Think of all the lessons to be learned from THELMA AND LOUISE.  (all photos by Marylin Warner; this was taken at a diner in El Dorado, KS.)

Think of all the lessons, good and not so good,  to be learned from THELMA AND LOUISE. (All photos by Marylin Warner; this was taken outside a diner in El Dorado, KS.)

My dad wasn’t big on going to movies, but my mom loved them. So when I was growing up, whenever he had business in Kansas City, she and I would ride along and go to a movie. Beyond the lure of buttered popcorn and sodas, we also loved to listen for special lessons in each story and compare notes afterwards.

Dad’s Alzheimer’s and now Mom’s dementia have prevented us from continuing this tradition for several decades, but I still search for favorite “lesson lines” on my own. Here are a few of my favorites.

“Do, or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda (STAR WARS)

“It is not our abilities that show what we truly are…it is our choices.” Dumbledore (HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS)

“After a while, you learn to ignore the names people call you and just trust who you are.”   ~ SHREK

“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” ~ THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

“To find something, anything—a great truth or a lost pair of glasses—you must first believe there will be some advantage in finding it.” ~ ALL THE KING’S MEN

“All that is gold does not glitter. Not all who wander are lost.” ~ Bilbo Baggins, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

And this one is for my mom; if it weren’t for the dementia, she’d be shaking her head Yes! and applauding: “Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.” ~ from DOWNTOWN ABBEY


Think of all the lessons from the characters of THE WIZARD OF OZ.

Think of all the lessons from the characters of THE WIZARD OF OZ.

"Run, Forrest, Run!"   Substitute your name for Forrest, and what does this lesson teach you?

“Run, Forrest, Run!” Substitute your name for Forrest, and what does this lesson teach you?



Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, just doing the best we can, lessons about life, lessons for great-grandchildren, life questions, movies, special quotations

55 responses to “BIG SCREEN LESSONS

  1. Claudia

    Love those Wizard of Oz dolls…they yours? You obviously get a lot out of your movies. We went to see Ricki and the Flash on Monday. Found prices for senior cheap show up to over $8 now…drinks were $5.25. Prices are high but would be worth it for outstanding movies. Most movies seem OKAY or GOOD ENOUGH to us now days. Last night at home we watched Swing Kids for the fourth time. Hubby not as enamored of it as I am, but I love the dance, the music, and the moral questions raised in the Nazi Germany setting becuase I know they were the real thing faced by real people. Have a great last weekend in August!

    • They were mine, Claudia, but now they belong to my grandchildren. Their favorite quote–“We’re not in Kansas any more”–makes them laugh. They LIVE in Kansas. We saw RICKI and the Flash recently; I don’t remember any specific lines, but we liked the story and the acting, and the family scenes.

  2. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Good to be reminded we weren’t just wasting time watching all those movies! Great collection of memorable lines. My husband came home early today so we could go see Man from U.N.C.L.E.! Even if I have to close my eyes in some parts I’ll still listen for a life lesson! 🙂

    • I LOVE movies, Nancy. On my turn to choose for date days, Jim can always count on me choosing a movie, so I’m glad I can listen for memorable lessons to justify it. Let me know if there are any good lessons in MAN FROM UNCLE…I remember some funny lines, but not significant lessons! 😉 (And laughter is important, too!)

  3. Love this – that quote from The Lord of the Rings has always been one of my favourites

    • It’s one of my favorites, too, Maureen. There’s a bumper sticker that says, “All who wander are not lost.” I’m still smiling, because I saw it on the bumper of a truck that was being towed away from a No Parking zone. 🙂

  4. Two additions to your lesson lines, Marylin:
    “I’d rather have the right man than the right wedding.” Anna, Downton Abbey

    “There is no such things as an ending ~ just some place where you leave the story.” Maggie Smith character in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

    • I just watched The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel this afternoon. That line was a good one. And I loved Maggie Smith’s character complaining about her cup of tea in the US.

    • Marian, DOWNTOWN ABBEY had SO many thought-provoking quotes…and with “true Brit” flavor, according to a friend who never missed an episode and began to actually sound like some of the main characters. 😉
      Both of your additions are excellent, Marian. And I missed them both, so I am very glad you shared these. Sometimes I just sink into movies and enjoy them, and afterwards I’ll know that I forgot some of the great lines. But if I really love a movie, I’ll see it again…

    • That’s a great one, Gallivanta, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard complaints about the quality of “tea time” in America! 🙂

  5. I’m sure if your Mom was well Marylin, she’d still be going to the movies and remembering all the best lines with you.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • Aw, thank you, David. It’s been many years since I took her to a movie.
      It was at a local movie theater in her town, and I thought it would be a nice change. She sat there and happily munched her pop corn and slurped on her Coke, and then she turned to me and said, “I’m ready to go now.”
      The previews were over and the movie was just starting, but we left. And it was okay. For about 20 minutes she had a nice time, and boy-oh-boy she really loved her treats! Huge hugs to you, too, David.

