The Sure Thing

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The Sure Thing is a 1985 romantic comedy about the cross-country journey of two college students as they make their way from New England to Los Angeles, each in an effort to meet their ideal match.

Directed by Rob Reiner, written by Stephen L. Bloom and Jonathan Roberts.
A sure thing comes once in a lifetime... but the real thing lasts forever.taglines

Walter "Gib" Gibson[edit]

  • [talks to Alison while she swims] I flunk English, I'm outta here. Kiss college goodbye. I don't know what I'll do. Dad will be pissed off. Mom will be heartbroken. If I play my cards right, I get maybe a six-month grace period and then I gotta get a job, and you know what that means. [Alison ignores him] That's right, they start me at the drive-up window and I gradually work my way up from shakes to burgers, and then one day my lucky break comes: the french fry guy dies and they offer me the job! But the day I'm supposed to start, some men come by in a black Lincoln Continental and tell me I can make a quick 300 just for driving a van back from Mexico! When I get out of jail I'm 36 years old. Living in a flop house. No job. No home. No upward mobility. Very few teeth. And then one day they find me, face down, talking to the gutter, clutching a bottle of paint thinner. And why? Because you wouldn't help me in English, no! You were too busy to help me! Too busy to help a drowning man! [he falls into the pool]
  • What the hell's wrong with being stupid once in awhile? Does everything you do always have to be sensible? Haven't you ever thrown water balloons off a roof? When you were a little kid didn't you ever sprinkle Ivory flakes on the living room floor 'cause you wanted to make it snow in July? Didn't you ever get really shitfaced and maybe make a complete fool of yourself and still have an excellent time?
  • You know, junk food doesn't deserve the bad rap that it gets. Take these pork rinds for example. This particular brand contains two percent of the R.D.A. - that's Recommended Daily Allowance - of riboflavin.

Alison Bradbury[edit]

  • Spontaneity has its time and place.

Professor Taub[edit]

  • [reading Gib's paper aloud] 'It could be tonight,' he thought as he stood in the corner, pretending to have a good time. He would meet her tonight. All his young life, he had dreamed of a girl like this. 5'6, silky hair, trim, nubile body. Nubile, by the way, is spelled with a "u". Trim, nubile body that really knew how to move. And soft, deeply tanned skin. Now as for personality traits, she needed only one. She had to love sex and all the time. To arrive at this moment, he had traveled vast distances enduring many hardships. Abject poverty, starvation, show tunes, you name it. From across the room, he saw her. She was perfect. He knew almost nothing about her and she didn't know much more about him. It was exactly how it was supposed to be. He brought her to his room. The lights were soft, the moment was right. Then she leaned over and whispered in his ear, 'Do you love me?' Thoughts raced through his mind. Did she really want him? What had he done to deserve this bounty? Does God exist? Who invented liquid soap and why? 'Do you love me?' Staring into her eyes he knew that she really needed to hear it but for the first time in his life, he knew these were no longer just words and if he said it, it would be a lie. 'Do you love me?' she whispered. 'Do you love me?' It would not be tonight. The answer was no.


  • Cowboy Guy: I was in Paris once with my wife... boy am I glad she's dead.
  • Gary Cooper: Hi, I'm Gary Cooper, but not the Gary Cooper that's dead.
  • Lance: Gib, you want a relationship? That's fine. Just remember that every relationship starts with a one night stand. You came 3,000 miles for a reason didn't you? Would you look at that reason. Go for it Gib, you've earned it.
  • Lance's frat brother: Three thousand miles just to get laid. I really respect that.


Professor Taub: [commenting on students' papers] Miss Bradbury. You, on the other hand, you express your ideas very clearly. Except that, your paper is dry, Alison. There's not enough of *you* coming through. Loosen up, Alison. Have some fun! Yes, sleep when you feel like it, not when you think you should. Eat food that is bad for you - at least once in a while. Have conversations with people whose clothes are not color coordinated. [class laughs] Make love in a hammock! [class hoots, hollers, and high-fives] Life is the ultimate experience, and you have to live it to write about it.
[Alison raises her hand]
Professor Taub: Yes, Alison?
Alison: What did you say after "hammock?"

