Generation Terrorists

Quotes [new quotes]
Big Fish
Tim Burton

This is a Southern story, full of lies and fabrications, but truer for their inclusion.

EDWARD: There are some fish that cannot be caught. It's not that they're faster or stronger than other fish. They're just touched by something extra. Call it luck. Call it grace. One such fish was The Beast. By the time I was born, he was already a legend. He'd taken more hundreddollar lures than any fish in Alabama. Some said that fish was the ghost of Henry Walls, a thief who'd drowned in that river 60 years before. Others claimed he was a lesser dinosaur, left over from the Cretaceous period

EDWARD: Now, you may well ask, since this lady fish wasnít the ghost of a thief, why did it strike so quick on gold when nothing else would attract it? That was the lesson I learned that day, the day my son was born. He focuses his words on Sandra. This story is -- and has always been -- about her more than anyone. Sometimes, the only way to catch an uncatchable woman is to offer her a wedding ring.

EDWARD" What, a fatherís not allowed to talk about his son?

WILL: I am a footnote in that story. I am the context for your great adventure. Which never happened! Incidentally! You were selling novelty products in Wichita the day I was born.

EDWARD: Jesus Christ.

WILL: Friend of yours? Did you help him out of a bind?

EDWARD: Come on, Will. Everyone likes that story.

WILL: No Dad, they donít. I do not like the story. Not anymore, not after a thousand times. I know all the punchlines, Dad. I can tell them as well as you can. For one night, one night in your entire life, the universe does not revolve around Edward Bloom. It revolves around me and my wife. How can you not understand that?

EDWARD: Sorry to embarrass you.

WILL: Youíre embarrassing yourself, Dad. You just donít see it.

WILL: In telling the story of my fatherís life, itís impossible to separate the fact from the fiction, the man from the myth. The best I can do is to tell it the way he told me. It doesnít always make sense, and most of it never happened. But thatís what kind of story this is.

EDWARD: Is it true she got a glass eye?

WILBUR FREELY: I heard she got it from Gypsies.

EDWARD: Whatís a Gypsy?

ZACKY: Your mommaís a Gypsy.

DON PRICE: Your mommaís a bitch.

RUTHIE: You shouldnít swear. Thereís ladies present.


ZACKY: Damn.


ADULT EDWARD: Now, itís common knowledge that most towns of a certain size have a witch, if only to eat misbehaving children and the occasional puppy who wanders into her yard. Witches use those bones to cast spells and curses that make the land infertile.

EDWARD: I was thinking about death and all. About seeing how youíre gonna die. I mean, on one hand, if dying was all you thought about, it could kind of screw you up. But it could kind of help you, couldnít it? Because youíd know that everything else you can survive.

ADULT EDWARD: From that moment on, I no longer feared death. And for that, I was as good as immortal.

EDWARD: Having a kid changes everything. I mean, thereís the diapers and the burping and the midnight feedings...

WILL: Did you do any of that?

EDWARD: No, but I hear itís terrible. Then you spend years trying to corrupt and mislead this child, fill its head with nonsense and still it turns out perfectly fine.

WILL: You think Iím up for it?

EDWARD: You learned from the best.

WILL: Just drink half the can. Iíll tell her you drank the whole thing. Everyone wins.

EDWARD: People neednít worry so much. Itís not my time yet. This isnít how I go.

WILL: Really.

EDWARD: Truly. I saw it in The Eye.

WILL: The Old Lady by the swamp.

EDWARD: She was a witch.

WILL: No, she was old and probably senile. Maybe schizophrenic.

EDWARD: I saw my death in that eye. And this is not how it happens.

WILL: So how does it happen?

EDWARD: Surprise ending. Wouldnít want to ruin it for you.

EDWARD: I was never much for being at home, Will. Itís too confining. And this, here. Being stuck in bed. Dying is the worst thing that ever happened to me.

WILL: I thought you werenít dying.

EDWARD: I said this isnít how I go. The last part is much more unusual. Trust me on that.

