Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Reader Request

Okay MIM, here's your question:

What are your Top 10 favorite scenes? Not just lines, but full, acting-the-heck-out-of-it-scenes?

27 comments:

Kid Sis said...

Not sure I can do my FAV ten, but off the top of my head:

sex, lies, and videotape - the cafe confession of impotence.

Notorious - the escape scene at the end, with poor Claude Rains left behind.

Thelma and Louise - Harvey and Susan on the phone when he confronts her about the rape - plot point reversals DO work on the phone!

Star Wars - Princess Leia picking up a blaster and kissing her brother "for luck."

Terms of Endearment - Shirley's meltdown to get Debra the drugs.

Officer and a Gentleman - Richard Gere almost throwing Debra over his shoulder - can you feel the animousity?

Out of Sight - Karen tussling with Kenny. Or...the lovely restaurant/sex homage to Don't Look Now.

My Own Private Idaho - River's breakdown love confession at the firepit, and the snapshots of the gay sex scene. Didn't like it at the time, but it's never left my mind.

Boogie Nights - Loved Philip's "stupid, stupid" car confession.

Oh, look at that...I'm almost done. This wasn't hard at all. Hmmm. Again, not my alltime favs, just great scenes popping into my mind...

Got it:

There's Something About Mary - Ben as a lovelorn teenager, staring at Mary and revealing his full set of braces. And then interacting with her brother. Ah, magic.

Et tu?

Kid Sis said...

I know it's TV, but it's hard to think of great scenes without including this week's Six Feet Under (third to last episode ever).

I can't describe it better than media expert Billy Mernit, so go read his thoughts.

kristen said...

I like...

The scene in A Simple Plan where Billy Bob Thornton fools his friend into confessing to the murder on tape.

I also like the scene at the end where he talks his brother into killing him, even though it doesn't make a whole lot of logical sense, and it's too reminiscent of Of Mice and Men.

And I love Bill Paxton's confrontation with his wife, when her true ugliness emerges as she talks about how unhappy she'll be living in the small Minnesota town without all that money.

Sorry to pick 3 scenes from the same film, but damn, it's a well-written film!

I also like the scene in The Talented Mr. Ripley, at the end, when someone asks Ripley if he's traveling with anyone, and a shadow passes across his face before he lies and says "No. I'm alone."

Also the scene in The Royal Tenanbaums where Margo crawls into Richie's tent to talk to him about why he tried to kill himself...

The heist in Bottle Rocket...

The scene in Rosemary's Baby, when Rosemary is hysterical until the baby starts kicking, and she cries tears of joy, whilst her husband Guy recoils from touching her stomach because he knows what's really in there...

The 2nd Robert Picardo werewolf transformation scene in "The Howling," where the guy refuses to wait 'til the end and shoots the werewolf dead mid-change...

The river spirit scene in Spirited Away, when she's trying to give that big black mucky thing a bath...

The U.S.S. Indianapolis male bonding compare-our-scars scene in "Jaws."

Kid Sis said...

Kristen, those are great! Thanks for jogging my memory. Going to have to rent a few of those again.

American Knight said...

Rebel W/O A Cause - When James Dean is arguing with his parents and ends by blowing up at them "You're tearing me apart!"

The mirror scene in Face/Off between Nic Cage and Travolta.

I also have to pick the restaurant/love scene from Out of Sight.

Marilyn Munore trying to seduce Tony Curtis (doing his best Cary Grant) in Some Like it Hot.

The dinner scene between Lloyd and Diane, Diane's father and his business associates when he discusses things sold, bought or processed.

More of a physical performance/scene but Bruce Campbell going ballistic on his own hand in Evil Dead 2 (some of the best physical comedy ever put to celluloid -- and I'm a huge fan of Buster Keaton).

The poison challenge/battle of wits between Vizzini and Wesley in The Princess Bride.

An action scene but a great scene nonetheless but the fight in the autumn forest between Zhang Ziyi and Maggie Cheung in Hero.

Paeika's dance/play performance at the end of Whale Rider.

And, kind of a cop out, but any scene in Aliens with Ellen Ripley/ Sigourney Weaver...

WriteOnBklyn said...

