Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Professor Jules Hilbert: No, why did you change the book?
Kay Eiffel: Lots of reasons. I realized I just couldn't do it.
Professor Jules Hilbert: Because he's real?
Kay Eiffel: Because it's a book about a man who doesn't know he's about to die and then dies. But if the man does know he's going to die and dies anyway, dies willingly, knowing he could stop it, then... I mean, isn't that the type of man you want to keep alive?
Harold Crick: Ten seconds ago you said you wouldn't help me.
Professor Jules Hilbert: It's been a very revealing ten seconds, Harold.
Harold Crick: [to Ana] This may sound like gibberish to you, but I think I'm in a tradgedy.
Professor Jules Hilbert: Aren't you relieved to know you're not a Golem?
Harold Crick: Yes. I am relieved to know that I am not a Golem.
Professor Jules Hilbert: Good.
Professor Jules Hilbert: [sighs] Do you have magical powers?
Harold Crick: [crying] You're asking me to knowingly face my death?
Professor Jules Hilbert: Yes.
Harold Crick: Really?
Professor Jules Hilbert: Yes.
Penny Escher: And I suppose you smoked all these cigarettes?
Kay Eiffel: No, they came pre-smoked.
Penny Escher: Yeah, they said you were funny.
Harold Crick: How are you?
Ana Pascal: I'm lousy. I'm being audited.
Harold Crick: Of course.
Ana Pascal: By a real creep too.
Harold Crick: I think I owe you an apology.
Ana Pascal: Really?
Harold Crick: IRS agents, we're given rigorous aptitude tests before we can work. Unfortunately for you, we aren't tested on tact or good manners, so I apologize.
Harold Crick: I ogled you. Sorry.
Ana Pascal: Okay, apology accepted. But only because you stammered.
Penny Escher: [They are in a hospital ward surround by lots of sick and injured people] What are we doing here? I don't even think we're supposed to *be* in here.
Kay Eiffel: You told me I needed visual stimulation.
Penny Escher: Yeah, I meant a museum or something.
Kay Eiffel: I don't *need* a museum. I need the infirm.
Penny Escher: [slightly under her breath] You *are* the infirm.
Harold Crick: Big flag-burning to get to?
Ana Pascal: Actually, it's my weekly evil-conspiracy and needlepoint group. You wanna come?
Harold Crick: I left my thimbles and socialist reading material at home.
Kay Eiffel: What's this?
Penny Escher: It's literature on the nicotine patch.
Kay Eiffel: I don't need a nicotine patch, Penny. I smoke cigarettes.
Penny Escher: Well, it may help.
Kay Eiffel: May help? Help what? Help what, Penny? Help write a novel?
Penny Escher: May help save your life.
Kay Eiffel: I'm not in the business of saving lives.
[spits into tissue to Penny's disgust, and puts cigarette in tissue]
Kay Eiffel: In fact, just the opposite.
[wipes water out of eye]
Ana Pascal: I won't be paying, Mr. Crick. No matter how big the percent.
Harold Crick: No, I know. But the percent determines how big your cell is.
Harold Crick: You keep your files like this?
Ana Pascal: No, actually I'm quite fastidious. I put them in this box just to screw with you.
Kay Eiffel: [narrating] It wasn't just about finding a guitar. It was about finding a guitar that said something about Harold. Unfortunately, this guitar said: "When I get back to Georgia, that woman gonna feel my pain." This one said something along the lines of: "Why, yes, these pants are Lycra." These said, "I'm very sensitive, very caring and I have absolutely no idea how to play the guitar." "I'm compensating for something. Guess what." And then Harold saw it.
Penny Escher: Man in tweed?
Kay Eiffel: There's nothing wrong with him, he just likes looking at sick people.
Penny Escher: Oddly spoken with disdain.
Kay Eiffel: [Penny goes to answer phone] Don't answer that!
Penny Escher: Didn't you say this phone never r - ?
Kay Eiffel: Shh!
[types another sentence; the phone rings and she runs to answer it]
Kay Eiffel: Hello?
Harold Crick: Is this Karen Eiffel?
Kay Eiffel: Yes.
Harold Crick: My name is Harold Crick. I believe you're writing a story about me.
Kay Eiffel: I'm sorry?
Harold Crick: My name is Harold Crick.
Kay Eiffel: Is this a joke?
Harold Crick: No. No, I work for the IRS. My name, Miss Eiffel, is Harold Crick. When I go through the files at work I hear a deep and endless ocean.
Kay Eiffel: [gasps; drops phone in terror] Oh, G - !
