Instead of doing any kind of productive work tonight I stayed up and watched Bravo’s 100 Years 100 Movie Quotes. Somewhat predictably, Clark Gable’s “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn” took the number one spot. I don’t disagree with that choice, but a list like that is extremely subjective, and while I can appreciate the cultural significance of many of the lines on the list I’ve developed a very different list over the years, as I’m sure you have as well.
I remember watching “Stand By Me” in theaters and becoming emotionally overwhelmed at the scene where Chris Chambers breaks down in front of his best friend Gordie, and he sputters in between tearful sobs, “I just wish I could go some place where nobody knows me!”
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see “Jaws” in the theaters, but that didn’t really matter because it still managed to scare the shit out of me when I saw it on T.V. Just like every other person who saw the movie I love the scene when Roy Schneider backs into the boat and without looking at Quint says very quietly “I think you’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
Everyone loves the scene in “Ghostbusters” when Winston says to Ray “The next time someone asks you if you’re a God you say YES!” But the nerd in me can’t resist Egon’s explanation as to why they shouldn’t cross the streams: “Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body reversing at the speed of light.”
The narrator in my head and imagination stands up and thrusts his fist in the air and yells “Fuck Yeah!” every time he watches “Fight Club” and Tyler Durden says “We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off. ”
I can’t help but smile when Chili Palmer says “Look at me” for the first time in “Get Shorty”, and make fun of me all you want, but I tear up in “Armageddon” when I hear Colonel Sharp tell Grace “Requesting permission to shake the hand of the daughter of the bravest man I’ve ever met.”
Chills run up my spine just thinking of the scene in “The Crow” when T-Bird looks at Eric and exclaims “ I know you, I knew I knew you”¦but you ain’t you”¦we put you through the window”¦there ain’t no comin’ back, this is the really real word there ain’t no comin’ back” Eric tapes his head to the headrest and forces him to look ahead and T-Bird’s last words are “Abashed the Devil stood and felt how awful goodness is.” Creepy stuff.
Movies enter into the zeitgeist and end up becoming cultural artifacts, but they also become something much bigger in each of our individual lives. The movie lines we hold dear represent different aspects of our personality and being, and over time they take on a special significance in our memories greater than the sum of their parts. Lists like Bravo’s are fun to watch but in the end each person has their own top 100 floating around in their brain.
All of which means I should have been working since all of this stuff is really subjective anyway.