What Movie?

[This post has been modified from its original form: it now includes the answers.]

“And now,” as Monty Python says, “a bit of fun.” Here’s a game Marquee Movies and I used to play in college. (Well, he played it with pretty much everyone — and I suspect most of us have played it before to one degree or another.)

The objective is simple: I throw out movie lines, and you try to identify the films they’re from.

I’ve limited myself to lines I’m pretty certain of. But still, I’m working from memory here, not scripts, so I can’t absolutely guarantee the accuracy, but I think these are correct to about 95% or more — close enough, anyway, to make the game work. My apologies to any screenwriters whose lines I’ve butchered.

Ready? Okay, here we go. . . .

1. You Americans are all the same: always overdressing for the wrong occasions.

Raiders of the Lost Ark. Arnold Todt says the line to Marion inside the tent. I always thought it was an amusing line because Todt himself insists on wearing his stifling long coat in the desert heat.

2. A: This place scares me. B: Really? I find it stimulating.

The Name of the Rose. The first speaker is Adsol, the young novice monk, who is creeped out by the gloomy “remote abbey in the dark north of Italy” where, to quote Brother Hubertino, “the devil is hurling beautiful boys out of windows.” The second speaker is, of course, William of Baskerville.

3. A: How old are you? B: Twelve. More or less.

Let the Right One In. Speaker A is the boy Oskar; Speaker B is Eli, his mysterious new neighbor.

4. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.

A River Runs Through It. From the closing narration, this is one of my all-time favorite final passages in a movie and book (it’s the same in the book).

5. Ice is civilization! — and the same movie: Dead things go downstream.

The Mosquito Coast. The speaker is Alley (sp?) Fox. This is the movie that showed us all that Harrison Ford could play much more than the dashing swashbuckler. I’ll never forget the weekend in college when I finally convinced a girl I was pursuing to go out to a movie with me. She was Japanese, and we saw this film, in which Alley Fox repeatedly expresses extreme dislike for Japanese and Japanese products! (The girl sort of smiled vaguely, and I was wishing I could melt into the seat cushions.)

6. A: Something’s going to happen. B: What? What’s going to happen? A: Something wonderful.

2010: Odyssey Two. Remember when 2010 was WAY off in the future, a science-fictional date? For that matter, remember Space 1999, which was also set way in the future, when we were sure we’d be hopping shuttles to the moon and to neighboring planets all the time? Anyway, Speaker A is the entity that was David Bowman, and Speaker B is Dr. Heywood Floyd, played by the wonderful Roy Scheider.

7. [Character speaks in a muffled voice, face mashed against a wall.] Put . . . the candle . . . back!

Young Frankenstein. The speaker is Dr. Frankenstein, the descendent of the first Dr. Frankenstein, back when the family was pronouncing the name differently.

8. They’re all so beautiful. . . . I should have three heads!

Amadeus. The speaker is Mozart, trying on wigs.

9. It’s too early in the day for killing princes.

Troy. The line is delivered by Achilles, when he encounters Hector in the Temple of Apollo on the coast of Troy.

10. I never drink . . . wine.

Dracula. I’ve heard the anecdote that Bela Lugosi did not speak English when this film was made. He would repeat the lines phonetically that the script people told him to say. So he was saying lines he didn’t really understand, which works perfectly for making his character seem unearthly.

11. A: Son, someday all this will be yours! B: The curtains?

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The speakers are a king and a prince.

12. Ze Arctic? Ze ArcTEEC? [Character name], zat’s ridiculous! Eet can’t be done! Zat’s impossible! We would need food, supplies, fuel for ze motairs. . . .

The Island at the Top of the World. The speaker is Captain B. (I have no idea of how to spell his name. It’s pronounced Brey-YOU.) He’s ready to launch his airship Hyperion on its brief maiden voyage with pomp and ceremony, but the ship’s new owner, Sir Anthony Ross, announces that he wants to depart with the Hyperion immediately to the distant and perilous Arctic to search for his lost son. This was the movie that had us building dirigibles out of balloons and tiny cardboard boxes (and lots of string). And Chris and I would write stories / make dramatic audio tapes in which the adventure began with taking a dirigible into some remote wilderness. And you know what’s in the wilderness: Lost Civilizations and Dinosaurs.

13. You know, I think there’s a secret to this island. And whether we go or stay, live or die, may depend upon that secret.

I’ll turn the microphone over to Mr. Brown Snowflake, who will tell us that the answer is The Land that Time Forgot. The speaker is the captain of the U-33, Baron Manfred Friedrich von Schoenvorts. Someone should have warned the U-boat’s crew that the wilderness is full of Lost Civilizations and Dinosaurs.

14. [Character speaking disdainfully of Americans]: They can even vulgarize ice cream.

Tea with Mussolini. I don’t remember the character’s name, but she’s a well-bred Englishwoman, gazing across the patio to another table, where a server has just delivered the sort of gaudy, excessive monstrosity that Americans think makes a good sundae.

15. “Beware the beast Man, for he is the devil’s pawn. Alone among God’s primates, he kills for sport, or for lust, or for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother’s land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him out; for he is the harbinger of death.”

Help me out again, Mr. Snowflake! Is this The Planet of the Apes or Beneath the Planet of the Apes? It’s one of the two. It’s a passage from the Sacred Scrolls of the Apes.

