Clicking on to the IMDb this morning, I was greeted by the usual list of celebrity birthdays. Among them was Barry Corbin, who today reaches the age of 70. Prior to 2007, Corbin would have most likely been remembered by the general public for Northern Exposure (and by the smaller geekier class for WarGames). But with No Country For Old Men, he took a one-scene role, and the incredible dialog therein, and marked for himself a place in cinema history. Of course, that's my own humble opinion (scene starts at five minute mark):
Ellis: "In back!"
Bell: "How'd you know I was here?"
Ellis: "Who else'd be driving up in your truck?"
Bell: "You heard it?"
Ellis: "How's that?"
Bell: "You hear my - you're havin fun with me."
Ellis: "What give you that idea. I'd seen one of them cats heard it."
Bell: "Well how'd you know it was my truck? "
Ellis: "I deduced it, when you walked in."
Bell: "How many a them things you got now?"
Ellis: "Cats? Well, I don't know. Several. Well, it depends on what you mean by got. Some of 'em are half-wild, and some of 'em are just outlaws."
Bell: "How you been, Ellis?"
Ellis: "You're lookin at it. I got to say... you're lookin' older."
Bell: "I am older."
Ellis: "Got a letter from your wife. She writes me pretty regular, keeps me up on the family news."
Bell: "Didn't know there was any."
Ellis: "Told me you're quittin."
(Sheriff Bell heads toward the kitchen counter.)
Bell: "You want a cup?"
Ellis: "'Preciate it."
Bell: "How fresh is that coffee?"
Ellis: "I generally make a fresh pot ever week even if there's some left over."
Bell: "That man that shot you died in prison?"
Ellis: "In Angola. Yeah."
Bell: "What would you a done if he'd been released?"
Ellis: "Oh, I don't know. Nothin. Wouldn't be no point in it."
Bell: "I'm kindly surprised to hear you say that."
Ellis: "Well, all the time you spend tryin to get back what's been took from you there's more goin out the door. After a while you just have to try and get a tourniquet on it. Your granddad never asked me to sign on as a deputy. Loretta tells me you're quittin. How come're you doin that?"
Bell: "I don't know. I feel overmatched. I always figured when I got older God would sort of come into my life in somehow. He didn't. I don't blame him. If I was him I'd have the same opinion of me that he does."
Ellis: "You don't know what he thinks."
Ellis: "I sent Uncle Mac's thumbbuster and badge over to the Rangers, to put it in their museum. Your daddy ever tell you how Uncle Mac come to his reward? Gunned down on his own porch over in Hudspeth County. Seven or eight of 'em come up there. Wantin this and wantin that. Uncle Mac went back in the house to get the shotgun, but they was ahead of him. Shot him in his doorway. Aunt Ella come out and tried to stop the bleedin. Uncle Mac all the while tryin to get that shotgun. They just set there on their horses watchin him die. After awhile one of 'em says somethin in Injun and they turned and left out. Uncle Mac knew the score even if Aunt Ella didn't. Shot through the left lung and that was that. As they say."
Bell: "When did he die?"
Ellis: "Nineteen zero and uh, nine..."
Bell: "No, I mean was it right away or in the night or when was it?"
Ellis: "I believe it was that night. She buried him the next mornin. Diggin in that hard old caliche. What you got ain't nothin new. This country is hard on people. You can't stop what's comin. Ain't all waitin on you. That's vanity."