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Thoughts & Views: Go ahead, make my day

So, one day I’m sitting at my desk at The Observer when there came this brief but loud noise from outside followed by a strange chemical odor wafting briefly through the open window.

I never did find out what had happened, but at the time, I commented, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

A co-worker laughed, and I said, “I also love that movie.” And she said, “What movie?”

Apparently she thought I was just being clever, and I realized that what we had here was a failure to communicate.

It occurred to me that many in the younger, social media generation lack a certain cultural context: familiarity with famous movie quotes. When used judiciously, these enrich our lives.

That’s the truth, and if you don’t believe it, maybe you can’t handle the truth.

Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get. Consider a recent TV news clip.

A reporter on the street, trying to maneuver through traffic, quips, “Hey! I’m walkin’ heah!” That was clever.

If you didn’t know the context, you might have laughed anyway, but you’d have missed the whole point of his joke.

I don’t buy the “it’s just a generational thing” argument. When we were young, we’d laugh if someone said, “Here’s looking at you, kid.” And believe it or not, I wasn’t alive when “Casablanca” came out.

So in the interest of cultural education, I offer a little quiz about classic movie quotes, what TCM might call “the essentials.” You’re likely familiar with them, but can you identify all the origins? If you’re not familiar with them, you probably spend all your time texting, which is why, in today’s society, Houston, we have a problem.

Begin:

• “What do you mean, I’m funny? … Funny how? Funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?”

• “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”

• “You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender.”

• “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

• “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

• “I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.”

• “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

• “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

• “Snap out of it!”

• “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here.”

• “Round up the usual suspects.”

• “The stuff that dreams are made of.”

• “Say ‘hello’ to my little friend!”

• “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

• “Oh, no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”

• “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

• “We rob banks.”

• “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”

• “The calla lilies are in bloom again.”

• “Attica! Attica!”

One more: No one knows what movie this quote is from, but you should know who said it.

• “What a dump!”

If you didn’t get them all, well, nobody’s perfect.

And if my critics think this was pointless, frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn.

I’m off now to enjoy dinner: liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

–Karen Zautyk

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