Harold Crick: Miss Eiffel?
Kay Eiffel: [sees Harold for the first time] Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
Harold Crick: Miss Eiffel?
Kay Eiffel: Your hair. Your eyes. Your fingers. Your shoes.
Harold Crick: Hello. I'm Harold Crick.
Kay Eiffel: I know.
Professor Jules Hilbert: No one wants to die, Harold, but unfortunately we do. Harold, you will die someday, sometime. Heart failure at the bank. Choke on a mint. Some long, drawn-out disease you contracted on vacation. You will die. You will absolutely die. Even if you avoid this death, another will find you and I guarantee that it won't be nearly as poetic or meaningful as what she's written.
Penny Escher: I'm Penny Escher. I'm the assistant your publishers hired.
Kay Eiffel: The spy.
Penny Escher: The assistant. I provide the same services as a secretary.
Kay Eiffel: I don't need a secretary.
Penny Escher: Then I will have to find some other way of occupying my time.
Kay Eiffel: Like watching me like a vulture in case I get distracted, because they, the publishers, think I have writer's block, isn't that right?
Penny Escher: Do you have writer's block?
[Kay doesn't answer]
Kay Eiffel: [narrating] Why was Harold talking to this man? This man was an idiot.
Ana Pascal: Mr. Crick, it was a really awful day. I know, I made sure of it. So pick up the cookie, dip it in the milk, and eat it.
Professor Jules Hilbert: [walking to pool] Some plots are moved forward by external events and crises. Others are moved forward by the characters themselves. If I go through that door, the plot continues. The story of me through the door. If I stay here the plot can't move forward, the story ends. Also if I stay here, I'm late.
Harold Crick: You have to understand that this isn't a philosophy or a literary theory or a story to me. It's my life.
Professor Jules Hilbert: Absolutely. So just go make it the one you've always wanted.
Kay Eiffel: Little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.
Professor Jules Hilbert: The last thing to determine conclusively is whether you're in a comedy or a tragedy.To quote Italo Calvino, "The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death." Tragedy, you die. Comedy, you get hitched.
Kay Eiffel: ...It came to me.
Penny Escher: How?
Kay Eiffel: Well, Penny, like anything worth writing it came inexplicably and without method.
Harold Crick: What do these questions have to do with anything?
Professor Jules Hilbert: Nothing. The only way to find out what story you're in is to determine what stories you're not in. Odd as it may seem, I've just ruled out half of Greek literature, seven fairy tales, ten Chinese fables, and determined conclusively that you are not King Hamlet, Scout Finch, Miss Marple, Frankenstein's monster, or a golem. Hmm? Aren't you relieved to know you're not a golem?
Harold Crick: Yes, I am relieved to know that I am not a golem.
Penny Escher: [sitting on bench under an umbrella] May I ask what we're doing out here?
Kay Eiffel: [sitting next to Penny without an umbrella] We're imagining car wrecks.
Penny Escher: I see. And we can't imagine car wrecks inside?
Kay Eiffel: No. Did you know that 41 percent of accidents occur in times of inclement weather?
Penny Escher: So do 90 percent of pneumonia cases.
Kay Eiffel: Really? Pneumonia. That's an interesting way to die. But how would Harold catch pneumonia?
Penny Escher: Have you written anything new today?
Kay Eiffel: No.
Penny Escher: Did you read the poems I suggested, or make a list of words, buy new typing paper, anything?
Kay Eiffel: No, none of it.
Penny Escher: Sitting in the rain won't write books.
Kay Eiffel: Excuse me, where are the dying people? Most of these people are sick or injured - Which is great, don't get me wrong. But they're gonna get better, which doesn't really help me. Is there any way to see the people who aren't going to get better?
Head ER Nurse: Excuse me?
Kay Eiffel: I'd like to see, if at all possible, the ones who aren't going to make it. You know, the dead-for-sure ones.
Head ER Nurse: I'm sorry, are you suffering from anything?
Kay Eiffel: [shrugs] Just writer's block.
Professor Jules Hilbert: You dislike your work?
Harold Crick: Yes.
Professor Jules Hilbert: Well, not the most insightful voice in the world, is it? First thing on the list of what Americans say they hate: work; second, traffic; third, missing socks. See what I'm saying?
Professor Jules Hilbert: Meeting an insurance agent the day your policy runs out is coincidence. Getting a letter from the emperor saying he's visiting is plot. Having your apartment eaten by a wrecking ball... is something else entirely. Harold, you don't control your fate.