Barton Fink (1991)
Charlie Meadows: Look upon me! I'll show you the life of the mind!
Barton Fink: Have you read the Bible, Pete?
Pete: Holy Bible?
Barton Fink: Yeah.
Pete: Yeah, I think so. Anyway, I've heard about it.
Barton Fink: I gotta tell you, the life of the mind... There's no roadmap for that territory... And exploring it can be painful.
Ben Geisler: Look, you confused? You need guidance? Talk to another writer.
Barton Fink: Who?
Ben Geisler: Jesus, throw a rock in here, you'll hit one. And do me a favor, Fink: throw it hard.
Charlie Meadows: What a day. Felt like I couldn't sell ice water in the Sahara.
Beauty: It's a beautiful day.
Barton Fink: Huh?
Beauty: I said it's a beautiful day.
Barton Fink: Yes. It is.
Beauty: What's in the box?
Barton Fink: I don't know.
Beauty: Isn't it yours?
Barton Fink: I don't know. You're very beautiful. Are you in pictures?
Beauty: Don't be silly.
Charlie Meadows: You think I made your life hell? Take a look around this dump. You're just a tourist with a typewriter, Barton. I live here.
Barton Fink: [at the USO club] I'm a writer, you monsters! I create! I create for a living! I'm a creator! I am a creator!
[points to his head]
Barton Fink: This is my uniform! This is how I serve the common man!
Charlie Meadows: I could tell you stories to curl your hair, but it looks like you've already heard 'em.
Charlie Meadows: And I could tell you some stories...
Barton Fink: Sure you could and yet many writers do everything in their power to insulate themselves from the common man, from where they live, from where they trade, from where they fight and love and converse and... and... So naturally their work suffers and regresses into empty formalism and... well, I'm spouting off again, but to put it in your language, the theatre becomes as phony as a three-dollar bill.
Charlie Meadows: Well, I guess that's a tragedy right there.
Detective Deutsch: All right, forget the heads. Where's Mundt, Fink?
Detective Mastrionotti: He teach you how to do it?
Detective Deutsch: You two have some sick sex thing?
Barton Fink: Sex? He's a man! We wrestled!
Detective Mastrionotti: You're a sick fuck, Fink.
Barton Fink: I've always found that writing comes from a great inner pain.
Barton Fink: Who cares about the fifth Earl of Bathsdrop and Lady Higgenbottom and... and... who killed Nigel Grinchgibbons?
Charlie Meadows: I can feel my butt gettin' sore already!
Jack Lipnick: We're only interested in one thing, Bart. Can you tell a story? Can you make us laugh? Can you make us cry? Can you make us want to break out in joyous song? Is that more than one thing? Okay!
Jack Lipnick: Look Bart, barring a preference we're going to put you on a wrestling picture, Wallace Beery. I say this because they tell me you know the poetry of the streets, so that would rule out westerns, pirate pictures, screwball, Bible, Roman... look, I'm not one of those guys who thinks poetic has got to be fruity. We're together on that aren't we? I mean I'm from New York myself, well, Minsk if you want to go all the way back. Which we won't, if you don't mind and I ain't asking. Now people are going to say to you, Wallace Beery, wrestling, it's a B picture. You tell them: BULLSHIT! We do NOT make B pictures here at Capitol. Let's put a stop to that rumor RIGHT now!
Detective Mastrionotti: Started in Kansas City. Couple of housewives.
Detective Deutsch: Couple days ago we see the same M.O. out in Los Feliz.
Detective Mastrionotti: Doctor. Ear, nose and throat man.
Detective Deutsch: All of which he's now missin'.
Detective Mastrionotti: Well, some of his throat was there.
Detective Deutsch: Physician, heal thyself.
Detective Mastrionotti: Good luck with no fuckin' head.
Detective Deutsch: Anyway.
Detective Deutsch: [questioning Fink about Mundt] What else?
Barton Fink: Trying to think. Nothing, really. He... he said he liked Jack Oakie pictures.
Detective Mastrionotti: You know, ordinarily we say anything you might remember could be helpful. But I'll be frank with you, Fink. That is not helpful.
Detective Deutsch: Notice how he's not writing it down?
W.P. Mayhew: I close my eyes I can almost smell the live oak.
Audrey Taylor: That's chicken fat, Bill.
W.P. Mayhew: Well, my olfactory's turning womanish on me; lying and deceitful.
Garland Stanford: The common man will still be here when you get back. Who knows, there may even be one or two of them in Hollywood.
Barton Fink: That's a rationalization, Garland.
Garland Stanford: Barton, it was a joke.