16. Don’t go! I’ll eat you up, I love you so!

Where the Wild Things Are. The speaker is . . . the Wild Thing that goes by initials — C.W.? I’m not sure of the initials.

17. A: [Character name], what on Earth are you doing? B: [Character name], I’m tryin’ to drive you to the stoh.

Driving Miss Daisy. Speaker A is the eponymous Miss Daisy; B is Hoke, her new driver, hired by her son against her wishes.

18. [Character surrending the bullets from his gun to be hidden]: Don’t put ’em in the peaches.

Witness. Another Harrison Ford line here. His character, John Book, is hiding out and recuperating in an Amish community, where firearms are not acceptable. The last time Rachel hid his bullets for him, it was in a not-quite-empty can of flour.

19. A: [Character name], do you know what a blood oath is? B: Yes. A: Good, because you just took one.

The Untouchables. The first speaker is Malone, the second is Eliot Ness.

20. A [proposing to climb a makeshift rope]: I’m the lightest. B: But I’m the most foolhardy. [Same movie]: Go now. Go now. Go north.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. I saw this film at least twice in the theater when I was a kid. The characters are trapped inside the Well of the Oracle, which has become a near-inescapable oubliette. Haroun wants to climb the makeshift rope made of the crew’s sashes; Captain Sinbad insists on taking the risk himself.

21. He lost his sight in the Big War. I believe it was the Battle of the Somme. He doesn’t much like to talk about it. Do you, [character name]?

Places in the Heart. The speaker is the banker. He’s talking about his brother, Mr. Will, played by John Malkovitch. This is on my short list of truly great movies.

22. Back East, someone’s wonderin’ “Now why don’t he write?”

Dances with Wolves. The speaker is the crude Timmons, as he and Lt. Dunbar gaze at a skeleton found among the prairie grass.

23. “Through dangers untold and perils unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City, to take back the child you have stolen.”

Labyrinth. The speaker is Sarah, the film’s main character, who has to get all the way through the Labyrinth and brave its dangers to rescue her baby brother Toby from the Goblin King. (I know someone will remind us that technically it’s more of a maze than a labyrinth, but Labyrinth makes a better title, okay?)

And finally, this is one I’m paraphrasing. I may be off on the wording or order, but the concept overshadows the wording, so I think it’s still fair:

24. It doesn’t ruin it. It completes it. The pain then is part of the joy now. And the joy now is part of the pain then.

Shadowlands. I’d long been curious about this movie, but I may never have seen it if Jedibabe hadn’t made it possible. I’m grateful! — it’s a very good one. The speaker is C.S. Lewis’s wife. She says this on an idyllic day they’re spending together in the countryside, where they’ve tracked down a beautiful valley in a picture that hangs on Lewis’s wall, a magical place that really does exist on Earth. She reminds Lewis that she’s going to die of her terminal cancer. He tells her not to spoil the perfect day with such talk. That’s when she says this line.

It seems to me that human life is like a musical chord. It’s made up of notes from the past and the present. (And the future, too, for that matter, although we can’t fully hear those notes yet — but we know they’re there, filling out the chord.) The point is that who we are now is also made up of all these notes from the past. At the height of their happiness, Lewis and his wife know that she will die, and he’ll be alone again. But his extreme sorrow then is an affirmation of the happiness they have together; and that happiness will help him then, in his grief. It’s all part of the chord.

At times when I’m not too self-absorbed, I’m able to draw some comfort and strength from those parts of the chord that are there in the future, unheard as yet; and always I can draw it from the resounding notes of the past, which are a part of me.

There you have it: an even two dozen. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little romp. How did you do?



62 Responses to “What Movie?”

  1. Marquee Movies Says:

    What’s everyone looking at me for? Oh, oh, the name….yeah, well, hate to burst your bubble – if you even HAVE a bubble dedicated to me – but I know only about a third of these. About a third I definitely know, about a third I recognize, but can’t place for the life of me, and it’s really, REALLY irritating, and about a third I have no idea. Here’s an interesting little puzzle – (Fred, I am NOT trying to upstage your very cool and challenging post – I just think this is an interesting thing, so….) Earlier this week, I did a film presentation on a theme I was asked to do. (Sometimes libraries or senior centers or schools ask me to do themes, like Transportation in the movies, or Weather, or Baseball, or Elvis, etc.) The films I gathered for this theme and actually showed scenes from are: The Spy Who Loved Me – Heidi – LOTR: The Return of the King – Mission Impossible 2 – The Inn of the Sixth Happiness – Seven Chances (a Buster Keaton film) – The Sound of Music – and North by Northwest. Would anyone like to guess what the unifying theme was for this presentation? I’ll post it in a few days, if no one guesses.
    And here’s a favorite – one of hundreds – quote of mine – it’s from “Hear My Song,” a movie that STILL isn’t out on DVD –
    “Gosh, you’re a terrible driver.”
    “You should see me when I’m by myself.”
    “I’d hate to be with you when you’re by yourself.”

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      Ooh! Ooh! — Mountains? My guess is Mountains!
      (Seriously — very cool presentation idea!)

