Today we found out that one of the greatest directors of our time, Mike Nichols, husband to Diane Sawyer had passed away at 83 years old. Though he lived a long, accomplished life, the death seemed to come somewhat suddenly, from a cardiac arrest the director suffered. We mourn the loss of Nichols, who besides being known for directing some classic movies, also held the rare honor of being an EGOT winner, meaning he had won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony throughout his life. That is a pretty amazing accomplishment!
After hearing of his passing, I spent the morning thinking about all the movies he made and how powerful and relevant they still are today. Even now, I still watch Working Girl at least once a month, and can probably quote the entire movie from start to finish. He made so many classics, so today, to honor the late, great director, I’m celebrating my five favorite quotes from my favorite Mike Nichols’ movies.
1. “I’ve got a head for business. And a bod for sin.”
Melanie Griffith as Tess McGill in Working Girl. One of my favorite movies of all time, and a true classic, Working Girl came out in 1987 but it still holds up today. Sigourney Weaver as the backstabbing executive, Melanie as the secretary turned success, Harrison Ford looking super hot, and of course Joan Cusack in the role that landed her an Academy Award. And who can forget Alec Baldwin in his young, skinny days as the worst boyfriend ever…
2. “Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?”
Mrs Robinson. The Graduate is arguably one of Nichols’ best films and the coming of age story features one of the most famous movie quotes of all time. Anne Bancroft, slyly sneaking into the room with a young Dustin Hoffman, leading him to utter those famous words, “Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me”. In today’s time this would barely make a splash, let alone any waves, but the controversial scene is still discussed, seen, and copied today.
3. “That’s the spirit. Thank you. Thank you for your honesty. Now fuck off and die..”
I know many people who hated the movie, Closer and even more who found it mentally disturbing. So I’m not sure what it says about me that it’s one of my favorite movies. The film is riddled with hard to watch scenes and dialogue, including an interaction between Julia Roberts and husband Larry, played brilliantly by Clive Owen. The scene, which culminates with the above quote from Larry begins with him trying to get his wife to admit she cheated with Jude Law. And he eventually gets what he wants. This is one of Clive’s best roles, and again, not sure why him playing such a horrible guy had such an effect on me but in those days, I did love a bad boy.
4. “I looked at you tonight and you weren’t there… And I’m gonna howl it out, and I’m not gonna give a damn what I do and I’m gonna make the biggest god-damn explosion you’ve ever heard….”
It makes me sad that today’s generation doesn’t know about classics, choosing to make things like Lets Be Cops, and 22 Jump Street number one movies instead. But for an old soul like me who used to be exited to stay home sick from school so I could watch Esther Williams and Fred Astaire movies, the classics will always be in my present day movie library. So I couldn’t help but think about one of those classics today, the powerhouse Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, in which Mike Nichols brilliantly directed Elizabeth Taylor and the love of her life, Richard Burton as a married couple dissecting every brutal part of their relationship. All these years later, trends and technology may change but one thing never will. Relationships, and how we act inside of them.
5. …”Why don’t you leave me?… For God’s sake, I’d almost marry you if you’d leave me.” Jack Nicholson, as Jonathan in Carnal Knowledge.
Carnal Knowledge, directed by Nichols in 1971 is another classic film that bears the trademark fast-talking, quick paced dialogue surrounding relationships that has come to be, in a way, its own character in all of his movies. The movie is centered around 4 people, in college, and out of it, exploring their relationships, friendships and intimacy issues. If you haven’t seen it, check it out and see why Mike Nichols was truly a genius!
Head over to Netflix now to add all these movies and other Mike Nichols movies to your queue, and then settle in this weekend for a movie marathon!