I’m often reminded of the fact that ‘I’m not a smart (wo)man’. I’ll get a tune stuck in my head – like a commercial jingle (the ‘five dollar foot long from Subway’ or Popeye’s ‘Chicken & Biscuits’) or get stuck on an endless reel of a mantra like ‘all democrats are bad’ or ‘big government sucks’ or ‘no more new taxes’. I’ll sing inane tunes from my children’s favorite shows under my breath all day long and won’t even notice until my husband will hear me and cry ‘Simple Minded!”
He’s right, of course. So since I do not have an original thought in my head, I like to pepper my speech or writing with an occasional movie quote that fits the situation. I contend that movie quoting is an art –the good ones make it look easy. You can sniff out the bad ones pretty easily. You know the kind – the ones that drop some completely random line that doesn’t fit the occasion at all and then they laugh to themselves at the cleverness of their own private jokes. These people are just one step away from therapy.
But the ones that can pull it off, now that is something to admire. My twin sister, Denise, is a darn fine quoter – she does it without drawing attention to the fact that she’s doing it. That’s what makes it funnier. I aspire to her level of relaxed and confident quoting. My brother-in-law, Paul, is probably one of the best quoters I’ve encountered. He doesn’t do it often but when he does, he is dead on. He is quite a storyteller – he can spin a yarn that holds your attention, even if it is about a subject that is completely mundane. He is also a fisher, hunter and an ex-military man so there is no end to the stories he can regale us with. My all time favorite of Paul’s was when they had their infant daughter – I don’t even remember which one – Lauren or Isabel, in an infant car carrier that Denise had placed down on the floor in a room during a family gathering. Paul looked over at her and said "Nobody puts Baby in a corner!"
Here are some of my favorite and oft used sayings. I have on a few occasions taken credit for some only to be watching the movie with my husband who hears the line and catches my theft ‘oh – so that’s where that line comes from!” I am unabashed in my use of these great sayings.
“Amen, let’s go”! Do you know how hard it is to corral a family of four adventurous kids and one chatty husband? Sometimes it takes an act of God to move this crowd. It took 45 minutes to leave our church’s Fall Festival last weekend. They kept wandering off – the expression ‘herding cats’ comes to mind. When we were finally all buckled into the van, I could finally make this exclamation, made famous by Chevy Chase – aka Clark W. Griswald in Vacation.
“That’s our son – we’re so proud of him!” We use this when Travis does something embarrassing like throwing up his pancakes onto his plate at IHOP or when he is sporting his Sock Monkey look with red chapped lips that he cannot, will not stop licking under any threat whatsoever. (Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias).
“We’re not twins.” I get to use this one with my sister on occasion – we get a kick out of remembering the scene in Splash as quack scientist Eugene Levy greets Tom Hanks on the beach as he is performing an experiment with his imbecile assistants. Levy’s line that precedes this is ‘”It’s just me and the moron twins!”
“I suppose I belong here … in this hovel” is what I use when my house is a disaster and I don’t know where to begin to clean. (Goldie Hawn in Overboard). “Home crap home” is another favorite from one of my favorite movies that few have seen (Tom Hanks in The Money Pit).
“You are not a loser!” “Who said anything about loser?” I love using this one whenever I need to make my husband feel better about some situation at work. It can usually muster at least a smile. Better than my own original – “Oh honey, it will all be better tomorrow” (Kelly Preston and Tom Cruise in Jerry Maquire).
“You have chosen poorly” or “You have chosen wisely” is used when comparing menu selections when my husband and I dine out (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). When we were in Paris a number of years ago, Tom ordered what he thought was something 'beef bourguignon.' It was actually kidneys, according to our French/English dictionary. He had chosen poorly.
“Look harder Homer!” the line is actually “Think Harder Homer” as master-quoter Paul correctly pointed out but it works much better for me when I have to tell my kids or husband for the zillionth time where they have put something or where to find something (Bart Simpson of the Simpsons show).
“It’s just a joke Sponge Bob! Nobody has a spatula for a hand!” This one is harder to work into conversation but is appropriate for use when you are trying to tell a joke or make light of a situation that is not funny to the other person (Squidward in the Night Shift episode).
My kids quote now – even Sabrina (obviously a reflection on their mother letting them watch way too much television – there goes ‘Mother of the Year’ award). She was in her car seat in our mini van, patiently waiting to be unbuckled after we got everyone out including the cargo – as I was walking toward the house, I hear in a sweet, high pitched cry “Hey! I’m still in the car!” (Grandpa in The Simpsons Movie).
Some people quote great literature or poetry or the Bible. I quote movies but as I said, I am simple minded. Actually, the real question is not about whether or not to quote but whether or not to pun. My husband and his sister, Laura, are the presiding premiers of pun. I challenge anyone to match their wit and originality in the ring. Believe me, you don’t want to be anywhere near these two once they get started on an excruciatingly long volley of pun, especially if you have a sensitivity to this kind of verbal irony. That in my mind is a true art – but since I can barely put a sentence together without ripping someone off, I’ll leave that to the masters.