      • Marquee Movies Says:

        Wow, good guess! You’re really, REALLY good at figuring these things out! And I’m not just saying that! (This almost sounds like the time difference joke that Richard always likes to use when writing you – the time difference is so great that my answer was posted before the question itself was, so you, by virtue of being in Japan, always have an advantage….)
        From Bull Durham:
        “The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.”

  2. Scott Says:

    FYI for those of you who went to Taylorville High School.

    Mrs McVey died. The obituary is at BreezeCourier.com (if you have an account with them) or at TaylorvilleDailyNews.com.

    • I know some of these Says:

      Thanks, Scott, for lettings us old Tornadoes know. It is a sadness that we are now so old that our former teachers would now almost all be considered senior citizens or elderly.

      As for Fred’s movies, I am in Marquee’s boat — a third I know, a third I can guess and a third I am lost at. Several of these are no surprise, as I know from past discussions some of the movies Fred loves. No. 18 is, if I recall, a particular favorite of his (and mine).

      “How about this: ‘Peace, Love, Dope!’ Now get the hell outta here!”

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      Thank you, Scott. Mrs. McVey was one of the best. I remember that many of her former students felt her senior English class was much higher-level than some of their English courses in college. She prepared us for everything. Remember struggling to do all those footnotes in the age before computers would do any of the formatting for us?

      And Mr. Snowflake: Yep, I know that quote!

  3. Shieldmaiden Says:

    I can’t wait to see this list so I can load my queue! I definitely need to watch more movies. I know one out of 24.

    “It doesn’t spoil it, it makes it real. The pain then is part of the happiness now… that’s the deal.”

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      Thanks for the correction on the quote, Shieldmaiden! It was our friend Jedibabe who introduced me to that movie. 🙂

  4. Marquee Movies Says:

    These are all good guesses, but no, the answer is “Mountains” – I was asked to do a presentation on Mountains in the Movies, and that’s why I lined up that odd selection of movies. I’m very blessed to have this for a job.
    Another favorite quote – from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles –
    “He says we’re going the wrong way.”
    “Oh, he’s drunk. How would he know where we’re going?”

    • I know some of these Says:

      Good one, Marquee, but here is my fave from P-T-A:

      “Where is your hand?”
      “Right here.”
      “Where is your other hand?”
      “Between two pillows.”
      “Those aren’t pillows!”
      (Hey, how ’bout them Bears, huh?)

  5. Marquee Movies Says:

    I saw Saturday Night Fever at the movie theatre last night – a very dark and powerful film (and sometimes funny), it of course features some of the most iconic dance scenes in film history. It’s a fascinating window into a time period from 30 years ago. Anyway – two great lines –
    “Would ya just watch the hair? You know, I work on my hair a long time, and you hit it. He hits my hair.”

    And – after dancing together for the first time –
    Stephanie: “Nice move. Did you make that up?”
    Tony: “Yeah, well, I saw it on TV first, then I made it up.”

    One more – after Tony gets a four dollar raise, his dad scoffs:
    “Four dollars? You know what four dollars buys today? It don’t even buy three dollars!”

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      Very interesting! I really like those quotes. The last one reminds me of when my grandma looked at the calendar one time and exclaimed: “Oh, look! The Fourth of July is on the fifth this year!” (To this day, none of us know what she meant.)

      Movies I’ve seen recently: Gran Torino, Invictus, Where the Wild Things Are, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and The Fourth Kind. There’s probably no way to discuss them without giving spoilers. . . .

  6. fsdthreshold Says:

    Oh! I also saw and really admired The Lovely Bones.

  7. I know some of these Says:

    Gran Torino is a great flick, and the best line from SNF (also a great movie) is one that, given the language limitations here, I cannot reproduce.

    For those who know and love the film, it is Tony’s line when Double-J slams the car door on him …

    I happened across an old favorite of mine the other day, The Blue Max. I consider it (even though it was shot, I think, in 1968) to still have, to this day, the best WWI aerial combat scenes on film.

  8. Marquee Movies Says:

    Hey, Mr. Snowflake – you’re right, there are MANY great lines from Saturday Night Fever that can’t be reproduced here! And I confess, I’ve heard of The Blue Max, but know almost nothing about it. I’ll keep an eye out for it.
    I wanted to post this thought – I was on Facebook bragging (I MEAN, talking) about seeing SNF on the big screen, and a friend from the Fred Poets Society said that years ago, there was a theatre in his town that would show older movies in the summertime. This sounds so cool (and far too rare), and I began a mental list of all the movies that I never saw on the big screen that I’d love to see. What I posted on Facebook was, Beauty and the Beast (still mad I didn’t see this on the big screen), The Blues Brothers, Runaway Train (a thrilling Andrei Konchalovsky film that has one of the greatest endings in film history), Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror (but only if there’s a good and loud audience for screaming), and Meet Me In St. Louis. I’m sure there’s more, but – what movies would you guys love to see for your first time on the big screen? Oh, I’d love to see the director’s cut of LOTR, simply because I’ve only seen the shorter versions. Not all at once, though – I’m not in college anymore.

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      Good question, Marquee Movies! For me, the answer would be, without a doubt, Lawrence of Arabia. Imagine seeing that in the theater! (I heard that when it was in theaters, concessions of soft drinks skyrocketed! Audiences felt parched with all those sweeping vistas of sand and blazing sun.)

