Movie Mystery and Intrigue

A fellow blogger had the idea to post his list of favorite movies, so it got me to thinking…what makes them great? It’s the writing– the lines that make them great. Consider these. 49 are from some of my favorite flicks, and one is something my mom said this morning that should be the opening line in one. I’ll even provide a few hints.

“0.2… Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

“I had a car waiting.”

“It’s merely a flesh wound.”

“So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower.”

“Face it, girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.”

“And up goes Her Royal Highness… Now exhale slowly…And down goes Her Royal Highness…”

“It’s a business lie, it’s not the same as a life lie.”

“Come on in, and try not to ruin everything by being you.”

“Wouldn’t this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If “needy” were a turn-on?”

“Any of you guys call me Francis, and I’ll kill you.”

“You are certainly the most distinguished group of highway scofflaws and degenerates ever gathered together in one place.”

“Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome.”

“I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.”

“I always get weighed naked. It makes you feel better, unless you’re also looking in a mirror.”

“You talkin’ to me?”

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

Courtesy John McNally

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

“He won’t listen to anybody. He’s been very crazy all summer. Since June he’s been trying to kill me.”

“We call it Voight-Kampff for short.”

“I had no idea that broccoli could be so intriguing.”

“You soaked his underwear in meat? That is so wrong. Funny—but wrong.”

“What do you mean he don’t eat no meat? Oh, that’s okay. I make lamb.”

“Dude, is my face okay? I think you melted it off.”

“Are you gonna eat your tots?”

Photo Credit:

“I never pictured God with a fat gut and corset singing “My Way” at Caesar’s Palace.”

“Our speedometer has melted and as a result it’s very hard to see with any degree of accuracy exactly how fast we were going.”

“It’s amazing the clarity that comes with psychotic jealousy.”

“I couldn’t love you any more if you were my own son. But the fact of the matter is, you’re… well you’re a putz.”

“You’ve got a great future in front of you in Retail Food marketing, and I just hate to see you throw it all away by going psycho on us.”

“I’m just gonna go ahead and nip this thing in the bud. ‘Cuz you know, they say pregnancy often leads to, you know… an infant.”

“We’re not really violent people. This is our first gun.”

“I stopped trusting her after she stole my Pop Rocks in the third grade.”

“What we’re dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law.”

“Love murderer!”

“Let me out there, sir, I have no problem exposing myself.”

“Please get out of my Van Halen t-shirt before you jinx the band and they break up.”

“A gun rack… a gun rack. I don’t even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack.”

“I told you not to be stupid, you moron.”

“Kindly do not attempt to cloud the issue with facts.”

“Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night. That when I get older, these kids are going to take care of me.”

“Mrs. Yakamoto, I have your hair. I’m going to slip it under the door.”

“Me? I’m scared of everything. I’m scared of what I saw, I’m scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.”

“Thank you for the cookies. I look forward to tossing them.”

“Dames are put on this earth to weaken us, drain our energy, laugh at us when they see us naked.”

“You can’t see this on a marketing report.”

“Sanka… you dead?”

“You’re different and special in your own way. Live it. Own it.”

“I must be crazy to be in a loony bin like this.”

“Heeere’s Johnny!”

The “Uh Huh” Moment of ‘69

With the Presidential election over and Nixon in the White House, for our class of bright-eyed, second grade southerners, space travel and rockets had begun to capture our imagination.

So much of American culture focused on the heavens. We studied the solar system in school and made our mandatory science projects of the planets revolving around our sun which, by the way, included Pluto. (I’m generally adaptable to change, but I refuse to give up Pluto as a planet. It’s been a planet for most of my life and I’m keeping it.) The boys in my class in particular, were obsessed with Uranus.

We dreamed, collectively of what it might be like to travel into space, weightless. It seemed as though the futuristic idea of living on a space station was possible. Lunar wallpaper adorned my siblings’ bedroom walls; a red, white and blue affair with a repeating pattern of the moon and rockets. My ceiling had glow-in-the-dark stars which I watched at night as I fell asleep.

Television’s nightly news gave us one of our first sound bites…”The Space Race,” which would be forever etched in our minds. “An astronaut,” quickly replaced “fireman”, “policeman” or “cowboy” as the top choice for what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up for the neighborhood boys. And so it was that one evening in July 1969, I was allowed to stay up late to watch the astronauts walk on the moon.

