Because I write the Movie Quote Thursday blog, I am often – and easily – coaxed into conversations discussing the topic of the most quotable movies ever. Everybody has their favorites, of course, and the movies that are so labeled span the horizon from the familiar to the obscure. One of the movies that seems to find a place somewhere on many people’s list is Liar Liar, Jim Carrey’s movie about an attorney who is unable to lie for 24 hours due to a birthday wish from his often-forgotten young son. Jim Carrey’s character gets into all kinds of trouble as a result of his inability to lie, and through a series of hilarious events, he learns the hard way how to get through the day while telling the truth. In the end, he becomes a better person through learning how to be honest, even after the spell has worn off. It’s a funny movie with some classic lines, for sure.
The other day, I met with some attorneys who are looking to me to be a witness in an action they are taking against someone. At the end of a long discussion, they felt comfortable that I’ll be able to represent the truth in a credible fashion. But, at the end of our meeting, they asked me a question that both put me in a panic, and instantly reminded me of that particular movie.
“Is there anything in your past that we need to know about that might be harmful to your credibility if uncovered during examination?”
Uh oh. I had to think for a minute before answering. During my moment of contemplation, I thought through my previous transgressions, bad choices, mistakes, embarrassments, and hidden-from-the-public facts. We can often talk our way out of being truthful, or from fully disclosing something, for many reasons. Our intentions when lying can often be innocent: we don’t want to offend someone, we don’t want to create a bigger issue out of something, we are in a hurry, or maybe we just don’t want to deal with facing something that might be difficult if dealt with honestly. Sometimes the truth hurts, causes pain, embarrasses, or is just too hard to handle. If the standard of truth is taken to the extreme, we probably are all guilty of being less than honest at times. I’m sure none of us discloses everything about ourselves to very many people.
So how did I answer them?
“There’s probably plenty of things in my past that I wouldn’t want aired in public,” I answered, “but I can honestly say that nothing comes to mind that if aired in public would question my credibility in this matter.”
Telling the truth is usually very easy to do, and lying is usually not the right thing to do. Therefore, we we can usually sleep very well at night. Being truthful with ourselves, though, I think we’d all be in a lot of trouble if we were under the same spell that Jim Carrey’s character was under in that movie.
The truth is: I offer the following movie quotes on the subject:
Max: “My dad? He’s…a liar.”
Teacher: “A liar? I’m sure you don’t mean a liar.”
Max: “Well, he wears a suit and goes to court and talks to the judge.”
Teacher: “Oh, you mean he’s a lawyer.” – Justin Cooper and Hope Allen in Liar Liar
“You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” – Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men
“The truth is like most opinions – best unexpressed.” – Kenneth Branagh in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
“Don’t believe everything you hear, and only half of what you see.” – Jimmy Stewart in The Greatest Show on Earth