Jack Lipnick: It's supposed to be about big men! In tights! Both physically and mentally!
Jack Lipnick: I run this dump, and I don't know the technical mumbo-jumbo. Why do I run it? Cause I got horse sense goddamit, SHOWMANSHIP! And also I hope Lou told you this, I am bigger and meaner and louder than any other kike in this town. Did you tell him that Lou? And I don't mean my dick is bigger than yours, it's not a sexual thing. You're a writer, you know more about that. Coffee?
Ben Geisler: Mayhew, some help, the guy's a souse!
Barton Fink: He's a great writer.
Ben Geisler: A great souse!
Barton Fink: You don't understand.
Ben Geisler: Souse!
Barton Fink: He's in pain, because he can't write...
Ben Geisler: Souse! Souse! Can't write? He manages to write his name on the back of his paycheck every week!
[in an off-screen drunken rampage]
W.P. Mayhew: Honey! Where's my honey?
Ben Geisler: Think about it, Fink! Writers come and go; we always need Indians!
Detective Mastrionotti: Fink. That's a Jewish name, isn't it?
Barton Fink: Yeah.
Detective Mastrionotti: Yeah, I didn't think this dump was restricted.
Poppy Carnahan: I don't pretend to be a critic, but lord knows I have a gut, and my gut tells me it's simply marvelous.
Richard St. Claire: And a charming gut it is.
Poppy Carnahan: Oh, you dog.
Ben Geisler: What Ted Oakam doesn't know you could almost squeeze into the Hollywood Bowl.
Barton Fink: W.P. Mayhew? The writer?
W.P. Mayhew: Just Bill, please.
Barton Fink: Bill! You're the finest novelist of our time.
Charlie Meadows: Sometimes it gets so hot I want to crawl right out of my skin.
Charlie Meadows: I pulled off early today. Took your advice, went to a doctor about this ear. He says "You have an ear infection, ten dollars please." So I says "I told you I had an ear infection, you give me ten dollars!" Well, that started an argument.
Barton Fink: I'm sorry if I let you down.
Jack Lipnick: You didn't let me down, Fink, or even Lou. We don't live or die by what you scribble. You let Ben Geisler down. He liked you, trusted you... and that's why he's gone, he's fired. That man had a heart as big as the all outdoors and you fucked him.
Charlie Meadows: Yeah... Ladies do ask for attention. In my experience, they pretend to give it, but it's generally a smokescreen for demanding it back with interest.
Barton Fink: Shouldn't your first duty be to your gift?
W.P. Mayhew: I pays my baby love and she pays me back with pity. The basest coin there is...
Chet: Are you a trans or a res?
Barton Fink: Excuse me?
Chet: Transient or resident?
Barton Fink: Oh, I don't know. I'll be here indefinitely.
Chet: Res. That'll be $25.50 a week payable in advance. Checkout time is twelve sharp, but you can forget about that on account of you're a res. Now if you need anything, anything at all, just pick up your personal in-room telephone and talk to me. My name is Chet. Although we do provide privacy for the residential guests, we are also a full-service hotel including complementary shoeshine. My name is Chet.
[writes his name on a slip of paper in capital letters with an exclamation point and passes it to Barton]
Barton Fink: Thanks...
Detective Mastrionotti: What do you do, Fink?
Barton Fink: I write.
Detective Deutsch: Oh, yeah? What kind of write?
Barton Fink: Well, as a matter of fact I write for the pictures.
Detective Mastrionotti: Big fuckin' deal.
Detective Deutsch: You want my partner to kiss your ass?
Detective Mastrionotti: Would that be good enough for you?
Barton Fink: No, I-I didn't mean to sound...
Detective Deutsch: What did you mean?
Barton Fink: I-I've got respect for-for working guys, like you...
Detective Mastrionotti: Jesus, ain't that a load off!
W.P. Mayhew: Mister Fink, they have not invented a genre of picture that Bill Mayhew has not, at one time or other, been invited to essay. Yes, I have taken my stab at the rasslin' form, as I have stabbed at so many others, and with as little success. I gather that you are a freshman here, eager for an upperclassman's counsel. However, just at the moment, I have drinking to do. Why don't you stop by my bungalow, which is number fifteen, later on this afternoon, and we will discuss rasslin' scenarios and other things lit'rary.
Charlie Meadows: Hell, you've got it made writing for the pictures, beating out that competition, and me being patronizing! Is the egg showing or what?
Charlie Meadows: The doctor, what's he gonna tell me? Can't trade my head in for a new one.
Charlie Meadows: Beery wrestling picture? Could be a pip, could be a pip.