      Another answer would be The Ten Commandments.

      Mr. Snowflake, I remember The Blue Max! I remember seeing it at my grandma’s house when I was pretty little.

  9. Chris Says:

    “Meet Me in St. Louis”? Take it from a man who has had to endure that movie more times than any living soul should have to (albeit on small screen): it is hard to imagine a “bigger screen” experience could make it better.

    My wife loves that movie. Sadly I dislike most musicals…except insofar as I am able to “fix” the lyrics. Which I then proceed to sing around the house for the next week in a calculated effort to make my wife think twice about letting me in the room when she wants to watch another musical.

    But one good part about “Meet Me in St. Louis” is Margarte O’Brien’s character. The most wonderfully dark and twisted little creature to be slipped subversively into a movie!

    “It’ll take me at least a week to dig up all my dolls in the cemetery.”

  10. I know some of these Says:

    I saw “Jaws” at the drive in (with an old North School pal who now runs a KFC) and would love to see it, in THX SurroundSound, on a 70ft screen.

    Amen on the directo’rs cut for LOTR. DVD works fine, but in the theater? Wow.

    Ditto (or should I shout ‘Amen!’) to “The Ten Commandents” on the big screen. Same for “Ben-Hur” but what I would really like is to see (for no other reason than it being my all-time favorite) is “The Great Escape.”

  11. Chris Says:

    I assume many on here have now seen “Up in the Air”. A great film! Some excellent lines in it:

    Ryan Bingham: [on getting through airport security] Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left. Bingo, Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip on shoes. Gotta love ’em.

    (This whole exchange was pretty hilarious, albeit somewhat politically uncorrect. The line about the fellow of middle eastern descent spoken just before this quoted line was pretty funny.)

    Overall excellent film! (Although they could have carried on particular plot point to its logical conclusion there by sewing up some of the built-in symbolism. If only Ryan’s job had been more directly threatened as he went around laying people off. No one accuses me of liking happy endings and event his movie’s ending was almost “too happy” 🙂 )

  12. Marquee Movies Says:

    Chris, I know this is a little late, but I wanted to respond to your interesting comment about Margaret O’Brien’s character in Meet Me in St. Louis. (By the way, kudos to your wife for loving this film!) Tootie is in NO way “slipped subversively” into this film – the brilliant filmmakers knew exactly what they were doing. Her character has been described as one of the first “real” children in film history, and her fascination with dead dolls and her joy in going around her favorite city with the ice man (not a very girlish thing to do, by old-fashioned Hollywood standards) still rings very true today, because of the brilliant writing of Sally Benson (who really did have a younger sister like that), and the brilliant directing by Vincente Minnelli, who was a genius, and the brilliant performance by Margaret O’Brien. (At this age, she was already a legend in Hollywood for her amazing performances. Around the time she made this film, she made another where she had to cry in a scene. The story goes that before filming it, she went up to the director and said, “Now, in this scene where I cry, do you want the tears to come all the way down, or do you want them to stop halfway?”) Notice the charming scene when Tootie sings that song about being drunk(!), and then insists on singing with big sister Judy Garland. Everyone went to great pains to make that scene FEEL real – they try on different hats, they argue about which side of the curtain they should start on – it’s a brilliantly TOLD story. The Halloween sequence is magnificent as well – the descriptions of how Mr. Braukoff has poisoned cats, beat his wife with a red hot poker – and now Tootie has to visit the Braukoff house all alone – a fascinating and fun and REAL look at children, who aren’t all perfect little angels, who are living lives much like we do. That’s exactly what they were aiming for, and one of the many reasons why the film is a masterpiece.

    • Shieldmaiden Says:

      Chris and Marquee: Meet Me in Saint Louis is a family favorite over here too, and Tootie is probably the best part of an already great movie. I don’t love many musicals but that one is just different. Our family also has a favorite quote from the movie that we say as often as possible. Marjorie Main (Katie) in response to “but it’s just a little white lie.” Says: “A lie’s a lie, and dressin it in white don’t help it any.” She is another wonderful part of the magic of this cast and certainly has her fair share of twisted:

      Agnes bursting into the kitchen asks Katie where her cat is. No-nonsense Katie says, “I don’t know, she got in my way and I kicked her down the cellar steps… I could hear her spine hitting on every step.” Agnes then goes on to say, “If you’ve killed her I’ll stab you to death in your sleep! Then I’ll tie your body to two wild horses ’til you’re pulled apart.” Katie: “Oh won’t that be terrible”

      Of course then the cat shows up and everything is fine… Katie must not be an atheist 🙂
      And Marquee: It seems that you are winner of the coolest new icon ever!

    • Chris Says:

      I generally find musicals hard to deal with and some of the treacly stuff in MMiStL kinda pains me, but I agree it has some of the better stuff found in musicals in general. Although I refuse summarily to let my wife know this. I will continue to “fix” the lyrics of “Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis” until the day I die and “Have yourself a fairly hairy Christmas” is still going to be the preferred construction of that song.

      But granted it is much easier “pickin’s” for musicals like “White Christmas” (“The Best Things, Happen While You’re Dancing” is alarmingly easy to turn into a really, dirty dirty song.) and any chance I have to denigrate Danny Kaye I take it with a vengeance!

