Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Discuss: Favorite Movie Scenes


Doug: Last week we looked at favorite movie roles and I remarked how much I love Sean Connery's performance in the 1987 flick The Untouchables. Well, one of my very-favorite scenes comes from that same film, so to kick off today's conversation, here's Andy Garcia -- stone cold. "You got 'im?" "I got 'im." "Take 'im." Goose bumps...


Edo Bosnar said...

I'm sure there's tons of great scenes I'll remember as the day proceeds, but one that came to mind almost immediately is from Iron Man III, when he rescues all of those people who fell out of the fuselage on Air Force One. Easily the best scene in that movie, and arguably one of the best scenes in any superhero movie, ever.

Anonymous said...

The scene from Star Wars when Luke and Leia kissed before swinging Tarzan-like across that chasm in the Death Star. For two reasons: 1) there was a big "woooooo" reaction to the kiss from the cinema audience which is one of my strongest memories of watching the film and 2) that scene must now count as one of the most awkward and embarrassing ever filmed and proves Luke and Leia were never intended to be siblings.

Humanbelly said...

Edo, isn't it, like, REALLY late at night where you are right now?? Hit the hay, brother-- it's a work-day!

At the risk of inducing international eye-rolling, I kinda think there might be a distinction between a movie scene and a movie sequence, though. If I were to try to coin that distinction off the top of my head, I'd say that a Scene involves direct communication between characters (spoken, unspoken, remote, whatever), where ideas, intent, instruction, will, emotion, etc, etc, are being conveyed, imposed, or exchanged. Doug's example is quite apt. A Sequence (and again, I'm thinking this out as I type here at the breakfast table) is more a depiction of physically dealing with or surviving or witnessing events in the immediate physical environment (the famed "Odessa Steps Sequence" from BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN, f'rinstance). There is of course a grey area, and one can probably even contain the other--- but to my mind, that rescue scene might be more of a "sequence" than a scene.

Sheesh-- I sound like the worst kind of fussy film-critic, don't I?

All that being said-- man, there are sooooo many, aren't there?
How about the entire final scene of BABE (which may indeed fall into the grey area I mentioned), with the sheep-herding competition? I can't overstate how brilliant I find it to be. It's use of silence and stillness are truly thunderous in how they underscore the personal stakes involved as well as the incredible power of the simple events taking place. Other than Babe's snippets, the minimal dialog is inarticulate at best-- and yet it's crystal clear what's going on in the hearts and minds of each of the characters as they're shown (particularly the announcers and the poor farmer's wife. . . ). I think the (SPOILER ALERT!) quiet click of the gate-latch followed by the volcanic eruption of the crowd is one of the most moving depictions of pure joy and confirmed faith in a friend that has been put on screen. Sap that I am, it of course makes me tear up just talking about it here. . . (good thing HBGirl's already off to school!).

Jack Lemmon's lost-in-his-charade scene with Tony Curtis when he goes on & on about getting engaged to Joe E Brown's character. We always go back and watch that scene twice, as you have a strong sense that a lot of it might be only loosely scripted-- and it's just hilariously brilliant.

The sharing-the-phone scene between a hyper-prickly George & Mary in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (there it is again; it's a personal all-time favorite film, so it's unavoidable that it'll pop up at every opportunity!) is one of the most sexually-charged scenes I think has ever been put on the screen-- in spite of the fact that not a single tangible element (other than the two actors' proximity) has anything to do with it at all. Even George's frenzied, near-violent declaration before they finally kiss is effectively, "I don't want this life! I don't want to be trapped! I don't want you!" Geeze-- just. So. Great.

And heck, before anyone beats me to it: Spock's death scene in WRATH OF KHAN. Made even a touch more effective by the Shatner's surprising (and uncharacteristically genuine) vulnerability in the funeral scene coda.

I do enjoy movies, I do. . .


david_b said...

A bit busy this morning, but I had to mention Colin's great comment on the Luke-Leia. It's the very epitome of Lucas's later penchant for throwing in silly relationships without pondering what the impact on his earlier films would be.

It's also one of the biggest let-downs of ROTJ, 'Whaaat, out of ENTIRE galaxy of planets and peoples, that TWO of the main stars who just happen to meet each other end up being siblings, not to mention they show affection in the two earlier films.'

Once again, I find Family Guy's 'Its a Trap' explains it best..:

Luke (to Leia): {gasp} 'You knew.....??'

Leia: 'Of course, I'm from Alderaan. It's kind of the Mississippi of the galaxy.'

david_b said...

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Edo today..!!!

(sorry, couldn't resist..)

Rip Jagger said...

Some that I thought of quickly:

When The Shadow first appears on the bridge to save Dr.Tam in the 90's The Shadow. They keep him off screen much of the time, but for some few seconds, he brandishes the forty-fives with gusto.

The creepy sequence at the beginning of The Planet of the Apes after they crash land and before they encounter the apes when they're crossing the desert. It's wildly atmospheric and sets up the later surprise ideally.

