Time and Again
There are films I watch every two, three, four years, and some even sooner, some after a decade. Why watch a film you’ve seen when you know the story and all the surprises are gone?
If you enjoy a particular dinner at a restaurant, you’re almost certain to return, not the next night or even the next week, but you are very likely to go back and order that dish now and then because you can count on it to make you feel good. You remember the aroma and the taste and want to treat yourself.
Any one of my favorite, often-watched films, is certain to deliver, and to stir in me the familiar emotions that captured me the first time. I can count on that, and even though each of these favorite scenes is banked in my memory, I want to taste them again, and smile, and maybe mist over, maybe laugh or be shaken again.
I love this moment in “In the Heat of the Night.” Sidney Portier has been picked up as a murder suspect, just because he’s black and not from this southern town, and the sheriff asks him, in a threatening, browbeating manner, what work he does in that northern city he claims to be from. Portier answers in a strong voice, “I am a police officer.” What a great moment. It changes everything in the story. When I watch it again, and then again, I notice every detail, every expression of the players, I feel the verbal punch of those lines, and see the startled reactions played out.
This is why we watch certain films again and yet again, to relive a moment like that. I want to celebrate this feeling. So that’s what I’m going to do here. I’m going to write a perfect storm of moments that live inside of me. I’m not going to write ABOUT them. I’m going to just let them come pouring out, and I promise I am NOT looking them up. They’re going to come at you just as I keep them in my memory, so there may be mistakes, but I want them raw. Here we go.
“I am a police officer!” “I’ll be your daisy.” “Who are these guys?” “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” “It’s alive!” “And she rescued him right back.” “I AM your father!” “Watch the skies.” “You’re a doggone Yankee liar. Prove it.” “Shoot straight, you bastards!” “I’m shootin’ pool, Fats. When I miss, you can shoot.” “Would you like a roll in the hay?” “Now it’s garbage.” “I belong to the church of baseball.” “Snap out of it!” “I bet I could eat fifty eggs.” “I could’ve BEEN somebody.” “The gold! It’s goin’ back to the mountain!” “Ach, the poor, wee man.” “Hmmm, brother Morg’s gun.” “Leave the gun. Bring the Canoli.” “Come back, Shane. Please come back.” “I am Zampano!” “Socrates was not Belgian.” “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” “I AM the Shore Patrol! I AM the goddamn Shore Patrol!” “There isn’t an Indian alive can catch me in an open field.” “Madness. The madness!” “Stay alive! \Stay alive!” “All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.” “Union! Union! Union!” “I must warn you, sir. My father was the greatest swordsman in France.” “Please die, Spartacus.” “Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously.” “Hey! I’m walkin’ here! I’m walkin’ here!” “Do I know you? Why, do you think you’re going to? Because I know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I don’t think I can know anyone else.” “Nobody dies.” “I know a lot about pigeons, Lilly.” “What if this is as good as it gets?” “Sanctuary! Sanctuary!” “Why can’t a woman be like a man?” “Why shouldn’t I smile? Boxin’s a sport, isn’t it?” “I am not an animal! I am a man!” “Amigo, we’ve been had.” “Goodnight you lords of New England.” “Ed Sullivan!” “I find a good girl every night, Mom.” “Well that tears it!” “It was just a little walk in the warm Italian sun, but it wasn’t an easy thing.” “Guy’s-sittin-at-home-watchin-his-television-set-who- used-to-be-somethin’-of-a-rover. That’s what’s happenin’ all over.”
Pick out the ones you know and add your own favorite lines!