Jaime Franchi's Blog

Jaime Franchi

Jaime Franchi
New York, US
July 07
Misses Write
Freelance writer living in New York. My work can be found in the NY Times, "Big" Salon, Punchnel's, Fictionique, The Broad Side, and on JedMorey.com, where I am a regular contributor. Follow me on Twitter at JaimimiMama. www.JaimeFranchi.com


Jaime Franchi's Links

JUNE 1, 2012 1:55PM

Life in Movie Quotes

Rate: 20 Flag


On Facebook the other day, I got on a rant with an old friend, quoting the movie Arthur back and forth for most of the afternoon, like we'd done for the last 15 years or so.  John is in Afghanistan, on his last tour.  It got me thinking about how we use the safety of movie lines to say things we can't in real life, or how, in particular, I say, "Where's the rest of this moose?" to mean "I love you. Be safe."

Read on if you're interested.  i would love to hear your movie lines too. 


We speak through movie quotes.  “Arthur” in particular.  We can’t say I miss you. I’m scared for you.  My heart hurts for you.  I’m curious about you.  Where are you?  So we say to John, “You must have really hated this moose.”


When John was stateside, before he was shipped off on his third tour in Afghanistan, he was just another of the boys who came to visit, another offshoot of the Henn family of ten kids who took on friends as more family, like they did me, we watched movies.  Nothing art house.  Nothing even current.  We watched "When Harry Met Sally" and John Hughes 80’s flicks that we already knew by heart and chanted them in unison in the flickering light of our makeshift home.  We were vagabonds, all displaced, college-less in our early twenties.  We were trying to prove our adulthood to the parents who came sniffing around on odd Sundays. We threw dinner parties and had poetry nights.  We discovered EE Cummings in a book I’d stolen from my dad’s bookshelf. I wish I’d thought to ask him then if he’d read Cummings and what he thought, but I was too busy running into adulthood to do something so pointless as to converse with my father.


Rachel and I tried to organize a card game night, with two packs of neatly stacked playing cards in the dining room table we’d hoisted from someone’s garbage truck pile in the dead of the night. We sat down, baseball caps askew, gum chomping, dressed the part and blasted Kenny Rogers's "The Gambler."  Until we realized that the only card game we knew was gin rummy that we’d played with our grandmothers. That wouldn’t do.  We wanted a good ol‘ poker game, but didn’t know the rules.  So I made a call to Pete, my mafioso friend who run his share of high stakes games back in his day and ran a Vegas racket that got him banned from the state of Nevada. 


 “Baby,” he told me.  “The best advice I gave give you about poker is to leave the table if you get an Oriental dealer.  They’re bad luck. Mark my words.”


That didn’t help.


We pushed furniture out to the perimeter of the living room to make room for a dance floor.  We danced to loud music until our shirts stuck to our backs, pretending to be drunk on beer and wine coolers.  An excuse to move, to be free, and to be young again.  Young still.


The movie quotes helped us put words to feelings we didn’t recognize, to hold onto the safety nets our parents had given us and had suddenly set loose.  My friends’ parents had sold their home and moved a ten hour’s drive north to a remote country house in Maine.  My parents had divorced each other for the second time, and my father had voiced words to me in a fit of temper that I was pretending to think he’d meant, just to punish him.  “If you stay there,” he’d said, referring to my first boyfriend’s apartment, “then I don’t want you back here.”  


My dad often said words in fits of rage that he’d later come to eat.  Lots of things could set him off: women drivers, Goddamn liberals, daughters flouting their first sex in flips of their hair and in their defiant stances.  Yet, after his pulse resumed to normal, he was sweet as pie, loving in his own way.  My defense was to take him at his word, at his worst, just for drama’s sake. Just to revel in the angst of my early twenties.  


And so it was, the house of misfits born, adult orphans paying rent, food shopping, throwing parties just because we could.  I worked in a deli then, making cash hand over fist because I took on all of the hours I could to distract myself from the pain of my first broken heart.  We spent it all on weekends and forgot to pay our car insurance.  We learned our code from The Breakfast Club: “When you grow up, your heart dies.”  