      As for MMiStL goes I must admit a fondness for the locale. I recall spending many happy Sunday mornings in the Central West End having breakfast with the StL Post Dispatch.

      Hey, since William Burroughs was initially reared in the CWE (what I assume must be near the supposed setting of MMiStL) why doesn’t someone try making a “Meet Me In St. Louis for Naked Lunch” musical?

      Sounds like Hollywood GOOOOOOLD!

      • Shieldmaiden Says:

        I guess the key then is to balance treacly with macabre.

        Tootie: “Poor Margaretta, she’s so pale, I expect she won’t live through the night, she has four fatal diseases.”
        Iceman: “Yeah… and it only takes one.”
        Tootie: “She’s going to have a beautiful funeral, in a cigar box wrapped in silver paper.”
        Iceman: “That’s the way to go, if you have to go.”
        Tootie: “Oh, she has to go!”

        OK, two more from my favorite twisted little girl:
        “And I’m taking all my dolls, even the dead ones. I’m taking everything.”
        “Nobody’s going to have my snowpeople, I’d rather kill them if we can’t take them with us!”

        [No more quotes and I mean it — any body want a peanut]

  13. I know some of these Says:

    HELLO? PEOPLE? It has been a full week … where the heck is everyone?

    • Scott Says:

      Duh. The Winter Olympics are on! Don’t you pay attention to sports?

      You’ll remember this movie quote. “C’mon. It’s Czechoslovakia. It’s like Wisconsin. We pop in, we pop out. No problem!”

      And from the movie that is so bad that it’s good, “Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”

    • Daylily Says:

      I am waiting for the next post. I don’t watch many movies, so I have little to say on this post. Except this: I saw “Lawrence of Arabia” on the big screen as a young and impressionable person and I had nightmares afterwards! The quicksand scene was especially horrifying. I was so glad to learn (eventually) that quicksand is much less dangerous than the movies make it out to be. You would not sink completely out of sight in quicksand. You would sink about waistdeep. By remaining calm, you can float to safety. The technique is to introduce more water into the mix by your legs, allowing the mix to loosen up. The advice is to lie on your back and gently move your legs in a circular motion. Be patient and move slowly, and your legs will pop free. I intend to remember this the next time I am caught in quicksand! 🙂

  14. I know some of these Says:

    Fred has always had this fixation with English movies/actors. Whether it be Larry of the Desert or Masada, if it has Peter O’Toole, Larry Oliver or any number of Shakespeare theatre actors turned movie stars, he loved it (the slams intentionally placed, of course, to fire up our host hahaha).

    Scott — as sports is my life I was more than aware of the Olympiad. If you like, you can email me and I will shoot you off my latest column on the Vancouver Games…

    And Chris! Where have you been, my atheist friend? You need to drop in here and get everyone riled up again …

  15. jhagman Says:

    And I thought Chris was a Scientologist!

    • Chris Says:

      OUCH! Scientologist? Really? Yikes! I have somehow sorely mislead you, jhagman!

      I have preciouls little love lost for any of the standard religions but the more fake they seem the less I like them!

      I do have an hypothesis about religious “evolution” if you like, but since I don’t know who on earth I’d offend here I will keep it to myself.

      I thought I was being clearly atheist, and not just a random nut (there is a difference ya know!)

      (I of course assume, since you capitalized “Scientologist” that you are talking about L. Ron Hubbard stuff and not the Allen Upward neologism from 1901 which supposedly defines “scientologist” as “as a disparaging term, to indicate a blind, unthinking acceptance of scientific doctrine”. I hope I’m not that either! Considering how much thinking I do about science!)

      Either way I must strenuously disagree with your assumption! 🙂

  16. I know some of these Says:

    You know, jhag, maybe he is… Chris, some clarification is in order. Do you hate God, the idea of God, or think L. Ron Hubbard was the closest thing to a god?

    And Daylilly: Thanks for the important safety tip. But what happens if, while out strolling the breathtaking blandness that is not-quite-so-picturesque Central Iowa, I should fall into a quicksand pit while wearing on my back an unliscensed nuclear accelerator?

    • Daylily Says:

      It is not necessary to throw yourself on your back, in this case! Please don’t do it! Instead, gently move your legs so as to introduce more water into the quicksand around your legs. As the suction lessens, try swimming in a _forward_ direction. Eventually you will make it to freedom, and possibly without blowing a hole in Iowa and scattering your atoms across the landscape in the process. 🙂

    • Scott Says:

      It’s okay to swim out of quicksand with an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on your back. Just don’t cross the streams.

      I think Chris is an atheist. He is far too intelligent (and sane) to be a Scientologist.

    • Chris Says:

      Deargodinheaven! I’m not a scientologist. Why anyone would get that absurd notion is beyond me.

      I have precious little patience for standard-issue regular religions, even less so for synthetic sci-fi stuff.

      (So far my comments have not been posting, so I hope this posts and clarifies).

    • Chris Says:

      I must address this question directly:

      1. I do not “hate God” if I don’t believe he exists. As an atheist I hope my philosophy is on a firmer philosophical ground than that. (More on this topic below)

      2. I have no love whatsoever for L. Ron Hubbard or his made-up religion. I find Scientology to be relatively vile as religions go. Not because I know much of anything about their “tenents” but because I find their motives somewhat dodgy and any time I see what appears to be a “made up religion” I don’t have much love for that kind of activity.

