American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Thank You For Smoking" (2005)


Nick Naylor Pitches 'Smoking is Cool'

Audio mp3 delivered by Aaron Eckhart


Naylor: BR?

'BR' Rohrabacher: Yeah, Nick.

Naylor: If I may.

Naylor: In 1910 the U.S. was producing 10 billion cigarettes a year. By 1930 we were up to 123 billion. What happened in between? Three things: a world war, dieting, and movies.

'BR' Rohrabacher: Movies?

  Naylor: 1927, talking pictures are born. Suddenly, directors need to give their actors something to do while they're talking. Cary Grant, Carole Lombard are lighting up. Betty Davis -- a chimney. And Bogart -- remember the first picture with him and Lauren Bacall?

'BR' Rohrabacher: Well...not specifically.


Naylor: Oh. She sort of shimmies in through the doorway.


19 years old.

Pure sex.

She says, "Anyone got a match?"

And Bogey --

throws the matches at her.


And she catches 'em. Greatest romance of the century.

How'd it start? Lighting a cigarette. These days when someone smokes in the movies, they're either a psychopath or European. The message Hollywood needs to send out is "Smoking is cool." We need the cast of -- of Will and  Grace smoking in their living room; Forest Gump puffing away between his box of chocolates; Hugh Grant earning back the love of Julia Roberts by buying her favorite brand -- her Virginia Slims.

Most of the actors smoke already.

If they start doing it on screen we can put the sex back into cigarettes.

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