Gib's friend: [about Alison] Forget her, I hear she only likes intellectuals
Gib: So? I'm intellectual and stuff.
Gib's friend: You're flunking English. That's your mother tongue, and stuff.

Alison: [checking her calendar] Let's see, Friday. 5:30, dinner. 6:00, Calculus. 7:00, news. 7:30, shower. 7:45, phone call. Eight o'clock?
Gib: [sarcastic] Gee, I don't know. That's when I rearrange my sock drawer.

Gib: [suddenly appearing from hiding in the back of the pick-up and hopping into the passenger seat] Thanks for the ride. I've been out here all day. I'm not interrupting anything am I?
Pick-Up Driver: [holding Alison] Me and the wife just having a little squabble, OK.
Gib: Oh. It's not easy getting rides. Do you know what I mean? I mean most people are real afraid to pick up hitchhikers. I mean you never know who you might pick up. I mean I could be some crazed slime ball. I mean a real deranged, violent psycho. You know what I mean? I mean a guy who would rip out your heart and eat it just for pleasure. I'm talking about a total maniac! You know what I mean? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
Pick-Up Driver: [unsettled] Yeah...
Gib: [looks around nervously] Why aren't we moving? Don't you want to give me a ride?
Pick-Up Driver: I'm only goin' about another mile.
Gib: [flipping out] Then what the hell did you pick me up for? You think I got nothing better to do with my life then to sit here and pass the time with you, [leans over inches away from his face] SHIT BRAAAIN! [sits back] I don't think I want this ride after all. [gets out, then comes back] And I think I think I'll take your wife, if you don't mind.
[Gib pulls the relieved Alison out of the pick-up, cackling maniacally]

Alison: You can't go in there.
Gib: Yes I can. This is America, you can go anywhere.

Gib: [encounters a padlocked trailer while attempting to get out of the rain] It's locked! Good! This is very good! It's important that this place should have an air-tight security system... in the middle of nowhere!
Alison: [digs through her bag] I might have a nail file... I have a credit card. I have a credit card!
Gib: Credit cards work on a completely different kind of lock.
Alison: No, you don't seem to understand. I have a credit card!
Gib: You have a credit card?
Alison: I have a credit card!
Gib: [relieved] You have a credit card.
Alison: [suddenly crestfallen] Oh. My dad told me specifically I can only use it in case of an emergency.
Gib: [sarcastically] Well, maybe one will come up.

Alison: What are you doing?
Gib: I'm going to bed.
Alison: Not with me you're not.
Gib: I'm not going to bed with you, I'm going to bed in a bed you happen to be in also.

[in a fantasy]
Sure Thing: Come on, Giblet. One more time. One more time.
Gib: I can't. Tomorrow, I promise.
Sure Thing: It was so good. It was so masterful. Relentless, but with a delicate touch. Confident, creative. I was overwhelmed. You're a true artist.
Gib: Just let me sleep a while, regain my strength. Five minutes. A grace period, if you will.
Sure Thing: Please.
Gib: Ah, what the heck.

Alison: [ranting about Gib] And you should see the crap he eats! Cheese balls and beer for breakfast!
Jason: [shocked] How do you know what he eats for breakfast?

Gib: [dancing with the Sure Thing, shouting over the loud party music so Alison will hear] So, what else did Lance say about me?
Sure Thing: [loudly] He said you're a virgin.
Gib: What?
Sure Thing: [the music stops just as she says] He thinks you might be gay.
[everybody hears, stops and stares at them]
Gib: [pretends to laugh, then mutters] Don't say that!
Sure Thing: I didn't say it, Lance said it!
[the music starts up again]
Gib: [loud] Excuse me won't you, I have to go and kick the shit out of someone. Just one second.

Alison: You didn't sleep with her?
Gib: Still seeing Jason?
Alison: Broke up.
Gib: That's too bad.
Alison: You didn't sleep with her.
Gib: Wasn't my type.


  • A sure thing comes once in a lifetime... but the real thing lasts forever.
  • He's onto a sure thing . . . but ends up on the funniest journey to romance you've ever seen.


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