      Now I must make the caveat that I feel _all_ religions are made up and for what I can only assume are usually “good” motives. Who knows? Maybe L. Ron felt he was revealing a “truth” of some sort. The current Church of Scientology seems pretty brutal in enforcing their orthodoxy.

      But then again the history of _many_ standard religions have instances of much worse examples of how their orthodoxies were enforced.

      Please be aware that I respect all of your religious standings. I would never want to convince someone to give up their religion. I hope that I have spent sufficient time to understand the religions you hold dear. I have spent years trying to understand religion both as a believer and now as a non-believer.

      My position is hopefully one that I have arrived at through some serious effort on my part. Maybe not the spiritual path you would have taken, but it is mine.

      Sure I’m prone to emotion in this debate as well. There were times when I did “hate God” for what I perceived were completely irrational things that were happening. The “dark nights of the soul” when God wasn’t answering the phone are just as common for me as they are for anyone. At the nadir of my life so far He didn’t even really bother returning the call.

      But it was precisely because I realized I was “hating” God that it started to make no sense to me. Why would any conception of God be deserving of “hate” or “anger”? It seemed more likely what I was really “hating” was just the way things wound up. No overall “plan” that I was fighting. I was hating the times I wound up in the tails of the distribution.

      In “hating God” it became reasonable to assume that I was making a serious error in logic. Which is more likely: that the all-loving God of Judeo-Christianity was kicking me in the gonads personally? Or that He simply didn’t exist and that I had to try to figure out why stuff had happened?

      I “solved” the “Problem of Evil” to my satisfaction in realizing there was nothing for me to “solve”.

      Again it isn’t a solution for everyone, nor should it be. It was the path I found that worked for me as well as anything can work I suppose.

      Hope this clarifies some stuff!

      • Chris Says:

        One more caveat: I have to admit I am pretty much clueless on any real details about Scientology, so if I speak brusquely and it offends anyone I apologize. If there is anyone on here who feels drawn to Scientology don’t take my critique as anything well worked out. It just seems fake and made up to me. That is only my uninformed opinion.

  17. I know some of these Says:

    Scott — That was my take, too. I think atheist are closet self-haters, but they believe what they believe. Scientologists don’t want you to ‘really’ know what they are all about …


    The people responsible for the people responsible for sacking those people responsible for the credits wish to announce that they have, themselves, been sacked

  18. Chris Says:

    I hope this post gets posted since my previous ones have mysteriously been disappearing into the aether:

    In answer to the questions about my being an atheist or a Scientologist I want to clearly state that I am _NOT_ a Scientologist. I have precious little patience with standard relgions let alone sci-fi creations like Scientology.

    If, however one measn “scientology” not in the L. Ron Hubber made-up religion sense but in the earlier circa 1901 sense that some suggested “as a disparaging term, to indicate a blind, unthinking acceptance of scientific doctrine”, well I am equally hoping I am not that either!

  19. I know some of these Says:

    Chris — I KNEW you would get on here and get us all going again! Welcome back.

    As I know you know, I was not ripping you as an atheist (other than writing ‘hate God’ just to create a topic for argument). I am fulling convinced you have arrived at your desination after much anguish and thought — exactly as I have in my own journey.

    As this blogs militant Catholic, I believe Truth is not subjective; that Truth is a person. However, I do not believe in forcing conversion … the Church sinned in doing so every time she tried. (What good is a forced conversion anyway?)

    I may disagree with your opinion and wish you would change it, but I am not going to try and brow-beat you into it (which would fail anyway).

    Some people like Coke; some Pepsi. But both like cola … there is always room for agreement!

  20. fsdthreshold Says:

    Everyone: a new post is coming soon. We all have biorhythms, it seems. There are times when I simply can’t force myself to write a post, and other times it comes fairly easily.

    I hope all comments have been moderated and are up and visible now: Chris is most definitely NOT a scientologist in any sense of the word.

  21. jhagman Says:

    It was a JOKE! Come on people! Science “Scientia”- Lat; to know, ology, gr; to study, and I assumed that “Chris” was a chemist, maybe of the UCSD variety. So by the non-Hollywood definiton, we are all “Scientologists”!

    • Scott Says:

      No. Nice try. But no.

    • Chris Says:

      I sort of thought that was what you might be leaning toward. So my apologies for jumping on it.

      I hope you will understand that as an atheist I am often faced with people who are alarmingly ill-informed on what an atheist is.

      Many people simply assume as an atheist I am capable of all manner of strange behavior (ironically) from the occasional eating of kittens (yum) to the ability to run a communist dictatorship.

      We are one of the least trusted minorities in the US according to a recent poll.

      (Also: I am not associated with UCSD except through marriage. I would love to be associated with UCSD but that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon…I mean all this kitten blood on my shirt tends to scuttle any interviews I have with them.)

  22. I know some of these Says:

    You see, dear Fred, this is what happens when the blog is left to rest … the stirrers-(is that a word)-up-of-things people take over and you never know where it will go.

    I confess to trying to fire everyone up. Chris is better at it, and jhagman and Marquee Movies have had their moments.

