine Cross Dresser, Furry Fandom, Ho Yay, and Perverse Sexual Lust into one sentence:
    Garth: Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and played a girl bunny?
    Wayne: No. [laughs hysterically] No.
    Garth: Me neither. I was just asking...
  • The Chinese kung-fu flick Master of the Flying Guillotine features a rascally Japanese fighter called "Wins Without a Knife" Yakuma. Guess how he wins his fight!
  • In Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Alan tells the police he has never fired a gun in anger. Or at a cat.
  • Godzilla (2014):
    • Typing in "conspiracy" into the M.U.T.O. website brings up:
    • Typing in "Godzilla" or the name of any other kaiju from the franchise gets you:
  • In Neighbors, after Jimmy jumps from the balcony he declares that he's definitely not a distraction, which sends Teddy running back upstairs.
  • The Hunt for Red October starts with the denial by both the American and Soviet governments that the events of the film ever happened.
  • In The World's End, when Peter accuses Gary of stalking him in the beginning, Gary denies it while at the same time naming the community Peter lives in.
  • In The Muppets, the credits insist that the Big Bad Corrupt Corporate Executive's Heel–Face Turn has absolutely nothing to do with brain damage from Gonzo hitting him in the head with a bowling ball.
  • In Broadway Melody of 1936, Snoop says to Bert, "Everybody in town thinks you're a heel, but I don't anymore."
  • In The Talented Mr. Ripley, the titular character is suspected of murder. When questioned he declares that, "No, I did not kill Freddie Miles then kill Dickie Greenleaf." Technically, he's telling the truth, as he killed Dickie first, then killed Freddie.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, when Scott first meets Ramona, the first thing he says to her is a nerdy fact about the history of Pac-Man before realizing she's clearly not impressed. The next time he sees her:
    Scott: You don't remember me, do you? We met at the party the other day.
    Ramona: Were you the Pac-Man guy?
    Scott: No. Not even. That was some total ass.
  • In the live-action adaptation of The Golden Key (the Russian retelling of The Adventures of Pinocchio), the puppets sing how their theatre’s director Carabas-Barabas is "not a tormentor at all".
  • Land of the Blind: "I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a unit, sir." (That is, Battalion Six, an elite anti-terrorist army unit.)


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