Ever seen the movie Liberty Stand Still? I have.
Don’t remember fuck all about it.
Actually, I shouldn’t say that. I remember the basic premise – a woman is held hostage, chained by the ankle to a hot dog cart in the middle of a public park, while some guy she can’t see with a sniper rifle trained on her talks to her on the cell phone, trying to make her … something. Right a wrong of some kind, maybe? Why? I dunno. Reasons, I guess.
So yeah, it was pretty forgettable. So forgettable that I recognize nothing but the image of Linda Fiorentino standing next to a hot dog cart from the entire trailer. Plus I realized that my summary above is kinda off.
Whatever. The important thing is, it’s the kind of movie that would normally never come to mind again.
Except even a bad movie can have a good line:
Happiness is the best cover for clinical depression.
Couldn’t tell you who said it. (Hell, until I watched the trailer above, I couldn’t even tell you the shooter was played by Wesley Snipes.) Don’t remember the context, either.
But I do remember the grin on Ron’s face when I cackled, “That’s going in the quote book!” and trotted across my apartment to grab said book. Wordlessly, he picked up the remote and rewound the tape – yes, this was so long ago it was on tape – replaying that bit over and over again until I got it copied down accurately.
At the time, I liked it because I thought it was a very compact way to express something many don’t realize: just because somebody’s happy on the outside, it doesn’t mean they are on the inside, as well. That may seem obvious, and I think that today, nearly 20 years after Liberty Stand Still was released, perhaps it’s not as radical an idea as it was then. Awareness of mental health has grown, and we’ve improved the way we talk about it. (Not that we don’t still have a long way to go.) But at the time, it was much more common to believe that what a person projected was true to what they felt, and this quote calls that out.
So one might think that the quote has become less relevant over time. It hasn’t, though. The relevance has simply shifted somewhat. I still like the mental health aspect, but it’s become overshadowed by the process I used when gathering this particular quote. It’s how I try to live my life, in microcosm. Bad stuff happens. Process it. Pick out the good. Hold onto that tight. Let the bad fade into background noise.
The nice part is that, this time, the “bad” was nothing worse than a crappy movie.
To see previous posts in my Quotes series, click here.