    We eagerly await a new post …

    (p.s. — Fred, remember when we buried Chris under a cairn behind the dam at the pond and were attacked by the Baba Yaga trees?)

    • Chris Says:

      What fun is a “comments” section unless people can get “stirred up”?

      I say we brutally dethrone Fred in a vicious, bloody coup d’etat here and take it over to start a dark blog of conflict.

      Oh, the delicious irony! Since I’m the local atheist I’ll be glad to do whatever brutal things are necessary.

      First thing: an alter to Xenu. Oops…sorry, that slipped out.

  23. jhagman Says:

    I base trust on actions, not on what church a person might happen to attend. Heck, I might not be writing to people at all, but to an interactive software program that Durbin Sensei designed, and the JOKE is on me! In case this is real, and not a Matrix, I enjoy this blog.

  24. I know some of these Says:

    Chris — great idea on the coup d’etat! Can we have an Inquisition, too? Maybe one to discover why no new posts have been forthcoming from our host. And then we can eat his other cat, although I agree that kitten is more tender.

    The blog is most fun when we are bickering, not when ‘we all just get along.’

    With your atheist angle and my vicious counter-reformation disposition we could really irritate the constipated …

    • Scott Says:

      “Do you expect me to die Blogfeld?”

      “Why no Mr. Durbin. I expect you to post. BWAAHAAHAAHAA!”

      Is there a Buffy-fest on Japanese TV? Can anyone check on that? He’s like a literary pusher. He gives us just enough to want more and then withholds it from us.

  25. Zoë Says:

    I think I know 3, 16, 11, and 23…
    I just finished reading Dragonfly, and I really liked it!! It sort of reminded me of a Hayao Myazaki movie-the imagery was so amazing I could picture it as an animation. I love the story, and the characters! Dragonfly and Sylva were my favorite characters, I think. I also really liked Ganymede (sorry if I can’t remember exactly how her name was spelled) and the clay children. I loved the names of the Untowards, especially Few and Far Between (and the name Untoward itself). The name Eagerly Meagerly made me laugh, somehow especially in contrast to the character…the whole book was like a work of art. You don’t have to answer this if you’re too busy, but how did the idea come to you? Did you just start writing?
    Anyway, sorry for the lengthy fan-letterish comment. You don’t have to reply if you’re busy, I understand. I just wanted you to know how much I liked reading Dragonfly, and I’ll probably read more of your books soon, if you’ve written any more!!

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      Hi, Zoe!
      (Sorry, I don’t know how to make the two little dots appear over the “e”!) Thank you very much for your message! It’s a real delight and an honor when someone reads Dragonfly! I’m really happy that you enjoyed it! (Can you tell me how you happened to discover the book? Did you see it on a bookstore shelf, did someone give it to you, or what?)

      3, 11, 16, and 23 — those are all very cool movies! You definitely belong on this blog!

      Thank you so much for your kind words about the book! I loved hearing what your favorite parts and characters were! I particularly love the Untowards, too, and among them, I’d say Few and Far Between are my favorite pair. That’s why I let Mothkin and Singer ride them!

      As to the idea. . . . I remember that the names Dragonfly and Mothkin came to me first, before anything else. Then I think I had a kind of vision — like a daydream — of a cutaway picture of a world of cellars beneath our own: stairways and levels going down and down in the dark. I wanted to tell a story about that place. And then, I’ve always loved Hallowe’en, and I wanted to write a story that would be “THE” Hallowe’en book, just as A Christmas Carol is “THE” Christmas book. When Charles Dickens died, a small boy reportedly asked, “What? Mr. Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas be dying, too?” It was my ambition to write a book that would be to Hallowe’en what Dickens’ is to Christmas. I know those are tremendous shoes to fill, but writers can’t worry too much about what’s possible or what’s likely.

      But yes, beyond what I’ve already told you, I just started writing. I discovered the story as I went along.

      As for more of my books: thank you! — but Dragonfly is the only book so far. The next one, The Star Shard, is due out in Fall 2011 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I have a number of published short stories — you can see the full bibliography on my Web site: http://www.fredericsdurbin.com

      Thank you again for your wonderful note! Please stop in often here!

      • Zoë Says:

        I found Dragonfly while I was in Philadelphia with my mom. We don’t have any family there-we went mostly because of the two really wonderful art colleges I wanted to visit!! Anyway, we stayed with this lady we didn’t know-she was part of a program where people rent out their spare bedrooms. It seems sort of sketchy, but she was actually quite nice, and she didn’t murder us or anything. Dragonfly was on the table in the spare bedroom. My mom and I fell asleep reading it to each other. When we left, we had to leave it behind, obviously, but my mom found another copy somewhere and gave it to me for Christmas.

        The names of the characters were one thing among many that I really loved about Dragonfly! Dragonfly, Mothkin, Eagerly Meagerly, Few and Far Between…all of the names are really cool and fit the characters well.
        The setting of Dragonfly-the world underneath the basement-is really creative and unique! I also like the idea for the “moon.” That was sort of what reminded me most of Hayao Myazaki.

      • fsdthreshold Says:

        Thanks, Zoe! What a wonderful story! — finding Dragonfly in a spare bedroom in the house of a stranger!

