Let’s get nostalgic for a minute. Take a trip through yesteryear–to a time before Tinder, before the advent of passive-aggressive “k”s and inscrutable emojis, before technology created the ultimate dick move: ghosting.
Before texting made us all flakier than gluten-free cobbler, breakups weren’t a vague “l8r” in the dark, but an epic feat of melodrama. Ghosting may feel spooky–one second they’re there, the next it’s as if they never existed–but a textual disappearing act could never have the same power as a deliberate, eternal exit line: The Goosebumps Walkaway.
The Goosebumps Walkaway is a cinematic staple, that final fuck you, the famous last words that would follow their hearer from here to the hereafter. As defined–very literally–by NEW GIRL’s Nick Miller: “The line that the guy says to the girl in the movie, that gives her goosebumps, and then he walks away.”
Or, fleshed out a little more poetically by Schmidt: the line “that haunts her, consumes her, rings in her ear for all of eternity, granting you…immortality.”
Basically, the Goosebumps Walkaway is the most epic of all exit lines, the words that make you shiver and then spiral hopelessly into an existential void.
These are some of the best.
**MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD**
“Here’s looking at you, kid.”
This is obviously the OG Goosebumps Walkaway, the breakup line that preceded even clichés like “it’s not you, it’s me.” “Here’s looking at you, kid” is the perfect marriage of romantic bravado and macho bullshit. What does he mean, “here’s looking at you?” Who’s looking at her? Why are they staring? Is there something on her face? And who are you calling “kid?” Yo, this is a grown-ass woman. A grown-ass woman that you have boned. Multiple times.
But still. EFFECTIVE. She’s going to pine after him hopelessly for the rest of her days, endlessly wondering: “what the fuck did that even mean?”
2. Silence of the Lambs
“Wish I could chat longer, Clarise, but I’m having an old friend for dinner.”
Not romantic, but there’s no denying that Clarisse got major chills on hearing this whammy of an exit line, and that its horrific, cannibalistic implications fueled at least a short-lived vegetarian phase. The politeness of the euphemism is almost more disturbing than if he had simply said, “Hey gotta go, I’m going to maim, murder and eat this innocent human. Byyeeeee.”
3. Love Actually
“You’ve also made a fool out of me. You’ve made the life I lead foolish.”
The most heartbreaking of walkaways, because it’s just. too. real. Severus Snape done fucked up. In two brief sentences, Emma Thompson makes crystal clear the pain her cheating husband’s caused her: he’s not only betrayed her, but made her question every life choice or value judgement she’s made. It’s the pain of every woman scorned, who has made endless sacrifices for the family she loves only to have those choices thrown back in her face. The only more heartbreaking moment in this otherwise flufftacular feel-good rom-com is when Emma Thompson listens to Jodie Mitchell in her bedroom, but I’m not even going to touch that.
Can we just revel in the pure cathartic ~coolness~ of this moment? Winona Ryder saves her school from being blown up by her psychotic (but disturbingly hot) boyfriend Christian Slater. Then, when he reveals his final plan to blow himself up, what does she say?
FUCKING NOTHING. Winona just reaches into her pocket and pulls out a cigarette.
Homegirl’s gonna watch him burn. She’s going to use his exploded remains to light her cig. She’s going to drop her ashes in his ashes.
And then he blows up, and she takes a drag.
5. Fight Club
“You are the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
Well, that about sums it up. This is something many of us would like to say to certain shitty exes–but could we do it with such stony-faced chill? Technically Marla does return a little later in the movie, but if these had been her actual last words? That guilt follows you to your grave. WELL DONE, MARLA, A+ WORK.c
6. Roman Holiday
“So happy, Mr. Bradley.”
This one is devastatingly subtle, in that the final goodbye looks like a “Hello.” After months apart, Audrey Hepburn has to pretend not to recognize the man she loved. And so she shakes his hand, breaks eye contact, and continues down the line–as if he were a total stranger. When she leaves the stage, Cary Grant clearly hopes she’ll come back when everyone else has gone, and they can abandon the act. But she doesn’t–and that final “hello” will be a thorn in his heart forever. UGH.
“You have achieved nothing, apart from one thing: the fact that you are woman will mean we have no more women presidents. Because we tried one, and she fucking sucked.”
This is the ultimate politico-personal smackdown. In one glorious rant, Amy eviscerates her boss’s every flaw, finally delivering this final, awful blow. Serena doesn’t appear fazed, but you know that this sick burn came back to haunt her her in quieter moments: beating through her brain in bed at night, whilst sitting on the cold, lonely porcelain of her toilet.
What’s your favorite Goosebump Walkway?