The Life of David Gale (2003)
David Gale: Fantasies have to be unrealistic because the moment, the second that you get what you seek, you don't, you can't want it anymore. In order to continue to exist, desire must have its objects perpetually absent. It's not the "it" that you want, it's the fantasy of "it." So, desire supports crazy fantasies. This is what Pascal means when he says that we are only truly happy when daydreaming about future happiness. Or why we say the hunt is sweeter than the kill. Or be careful what you wish for. Not because you'll get it, but because you're doomed not to want it once you do. So the lesson of Lacan is, living by your wants will never make you happy. What it means to be fully human is to strive to live by ideas and ideals and not to measure your life by what you've attained in terms of your desires but those small moments of integrity, compassion, rationality, even self-sacrifice. Because in the end, the only way that we can measure the significance of our own lives is by valuing the lives of others.
David Gale: We spend our whole life trying to stop death. Eating, inventing, loving, praying, fighting, killing. But what do we really know about death? Just that nobody comes back. Then there comes a point - a moment - in life when your mind outlives its desires, its obsessions, when your habits survive your dreams, and when your losses... Maybe death is a gift. You wonder. All I can tell you is that by this time tomorrow I'll be dead. I know when. I just cannot say why. You have 24 hours to find out.
[Governor Hardin and David Gale are engaged in a debate on Batter's Box]
Governor Hardin: Alan, let me say something I always say and I'm gonna keep on saying. And that is that I HATE killin'. That's why my administration is willing to kill to stop it.
David Gale: So, you don't subscribe to the idea that 'a good state is the one that protects its most despised members?'
Governor Hardin: It's a nice liberal idea. But, like most nice liberal ideas, naive.
David Gale: It's a quote from you, Governor. From your first state attorney campaign
Governor Hardin: [flustered] You've got me, Professor. But let me, in my defense, offer YOU a quote. Winston Churchill: 'If you're not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart, if you're still a liberal at thirty, you've got no brain.'
[studio audience laughs]
David Gale: So, basically, you feel, to choose another quote, 'society must be cleansed of elements which represent its own death.'
Governor Hardin: Well, yes. I'd have to agree.
Governor Hardin: Did I say that too?
David Gale: No, that was Hitler.
Bitsey Bloom: Hate's no fun if you keep it to yourself.
Berlin: There once was a girl named Berlin. Who wanted it now and again. Not "now and again". But Now! And again and again and again.
Berlin: Sorry about being late. There was, you know, a thing.
David Gale: Yeah, there usually is, Berlin.
Berlin: Look, I know I'm not doing too well, and, to torture a cliché, I will do anything to pass.
David Gale: Anything, huh?
Berlin: Any. Thing.
David Gale: Ok, Berlin.
[leans in close]
David Gale: I will give you a good grade, I will give you a very, very good grade if you just (whispers into her ear) study.
Bitsey Bloom: You know you are in the bible belt when there are more churches than Starbucks.
Zack: When there are more prisons than Starbucks.
Constance Harraway: You work so hard not to be seen as a sex object. Before long, you're not seen at all.
Ross: As the poets have mournfully sung/ death takes the innocent young/ the screamingly funny,/ the rolling in money,/ and those who are very well hung.
David Gale: There once was a lesbian from Cancun/ who took a young man up to her room/ where they argued all night/ as to who had the right/ to do what and how much and to whom.
David Gale: Fantasies must be unrealistic. The minute you get something, you don't, you can't, want it anymore. To exist, desire needs absent objects. So desire supports itself with crazy fantasies. This is what Pascal means when he says the only time we're truly happy is when day-dreaming about future happiness. Or why we say, 'The hunt is sweeter than the kill' or 'Be careful what you wish for.' Not because you'll get it, but because you're doomed not to want it if you do. Think about it next time you're at a wedding.
Braxton Belyeu: I'm no more afraid of the Grim Reaper than I am of a Presbyterian on Mother's Day.
David Gale: They wanted me to die, knowing the key to my freedom was out there somewhere!
Bitsey Bloom: Of course he sympathizes with murderers... he is one!
David Gale: How do we start?
Bitsey Bloom: We start with... you telling me what I'm doing here.
David Gale: No one who looks through that glass sees a person. They see a crime. I'm not David Gale. I'm a murderer and a rapist... four days shy of his execution.
Constance Harraway: You wanna tell me what's up?
David Gale: Nothing. Everything. Something profoundly stupid happened last night.
Constance Harraway: I hope you used a condom.
[David looks at Constance]
Constance Harraway: Oh Jesus Christ, David. Was she one of yours?
David Gale: It was Berlin.
Constance Harraway: Oh great! Oh, that's great. I can hear the grapevine now. "They had to suspend her so that Gale could dick her with a conscience." A power differential equals coercion. That is great. You're so weak!
David Gale: You know, you're not my wife, Constance. Thank God!
Constance Harraway: Oh, well, don't worry. It's not a position I aspire to, so fuck you.
Berlin: Did I tell you that when you were circumcised they threw away the wrong part?
David Gale: Yes, I believe you mentioned it. It's called schmuck.
David Gale: Part of the foreskin they throw away after circumcision, I believe it is called schmuck.
Berlin: Aren't we so fucking clever.
Constance Harraway: The TA just finished transcribing all the governor's radio and TV comments. Listen to this gem: Journalist - "Governor, don't you think three executions in one week is a little excessive?" Governor - "I say let's bring them in, strap them down, and rock and roll."
David Gale: Oh, it's good to know our governor is in touch with his inner frat boy.
David Gale: [Giving a lecture to his college students] Fantasies have to be unrealistic. Because the minute- the second- that you get what you want, you don't- you can't- want it anymore.
David Gale: [while drunk] Socrates was ugly, Plato was fat, and, um, and Aristotle was a prissy dresser!
Constance Harraway: Stop that!
David Gale: What?
Constance Harraway: Active listening, I hate active listeners. I always feel like they're to busy *pretending* to be listening to hear what I'm saying.
David Gale: I can listen and actively listen at the same time. I'm good at that.
Constance Harraway: [giving an anti-death penalty speech] When you kill someone, you rob their family - not just of a loved one, but of their humanity. You harden their hearts with hate, you take away their capacity for civilized dispassion, you condemn them to bloodlust. It's a cruel and horrible thing, but indulging that hate will *never* help. The damage is done, and once we've had our pound of flesh, we're still hungry. We leave the death house muttering that lethal injection was just too good for them. In the end, a civilized society must live with a hard truth: he who seeks revenge digs two graves.