        In the next few years, please keep watching! In addition to The Star Shard next year, my agent is also even now working on selling my latest book The Sacred Woods, which some of my friends say is as good as Dragonfly, though it’s a different sort of book.

        Anyway, it’s so kind of you to write and let me know how you found this book and that you liked it! I hope you’ll always feel welcome on this blog. And best wishes with art college!

        By the way, coming up soon, I’m going to do a blog post about something very much art-related — stay tuned!

  26. jhagman Says:

    I found my copy of Dragonfly by shelving it at the bookstore where I worked Borders #118, Thousand Oaks, Ca. It was a paperback, this was Oct ’05. I read it, and it struck me as a very grand book. I copied some lines from it into a Halloween card that I sent to a friend who was a manager of a B&N up in Ventura. He sent me back a card with his favorite lines form the book- why werewolves are so threadbare. Dragonfly is the Christmas Carol of Hallowe’en, but it’s beauty is smothered by the hundreds of thousands of mediocre books that surround it! I shelve this dross, I try to tell people about this special gem, now it appears to be out-of-print in mass market- a crime! Not even Dickens had to compete with the gigantic amounts of drivel! And another challenge,,,, how does one surpass such a perfect book?

    • fsdthreshold Says:

      Thank you! I’m really glad to hear that story about you and the manager at the other B&N exchanging favorite DRAGONFLY lines!

  27. I know some of these Says:

    Does anyone else agree with me that Tim Burton is THE choice to direct the film version of Dragonfly? Just look at what he has done with Alice and Wonderland! Burton would do wonders to Pink Eye St., the Jolly Jack, Snicker, Eagerly, et al…

    Ooop! Harvest Moon, as created and visualized by FSD and brought to the big screen by Tim Burton. (With score by Howard Shore, of course).

    We can all dream, can’t we? 🙂

  28. I know some of these Says:

    And then, after he is done collaborating with Burton, he can start writing the screenplay for “The Flail of Ralsoth” and we’ll get Peter Jackson and the boys at WETA to get busy …

    hey, if you are going to dream, dream big … 🙂

  29. Marquee Movies Says:

    Shieldmaiden – thanks for the compliment on my new icon. I’m on a new computer now, so I guess that’s my new design. Also, you make an EXCELLENT point for Marjorie Main’s character being one of the many, many reasons why MMISLouis works so well. The grandfather amazes me as well – kind-hearted, but not goopily so – how about that great sequence at the Christmas ball, when Judy Garland goes dancing behind the tree with Grampa, only to…..one of the great reveals in film history.
    And Chris, I love White Christmas as well. For my warm-up scenes before my Christmas Music in the Movies presentation, I always show that “The Best Things” scene with Danny Kaye dancing with the wonderful (and criminally forgotten) Vera-Ellen, who really was one of the greatest dancers in film history. And I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t like Danny Kaye – his scenes in The Court Jester are so wonderful to see.
    The witch (trying to help Danny remember which cup to drink from before fighting a large opponent): You must remember that the pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon, and the chalice from the palace holds the brew that is true!
    (Danny flubs the line several times.)
    Princess: No no! The pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon, and the chalice from the palace holds the brew that is true! Why it’s so easy even I can say it!
    Danny: Well, then YOU fight him!
    A wonderful performer.
    And Brown Snowflake, I agree wholeheartedly that Tim Burton would have a FIELD day with Dragonfly – he LOVES mixing genuinely scary images and scenes in with his fantasies – what a great idea! Why don’t you give Mr. Burton a copy of the book!

  30. I know some of these Says:

    Yes … but who to play Mothkin? I believe we already have the role for Jeremy Irons …

  31. fsdthreshold Says:

    Fact: my mom, when asked who her favorite actor was, always said “Danny Kaye.” I think it was his performance as Hans Christian Andersen that won her over, though all his other roles sure didn’t hurt.

    As for the film version of Dragonfly: I’ve often said that, if I could pick from among all actors at any age, I would choose a fortyish Dustin Hoffman to play Mothkin. And I would choose either Christopher Walken (if he were available) or Willem Dafoe (sp?) (if he weren’t) to play Alley Singer. For Uncle Henry: Joel Grey (sp?), EXACTLY as he appears as “Doc” in Season 5 of Buffy. For Dragonfly herself, I’d use an unknown. And Hain. . . . What do you think?. . . .

  32. Jedibabe Says:

    I only really knew two- A River Runs Through It, which I LOVE and which it seems we watch in just about every landscape and/or ecology class I take, and Shadowlands, of course. I stink at memorizing quotes these days, but this has been really fun, especially with everyone’s comments and all the teasing of Chris, which led me to go and learn something new, which leads me to fear that Chris will surely die soon of pneumonia! That’s all I will say about that. 😉

    As for Dragonfly, I’ve wanted to send the book to Tim Burton since I was half-way through reading it! It is a fabulous Halloween story Fred. Well done.

    And Danny Kaye- my two cents worth of trivia: the one year I taught school- East New York, third grade special ed, at PS 149, Danny Kaye Elementary School! Yes, he went to school there as a child. Hope it was a more pleasant place when he was a child. Vera Ellen was SO much more fun to watch than Rosemary Clooney.

    And now I must stick my nose back in my lap top and get back to my thesis. Thanks for the break everyone!

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