Movie Quote Thursday – Breaking Form
I’ve been writing “Movie Quote Thursday” pieces for several years now. Admittedly, at times there have been gaps in production – gaps which were usually the result of circumstances related to audience transition – but, the number of MQTs (as I like to call them), have reached well into the hundreds. And in those hundreds, I’ve never broken form (besides being occasionally late) – until now. In each of the previous MQTs, I’ve discussed a topic and then applied various movie quotes in order to drive the theme home, but this time, the topic is one specific movie.
Although I have privately fancied myself a movie connoisseur and critic for most of my life, my love of movies has resulted not in me becoming a reviewer of movies, but rather, in becoming a source of reference of sorts. By having a knack for recalling, and then applying movie quotes to real life issues, I pull from the mental flash cards of the silver screen’s most powerful lines and use them to satisfy my own contextual desires.
When we closely observe the world around us, we build little markers of remembrance, identified through the use of our various senses. Art, food, music, and human interaction are all powerful means by which we can touch these memories and revel in some particular feeling. Perhaps the scent of freshly baked oatmeal cookies reminds you of your grandmother’s embrace, or hearing a distinct melody floods your heart with warm love for your spouse. For me, certain exceptional lines in movies can capture the essence of a thought, or an emotion, or an experience, which can – by virtue of a simple quote from one of the characters on the screen – completely represent the entirety of a feeling as few other things can. Movies – and in particular – just the right line from a movie – are the perfect way to provoke the poignancy, significance and emotional churning brought on by revisiting our deepest and most powerful memories.
The other day, my kids and I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road. I left the theater feeling satisfied and oddly harmonious. One doesn’t often associate harmony with watching a two-hour, post-apocalyptic spectacle, but in this case, I did. Mad Max: Fury Road wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it was very entertaining. More importantly, though, what I saw on the screen didn’t just satisfy my expectations of wanting to see a display of amazing action and intense stunt coordination, which it most certainly did, but what the director accomplished in being able to keep a barely noticeable melancholic pulse throughout the film, was nothing short of brilliant. The movie tapped into my memory banks, and allowed me to relive the essence of the iconic first Mad Max from 35 years previous.
As I walked out of the theater, my feelings of satisfaction came from two immediate thoughts: 1) I watched this rendition with kids who were my age when I saw the original, and 2) like in the first Mad Max, the lead characters’ quiet acting created a magical dichotomy against a backdrop of chaos and frenzy; there was calmness in a storm of desperation. But why did I feel harmonious? At first I didn’t know, but a few days later, my reflections have lead me to the conclusion that the movie reaffirmed a thought – the same one I had 35 years earlier – that hope can still emanate from a world that is headed to an irreversible oblivion. In life we can often lose hope when thinking about such endings, and yet, dystopian movies often allow hope to faintly loom behind the scenes. Hope emerged again so many years later in Mad Max’s world, so why shouldn’t it in ours? Harmony? In that context, absolutely.
A few Mad Max quotes are in order:
“Oh what a day, what a lovely day!” – Nicholas Hoult in Mad Max: Fury Road
“I am the road warrior.” – Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road
“The chain in those handcuffs is high-tension steel. It’d take you ten minutes to hack through it with this. Now, if you’re lucky, you could hack through your ankle in five minutes. Go.” – Mel Gibson in Mad Max
“At least that way we’ll be able to…together…come across some kind of redemption.” – Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road