So we didn’t grow up.  We worked, we played, and we watched movies.  We were a cast of characters holed up in a made-up world until little by little it disintegrated as adulthood fought its way in through cracks in the roof and the porous clapboard shingles.  Husbands were met.  Baby showers were thrown.  Our fathers died.  Standing outside the church after the funeral mass, in grown up heels, no shield to adulthood and what lies after, Alicia took my hands.  Her words were familiar, echoed in a Southern accent borrowed from Dolly Parton in a film we’d watched a hundred times together.  “I don’t know how you’re doing on the inside, but your hair’s holding up just beautiful.”


And because I couldn’t say that I missed my dad or that I was broken because he was gone, I found my own Southern voice and finished the scene from Steel Magnolias.  “Shelby’s right. It does look like a brown football helmet.”


And we cried together.  Just like the movie. 

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
oh shit yes this resonates:


And so it was, the house of misfits born, adult orphans paying rent, food shopping, throwing parties just because we could. "

and the partying was for no purpose, as you say.

Nobody "grew up."


serious partying would involve a guy or gal growing up
earning money to pay for his/her dependents
and yet...

forging on.

somewhere. beyond responsibility. beyond reticence.

beyond human training. beyond the pale.
This was just wonderful from start to finish. I wouldn't change a word. I loved the inisght into your relationship with your father.

As for me, more than movie lines, I use "Seinfeld" quotes: "Not that there's anything wrong with that," "It's gold, Jerry, gold!" If I have a chore I don't want to do or an appointment I don't want to keep, I say, "Newman!"
Movies truely are our saviors sometimes! RATED!
It was Monty Python with us...
Great post.

"Have fun stormin' the castle." Princess Bride

"Play nice with the other kids." Working Girl

My life should be a movie someday, I am a movie freak. However, it will probably be a B movie, with lower level stars and be all kitschy and done in black and white, a fake film noir. In the end, they will write about me, and will be lots of nothing, but if they went into my movie room, they would be able to describe me much better.
James - that last part gave me chills.

Crank - Yes! Seinfeld! "I am the master of my domain." JFK joooon-ya.

Tink - totes. xoxo

Linnnn - "Every time I try to talk to someone it's "sorry this" and "forgive me that" and "I'm not worthy"... '

Sheila - oh working girl is great for quotes. I tend to tell people in bars that I have "a head for business and a bod for sin." Except I don't look like Melanie Griffith. And I love Joan Cusack's accent in that movie: "Six thousand dollars? And it's not even leather?"
Jaimie,I really enjoyed reading your writing.Movies are indeed life and heart manuals!!Rated..
Loved "Arthur!" Wish I had the depth of recall to shout out a really meaningful movie quote...but all that comes to mind in this moment (cannot erase it!) is..."ET Phone home!" I'll try to be better next time!
Oh Jaime, this is wonderful.

With my crowd it's "Hard Day's Night" -- the ***king mixer, "Life of Brian", "American Werewolf", "Love with a Proper Stranger", and "Moonstruck", but we're older than you are.

Rated. Checking checking, anybody put you up for an RP yet? Nope. I'll do it.
I love the scrappy feeling of being young twenty-somethings and lost and finding something. I love this line: "We were trying to prove our adulthood to the parents who came sniffing around on odd Sundays. " I love how moving the ending was. This was just beautiful, evocative writing and it took me somewhere I've been and sort of where I still am. Thank you for sharing this.
Terrific post, Jaime. Real writing!!

As for the lines, you would be amazed at how often I get to use: "Yer gonna need a bigger boat!"

It is a line that fits some situations like a glove...and never has to be explained.
By the way, Jaime, I post often in another forum where "list" threads are a constant. I love the "movie lines" idea...and I would like to use it there. Would you mind if I borrow the idea? I promise to give due credit.
STATHI - thanks you! I love the idea: heart manuals.