  6. juliabarrett

    Absolutely. I’m applauding along with your mother.

  7. These are all good. We didn´t see many movies growing up but Dad did take all of us into the city to see Old Yeller and I still remember it to this day. (we all cried, even my big tough cowboy dad.)

    • Oh, Darlene, I remember OLD Yeller. I cried and cried.
      It was at the kids’ matinee on a Saturday afternoon, and in the that shot where the dog goes over the hill, about half of the audience stood up to see if we could see over the hill!

  8. That’s so funny. Just the other day I neede something from the pharmacy. One of the clerks was putting away a display and said they were closing in five minutes. He pointed to the right counter and said “run Forrest, run”

    There are some favourite movies we watch over and over, each time discovering a new great line, or thoroughly enjoying hearing a good one again.
    I particularly like the vulgarity versus wit line.

    • Rod, I’m still laughing at what the clerk said. I love it! Some of my favorite moments are when clerks or strangers on the street will do that and respond with a movie tag line that is absolutely funny and perfect for an average situation! I always laugh and clap for them!
      And if I love a movie, I will see it several times. I’ve seen the cop/Amish boy suspense movie WITNESS more than a dozen times. It follows all of the steps of The Hero’s Journey for both John Book and Samuel Lapp, and I used to have the students in my Writing To Publish class watch it and chart the steps to understand how the steps work. I never got tired of seeing it.

  9. My husband and I saw Ricki and that Flash last night and loved it. It was great entertainment. Can anyone help me with the Forest Gump line “life is like a box of chocolates , you never know what you are getting? ” Is that correct ?
    I love the Benjamin Button Quote .

    • I love that Gump-ism, too, Gerlinde, and life IS like a box of chocolates, only I like to add that “sometimes you find a lot of nuts.” 🙂
      Have you see the Benjamin Button movie? It’s great, and I think you’d be amazed at his rare disease that really exists.

  10. Love film, Marylin. Great lines here.

    I’m currently going through family photos and where would we be without our memories? They’re locked in your mom’s mind somewhere, but how wonderful that you remember and are sharing those gems with us. Have a nice weekend.

    • Oh, thank you, Diana. I’m sure they are locked in her mind somewhere, and though I doubt they’ll ever be unlocked, it’s enough that she lived them once and we’re all prepared to share them with others and keep the memories alive.

  11. I have so many movies lines I love! Here’s a couple-
    “She’s one in a googolplex”- Back to the Future III (I had to google that spelling!)
    “Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring. Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls. It’s more democratic.” Crash Davis, Bull Durham
    “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible” When Harry Met Sally
    Have a great weekend!

    • In a “googolplex”–how great is that, Joanne! I’m going to remember it. And Jim really like the Bull Durham quote you shared, so we both thank you. Starting the rest of life as soon as possible is one of the best lines from WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. I’d forgotten it, so now you’re three for three, sharing new lesson lines that are sure to become our favorites! 🙂
      You have a great weekend, too, dear Joanne.

      • Joanne, on the news last night commentators were responding to “new” words, and “googolplex” was one of them! Bull Durham was many years ago, so the word is coming back! You’re on the cutting edge.

  12. Don

    Each of those little sayings are absolutely packed with wisdom. No doubt that Movies have the power to shape us and when they shape us in the ways described in those sayings, they are a treasure of transformation. Thanks Marylin. great post.

    Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption – “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

    • That’s what I appreciate so much about blogs, Don, when you and other wonderful “thinkers” finish my thoughts! 🙂 “…Get busy living or get busy dying.” What a great lesson line that is. Thank you.

  13. Oh, such an interesting post, Marylin. You are clever!
    I love the vulgarity/wit quote, fully agree with that one. And the Forrest Gump…it really all depends on whether you’re running towards or away from, doesn’t it?

    • Yes, absolutely, Jenny. As teachers, we certainly know that for students–and for ourselves–it really does depend on whether we’re running toward or away from something. I once had a student who thought the “Run, Forrest, run!” line was the best in the entire movie (and there were many good lines). He said it was that one special moment when we each had to decide to give into our past or run toward our future. Not bad for a teenager, right? 🙂

  14. I am not very good at remembering quotes from movies but I do enjoy thinking about some of the issues raised in movies; The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel continues the first Marigold Hotel film’s thoughtful look at ageing and the ‘ageing’ industry.

