Tag: commitment

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Today’s Movie Quote Stuck in My Head comes from “Keeping the Faith,” the 2000 film starring Ben Stiller, Edward Norton and Jenna Elfman. They play childhood friends who grow up to be, in order, a rabbi, a priest and a businesswoman.

At one point, Norton’s character, Father Brian Finn, is struggling with his feelings for Elfman’s character, Anna Riley. Finn looks to the pastor of his church, Father Havel, played by longtime actor, writer and director Milos Forman. Father Havel shares his personal stories of inner conflict with Father Finn before getting to the heart of the matter.

“The truth is, you can never tell yourself that there is only one thing you could be. If you’re a priest, or if you marry a woman, it’s the same challenge: You cannot make a real commitment unless you accept that it’s a choice that you keep making again and again and again.”

Whether that line was the work of writer Stuart Blumberg or was improvised on the set, it’s a powerful statement about the true nature of commitment. I’ve forgotten the specific context, but I quoted the line years ago in a sports story, one that took a look at dedication to a goal or series of goals, as well as to teammates. I imagined it seemed largely out of place to many readers, but the idea that commitment is a choice we keep making again and again and again, every day of our lives, is true of all of us, regardless of our place in the world.

As I was channel surfing, I saw that “Keeping the Faith” was on, and I heard that quote again, and now it’s rattling around inside my head again.

Back to the cast, here are some other names you may have heard of: Anne Bancroft, Eli Wallach, Holland Taylor and Lisa Edelstein, among other wonderful supporting players. It doesn’t hurt one bit that the movie begins with Father Brian walking the streets of New York as this song from the soundtrack plays behind the opening credits.

So, there it is, the movie quote stuck in my head today, perhaps to be replaced only by the song above.


“Movie Quote Stuck in My Head” is self-explanatory, but it’s more than that. It’s a chance to dig inside an old quote for new meaning, or a new quote for an old truth, or to chew on a line for fun or sustenance. It’s also inspired by and a tribute to “Real Time Song Stuck in My Head,” a popular feature on the Twitter feed of the late Craig Stanke, a former editor for CBSSports.com and, for too short a time, a leader by example to me during my time working there.