“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Motion pictures are a part of our culture – no more so than in the famous lines, rejoinders and catchphrases that quotes5immediately jump off the screen and into our cultural lexicon.

Who among us hasn’t at one time described a strange situation with “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” or ‘Show me the money!”.  “Houston, we have a problem” you hear quite a bit, usually at work, though it is not a movie quote, per se, but a real-life quotation used in a movie.

Ever turned to an alleged sidekick and said “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”? That one is quotes6certainly a classic, and while I personally have the Oliver Hardy down-pat…but it always seems a little condescending to be passing off the blame for something, and then I feel guilty.

Many of these just come naturally, without thinking, because they are so ingrained. But there are those great moments where using a great movie line just seems to fit. Or not. I’ve never quite been able to pull off Ratso quotes8Rizzo during a crosswalk altercation with an over-aggressive driver; the accent is all wrong and I end up sounding more suave Kevin Spacey than manic Dustin Hoffman: “I’m walking here! I’m walking here!”

“You takin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?” Admit it; you’ve done it – just like DeNiro.

My home state is Minnesota, and as I spent three years on the campus of the University of Minnesota, there have quotes10 quotes11been ample opportunities to slam our archrivals just to the east, Wisconsin. Especially when wearing U of M gear, it is easy to summon a hearty, derisive and sneering, “Badgers? We don’t need no badgers! I don’t have to show you any stinking badgers!”

Maybe that one loses something in translation of time and place.

“Here’s looking at you, kid,”May the force be with you” and “Go ahead, make my day” and are way too cliché to carry much conversational weight anymore – though I can sometimes summon up a darn-fine Clint Eastwood in letting one of my high school English students know he has gone jussssst a bit too far by leaning in and whispering the reminder, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Subtle, but effective. Used sparingly.

A classroom quotes12staple I always have at the ready (with perfect Strother Martin dialect) “What we’ve got here is fail-yure to comm-un-i-cate.”

I’m probably not alone in this one, but “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” was a line I once quotes13hoped (like a lot of other American males) I would get chance to utter, but it may be past its freshness date. I’m thinking now, at this stage of middle age, that if I am in the type of situation where I would be truly saying this it would be, at its very best, a dicey proposition all the way around.

Using famous movie lines I will admit to freely and unapologetically doing, but there is a whole other set of classic quotations that I would someday like to be on the receiving end of. Not the cliché or paraphrased stuff – ‘You can’t handle the truth!” or “I love the smell of napalm/coffee in the morning.”

There are some great movie lines I long to hear said to me, in proper context and in earnest.

For example, someday I would love to be the recipient of a heartfelt, “I love you, Spartacus.” Maybe if I changed my quotes7name to ‘Spartacus’ (Marktacus?) it would give someone the idea…though I would hope if someone ever does say that to me, it would be on merit than campiness. While hopefully I’ll never be in the position of leading a slave rebellion, you would think some sort of leadership opportunity on a large-scale could be in the offing. Just once, with feeling: “I love you, Spartacus.”

Equally esoteric I that I have long harbored the dream that someone will feel compelled to honestly tell me (about whom or what I am not entirely sure) “If you build it, he will come.”quotes15

I probably have a better shot with baseball than the rebellion/leader thing, though I suppose getting into the next presidential race is always an option.

Those situations could crop up at any time, but there is a big one I hope to be hearing someday, well down the road – from the end of the classic On Golden Pond;“Listen to me, mister. You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t you forget it. You’re going to get back on that horse, and I’m going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we’re gonna go, go, go!””

My wife and I (hopefully) circa, 2043

Hopefully, it is not said in response to a heart attack or disorienting walk.

If my wife is reading this, she will hopefully do the math and realize that, if we play it age-wise like in the movie, she has roughly twenty-six years or so to master the clipped, Katherine Hepburn New England parlance. If she can master that more quickly…

A guy can dream, right?

Hey, most days I can be Henry Fondiash. Humphrey Bogartesque, too. What I really need at this stage of my life is a Captain Renault; a rakish friend who, at some point in time, will redirect his about-to-nail-my-rear-to-the-wall quotes4minions to simply “Round up the usual suspects.”

“Louis, (or whomever) I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Would, of course, only be fitting and proper in response.

Of course, the one I really long to hear in real life I would never really hear, as it would be said about me to someone else, either in regards to the job of my dreams or a publishing deal: “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” It’s all about the context, I suppose – go all Don Corleone on me, just in a less nefarious way. And with better intentions. Maybe in a Captain Renault sort of way.

“Ebbedda, ebbedda, ebbedda, ebbedda – that’s all, folks!

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One thought on ““All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

  1. slpmartin May 30, 2015 / 1:17 pm

    Ah one of my favorites…is when someone says “It’s good to see you”….the response “It’s good to be seen.” 🙂 Enjoyed this post much.


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