When Captain America boards the Hydra ship in the most-recent Cap movie. The sequence with him running through the ship taking out terrorists is perhaps the best single action sequence they've developed yet. His battle with Batroc ain't bad either.

Just about any scene in Bride of Frankenstein, but if I have to choose one it's when the Bride rejects Karloff's Creature and he does them both in while imploring Frankenstein to flee.

The scene in The Jerk when the idiot thinks the sniper hates the cans. The rest of that movie is a snore, but that scene always makes me laugh my butt off.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

HB, Edo's only an hour ahead of me and it's not 3pm here yet. Gosh, is it Edo's birthday - happy birthday from me too. And it wasn't the ewoks that ruined Return Of The Jedi, it was the ridiculous sibling relationship of Luke and Leia for the reasons David mentioned.

Humanbelly said...

Hey that's great-- Happy Birthday, Edo! How're you lookin' for your age, eh? Still a chick-magnet?


Humanbelly said...

Ha, and thanks Colin! I do believe I was mentally reversing the earth's rotation, there, yes?


J.A. Morris said...

I'll always love the 'We're Going To War' song-and-dance scene in 'Duck Soup'. It's a unique scene for the Marx Brothers in that it's the only musical performance that features all four of them. And it's a great song.

Anyone remember the blog called "Dave's Longbox"? Dave always talked about "F*^k yeah!" moments. Two of my favorite f*^k yeahs are the "puny god" scene in the first Avengers movie and the "Bitch, you don't have a future" moment in 'Kill Bill Vol. 2'.

Abe Lucas said...

Just about any scene from Annie Hall, but the first one that comes to mind is when Woody Allen "interviews" various passers by about their views on relationships:


"I'm very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say."

"And I'm exactly the same way."

Edo Bosnar said...

Thanks for the b-day wishes, everyone. And HB, yes, as Colin said, it's actually late afternoon here now, and it was close to 1:30 p.m. (just after lunch-time) when I posted that comment above.
In the meantime, I thought of another favorite scene, or perhaps sequence is a better word, from The Warriors: when they're getting chased by the 'Baseball Furies' and they turn the tables on them. In particular, when James Remar's character (Ajax) who's otherwise a complete, unlikeable jerk, has that awesome confrontation (about 50 seconds into the clip). It's definitely one of those "f**k yeah!" moments that J.A. mentioned.

Abe Lucas said...

And lest I not be thought of as an action movie aficionado, the final shootout in The Wild Bunch (1969) is as iconic as any ever filmed.

Martinex1 said...

Happy Birthday Edo!

I like the scene in "Rear Window" when Grace Kelly's character goes to the killer's apartment while Jimmy Stewart watches. In that brief scene we get to know both characters better and it is the point where Jimmy Stewart finally recognizes what he feel for her. Awesome in its suspense and characterization.

I also like the opening scene/sequence in "Up". It establishes the whole motivation and characterization of the old man. It is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. A whole lifetime explored in a few minutes of animation.

As far as action goes, the famous scene where Indiana Jones shoots the swordsman. Old hat now. But at the time, that was great... especially if you did not know about it in advance.

I've mentioned "Something Wild" before, but the moment when Ray Liotta appears changes the whole mood of the film. The music changes in a heartbeat and the film goes from being a somewhat lighthearted romp to a suspenseful terror.

Garett said...

That phone scene in It's a Wonderful Life is fantastic, HB. I've seen that movie a number of times, and will again. Here's the scene: Phone scene

Humanbelly said...

OMG- thanks so much for posting that link, Garrett-- I realized that I tend to hold my breath once they actually start talking to Sam. There is so much life and background and consequence and unspoken desire packed into that entire clip-- it is SO good! Even Mary's mother- an incidental character at best- has a HUGE personal arc over the course of it, as her mis-placed ambitions for her daughter's future go from one extreme to the other right there in front of her at the bottom of the steps. So much story-- so little contrivance in its telling.

And they hardly kiss! I'd totally transformed that in my memory! It's mostly an embrace that "substituted" for an impassioned kiss thanks to the Hayes Commission's Victorian notion that any aspect of human sexual existence simply shouldn't. . . exist. (I think there was a 3-second rule or something. . . )

J.A.- the "Puny God", uhm, interaction is way, WAY high up on my list of F-Yeah! moments as well. Probably at the top unless something I've forgotten happens to supplant it. (Never even HEARD Hulk say "Puny God" until the 3rd time I saw the movie-- whole theater was still roaring with laughter and approval the first two times--)

And MX, yeah, great call on the title scene/sequence of UP. One critic aptly described it with: "The movie will stay with you throughout the next week or so; the opening sequence will stay with you the rest of your life". We saw it with kids, naturally, and HBWife and I admitted to each other afterward that by the end of the sequence we were struggling to NOT inhale because we knew it would result in an audible choking sob. Which would be so tough to explain to the youngsters sitting between us at that moment, y'know?


Dr. Oyola said...