I always thought the sequence in The Abyss, when Ed Harris and MEM are in the small scout craft, and it is rapidly filling with water, and they decide that she needs to go into shock so they can later bring her back to life...I always felt like that ten minute or so sequence is a master class in screenwriting, acting and directing.

Anonymous said...

WOW. I'm a reader request? I'm MOVED... and humbled. I apologize for any inconvenience --

-- and hereby submit my Top 10 off-the-top-of-my-head scenes.

1) The Godfather -- Pacino and Brando in the Don's garden toward the end of the movie; Brando saying "I never wanted any of this for you..." Anybody who grew up with immigrant parents and/or with not a lot of money -- you understand.

2) Adventures of Robin Hood -- Flynn and Rathbone swinging swords and talking smack.

3) The Two Towers -- Sam telling Frodo, "There's good in this world... and it's worth fighting for." If my day seems too long or too difficult, I look at my kids... and I think of those words.

4) Forrest Gump -- Gump at Jenny's grave -- "You died... on a Tuesday." Breaks my heart.

5) Casablanca -- Too many to choose from, but... outside in the bazaar. "And for an extra special friend of Rick's?"

6) Searching for Bobby Fischer -- the final chess match, all the way to little Josh Waitzkin timidly telling his sportswriter dad he offered to let the other kid have a draw before wiping the board with his little robo-player's butt... Ben Kingsley, Joan Allen, Laurence Fishburne, Joe Mantegna -- BEAUTFIUL MOVIE.

7) Love Actually -- Keira Knightley getting holiday greetings via cue cards at her door. Wordless except for the sublime tag line -- "Enough. Enough now." Perfectly written and executed.

8) Sneakers -- when Redford and company break into Donal Logue's workshop "Give him hea-- help. Be... be a beacon... in his sad and lonely life. Can you do that for him?"

To be continued.

MIM

Anonymous said...

^^^Ran out of room. Here's the rest...

9) When Harry Met Sally -- "I love how you get cold when it's 71 degrees out! I love how it takes you 20 minutes to order a sandwich! ... and you're the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night." Married my best friend with that in mind.

10) Batman Begins -- the scene between young Bruce and Michael Caine's Alfred, after the death of the Wayne parents. Now my all-time favorite superhero origin scene from ANY movie... 'cause that is the moment where the hero is born. Not in the shock of the dark alley... but in the pain of the harshly bright funeral morning.

OK, late for work!

Thanks for the thread, Leia!

MIM

Anonymous said...

Sorry for three straight psots. Just realized I had said "acting-the-heck-out-of-it" scenes, when a lot of mine were favorite examples of writing. Woops.

Props to ak for mentioning Paikea's school performance scene. Incredible stuff.

Sure I could name others, but thsoe were the first 10 I thought of. Deinitely some of my favorites, if not necessarily my No. 1 through 10 favorites.

MIM

Anonymous said...

Hm... to add on to yours, NP, which I love...

Annie Hall - the spider in the bathroom scene.

All About Eve - the 'you're not a woman' scene in the car.

On the Waterfront - the 'I coulda been a contender' scene.

A Few Good Men - the last courtroom scene.

It's a Wonderful Life - the 'please, God, I want to live' scene.

A Fish Called Wanda - the sex scene.

Star Wars - the Princess Leia rescue sequence.

Gone With the Wind - the 'you need to be kissed' scene.

NN

Cookie said...

Oh gawd!!! I'm watching All About Eve right now (too hot to do anything else) --- and my new all time favorite scene is when Bette Davis storms into the theatre and raises hell after Eve snipes an audition --- and in response to being accsed of cat and mouse games, says "Not mouse, never mouse. If anything, rat!"

Anonymous said...

Oooh yeah! -- and then when her boyfriend tells her that he's not into Eve, and he asks her what she's thinking, and she responds: "It's obvious you're not a woman." I LOVE that line.

NN

PS. Are you entertaining other reader request? Cuz I was pretty intrigued by MIM's suggestion about things that define everyone's personal philosophy...

Fun Joel said...

I'll post my scenes later, but I had to mention...

Kristen, that 1stscene you mention is covered in this month's issue fo scr(i)pt magazine, viewed as a "great scene" (or sequence really), for what that's worth. While I do distinctly remember that scene, I must admit I never really liked that movie much. Maybe I should give it another chance.

Anonymous said...

