Dr. Ryan Stone:
I’m going to die today…
I know, I know, everyone dies; not everyone knows the day.
At this exact moment in the story, after Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) utters the line, my heart broke in two.
Gravity came out this weekend to the tune of 53 million, easily beating its competition and surpassing industry estimates. I’ve heard nothing but praise – except for one YouTube reviewer that was WAYYYYY off the mark in her review. My opinion, of course.
And I had one personal friend say that it was boring.He’s no longer my friend.
So, if my calculations are correct, I would put that at 98% people I know, trust; rely on for their reviews (critics) coupled with word of mouth and my friend’s thoughts as well as my own personal experience in the theatre as proof positive the movie is a helluva a success and one that holds you by the proverbial balls the entire 90 minute run time.
I find the top quote to be the central theme of the movie (and here ya, go Spoiler-boys… I’m going to remain as vague as possible to not ruin the movie) But… (oh, another parenthesis, YOU SHOULD SEE THE MOVIE BEFORE READING THIS!!!) That’s how important it is, I put that warning in all CAPS.
Anywho, not to be too vague (and I am assuming most of you saw the trailers so you know some of what I will be touching on) when Sandra Bullock is inside one of the satellites, after the initial shocking turn of events that detaches her from her crew and space shuttle; Dr. Stone sheds her burdensome gear and stretches out, almost reveling in the pumped oxygen and contained space. After all, she just escaped the silence and uninhabitable void of space. She is now reborn in the small cockpit.
So what leads to this quote above? That’s a spoiler, boy. And it’s not worth it to give you a list of scenes and plot points. As I am picking quotes for every day blogs and commenting on them, most of them have been iconic, some more meaningful (like my Breaking Bad quote) and now, this quote… which I am not even sure if verbatim. Since the movie came out this past weekend, I am only going by memory – but this quote as I mentioned, and it’s deeper meaning to the overall story of Gravity, has been seared into my brain. I’ve heard people say they were crying during the movie at different moments… This was where I decided to cry.
I could go on and on about the technical brilliance of this film; how it is the best use of 3D and IMAX I have EVER seen (that’s saying a lot); that use of sound design and visual effects squeezes off your throat so you can’t breathe; how Stephen Price’s dynamic score is never noticeable and only used to punctuate different pauses or beats in action; how Alfonso Cuarón is an absolute genius; I could go into all of that… But this quote today is about how the action drove character and how, in this quiet moment in a cockpit, the action forced the character of Dr. Ryan Jones to face the reality of a horrible situation; a very real situation, and accept it.
For at the moment Sandra Bullock uttered these words, I cried. I accepted her fate with her and I braced for the worse. Again, no surprise, the movie used this quiet character moment to twist the screw even deeper. For another shocking action sequence happens and this newly evolved layer of character in Dr. Stone, reacts in kind. To me, this quote is the turning point for Bullock’s character and in that, a major turning point in the movie.
Screenwriters sometimes put a page number on it or a tag – Act I climax, Act II climax, etc. This to me, to use a screenplay term – is the MIDPOINT of the story. The moment where our main character has to shit or get off the pot.
The one YouTube reviewer who eviscerated this movie focused a rant on Sandra Bullock as the typical stupid heroine in danger cliche. This woman also pleaded with Hollywood to make better movies for women.
For in this rare moment of dialogue Dr. Ryan is having with herself, she shows that she is strong, capable, and through a genius twist in action by Cuarón, is forced to do more – to push herself and fight to survive.
This isn’t a deep study of character and motivation. This is a movie broken down to the most primal of levels – survival in the face of overwhelming odds. Man vs Nature and thankfully, we have a Woman vs Nature – the female character taking the place of the strong man and becoming a warrior in the face of absolute nothing – the endless darkness of space. Man’s greatest and most fearsome challenge.
And Dr. Stone rises to the challenge. Sandra Bullock deserves the Oscar this year. She is the hero of the movie (no need to distinguish the difference, heroine or otherwise) Dr. Ryan is a hero and one of the greatest heroic characters on film. Thanks to Alfonso Cuarón for creating a rich yet flawed character in Dr. Ryan Stone.
