Sunday, April 08, 2007

what we have here is...

I love discovering a classic that I'd somehow missed until now. Tonight I finally saw Cool Hand Luke in its entirety, and I'd have to put it in my all-time top ten. Paul Newman's Luke is the ideal anti-hero, and the film is the prison-movie antithesis of feel-good fare like The Shawshank Redemption. Plus it has some memorable lines. There's the classic "What we have here is a failure to communicate!" (This one is #11 in the AFI's list of the top 100 American movie quotes of the last 100 years.) And then there's my personal favorite, Luke's line in the poker-game scene that gives him his nickname: "Sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

Then perhaps best of all, there's the song "Plastic Jesus," which I first heard my cousins singing when I was probably ten. Later, I heard the Flaming Lips' version, released on their 1993 album Transmissions from the Satellite Heart. But I'd never heard Luke sing it until now.

Plastic Jesus


Trad., arr. Ed Rush and George Cromarty


Well, I don't care if it rains or freezes,
Long as I have my plastic Jesus
Riding on the dashboard of my car
Through all trials and tribulations,
We will travel every nation,
With my plastic Jesus I'll go far.

CHORUS
Plastic Jesus, plastic Jesus
Riding on the dashboard of my car
Through my trials and tribulations,
And my travels through the nations,
With my plastic Jesus I'll go far.

I don't care if it rains or freezes
As long as I've got my Plastic Jesus
Glued to the dashboard of my car,
You can buy Him phosphorescent
Glows in the dark, He's pink and pleasant,
Take Him with you when you're traveling far

I don't care if it's dark or scary
Long as I have magnetic Mary
Ridin' on the dashboard of my car
I feel I'm protected amply
I've got the whole damn Holy Family
Riding on the dashboard of my car

You can buy a Sweet Madonna
Dressed in rhinestones sitting on a
Pedestal of abalone shell
Goin' ninety, I'm not wary
'Cause I've got my Virgin Mary
Guaranteeing I won't go to Hell

I don't care if it bumps or jostles
Long as I got the Twelve Apostles
Bolted to the dashboard of my car
Don't I have a pious mess
Such a crowd of holiness
Strung across the dashboard of my car.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Since I, too, am such a big Cool Hand Luke fan, I feel compelled to tell you that the line is, "What we've GOT here is a failure to communicate."

Feel like eating any hard boiled eggs lately?