I just got the package! Thank you, thank you! I just LOOOOVE the Bettie Page incense! You're so funny. Will be rocking the S-factor CD 2nite!

XO
NN

Kid Sis said...

Just so y'all don't have to scroll back up as I did...Fun Joel's reference to Kristen's first scene is: The scene in A Simple Plan where Billy Bob Thornton fools his friend into confessing to the murder on tape.

A Simple Plan has been brought up in numerous UCLA classes, most recently by Wendall. The whole movie is an example of tight, inevitable structure. Wendall also uses it as an example of thoughtfully using your setpieces...they're at the plane three times, all at plot points.

NN, so much for priority mail! Glad you finally got the parcel.

Ak, no way I could narrow down one favorite out of yours...the whale rider and AOD scenes...good on you for thinking of those!

The problem with this little exercise of ours is all your scene choices are making me salivate to go watch them again! And I could almost justify that procrastination as "research."

WOB, I haven't seen The Abyss in way too long. But I remember that scene, and that it made me emotional. Those two together were dynamite. The other visual I always remember is them underwater first seeing the alien.

MIM, yours have a theme going...sweet and wistful and earnest...I wonder how many would be there in your philosophical choices as well. It's funny though, there are many scenes I remember from Sneakers, from Ben and the Too Many Secrets discovery, to the geese/cocktail party before the secret lair, to the great scene where everyone identifies Liz as the only choice for the undercover date...but damn if I don't remember your choice. Gotta rerent Sneakers. Ah well, another chance to glory in River's soul.

NN, A Fish Called Wanda!!!!! I'm sniffing my armpits.

Cookie and NP, hard not to pick the whoooole movie. Though I love Eve's interaction with her new Eve at the end, and the knowing look on her face. And Marilyn Monroe at the theatre. Can you believe a movie like that nowadays would be labeled a chick flick, and relegated to Lifetime?

Thought of another great sequence...Ellen and Dennis finally admitting their chemistry in The Big Easy, then being interupted the phone call, then the viewing of the body where they have to act like nothing happened between them and she throws up, back to her in the bathroom brushing her teeth and him spiriting her back to bed and the gator stuffed animal, not caring that she threw up...genius.

Kid Sis said...

Fun Joel, don't think too hard on this! It doesn't have to be a definitive list, just today's list.

nicholasjcoleman said...

My favorite scene is from The Third Man... when we finally find out about Harry Lime. The cat going up to the darkened door (joining the figure), the light snapping on from a window, Harry's face looking up, exposed, that *look*. Then the ensuing chase in the streets of bombed out Vienna. Perfect, perfect, perfect Film Noir.

kristen said...

wow, Kid Sis and Fun Joel, i'm so happy the mag addresses that wonderful scene (probably my favorite scene ever) and that profs are using A Simple Plan in class. i love the movie, love it to pieces, really. i used the dumping-the-money-on-the-table scene in a class i was teaching to high school kids last year. just as an example of visual scene-building and an inciting event. (the event that changes their marriage and all the promises and alliances in the film, and marks the point of no return for every relationship.)

it's a fantastic story, really moving, really shakespearean but in a quintessentially american way... i could go on, but i'll stop.

lots of good film moments listed on this post!

i almost chose an A Fish Called Wanda scene myself, but my choice is a dumb one. i love when the doberman snatches the little dog in its mouth and keeps running. not exactly an "acting" scene.

Anonymous said...

"MIM, yours have a theme going...sweet and wistful and earnest...I wonder how many would be there in your philosophical choices as well."

You think so? Wow, and I was worried about throwing in some scenes from action movies, like Harrison Ford crying at his daughter's hospital room door in Patriot Games or stuff like that -- but these WERE the first 10 I thought of.

"Sweet, wistful and earnest" huh? As a father of two adorable children -- whom I look forward to having you meet! -- I guess that ain't so bad...

Re-rent SNEAKERS... or borrow it from me. That was one of the titles I HAD to pick up on DVD when the Wherehouse stores folded shop in CA a couple of years ago.

Minority Report, double-disc? $13.

Sneakers? $8.

Three Amigos? $6.

Some things you just gotta do.

But how could you NOT know the scene?

Redford: "If you love him, if you REALLY love him, then just keep on loving him. And never let him know that you know what he thinks you don't know... you know?"