That is as vague as I will go… the quote above shows so much to me, is heartbreaking at the precise moment in the film it is designed for and elevates the character and audience to the next level of story.
Gravity is a masterpiece, this quote will never be iconic or repeatedly mentioned. For Gravity will be remembered for so many other things than the dialogue. It will be remembered as a perfect movie – in my opinion – where the sum of all parts unite to make magic.
Kudos, Alfonso Cuarón.
And to Sandra Bullock… You’re my hero.
I was lucky enough to join Kristian Harloff of Schmoes Know to review the latest frakkin sci-fi masterpiece GRAVITY starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney! Needless to say I was blown away by the movie and used Frakkin totally out of place here. But the sentiment remains and the review is up. Did I like the movie? Yes. Yes I did… Here’s why:Read More
Elliot: You could be happy here, I could take care of you.
I wouldn’t let anybody hurt you. We could grow up together, E.T.
I just started crying. Yup, that’s what happens for me when I read the above quote. It’s a dagger of a line. I would have also accepted: “I’ll be right here…” and “E.T. stay with me…” (when E.T. is saying goodbye and dying respectively). Both quotes, hell, all THREE conjure to mind my favorite movie of all time and with said conjuring, the tears bubble and overflow.
Not that I’m crying at this exact moment… At all… Not a tear… Not… Maybe one on the corner that I’ll just, dab… Okay, I’m crying.
That’s not the point… The point is that this line for me tells me everything about the theme of the movie. And it’s a theme that pulls up all kinds of similarities from my own life. Elliot is only a couple years older than I was in the movie at the time.
What I love about E.T. is it is really the story about divorce and how a family reacts after the devastating event. I too am a child of divorce, concurrently going through it in 1982 while E.T. played the multiplexes. This theme of course didn’t hit me at the time; I was merely escaping the drama at home by going to ET 8 times in a row, 8 days in a row. I was an E.T. junkie.
And knowing some little tid-bits of back story, Spielberg’s parents actually divorced in 1960 and after, he created an imaginary alien friend to keep him company. Spielberg is quoted, saying:
“E.T. was ‘a friend’ who could be the brother I never had and a father that I didn’t feel I had anymore.”
No doubt my connection to the film is because of this subconscious link I must of formed watching the film 8 times in a row, 8 days in a row… At 8 years old I might add… Numbers people, IS THIS BAD???
Anywho, this is hands down Spielberg’s most personal film. You can see it in every shot, in every beat and in every moment. With music by John Williams (duh) and Henry Thomas as Elliot, Spielberg captured lightning in a bottle. Again.
In this quote I see the theme of growing up and a need for a father figure all in one. The arrival of ET into Elliot’s life right at the height of his need for a father plays out here. Elliot has some inherent calling to help the creature and soon, a bond forms.
Midway through the movie, however, ET and Elliot stop building their science project to listen to Mom telling Gertie (Drew Barrymore) the story of Peter Pan.
This moment reveals another thread running through the movie, that of childhood innocence and never wanting or needing to grow up. Just like in Peter Pan. Spielberg casually shows us this theme from the very start by never shooting any of the adults in close up. Always from the waist down (except for Mom). This tells us adults aren’t welcome here… Not in Neverland. And it would seem that Elliot is the lost boy to ET’s Peter Pan. Elliot needs ET not just as a father figure… He needs him to be his family.
The quote above is Elliot’s plea for E.T. to stay, to grow up and be together always. I sometimes wonder what a story would look like if ET had never left and Elliot HAD raised the alien as his own?
But then again… ET can’t survive on Earth and needs to “Phone home”. With this, the relationship and its stakes are placed firmly in the mind’s of the audience and I just love how the quote above illustrates that. For also, Elliot knows ET has to go and it’s here, in that moment in the woods when Elliot realizes that there is a good chance ET’s friends will hear the signal and come for him.
It’s as if Elliot is pleading with ET, as a child would a parent when he wants something. And when he doesn’t get it, Elliot hangs his head, crying. A simple gesture from ET – he wipes a tear away from Elliot. ET’s way of saying it will all be okay.
