Lion: You don’t have to hit people. Not if you can make ’em laugh.
Max Millan: Bullshit.
Lion: Hey Max, you heard the story of the scarecrow?
Max Millan: No.
Lion: You think crows are scared of a scarecrow?
Max Millan: Yeah, I think they’re scared.
Lion: Yeah why? No, crows are not scared, believe me.
Max Millan: The goddamn crows are scared.
Lion: No, crows are laughin’.
Max Millan: Nah, that’s bullshit. . .
Lion: That’s right, the crows are laughin’. Look, the farmer puts out a scarecrow, right, with a funny hat on it, got a funny face. The crows fly by, they see that, it strikes ’em funny, makes ’em laugh.
Max Millan: The goddamn crows are laughin’?
Lion: That’s right, they’re laughin’ their asses off. And then they say, “Well, that ol’ farmer Joe down there, he’s a pretty good guy. He made us laugh, so he won’t bother him any more.”
Max Millan: The goddamn crows are laughin’. . .
Lion: Ohh, they laughin’, woooo!
Max Millan: I gotta tell ya somethin’, that’s the most hare-brained idea I’ve ever heard.
Lion: Well, it’s true, they’re laughin’ their asses off.
Max Millan: The crows are laughin’. . .yeah. . .oh, man. . .I guess the fish are reciting poetry. . .
Lion: I guess so.
Max Millan: Uh huh. . .and the uh, pigs are playin’ banjo? And the dogs would be, let’s see, uh. . .would be playin’ hockey. And the uh. . .the uh. . .
Lion: Crows are laughin’.
Max Millan: Crows are laughin’, right. Ya know, in the joint I’ve heard some tales, oh boy, golly I’ve heard some tall tales. But at least those guys had the decency to admit that it was bullshit, you know what I mean? They actually uh, they took pride, pride in that it was bullshit. But the crows are laughin’ huh? Oh, brother, heee. . .I mean you’re not playin’ with a full deck man, you got one foot in the great beyond.
I think the first time I saw this film was on a hot August afternoon. I do know it was sometime in 2008 because it was the summer I moved to San Francisco the first time and I did a lot of Netflixing that summer. It was right around the same time I saw Sunset Blvd. for the first time. It was a good summer. This is a film just chock full of talent and energy and heart and soul and gravity and gaiety. It’s got everything. If you Google around, you can read about the events on which it was based; I won’t be discussing them here. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning one: Best Film Editing (for Dede Allen, who was nominated for threes Oscars, though she never won and was in and of herself a ig player in the Hollywood New Wave), Best Supporting Actor Chris Sarandon, Best Actor Al Pacino, Best Original Screenplay Frank Pierson (won; more on this in a bit), Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Barry Lyndon, Jaws, Nashville and winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There will be many spoilers after the cut.