Movie quotes are a beautiful but dangerous thing. It’s easy to take something a drunk, idiot of a screenwriter wrote in his room while his wife was serving him divorce papers as the gospel for how to live your life. However, if given the proper context, movies have the ability to remind us what’s important in life. And sometimes that can even come from the most unlikely of films.
1. “Forget it, I quit, I can’t do this anymore, man. My head’s about to explode. My whole life sucks. I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know where I’m going. My dad just died. We just killed Bambi. I’m out here getting my ass kicked and every time I drive down the road I wanna jerk the wheel INTO A GODDAMNED BRIDGE ABUTMENT!” – Tommy Callahan, “Tommy Boy”
Tommy Callahan embodies a lot of the issues postgrads face: feeling overwhelmed by responsibility; not living up to our parents’ expectations; annoying friends who are better at their jobs than you are. He captures something here for all of us, which is that sometimes all the shit hitting us makes us just want to run our cars off the road during our commutes as a way to respond to all the stuff facing us with a little chaos.
2. “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” – Dean Wormer, “Animal House”
Look, I get it. Dean Wormer’s the bad guy. But in this instance, he’s not exactly wrong. It’s fine to be Bluto when you’re in college but just remember, even Bluto grew up and became a Senator.
3. “Winners forget they’re in a race, they just love to run. You try too hard.” – Simon Wilder, “With Honors”
This is a perfect way of pointing out that desire trumps effort all day. You can grind and grind, but if your heart isn’t in it, you’ll never be as successful as the guy who truly loves what he’s doing. He’ll always get up earlier than you and he’ll always be better than you, because his motivation is more genuine. So do something you enjoy, because even if the work is backbreaking, you won’t even notice.
4. “Well I would say that I’m just drifting. Here in the pool.” – Benjamin Braddock, “The Graduate”
Everyone thinks of “The Graduate” as a comedy about a dude sleeping with an older woman. But what it’s really about is a guy fresh out of college who doesn’t know what the fuck he’s going to do with his life. Hell, it even ends on that note. Anyone who’s worried that the listlessness of a postgrad life is a Millennial problem ought to watch “The Graduate” again. Our problems are not unique.
5. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned for Sega.” – Brodie Bruce, “Mallrats”
The trope of the guy who plays videogames all day and ignores his girlfriend is a little tired at this point, but this particular quote points out something that is important to remember. Feel free to zone out and relax, just don’t do it at the expense of your lady friend stewing in the corner. It won’t end well for you.
6. “Remember, kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you’ll never go wrong.” – The Babe, “The Sandlot”
It’s corny and it’s for kids, but damn it if The Babe doesn’t always inspire me to chase my dreams every time I watch this scene. It’s actually quite poignant to think that even at the highest levels of success, there’s still a difference between the best of the best and those who are truly legendary.
7. “There is such a thing as manners, a way of treating people. These fish have manners.” – Jerry Maguire, “Jerry Maguire”
I have a tendency to be the sarcastic guy who never takes anything seriously, but I do try to slow down every now and then to remember that it’s a lot fucking easier to live your life if you’re not a dick to people. It’s a shocker how far manners will get you.
8. “It’s not that I condone fascism or any ‘ism’ for that matter. Ism’s, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an ‘ism,’ he should believe in himself.” – Ferris Bueller, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
I bet you thought I was gonna use the “life moves pretty fast” quote. Well, this isn’t your extremely motivated but not-so-bright former college roommate’s Facebook page. You know what’s more important than stopping to smell the roses? Not getting caught up in a rigid set of beliefs and choosing to be your own damn person.
9. “For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day and worried about their bills were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something, we just took it.” – Henry Hill, “Goodfellas”
I’m not saying you should go out and steal stuff to not be a working scrub. The next part about this quote is Henry Hill talking about how if anyone got in his way, he’d just beat the shit out of them. But he has a point that the rote day-to-day of the everyday worker can be sad and pathetic if you allow yourself to sink into the mire of routine.
10. “This is not ‘Nam…there are rules.” – Walter Sobchak, “The Big Lebowski”
Yes, I deleted the middle part about bowling for the sake of making the quote more applicable. Sue me. But I find myself using this quote in life more than you might think. Despite never having been to ‘Nam, it helps to remind your jackass friends that you have to get your shit together every now and then.
11. “I don’t have to take this abuse from you. I’ve got hundreds of people dying to abuse me.” – Peter Venkman, “Ghostbusters”
Everyone in your life will give you shit. It helps to know that you can sometimes remind people you don’t have to take their specific shit.
12. “We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t.” – Tyler Durden, “Fight Club”
This quote is tricky, because it’s overused by all sorts of Internet neckbeards and wannabe anarchists who missed the point of “Fight Club” altogether. Tyler Durden isn’t wrong. The struggles of our generation are more internal because there isn’t a monolithic external threat for us to focus on. What that doesn’t give us is an excuse to be assholes, or a reason to give our parents as to why we still live with them. Instead, it’s an acknowledgement that the world made us bullshit promises, and that it is our individual responsibility to weigh our value and then determine what we want to do with that value.
13. “I never liked you. You know why? You don’t curse. I don’t trust a man who doesn’t curse.” – Captain Yardley, “Falling Down”
This falls into the same category as my favorite Mark Twain quote: “I haven’t a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever.” If you don’t swear, drink, or cause a ruckus every now and then, I’m convinced that you are either a boring person I don’t want to know or a dangerous sociopath. Either way, loosen up a bit.
14. “You think I’m amazing. You do. Cause that’s who I told you I’d be. That was the game plan.” – Harmony Lane, “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”
First off, if you haven’t seen “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” get off your ass and do it. I don’t care if you’re at work. This quote comes from the “girl who got away” from Robert Downey, Jr.’s character–which is super unrealistic, given that it’s Robert fucking Downey, Jr., but let’s roll with it. The point is that we all probably have that one person who we put on a pedestal and can’t seem to get over. And guess what? That person is not as amazing as we think. More likely than not, he or she has just as many problems, if not more, than we do. So stop drunk texting the girl who kissed you once when you were both drunk, told you the next day she “didn’t want to date anyone” at the time, and then started dating a guy two weeks later. Just stop it.
15. “I got robbed by a sweet old lady on a motorized cart. I didn’t even see it comin’!” – Lloyd Christmas, “Dumb and Dumber”
The lesson here is simple. Everyone is suspicious. Especially innocent looking old people.