And at it’s simplest, this quote is about friendship. Because, dag-blammit, ET is the best damn buddy movie since Fox and the Hound. It’s heart-breaking and guys, I shit you not, when that last scene kicks in and ET asks Elliot to “…Come…” motioning for Elliot to join him on the spaceship, I lose my mind.
This scene shows the arc of Elliot. He’s no longer lost. He knows his place is with his family now. For they all banded together to save ET. Elliot’s place is on Earth and ET, the stars.
With so many wonderful topics to discuss off the above quote, I could go on for days. It just shows you sometimes quotes don’t have to be memorable or iconic (like ‘ET phone home’) and that a simple connection to story and character can create a line like this. And from the page (by Melissa Matheson) to the pre-production, to the casting, shooting, editing, mixing, composing to the final release, this one line, 31 years later, still brings me to tears just reading it aloud.
Fight on, E.T.
P.S. Thanks for those of you passing these along, you’re like, the best and, like, so awesome.
P.P.S. I know I’m hitting all my favorite movies with these quotes so if you guys want to start tweeting me suggestions you’d like to see me explore… well, like, that would be TOTALLY AWESOME.
P.P.S.S. I promise not to use “like” again. Ever.Read More
“You see, technically, chemistry is the study of matter, but I prefer to see it as the study of change: Electrons change their energy levels. Molecules change their bonds. Elements combine and change into compounds. But that’s all of life, right? It’s the constant, it’s the cycle. It’s solution, dissolution. Just over and over and over. It is growth, then decay, then transformation. It’s fascinating really. It’s a shame so many of us never take time to consider its implications.”
-Walter White Season 1, Episode 1, Pilot
I don’t think there has ever been a more perfect quote at the exact perfect time in the small history of this blog. And because of the sheer magnitude of BREAKING BAD followers and new followers (I’m sure) it just seemed fitting as this is my goodbye to the greatest show on television. Period.
For the newbies to this column and to the BREAKING BAD uninitiated, there are no spoilers here. For this quote is from the pilot episode, uttered by a man, a chemistry teacher named Walter White; and quoted before we “the fans” could really understand what to expect or experience.
For this IS Walter White. It tells us everything we need to know about the man. Not only does it fit perfectly into the character arc and journey of a true antihero but it also illustrates the genius of Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator. He knew exactly where he was going and this quote shows a map of the psyche of Walter White. Also, it demonstrates the use of foreshadowing (way to go writers!) that could even be fastened to the pilot and explored throughout five years of television…
The epic, satisfying conclusion of last night’s finale can be attributed to this quote.
“The study of change” Walter White says, his true feelings on the matter bubbling to the surface as the brilliant, soon to be “dying man” fascinates his students. For the mind of Walter White is the true reason audiences fell in love with the show. And it’s his beautiful mind that divided an audience putting people into teams throughout the run. And many people stayed on Team Walt until the very, very end.
And I can see why, just by this quote alone. It is growth, then decay, then transformation…
I couldn’t have put better words into a character’s mouth like Vince Gilligan did here with Walter White. Essentially providing the audience in episode one with the theme of the show, uttered by a man that will ultimately grow into a drug dealer (cooking meth to support his family), decay as the cancer strips Walter of his previous skin, like a snake shedding to make room for a new layer; and transformation, the decayed man that was once Walter White transforms into the kingpin of drug dealers, adopting the new name of Heisenberg… a name EVERYONE KNOWS.
This is the most brilliant illustration of character, writing and since we know BREAKING BAD continued to just get better and better – lastly – it shows just how extremely talented the creator, actors, directors, writers and production staff were to pull off such a memorable run in television history.
All from one quote, in the pilot no less, do we now see just how perfectly thought out this series was.
So thank you Vince Gilligan and the team behind BREAKING BAD. I will miss you dearly. But your brilliance will continue to shine bright for the ages. I am just glad I subscribed to Netflix
Also, a big shout-out goes to my buddy Ariel Joseph Towne for discovering this quote and posting. It alerted me to its brilliance and meaning when it came time for me to quote something from Breaking Bad. Genius.
And another big thanks to Andy McDonald for the creation of the Gif above. Nailed it.
So… with Breaking Bad heading off into the Sunset, I have a very serious question for every one of the fans out there…. Now what?