Friday, January 27, 2012

The Bow


I’m baaaaack!

Where have I been, you ask? We moved into a new house, and this process took up all our free time for the latter half of 2011. Including our movie watching time. It was a short sale, which means the bank didn’t care what shape it was in before selling it, so even more movie time has been eaten up as we fix the place up. It’s still not perfect, but much more livable now.

And the best part of the move? I have a Cinema room! And streaming Netflix. sigh If it weren’t for having to keep this new house clean, I could stay in there forever.

I’ve had a few ideas on how I wanted to restart this blog, and I think the most appropriate new beginning is to look at the ending.

Writer workshops often dwell on beginnings. First lines, first paragraphs, first chapters. But how often do we learn how to write good last lines?

Let me throw one out to you:

“As you wish.”

Whether you’re a princess at heart like I am, or a hero in the making, this last line in The Princess Bride should melt you into a puddle of goo. These three little words are the beautiful bow placed on a neatly wrapped package. (And no, this line does not suggest that Grandpa is the octogenarian Wesley.)

What is this whole movie about, anyway? We could throw out a zillion answers: pirates, true love, revenge. But at it’s deepest core, it is about a love so deep, that one would do anything for their beloved. Even becoming “mostly dead.” So, when Peter Falk utters that last line of the movie with a twinkle in his eye, we know this is the bow. This is what we save in our memento drawer after the paper has long since become dust.

Not all movies end with this pretty bow. Some packages have been wrapped in haste, and the bow is nothing special. Or sometimes you wonder why the gift had been placed in a paper bag. There is no bow. There is no ribbon. There is no take-away.

But look at the bows on these movies, and see if you agree.

  • "No, sir! Don’t thank me, Warden. We’re all part of the same team. Good night." – This line from Superman (1978)reminds us that this alien is all about truth, justice, and the American way.
  • "Out there. That-a-way." –From Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), every Trekkie knows that the whole point is to “boldly go where no man has gone before.”
  • "You’ve got to tell them soylent green is people. We’ve got to stop them somehow." –If I’m not mistaken, I think this may be when the audience finally learns the secret of Soylent Green (1973). I don’t really care to watch this movie again to find out, but if so, this was a HUGE bow. One people are still talking about.
  • And speaking of human entrees: "I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner." –These words were spoken by Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs (1991.)
  • “It's so beautiful! Let's live here! We'll rent to start." – Bill Murray’s goal throughout the entire movie, Ground Hog Day (1993), was to get out of town. But his last line leaves us with the knowledge that he’s grown as a person and is content.
  • "That'll do, pig. That'll do." –Oh, that Babe (1995). That performance-oriented pig who stole our hearts simply wanted some recognition of a job well done.
  • "Ernest Hemingway once wrote: 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part." –In the psychological thriller, Se7en (1995), a murderer is on the loose and killing victims using the seven deadly sins as his calling card. Morgan Freeman utters these last lines, and after our eyes were assaulted with horrible images for two hours, we agree. (Even so, if you can take gore, this was a very good movie.)
  • "Where's the TV Guide?" –Recognize this one from The Truman Show (1998)? The entire movie shows a world’s obsession with Truman, a man who has grown up in a make-believe television world, but doesn’t realize that everything is fake. When he finally gets a clue and leaves the show, the fickle public also moves on.
  • "Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: 'With great power comes great responsibility.' This is my gift. My curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-Man." –Spider Man (2002). From the time his dying uncle utters these words, Peter Parker learns this lesson the hard way.
  • “My name's Tom."
    "Nice to meet you. I'm Autumn." –(500) Days of Summer (2009). Poor Tom has been in an up and down, tumultuous relationship with a girl named Summer for 500 days, aka, the entire movie. By the end, the relationship is over, and he meets a girl named Autumn. We can only assume that the sequel will be titled, (500) Days of Autumn.

I encourage you to Google great last lines, which is where I got my list, and learn how to put a bow on your stories.

I leave you with one that still makes my Mommy-eyes weep as I think of my little boys all grown up.

“So Long… Partner.” –Toy Story 3 (2010), spoken by Woody as he says goodbye to his best friend.


J. N. Hups said...

Some of those I knew, some I did not. But "As you wish!" Well, that one's a classic! Great last lines leave great lasting impressions. Need to remember that when I write. Thanks for sharing, Kathy!

Kathy said...

Good to see you posting again. We love movies at our house and enjoy your input. Thanks!