W.P. Mayhew: Me I just enjoy making things up. Yessah escape. Its when I can't write I can't escape myself, I want to rip my head off and run screaming down the street with my balls in a fruit pickers pail.
W.P. Mayhew: [singing] Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay, gone are my friends from the cotton fields away, gone from the earth to a better land I know, I hear the gentle voices calling, old black Joe. I'm coming I'm coming, oh my head is bending low, I hear the gentle... the truth my honey is a tart that does not bear scrutiny. Breach my levee at your own peril!
Barton Fink: I don't like to discuss works in progress. If I let the words tumble out prematurely, it changes it, and I may never get it back.
W.P. Mayhew: Did I ever tell you the story of Solomon's Mammy?
Barton Fink: That son of a bitch! Don't get me wrong, he's a fine writer.
Detective Deutsch: [holding a photo] You know this slob?
Barton Fink: [long pause] Yeah, he... he lives next door to me.
Detective Mastrionotti: That's right, Fink, he lives next door to you.
Detective Mastrionotti: You live in 621?
Barton Fink: Yeah.
Detective Deutsch: How long you been up there, Fink?
Barton Fink: A week, eight, nine days.
Detective Mastrionotti: Is this multiple choice?
Charlie Meadows: Listen to me belly achin', like my problems add up to a hill of beans.
Ben Geisler: Wallace Beery. Wrestling picture. What do you need, a roadmap?
Jack Lipnick: We don't put Wallace Beery in some fruity movie about suffering. I thought we were together on that.
Ben Geisler: [on phone] I've got a writer here - Fink - all screwy! Says I'm producing that Wallace Beery wrestling picture. What am I, the goddamn janitor around here?
W.P. Mayhew: I'm buildin' up a levy one brick at a time...
Barton Fink: I wanna know how many of his books you've written!
Charlie Meadows: Well, I could really tell you some stories.
Jack Lipnick: You ain't no writer, Fink, you're a goddamned write-off.
Charlie Meadows: Barton did you have
Charlie Meadows: sexual intercourse?
[Barton is silent]
Charlie Meadows: Damn, they can tell that...
Barton Fink: I'm having a little trouble getting started.
Ben Geisler: Started? Christ Jesus you mean you don't have anything yet?
Barton Fink: You're the only person in Los Angeles that I can talk to.
Barton Fink: I guess this all sounds pretty fatuous to you?
Charlie Meadows: No, it's damned interesting.
Barton Fink: My God, I had no idea you were in Hollywood.
W.P. Mayhew: All of us undomesticated writers eventually make our way out here to the Great Salt Lick.
[takes the cap off of an alcohol flask]
W.P. Mayhew: That's probably why I always have such a powerful thirst.
[after Mundt has killed two officers and supernaturally lit the hallways on fire, he returns back to Barton's room now as Charlie; as he enters, he puts the shotgun up on the door frame]
Charlie Meadows: Barton. Brother, is it hot. How you been, buddy?
[Barton's too terrified to speak]
Charlie Meadows: Well, don't go looking at me like that. It's just me... Charlie.
Barton Fink: I hear these days it's Mundt. Madman Mundt.
Charlie Meadows: Jesus, people can be cruel. If it's not my build, it's my personality.
Charlie Meadows: They say I'm a madman, Bart, but I'm not mad at anyone. Honest, I'm not. Most guys I just feel sorry for. It tears me up inside to think about what they're going through, how trapped they are. I understand it. I feel for them. So I try and help them out.
[dabs at his sweating face with a handkerchief]
Charlie Meadows: Jesus.
Barton Fink: Yeah.
Charlie Meadows: Yeah. I know what it feels like when things get all balled up at the head office. They put you though Hell, Barton. So I help people out. I just wish someone would do as much for me.
[dabs again at his sweating face]
Charlie Meadows: Jesus, it's hot. Sometimes it gets so hot, I want to crawl right out of my skin.
Barton Fink: But, Charlie, why me? Why --?
Charlie Meadows: [as Mundt] Because you DON'T LISTEN!
[reverts back to Charlie persona]
Charlie Meadows: Jesus. I'm dripping again.
[dabs at himself again]
Charlie Meadows: Come on, Barton. You think you know pain? You think I made your life Hell? Look around this dump. You're just a tourist with a typewriter. I *live* here. Don't you understand that? And you come into my home... and you complain... that I'm making too much noise.
Barton Fink: I'm sorry.
Charlie Meadows: Don't be. I'll be in the next door if you need me.
[starts to leave]
Charlie Meadows: Oh... I dropped in on your folks in New York. And Uncle Maury. Good people. By the way, that package I gave you? I lied. It isn't mine.