EDWARD: My muscles couldnít keep up with my bones, and my bones couldnít keep up with my bodyís ambition. So I spent the better part of three years confined to my bed, with the World Book Encyclopedia being my only means of exploration. I had made it all the way to the ďGís,Ē hoping to find an answer to my gigantificationism, when I uncovered an article about the common goldfish.

YOUNG EDWARD: ďKept in a small bowl, the goldfish will remain small. With more space, the fish can grow double, triple, or quadruple its size.Ē

EDWARD: It occurred to me then, that perhaps the reason for my growth was that I was intended for larger things. After all, a giant man canít have an ordinary-sized life.

KARL: Why are you here?

EDWARD: So you can eat me. The town decided to send a human sacrifice, and I volunteered. My arms are a little stringy, but thereís some good eating on my legs. I mean, Iíd be tempted to eat them myself. So I guess, just, if you could get it over with quick. Because Iím not much for pain, really. Look, I canít go back. Iím a human sacrifice. If I go back, everyone will think Iím a coward. And Iíd rather be dinner than a coward. Here, start with my hand. Itíll be an appetizer.

KARL: I donít want to eat you. I donít want to eat anybody. Itís just I get so hungry. Iím too big.

EDWARD: Did you ever think maybe youíre not too big? Maybe this townís just too small. I mean, look at it. Hardly two stories in the whole place. Now Iíve heard in real cities, theyíve got buildings so tall you canít even see the tops of Ďem.

KARL: Really?

EDWARD: Wouldnít lie to you. And theyíve got all-you-can-eat buffets. You can eat a lot, canít you?

KARL: I can.

EDWARD: So why are you wasting your time in a small town? Youíre a big man. You should be in the big city.

KARL: Youíre just trying to get me to leave, arenít you? Thatís why they sent you here.

EDWARD: Whatís your name, Giant?

KARL: Karl.

EDWARD: Mineís Edward. And truthfully, I do want you to leave, Karl. But I want to leave with you. You think this town is too small for you, well, itís too small for a man of my ambition. I canít see staying here a day longer.

KARL: You donít like it?

EDWARD: I love every square inch of it. But I can feel the edges closing in on me. A manís life can only grow to a certain size in a place like this. So what do you say? Join me?

EDWARD: She said that the biggest fish in the river gets that way by never being caught.

EDWARD: There comes a point where a reasonable man will swallow his pride and admit heís made a terrible mistake. The truth is, I was never a reasonable man. And what I recalled of Sunday School was that the more difficult something became, the more rewarding it was in the end.

BEAMEN: Welcome to ya. Whatís your name?

EDWARD: Edward Bloom.

BEAMEN: Bloom like a flower?


BEAMEN: Oh. Here! Right here. Edward Bloom. We werenít expecting you yet.

EDWARD: You were expecting me?

BEAMEN: Not yet.

MILDRED: You must have taken a shortcut.

EDWARD: I did. It nearly killed me.

BEAMEN: Mmm-hmm. Lifeíll do that to you. And truthfully, the long way is easier, but itís longer.

MILDRED: Much longer.

NORTHER WINSLOW: Iíve been working on this poem for 12 years.

EDWARD: Really.

NORTHER WINSLOW: Thereís a lot of expectation. I donít want to disappoint my fans.

EDWARD: Itís only three lines long.

NORTHER WINSLOW: This is why you donít show work in progress.

JENNY: How old are you?

EDWARD: Eighteen.

JENNY: Iím eight. That means when Iím eighteen, youíll be 28. And when Iím 28, youíll only be 38.

EDWARD: Youíre pretty good at arithmetic.

JENNY: And when Iím 38, youíll be 48. And thatís not much difference at all.

KARL: What happened to your shoes?

EDWARD: They got ahead of me.

EDWARD: I donít know if youíre aware of this, Josephine, but African parrots, in their native home of the Congo -- they speak only French.


EDWARD: Youíre lucky to get four words out of them in English. But if you were to walk through the jungle, youíd hear them speaking the most elaborate French. Those parrots talk about everything: politics, movies, fashion - - everything but religion.

