We all have those movies we quote. A line, no matter how prevalent or obscure, creeps into our subconscious and ends up becoming a part of who we are. Whenever I find myself in a heated moment and someone points out that I’m heated, my immediate reaction is to shrug it off and reply, “calmer than you are.” Thanks to French Toast Sunday's infatuation with Clue whenever someone says the phrase, “to make a long story short” I immediately toss in, “too late.” It’s fun. I don’t just do this with friends, I do it with my family too. My mother and I will often exchange quotes from Cast Away and Silence of the Lambs while my uncle and I quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Deadwood a little too much. I realize Deadwood isn't a movie but they say if you put something out into the universe it becomes an experience. I don’t know who said it and clearly I’m paraphrasing but you get the point and I think the world would be a better place if there was a Deadwood film. #DeadwoodMovie #DeadwoodPancakes
When it comes to my father, there is one film among all others that we quote the most and that’s the 1976 western The Outlaw Josey Wales. Clint Eastwood’s fifth directorial effort, and one of the many films he starred in, is about a farmer whose wife and child are killed after the Civil War and he takes it upon himself to exact revenge. My father introduced me to this film at a young age. Probably too young, as is the case with most good films we see growing up. It blew me away. The film was very bleak and that was a big change for me. Up to this point I was watching Disney films (both animated and non) and musicals. I wasn’t watching men ride around on horses killing each other and struggling to survive America post civil war. I didn’t even know what the Civil War was when I watched this film. Of all the great moments and quotes in this film, this scene sticks out to me the most and I think it’s because it’s the film at it’s lightest. It’s a break from the bleakness of the west and while yes, it’s a potentially dangerous moment for Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood) and Jamie (Sam Bottoms), the danger is downplayed by two very cartoonish gentlemen (played wonderfully by Len Lesser and Doug McGrath) who hope to capitalize on the $5,000 bounty currently on Wales’ head.
The scene might seem unnecessary but I always found it to be important. Throughout the film, Josey continually tries to be left alone and fight his battles himself but he always manages to have a companion. Often times, that companion proves vital either by saving his life or by helping Josey get to the next step of his revenge. This moment is no different as Jamie serves as a distraction while Josey lays the final blow. Or shot. However you want to word it. It also shows how much colder Josey has become. He doesn’t want to deal with Jamie’s health problems, he refers to earth as “Hell’s creation” and he leaves the dead bodies behind so the buzzards and worms have something to eat. Cold. Blooded.
There isn’t a line from this scene that my father and I don’t quote to one another. Each one has it’s own unique purpose and perfect moment of execution. I can remember as a kid coming to my father for something and whenever I began a question with, “Hey Dad…” sixty percent of the time my father would reply “I ain’t your pa…. now shut up!”. I can see how this might seem cruel cause when you read it on paper without proper context or inflection it definitely gives that vibe off, but I can promise you it was said with love most of the time. There have also been times where lines were inserted in situations they had no place being in. I can remember several times while driving, a car would put on a turn signal, showing its intent to merge into our lane in front of us and I’d slide in, “Watch him Abe” to which my father, again, lovingly, would reply, “shut up Lige…” And before you ask, yes I have been threatened with beatings using a knotted plow line. The only other film my father and I quote so frequently to each other is Blazing Saddles, but that’s another scene for another Friday.