  15. Marylin, I think it is so wonderful that you and your mother enjoyed spending time together and also that you are blessed with a Mom who looked for teachable moments and processed lessons with you. I enjoyed the quotes!

    • When I was in junior high and high school, Jane, we didn’t always enjoy spending time together. But as I got older I also got wiser, and we became good friends as well as good mother/daughter companions. And until her dementia really set in, she had many thoughtful and funny teaching moments that I still cherish.

  16. A brilliant post my friend! So many simple, yet powerful, life lessons to be learned! XO

  17. I hardly ever watch a movie except when flying. I haven’t seen Star Wars or Harry Potter. I used to enjoy things like Roman Holiday, Harvey and Arsenic & Old Lace. I have seen the wizard of Oz 😊. I’m not sure I have learned much from movies except that I prefer reading!

    • I truly love reading, Andrew, but when a movie has a good script (with great lines) played by excellent actors, I’m a sucker. I’ll see it several times, not all at once, but spread over years.
      I still remember HARVEY, a delightful movie that I just enjoyed but didn’t remember any of the important lines.

      • The best line Marylin is: Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.

      • Jimmy Stewart amazed me in HARVEY, Andrew. He was in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, westerns, serious dramas, some by Hitchcock, and then HARVEY. He made me want to have my own Harvey.

  18. I loved all these quotes, Marylin, and what I love even more is the way you watched movies, as guilty pleasures, shared with your mom. You “redeemed” them by extracting life lessons. But you also just enjoyed them, sinking into another world, another person’s life.

    I wish your mother could still do this with you, but I’m so glad you have the memories. For the rest of your life, you will be listening to movies in the way your conversations with your mother taught you.

    Now I am going to take your story and share it with my “movie going friend” who lives down the street. We will try to keep your tradition alive and toast you and your mom after the next movie we see.

  19. I loved all these quotes too, Marylin. I like movies too! This past March, I took my mom to see Cinderella. And I had just watched it two days before.

    • The last movie Mom and I watched together was when SOUND OF MUSIC was on TV. She hummed along with the Mother Superior singing “Climb Every Mountain” and then fell asleep. 🙂
      I’m glad you took your mom to see Cinderella, Tracy. As daughters, we do our best to keep our moms interested and feeling involved, right?

  20. Great quotes Marylin, I’ve always learned a lot from the movies 🙂

    • One of my favorite “fill in” general elective classes in grad school was class on the influence and importance of films. I loved that class, Andrea, and had a great time writing the papers. Plus, it was such a good excuse to see a lot of movies! 🙂

  21. Jim

    Well, Mor Mor, you already know how much I enjoyed the movie “Contact” based on Carl Sagan’s story. My favorite line from the movie is when a little boy asked astrophysicist Ellie Arroway if there was life in outer space. “What do you think?” Ellie responded. “I don’t know,” the kid retorted. “Good answer!” said Ellie. She continued, “The universe is so big that no one can imagine how big. If there isn’t life out there somewhere, it’s an awful waste of space!” I’m smiling. 🙂 You gotta love people who dream and entertain possibilities.

    • Makes me wish I’d received the reply “Good answer!” every time I said “I don’t know.” 🙂 As always, you have a terrific reply to my posts… in addition to straightening out the technical problems. Thank you, sweetie.

  22. My first movie dates were with my Grammy. She introduced me to Tarzan, Gene Autry and much more. I love your movie quotes, Marylin.

    Our family is forever tossing around lines from our much-loved movies. “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Casablanca,” “The Godfather,” and “The Untouchables” (Sean Connery’s “What are you prepared to do?” when asking Kevin Costner what he was going to do to get Al Capone.) The last two really do offer life lessons worth remembering. 😉

  23. All of your movie favorites are on my list, too, Judy. Especially THE UNTOUCHABLES–so many memorable lines and lessons. We won’t limit our focus to Costner’s closing lines about what he’ll do if they end Prohibition: “I think I’ll have a drink.” 🙂

  24. Molly

    Well I have tried to comment a couple times now, but it never shows up…so gonna try one more time.

    This summer we , the kids and I, got out to see a few movies, each if us had some things we learned from them.

    Grace – Inside Out – it is hard growing up…your feelings get all confused, and then you “act” like as teenager.

    Gannon – Paul Blast 2- security guards are the first to protect, just like my dad at Eisenhower.

    Me – Jurassic World – don’t ever wear all white or heels just in case you have to run from dinosaurs!

    Great blog, Mom! This was very fun to read and think through!

  25. Mookie, thanks for sharing these lessons from the kids’ movie choices. Now we can look back on the posts and remember this summer’s favorite movies. And all along I thought you shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day; now I know you shouldn’t wear white at all, in cause you have to run from dinosaurs! 🙂 I love it!

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