WILL: Why not religion, Dad?

EDWARD: Itís rude to talk about religion. You never know who youíre going to offend.

WILL: Mom, would you say you understand Dad?

SANDRA: Of course.

WILL: What I mean is, do you really know whatís going on in his head?


WILL: How is that possible? I mean, you try to ask him a question and suddenly itís another one of his stories. You canít honestly say you know him.

SANDRA: Yes, Will, I do. And donít presume things you donít know. Would you say you understand Josephine?

WILL: Yes. But thatís a different...

SANDRA: No itís not. Itís exactly the same. Your father and I met, we dated, and we married -- we chose each other -- because we understood each other on some fundamental level. Just the same as you two.

WILL: Josephine and I have a lot in common.

SANDRA: Yes, you both think William Bloom is a very smart man. The problem is, you only see me as your mother, and not as someoneís wife. And Iíve been his wife longer than Iíve been your mother. You canít discount that.

WILL: True. But Iíve known him my whole life, and I donít feel like I know him at all. Or ever will.

SANDRA: I know itís not easy. Just remember, he didnít choose to be your father and you didnít choose to be his son. You just ended up together. You could pick numbers out of a dark bag and itíd be just the same. If you ask me, itís a wonder parents and children can stand each other at all.

WILL: But I understand you, Mom. I always have.

SANDRA: Well, clearly you donít. But Iím not the mystery youíre trying to solve right now.

EDWARD: I donít usually remember unless theyíre especially portentous. You know what that word means, portentous? Means when you dream about something thatís going to happen. Like one night, I had a dream where this crow came and told me, ďYour Aunt is going to die.Ē I was so scared I woke up my parents. They told me it was just a dream, to go back to bed. But the next morning, my Aunt Stacy was dead.

JOSEPHINE: Thatís terrible.

EDWARD: Terrible for her, but think about me, young boy with that kind of power. Wasnít three weeks later that the crow came back to me in a dream and said, ďYour Grampa is going to die.Ē Well, I ran right back to my parents. My father said, no, Gramps is fine, but I could see there was trepidation. And true enough, that next morning my Grampa was dead.

For the next couple weeks, I didnít have another dream. Until one night the crow came back and said, ďYour Daddy is going to die.Ē Well, I didnít know what to do. But finally I told my father. And he said not to worry, but I could tell he was rattled. That next day, he wasnít himself, always looking around, waiting for something to drop on his head. Because the crow didnít tell how it was going to happen, just those words: your Daddy is going to die. Well, he went into town early and was gone for a long time. And when he finally came back, he looked terrible, like he was waiting for the axe to fall all day. He said to my mother, ďGood God. I just had the worst day of my life.Ē ďYou think youíve had a bad day,Ē she said. ďThis morning the milkman dropped dead on the porch!Ē

EDWARD: Because see, my mother was banging the milkman.

JOSEPHINE: No, I understand.

EDWARD: He was slipping her a little extra cream. He was filling her basket. He was making deliveries around back. He was buttering her rolls. Pumping her churn. Splashing milk in her box.


EDWARD: They were squeezing the cheese. Clanking the bottles. Licking the popsicle. Cracking the eggs and making an omelet. Spooning the sherbet.

JOSEPHINE: Can I take your picture?

EDWARD: You donít need a picture. Just look up 'handsome' in the dictionary.

JOSEPHINE: I want to see pictures of your wedding. Iíve never seen any.

EDWARD: Thatís because we didnít have a wedding. Your mother-in-law was never supposed to marry me. She was engaged to somebody else.

JOSEPHINE: I never knew.

EDWARD: Will never told you that? Probably just as well. He would have told it wrong anyway. All the facts and none of the flavor.

JOSEPHINE: Oh, so this is a tall tale?

EDWARD: Well, itís not a short one.

EDWARD: They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops. And thatís true. What they donít tell you, is that once time starts again, it moves extra fast to catch up.

AMOS: Hey kid! Your friend just made himself a star.

EDWARD: Thatís great.