Cathy GF - okay, when I think of ET, the part that really got me was at the end, before he boarded his spaceship, ET pointed to his heart and said, "Ouch" to Elliot. Waaah!

V. Corso - great movies! And wow - thank you for the RP nomination!

Alysa - thank you so much. I miss those scrappy days so much, though I appreciated them then. I'd forgotten, but my best friend and one of my roommates at the time reminded me that I used to tell everybody, "This is the time of our lives we're going to look back on." And it is.

Hi Frank - thank you. And I'd be honored. xoxo
Masterful writing, poignant and rich. Clever theme. My movie lines are a little older: Bogart. We'll always have Paris. These are the things dreams are made of. Play it again, Sam (altho he really said Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By.") When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it.

Most of them aren't stand-ins for what we'd really like to say - I like the way you put that - but sometimes just seem appropriate, more as punctuation to a thought or mood.
This is such a good piece, Jaime. I love reading about your past life of first growing up, and about your relationship with your father. Having lost my father too, it touched my heart so much. I use movie lines too!

This is fun! Some of my movie lines are:

The Godfather:
"You're dead to me, Fredo" (Used this week for the hurt from a bully co-worker who is not speaking to me. )

The Terminator, "I'll be bock"

A League of Their Own: "There's no crying in baseball!"

The Honeymooners:

"Bang, zoom!"

"You want to know why I call you Killer? Because you Slay me!"

"Woo Woo" - my dad's and my way of saying goodbye.
So beautifully written and evocative. I remember the 'Steel Magnolias', although not a single quote from it. Admire those who can recall ones from movies that fit the occasion. Well done, Jaime!

Really great post, tying it all together. Really liked this. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
ChickenMaan - yes, I like the way you put that: as punctuation. Either way, it becomes something other than the movie and belongs a little more to us. Thank you also for the compliment!

Joanne - Oh yes, the Godfather was big growing up in my house. I love-ah you with all a my heart. If I don't see you soon, Im-ah gonna die." And of course, Leave the gun, take the cannoli. I still wish Sonny hadn't been shot.

FusunA - oh there is a Steel Magnolias quote for every occasion. "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me." My dad's favorite: He's got a new girlfriend and the nicest thing I can say about her is all of her tattoos are spelled correctly.

Amy A - Thank you so much!!
I really loved this. It all ties together so well and the last three paragraphs blew me away.
A very interesting way to communicate with people who are close to you, and have watched the same movies. R
[r] wonderful read.

let's see. "Bolivia!" also "Shhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttt!!!!!" from Butch Cassidy (Bolivia: whenever a wrong turn is taken and myself and friends are hopelessly lost). "What we have here is a failure to communicate!" from Cool Hand Luke (I think this a lot more than say it, since the authorities are the ones with the bad communication skills who would not appreciate a flat out honest evaluation). "So what's the story, Richie?" from Lovers and Other Strangers (my brothers found this annoying so I have kept up saying it to them for decades). "On-de-lay, On-de-lay!" from Tarzan (whenever I try to rush people). "Afghanistan Bananistan" from the Hot Rock. (the last one is not as much fun since the Afghanistan war, mind you!), "You looking at me?" Taxi Driver (everyone does this one). "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" (Monty Python), "Plastics!" the Graduate. "Show me the money!!!!!" Jerry Maguire --

best, libby (of course I only had 10 seconds and several of them are tres cliche! sorry.)
A life in movie quotes.... you had me at Arthur.
ps. How could I forget, "I'll alert the media!" from Arthur! One of Gielgud's best lines!!!!
darn you, you got the movie part of my brain going now!

"SNAP OUT OF IT!" SLAP ... from Moonstruck!
"I've got the motive which is MONEY and the body which is DEAD!!!" Rod Steiger in In the Heat of the Night.
Libby - you're cracking me up! You should write a post about all your movie lines!
This is gooood, but the only movie quote I can think of right now is "Sparticus!" and I don't think that goes with the mojo. R and hugs.