In those pre-cable days for TV reception, we relied on rabbit ears. These served only to relieve some of the black and white graininess of the images on our tiny television. I futilely struggled to stay awake until finally, my parents aroused me from my sleep, face imprinted with the upholstery pattern from the couch and drooling, to see Neil Armstrong step onto the moon.

To me, this defining moment in history was an anti-climactic interlude to a peaceful night’s sleep. I managed an, “Uh huh,” before falling asleep again. My bedtime went back to normal after that, but the moment allowed me to dream bigger.

For Christmas that year I got a lunar module model to build, which I did with some frustration and without getting completely high on the glue fumes.

Then what happened?

Ken Issues – Christmas 1968

I admit it.  I’ve had unresolved Ken issues dating at least as far back as Christmas of 1968.   As promised in my earlier post about popular toys in 1961, I am following up.

I owned Barbie and her “modern cousin” whatever-that-means, Francie.  I had a case suitable to hold Barbie in the narrow reserved spot just her size, and the Barbie paraphernalia in the larger section.  The case had a plastic handle and metal clasp.  I usually shoved Francie in there amongst the clothing.

Ken, who I have recently learned actually has the last name “Carson”, is Barbie’s boyfriend.  I did not have Ken.  But in order to truly pretend that Barbie had the lifestyle and all of the things that she deserved, she needed Ken.

After all, Ken was going to pick her up in the Barbie car, which I also did not have—to take her on their exciting dates.  Shirtless, he’d accompany Barbie, with his buff abs, wearing his spiffy Bermuda swim trunks and sunglasses to the beach parties they’d attend.  Clearly, Barbie’s friends would be envious.  Most importantly, someday Barbie and Ken would get married and Francie could be the Maid of Honor.

In early December of 1968, as Christmas approached, like many American children, I wrote my wish list in a letter to Santa Claus.  My list consisted of one item: the Ken doll.  I got the notion that if I mailed the letter early, Santa would be sure to have the elves hard at work and my Ken doll would be wrapped and packed in the sleigh long before the other kids placed their orders.   Also, if I only asked for one thing, it made his job easier—no  decision-making required.

I found an envelope, appropriated a stamp from the supply we had, and managed to mail the letter in a sidewalk mailbox.  I didn’t think of details like a return address.  No need.  I’m sure I didn’t sign it with my last name.  He knew me well enough by then, I was sure.  Plus, that was a lot more writing.

It’s important to point out at this juncture that I did all of this without my parent’s knowledge.  As the oldest child, I was doing my best to act more grown up and take some personal responsibility for my own destiny.

Christmas came and guess what I got?

No idea.  I cannot recall.

Guess what I didn’t get?


I was really upset.  I asked for ONE thing!  It wasn’t a pony or an in-ground swimming pool or a mansion or anything. Geez !

Well, I never got a Ken doll in the years that followed, but then I never asked again either.  I was the kind of kid with a ‘tude about things like that. I had this self-defeating conversation in my own mind that went something like this: “So, I didn’t get a Ken doll.  Fine! I’m not asking for anything I really want EVER again because I’ll just be disappointed.  Fine! Barbie can just become an old maid and she’ll live with Francie and they’ll be a couple of old spinsters without dates.”

There is a bright spot to this childhood trauma.  I was finally able to move on and put the whole sordid episode behind me in 1995.  More on that when I get there.

Then what happened?

1967 and the Smothers Brothers

Did you watch the Smothers Brothers?  The show premiered in 1967.  I remember they made me laugh.  Though Tom and Dick parodied other variety shows with their folk-singing style, it was their witty banter about the hippie lifestyle of sex and drugs that had the censors coming unglued.

By today’s standards, they were tame.  I was six, so I didn’t much care about censors.  I just liked their irreverent attitude and the way they picked on each other.

What I do remember more than the TV from that time is the music.

I was especially fond of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,”  even though life in suburban Philadelphia wasn’t exactly seaside.  Plus, my idea of wastin’ time was relegated to Saturday morning trips to Sears Hardware to look for anything “manly” that my Dad needed for those inevitable household repairs.

Then what happened?