AMOS: My attorney, Mr. Soggybottom.

EDWARD: Good to meet you.

AMOS: Whatís the matter with you, kid? I havenít seen a customer so depressed since the elephant sat on that farmerís wife. Get it? ďDepressed?Ē

AMOS: Every month you work for me, Iíll tell you one thing about her. Thatís my final offer.

EDWARD: It was that night I discovered that most things you consider evil or wicked are simply lonely, and lacking in the social niceties.

EDWARD: You donít know me, but my name is Edward Bloom and I am in love with you. Iíve spent the last three years working to find out who you are. Iíve been shot and stabbed and trampled a few times, had my ribs broken twice, but itís all worth it to see you here, now, and to finally get to talk to you. Because I am destined to marry you. I knew that from the first moment I saw you at the circus. And I know it now more than ever.

EDWARD: Fate has a cruel way of circling around on you. After all this work to leave Ashton, the girl I loved was now engaged to one of its biggest jerks.

Thereís a time when a man needs to fight, and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny is lost, that the ship has sailed, and that only a fool would continue. The truth is, Iíve always been a fool.

SANDRA: Daffodils?

EDWARD: Theyíre your favorite flower.

SANDRA: How did you get so many?

EDWARD: I called everywhere in five states and explained this was the only way I could get my wife to marry me.

SANDRA: You donít even know me.

EDWARD: I have the rest of my life to find out.

EDWARD: There was one time when I was eleven...

JOSEPHINE: You were talking about your wedding.

EDWARD: I didnít forget. I was just working on a tangent. See, most men, theyíll tell a story straight through, and it wonít be complicated, but it wonít be interesting either.

EDWARD: Over the next hour, I described my love for Sandra Kay Templeton, and the ordeal that brought me before them. As it had always been, this love was my salvation. It was destined to be. We put together an elaborate plan for escape, involving a whaling ship to Russia, a barge to Cuba and a small, dirty canoe to Miami. We all knew it would be dangerous.

PING: And what are we supposed to do when we get to America?

EDWARD: I can get you bookings. I know the biggest man in show business.

JING: Bob Hope?

EDWARD: Bigger.

JOSEPHINE: You never told me how your parents met.

WILL: They met at Auburn.

JOSEPHINE: What about the details? How they fell in love. The Circus. The War. You never told me any of that.

WILL: Thatís because most of it never happened.

JOSEPHINE: But itís romantic.

WILL: Mmm.

JOSEPHINE: Mmm, what?

WILL: Mmm, what. I know better than to argue romance with a French woman.

JOSEPHINE: Do you love your father?

WILL: Everyone loves my father. Heís a very likeable guy.

JOSEPHINE: Do you love him?

WILL: You have to understand. When I was growing up, he was gone more than he was here. And I started thinking -- maybe he has a second life somewhere else. With another house, another family. He leaves us, he goes to them. Or maybe there is no family. Maybe he never wanted a family. But whatever it is, maybe he likes that second life better. And the reason he tells all those stories is because he canít stand this boring place.

JOSEPHINE: But itís not true.

WILL: What is ďtrue?Ē Iíve never heard my father say a single true thing. Look, I know why you like him. I know why everyone likes him. But I need you to tell me Iím not crazy.

JOSEPHINE: Youíre not.

WILL: I need you on my side.

JOSEPHINE: I am always on your side. And I think you should talk to him.

WILL: Do you know much about icebergs, Dad?

EDWARD: Do I? I saw an iceberg once. They were hauling it down to Texas for drinking water, only they didnít count on an elephant being frozen inside. The woolly kind. A mammoth.

WILL: Dad!


WILL: Iím trying to make a metaphor here.

EDWARD: Then you shouldnít have started with a question. Because people want to answer questions. You should have started with, ďThe thing about icebergs is...Ē

WILL: The thing about icebergs is you only see 10 percent of them. The other 90 percent is below the water where you canít see it. And thatís what it is with you Dad. Iím only seeing this little bit that sticks above the water.

EDWARD: What, youíre seeing down to my nose? My chin?

