I love great writing, whether in a magazine, a book, a speech or a movie.
Last night, I put on “Hell or High Water,” from 2016, starring Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Dale Dickey, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham. It’s a story about brothers who go about paying off their late mom’s reverse mortgage by robbing the bank that holds the mortgage, and a pair of Texas Rangers who race from bank branch to branch to catch them.
There is an unforgettable scene where the Rangers, played by Bridges (Marcus Hamilton) and Birmingham (Alberto Parker), walk into a restaurant and have to deal with a no-nonsense waitress in order to get food. The server is played by Margaret Bowman. Taylor Sheridan is the credited screenwriter. Quote is courtesy of IMDb:
Marcus Hamilton: Howdy ma’am. How are you doing today?
T-Bone Waitress: Hot. And I don’t mean the good kind. So, what don’t you want?
Marcus Hamilton: Pardon?
T-Bone Waitress: What don’t you want?
Marcus Hamilton: Oh, well, uh. I think I’ll just, uh…
T-Bone Waitress: You know. I’ve been working here for 44 years. Ain’t nobody ever ordered nothing but T-Bone steak and a baked potato. Except this one asshole from New York tried to order trout back in 1987. We don’t sell no goddamned trout. T-Bone steaks. So either you don’t want the corn on the cob, or you don’t want the green beans. So what don’t you want?
Marcus Hamilton: I don’t want green beans.
Alberto Parker: I don’t want green beans either.
T-Bone Waitress: Steaks cooked medium rare.
Alberto Parker: Can I get my steak cooked just a…
T-Bone Waitress: That weren’t no question.
Alberto Parker: All right.
T-Bone Waitress: Iced tea for you boys.
Alberto Parker: Iced tea’d be great.
Marcus Hamilton: Iced tea, yep. Thank you ma’am.
T-Bone Waitress: Uh-huh.
(After she walks away….)
Marcus Hamilton: Well I’ll tell you one thing. Nobody’s gonna rob this son of bitch.
Alberto Parker: My word.
If you’ve not seen this film, find it. This scene just makes me howl with laughter. Brilliantly written and acted.