"Boring conversation anyway. . Luke! We're gonna have company!"

and "Into the garbage chute, flyboy!" are enough to make me put Star Wars on right now.

Also, I think Colin and others are being too harsh on Lucas. If you didn't know Leia was your sister and you are a straight single farm boy on an adventure, wouldn't you want to kiss her too? I think by Empire Lucas definitely had Leia as sister in mind and they make out in that one! (but only to make Han jealous).

The fight scene between Michelle Yeoh vs Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: crouching tiger hidden dragon michele yo fight scene

Dr. Oyola said...

Oops there was supposed to be link to the fight scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFH6lXJ6c4k

also: Detention Center scene

Edo Bosnar said...

Osvaldo, you left out what has to be my favorite line in the whole movie: "...I don't care what you smell!"
Never saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but I agree that that's a sweet fight scene.

Anthony said...

Superman The Movie helicopter scene.

Superman: Easy, miss. I've got you.

Lois Lane: You - you've got me? Who's got you?

Anonymous said...

Mos Eisley Cantina....

also, when Luke must decide whether to go with Obi-Wan or not, the scene with his back to the camera, the two suns, and the music....


Simon B said...

Fave movie scenes? Wow, I could write a whole blog on that subject :-)
Anyway, here are a few just off the top of my head ( I won't mention Star Wars 'cos everyone else has pretty much covered that ) -

The "Russian Roulette" scene in The Deer Hunter for sheer, nail-biting tension
That moment in The Wizard Of Oz when the picture turns from monochrome to colour
Donald Sutherland gets a surprise at the end of Don't Look Now ( OMG! )
The blood test sequence in Carpenter's The Thing
The young kids dancing on the beach in Moonrise Kingdom: romantic, charming, hilarious
The visual poetry of the "stargate" sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey
Woody Allen revisiting his school days in Annie Hall
The last scene of A Matter Of Life And Death ( aka Stairway To Heaven ) - I'm sorry, I seem to have something in my eye...
Aliens. Sigourney Weaver. "Get away from her, you bitch!"

Sorry, I rambled on there, didn't I? And not even a single mention of any superhero movies... :-)

Anonymous said...

1. "I am Spartacus!"

2. "Those are the two guys who beat up Wladislaw." (The Dirty Dozen)

3. Michael Moore blows himself up in an attack on Mt. Rushmore in Team America.

4. "Go ahead. Make my day." (Sudden Impact)

5. The motorcycle chase in The Great Escape.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Edo!

Great choices so far! I'll add:

I love Alec Baldwin's single scene in Glengarry Glen Ross: "... Third prize is you're fired." It's one of my favorite movie speeches.

I watched The Princess Bride practically every week as a kid. The Miracle Max scene and the confrontations between Wesley and Vincini's men are my favorites.

King Kong: where to start? The fight between Kong and the T.Rex is fun and the climax is heartbreaking.

My favorite movie, The Blues Brothers, has so many funny lines, scenes, and moments it's hard to pick a favorite. The scene in which Jake & Elwood talk to the Penguin (a nun) and can't stop swearing might be the funniest.

- Mike Loughlin

Karen said...

I'll pick up with another classic Belushi scene, from Animal House (not the one you're thinking of though): the guitar scene, where Bluto comes down the stairs during the toga party, comes across Steven Bishop serenading some girls with his guitar playing a folk song, and after listening for a moment, smashes the guitar to bits! Belushi does more acting with just his eyes in that scene than some actors do in whole movies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V_hCqO6UQs&feature=youtu.be

I'll second Starfoxxx -the two suns scene in Star Wars is one of my favorite movie scenes ever. It just hit me so hard as a kid -I really wanted to get out of my little town, and everything about Luke resonated with me. Mark Hamill was so perfect for that role. Plus it's a beautiful looking shot.

There are so many good scenes in Casablanca, but I love the one where Peter Lorre says to Humphrey Bogart, "You despise me, don't you Rick?" and he responds, "I probably would if I gave you any thought." Ouch!

Anonymous said...

Hey hey Happy Birthday Edo!!!!

Hmm my best scene would be the lightsabre duel between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader where Vader says 'your powers are weak old man' to which Obi-Wan replies 'if you strike me down I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine'.

Also, the scene in the 1931 Dracula film where Bela Lugosi tells Renfield 'I never drink .... wine.' Lugosi's charisma and eastern European accent gave his portrayal a sense of mystery and foreboding, which in turn set the tone for many future generations of actors portraying the Count.

- Mike 'may the Force be with Edo today' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Karen said...

Oh heck! Almost forgot -hope you had a very happy birthday, Edo!

Redartz said...

Hope you had a fine birthday Edo!

Fantastic topic and comments today, and here I am late to the party. Hope it isn't too late to add another great scene:

From Pixar's "Wall-E", near the end when Eva was trying to revive Wall-E's memory. When she took his 'hand' in hers, I just broke. Who would have thought a mostly dialogue-free film about forgotten robots could be so poignant?

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