The Accidental Tourist (film)

1988 film by Lawrence Kasdan

The Accidental Tourist is a 1988 film about an emotionally distant writer of travel guides who must carry on with his life after his son is killed and his marriage crumbles.

Directed by Lawrence Kasdan. Written by Frank Galati and Lawrence Kasdan, based on the novel by Anne Tyler.

Macon Leary

  • The business traveler should bring only what fits in a carry-on bag. Checking your luggage is asking for trouble. Add several travel-size packets of detergent so you won't fall into the hands of unfamiliar laundries. There are very few necessities in this world which do not come in travel-size packets. One suit is plenty, if you take along travel-size packets of spot remover. The suit should be medium gray. Gray not only hides the dirt but is handy for sudden funerals. Always bring a book as protection against strangers. Magazines don't last, and newspapers from elsewhere remind you you don't belong. But don't take more than one book. It is a common mistake to overestimate one's potential free time, and consequently over-pack. In travel, as in most of life, less is invariably more. And most importantly, never take along anything on your journey so valuable or dear that its loss would devastate you.
  • Last year, I exp... I lost... I experienced a loss. I lost... I lost my son. He was just... he went into a hamburger joint and someone came, a hold-up man, and shot him. I can't go to dinner with people. I can't... can't talk to their little boys. You have to stop asking me. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I'm just not up to this. Do you hear? Every day, I tell myself it's time to be getting over this - I know that people expect it of me. But if anything I'm getting worse. The first year was like a bad dream; I was there at his bedroom door in the morning before I'd remember he wasn't there to be wakened. The second year is real. I've stopped going to his door. I've sometimes let a whole day go by without thinking about him. I believe Sarah thinks I could have prevented what happened somehow - she's so used to my arranging her life. Now I'm far from everyone. I don't have any friends anymore. And everyone looks trivial and foolish, and not related to me.
  • I don't think marriage ought to be as common as it is. I really believe it ought to be the exception to the rule. Perfect couples could marry, maybe, but who's a perfect couple?
  • In turbulent, troubling times, a good marriage can be the one safe place we know we can go. Once we've been to that place, known that peace, we can never forget it.
  • In the Southeast they say that if you want to go to have to change planes in Atlanta.


Macon: [when his wife says she wants a divorce] People who lose a child often feel this way. It puts a terrible strain on a marriage, but it doesn't have to tear us apart. Listen, I've been thinking...have you considered having another baby?
Sarah: Oh, Macon.
Macon: I know we can't replace Ethan, but...
Sarah: No, I'm sorry. It would never work.
Macon: All right, forget that. It was a crazy idea, right? Crazy notion, but...All I'm saying is, we can start over.
Sarah: Macon, ever since Ethan died, I've had to admit that people are basically bad. Evil, Macon. They're so evil they'd take our 12-year-old boy and shoot him through the skull for no reason. There have been times I haven't been sure I...Haven't been sure I could live in this kind of world anymore.
Macon: It's true what you say about human beings. I'm not trying to argue.Tell me, Sarah, why would that cause you to leave me?
Sarah: Because I knew you wouldn't try and argue. You believed all along they were evil. This whole past year I've felt myself withdrawing from people just like you do, Macon. I've felt myself becoming a Leary.
Macon: Well, there are worse disasters than that, I guess.
Sarah: Not for me. Macon, I know you loved Ethan. And I know you mourn him, but there's something so...What do you call it? Muffled about the way you experience things. It's like you're trying to slip through life unchanged.
Macon: Sarah, I'm not muffled. I endure. I'm holding steady.
Sarah: I know you think that, but I think you're fooling yourself. It's not by chance you write books telling people how to make trips without a jolt so they can travel to wonderful, exotic places and never be touched by them. Never feel they've left home. That traveling armchair isn't just your logo. It's you.

Julian: [about Rose] I feel like I'm a schoolboy around that woman. You may laugh at this, but I love the surprise of her. And I'm surprised by myself when I'm with her. I'm not exactly the person that I thought I was. I'm afraid I'm gushing. Want to know something? I've never even slept with her.
Macon: Well, I don't care to hear about that.
Julian: I want us to have a real wedding night. I want to do everything right. God, Macon, isn't it amazing how two separate lives can link up together? I mean, two differentnesses.

Porter: I think it's time we had a talk.
Macon: About what?
Porter: I'd like to know what you think you're up to with this Muriel person.
Macon: Is that what you call her, "this Muriel person"?
Porter: You're not yourself these days, Macon, and this Muriel person is just a symptom. Everybody says so.
Macon: Who is "everybody," anyway?
Porter: We're just worried for you, Macon.
Macon: Could we switch to some other topic?
Porter: I had to tell you what I thought.
Macon: Fine. You've told me.
Porter: Can you tell me one unique thing about her? I mean, one really special quality, Macon, not something sloppy like "she appreciates me"?
Macon: I'm not such a bargain myself, if you haven't noticed. Somebody ought to warn her away from me.
Porter: That's not true. That's not true at all. I imagine her people are congratulating her on her catch.

Muriel: Just tell me this. Do you picture us getting married sometime? When your divorce comes through?
Macon: Muriel...marriage is...I don't know.
Muriel: You don't, do you? You don't know what you want. One minute you like me, the next you don't. One minute you're ashamed of me, the next I'm the best thing to happen to you. You think you can just go along like this. No plans. Maybe tomorrow you'll be here, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll just go on back to Sarah.
Macon: All I'm saying is...
Muriel: All I'm saying is...take care what you promise my son. Don't go making him promises you don't intend to keep.

Sarah: The trouble with you is, you don't believe in people opening up. You think everyone should stay in their own little sealed package.
Macon: Okay. Let's say that that's true. Let's say for now that you do know what the trouble with me is, that nothing that I might feel could surprise you. And that the reason I don't want to hear about this thing is that I can't open up! If we agree on all that, can we drop it?!

Macon: Sarah, I'm going back to Muriel.
Sarah: I knew what you were going to say.
Macon: I'm sorry, Sarah. I tried, but I can't make this work. You were right about me, I haven't taken steps very often. But maybe it's not too late for me to start.
Sarah: I thought this might happen.
Macon: I don't know why it's no good for us anymore. I'm beginning to think it's not just how much you love someone. Maybe what matters is who you are when you're with them.
Sarah: Was it a mistake to try again?
Macon: No. It's wrong to think we can plan everything. As though it were a business trip. I don't believe that anymore. Things just happen. I don't regret a minute I've spent with you, Sarah. When I saw you at Rose's wedding I knew that somehow you'd recovered, that you'd gone on with your life after Ethan. Well, I'd tried, but I couldn't do it on my own. This woman, this odd woman, helped me. She's given me another chance to decide who I am. To step out of the Leary groove and stay out. You don't need me anymore. We both know that. But I need her.