WILL: I have no idea who you are because you have never told me a single fact.

EDWARD: Iíve told you a thousand facts. Thatís all I do, Will. I tell stories.

WILL: You tell lies, Dad. You tell amusing lies. Stories are what you tell a fiveyear old at bedtime. Theyíre not elaborate mythologies you maintain when your son is ten and fifteen and twenty and thirty. And the thing is, I believed you. I believed your stories so much longer than I should have. And then when I realized that everything you said was impossible -- everything! - - I felt like such a fool to have trusted you. You were like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny combined. Just as charming and just as fake.

EDWARD: You think Iím fake.

WILL: Only on the surface. But thatís all Iíve ever seen. Dad, Iím about to have a kid of my own here. It would kill me if he went through his whole life never understanding me.

EDWARD: It would kill you, huh? What do you want, Will? Who do you want me to be?

WILL: Yourself. Good, bad, everything. Just show me who you are for once.

EDWARD: I have been nothing but myself since the day I was born. And if you canít see that, itís your failing, not mine.

NORTHER WINSLOW: Edward? Edward Bloom? Itís me. Norther Winslow.

EDWARD: I donít believe it!

NORTHER WINSLOW: I want you to know, when you left Spectre it opened my eyes. There was a whole life out there that I was not living. So I travelled. I saw France, and Africa, half of South America. Every day a new adventure, thatís my motto.

EDWARD: Thatís great, Norther. Iím happy for you. I canít believe I helped. Heís genuinely proud. So what are you up to now?

NORTHER WINSLOW: Iím robbing this place.

NORTHER WINSLOW: I should go to Wall Street. Thatís where all the money is.

EDWARD: I knew then that while my days as a criminal were over, Northerís were just beginning.

EDWARD: When Norther made his first million dollars, he sent me a check for ten thousand. I protested, but he said it was my fee as his career advisor.

WILL: How did you know my father?

JENNY: This was on his sales route, so he was through here all the time. Everyone in town knew him.

WILL: Were you and my father having an affair?

JENNY: Wow. Wow, you just said it. I was expecting to dance around this for another half hour.

WILL: Iíve seen him with women. He flirts. He always has. On some level, I presumed he was cheating on my mother. I just never had proof.

JENNY: Can I ask you a question? Why did you come here today? If you found this deed, why didnít you just ask Eddie?

WILL: Because heís dying.

JENNY: Look, I donít know how much you want to know about any of this. You have one image of your father and it would be wrong for me to go and change it. Especially this late in the game.

WILL: My father talked about a lot of things he never did, and Iím sure he did a lot of things he never talked about. Iím just trying to reconcile the two. Fair enough. Jenny takes a seat across from him at the table.

JENNY: The first thing you have to understand, is that your father never meant to end up here. And yet he did, twice. The first time, he was early. The second time, he was late.

JENNY: Fate has a way of circling back on a man, and taking him by surprise.

JENNY: A man sees things differently at different times in his life.

JENNY: A new road had brought the outside world to Spectre, and with it, banks, liens and debt. Almost everywhere you looked, people were bankrupt. Two different corporations were looking at buying the town, if they could get the price low enough. One wanted to open a chicken processing plant. The other, a municipal dump. Either way, Spectre would be destroyed.

And so Edward Bloom decided to buy the town, in order to save it. He was never a wealthy man, but he had made other men rich, and now he asked for their favors. Most of them had never seen Spectre -- they only had Edwardís words to describe it. Thatís all they needed. He sold them on the dream.

JENNY: So first he bought the farms. Then he bought the houses. Then he bought the stores. Whatever he bought, the people were not asked to leave or pay rent or anything. They were just asked to keep doing as they were doing. In that way, he could make sure the town would never die.

JENNY: You must be Edward Bloom.

EDWARD: How did you know?

JENNY: No one would come out here unless they had business. And no one would have business with me except for you. Youíre buying the town.

EDWARD: Apparently Iíve overlooked this one piece of it, and Iíd like to remedy that. You see, in order for the town to be preserved, the trust must own it in its entirety.

