Monday, June 27, 2005

Frankly, Neo, I see dead people.

We gringos love lists.

It heightens our natural inclinations as control freaks. If I have you on my list, you are somehow under control.

It appeals to our self esteem. If you are on a list, you have been included.

It emboldens our wierd sense of fairness. If I am on the list, my time will come.

It strangely satisfies our suffocating quest for nostalgia. Being on a list, like diamonds, is forever.

The American Films Institute released its list of the 100 all time best movie quotes this month. Some were no-brainers, Hollywood's specialty. Others were questionable. And still others, unfathomable. But perhaps more glaring than any of the inclusions to the list were the obvious, even painful, omissions.

I offer a few tips for the list's betterment. Feel free to add your own.

1. There was not one, NOT ONE, quote from the movie that has penetrated deeply into the psyche of entire generations and provided countless opportunities for folks of my ilk. What were these people thinking?.

The Exorcist (1973) offers many list-worthy jewels. Unfortunately most of them can't be reprinted here. This is a family oriented blogsite. Among those I can mention:

"What an excellent day for an exorcism!" (You know, to this day it's the first thing I say when I get up in the morning.)

"Your mother's in here, Karras. Would you like to leave a message? I'll see that she gets it." (The answering machine from hell. Nice.)

"I am no one. I am no one. Fear the priest. Fear the priest..." (Damn skippy!)

2. Nothing from The Matrix (1999)???!!! Come on, dude. Now I know it's not just me.

"What is the matrix?" (It is the only question that needs to be answered. Millions ask it everyday in their maxed-out, futile, monochrome lives. Anyone who is part of a system that has become an end in itself, that feeds off its members, that uses and discards its own people as if they were short term currency asks it ceaselessly. How did the AFI overlook this one?? I want this quote on the list, dammit!! Don't make me come down there...)

"There is no spoon." (Quite possibly the only correct answer to the previous question.)

"Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony." (So true. Actually all of Morpheus' pithy aphorisms should be candidates for the list.)

Even The Matrix Reloaded (2003), vastly inferior to the groundbreaking original, has its memorable exchanges. For example,

"Me, me, me, me." "Me, too." (Agent Smith to his newly created clone. OK. Guess you had to be there.)

"Dammit, Morpheus, not everyone believes what you believe!" "My beliefs do not require them to." (Commander Lock was always in over his head with Morpheus.)

3. What happened to Fight Club (1999)? That whole screenplay reads like a collection of memorable quotes.

"I know this because Tyler knows this."
"I am Jack's smirking revenge."
"On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."
"I want you to do me a favor." "Yeah, sure." "I want you to hit me as hard as you can."

And what to say about Tyler Durden's prodigious monologues, sown throughout the film?

"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. 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."

Gold. Pure gold.

I shall continue in this frivolous vein for one more post. Too pooped right now.