JENNY: So Iíve heard.

EDWARD: Iíll offer you more than itís worth. And you know you wonít have to move. Nothing will change except the name on the deed, you have my word. Jenny stops playing, her piece not quite finished. She turns to face him. Edward still doesnít recognize her.

JENNY: Now let me get this straight. Youíll buy the swamp from me, but Iíll stay in it. Youíll own the house, but itíll still be mine. Iíll be here, and youíll come and go as you please to one place or another. Do I have that right?

EDWARD: In so many words, yes.

JENNY: Then I donít think so Mr. Bloom. If nothing is going to change, Iíd just as soon it not change in the way it hasnít been changing all this time.

EDWARD: Itís not like youíre going to lose anything. You can ask anyone in town. Iíve been nothing if not generous. I want the best for everyone.

JENNY: Mr. Bloom, why are you buying this land? Some sort of midlife crisis? Instead of buying a convertible, you buy a town?

EDWARD: Helping people makes me happy.

JENNY: Iím not convinced you should be happy.

EDWARD: Iím sorry. Have I offended you?

JENNY: No, you did exactly what you promised. You came back. I was just expecting you sooner.

EDWARD: Youíre Beamenís daughter. Your last name is different. You married.

JENNY: I was 18. He was 28. Turns out that was a big difference. I wonít be selling you this house, Mr. Bloom.

EDWARD: I see. I thank you for your time.

EDWARD: No. Donít. Donít be embarrassed. I should never have let you think that... I am in love with my wife.

JENNY: I know.

EDWARD: And from the moment I saw her until the moment I die, sheís the only one.

JENNY: And the story ended where it began.

WILL: Logically, you couldnít be the Witch, because she was old back when he was young.

JENNY: No, itís logical if you think like your father. See, to him, thereís only two women: your mother and everyone else.

WILL: You didnít become crazy.

JENNY: Well, therapy. And one day I realized I was in love with a man who could never love me back. I was living in a fairy tale. People arenít like they are in stories. They hurt each other without meaning to. They are kind and unbelievably cruel at the same moment. Like me, now.

JENNY: Iím not sure I should have told you any of this.

WILL: No, I wanted to know. Iím glad I know.

JENNY: I wanted to meet you for the longest time. I did. I envied you so much. The way Eddie would talk about you when you were at Missouri, that award you won. Congratulations, incidentally. And when you got the job at the A.P., everything, he was so proud of you. I mean, thatís the thing. Every moment he loved you. And as brightly as the sun would shine when he was with me, every time he left it disappeared. I wanted to be as important to him as you were, and I was never going to be. I was make-believe and his other life, you, were real. You knew that, didnít you?

DR. BENNETT: Glad to see youíre not trying to have a heartfelt talk. Itís one of my greatest annoyances, when people talk to those who canít hear them.

WILL: My father and I have an advantage. We never talk. How long have you known my father?

DR. BENNETT: Thirty years. Maybe more.

WILL: How would you describe him?

DR. BENNETT: Five-eleven. One-eighty. Regulated hypertension. How would his son describe him?

DR. BENNETT: Did your father ever tell you about the day you were born?

WILL A thousand times. He caught an uncatchable fish.

DR. BENNETT Not that one. The real story. Did he ever tell you that?


DR. BENNETT: Your mother came in about three in the afternoon. Her neighbor drove her, on account of your father was on business in Wichita. You were born a week early, but there were no complications. It was a perfect delivery. Now, your father was sorry to miss it, but it wasnít the custom for the men to be in the room for deliveries then, so I canít see as it would have been much different had he been there. And thatís the real story of how you were born.

Not very exciting, is it? And I suppose if I had to choose between the true version and an elaborate one involving a fish and a wedding ring, I might choose the fancy version. But thatís just me.

WILL: Have you ever heard a joke so many times youíve forgotten why itís funny? But then you hear it again and suddenly itís new. You remember why you loved it in the first place.

WILL: That was my fatherís final joke I guess. A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him.

And in that way, he becomes immortal.

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