Strathairn [in Redford's earpiece]: "--and give him head whenever he wants."

Redford: "Give him hea-- help. Be... be a beacon, in his sad and lonely life. Can you do that for him?"

Dr. Reiskoff (through tears): "Yes. yes, I can."

MIM

M. Witty said...

The Sopranos, Season Five, "Long Term Parking." Adriana has just confessed to Christopher that she has been co-opted by the FBI. As great as that scene was, the even better one follows when Chris goes to the gas station. He's really thinking about cooperating with the Feds and going into the witness protection program with Adriana-- until he sees a white trash couple wrangling their bratty kids into a beat-up Oldsmobile at a gas station. The look on Michael Imperioli's face tells you everything The Sopranos is about. He sees exactly what he would be if he weren't a made man in the Soprano family and he despises himself for it-- so much so that he sells out the woman he loves to avoid it. Just a great moment self-discovery and detesting what is self-discovered.

Meg said...

I still have to see a lot of movies, but here's what comes to mind at the moment:

Garden State - When Andrew and Sam are in her room having the insane conversation that jumps from semi-adopted brothers to baby blankets to "original moments."

Memento - The moment of horror and panic Leonard experiences when he realizes that Natalie has been f---ing with him all along, which she reveals after removing every pen in the room so he can't write down what he's learned.

Crash - I don't know if I can pick one scene, but probably the confrontation between the locksmith's family and the shopkeeper.

Sneakers (I LOVE that movie!) - one word. "Passpooort."

About Schmidt - the first time Schmidt writes a "Dear Ndugu" letter.

Amelie - it's a couple of scenes, but the subplot romance between Amelie's hypochondriac co-worker and the jealous customer

American Beauty - The moments following Lester's death, particularly when his wife realizes what's happened and collapses in the closet clutching his clothes

Lost in Translation - the whiskey endorsement filming session

Lone Star - the final moment where all the pieces come together

Richard III (the recent remake with Ian McEwan) - the reinvented "my kingdom for a horse!" scene

Kira said...

Some great scenes here! Another five off the top of my head, Classic Movie edition:

DOUBLE INDEMNITY - Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck's "speeding ticket" scene.

MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE - Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh's bizarro train conversation.

PHILADELPHIA STORY - Katharine Hepburn and Virginia Weidler in full upper-class-twit insanity mode in front of Ruth Hussey and Jimmy Stewart.

BRINGING UP BABY - Hepburn again, channeling a gun moll to spring herself and Grant from prison.

REAR WINDOW - The bit near the end where Jimmy Stewart picks up the phone thinking it's his friend, says too much, and then only after the silence and a chilling *click* realizes that it's really Thorwald, who knows that Jimmy knows, and is on... his... way...

Kira said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fun Joel said...

Man, I finally find the time to post for this one, and there's already ANOTHER Reader Request up?! Geez. ;-)

Let's see. 10 great scenes.

The Godfather -- opening wedding sequence. Okay, I know technically this 25-minute or so sequence is much more than one scene, but I love the way every single aspect of the film, from the slightest beat in a subplot to the overarching theme is set up here, and subtly too. Plus I so respect Coppoloa's guts to allow this sequence to go so long, without fearing it would lose the audience.

Chinatown -- "She's my sister, she's my daughter" scene. Chilling and complex.

Silence of the Lambs -- FBI guys approaching the house, and Gumm is inside going to answer the doorbell, only for the big reveal: Clarice is there, and the FBI are at the wrong house. Great use of film editing and wonderful surprise. (runner-up in that film is the very opening when we feel nervous as Clarice runs through the woods, but it is totally safe on the FBI training base).

Spinal Tap -- concert scene where he is trapped in the pod and only gets it open when the others close, but he keeps playing on through the whole scene.

Annie Hall -- They talk to each other, but the subtitles provide the literal subtext.

Apocalypse Now -- Ride of the Valkries, storming the beach

Manchurian Candidate (original version) -- the initial brainwashing segment where it keeps switching to the flower club

Fast Times at Ridgemont High -- Any straight male of my generation will always remember Judge Reinhold jerking off while Phoebe Cates opens her bikini top on the diving board in his fantasy.

Gone With the Wind -- Destruction of ?Charleston? by fire (I know that's the wrong city. someone help me. Atlanta?)

There's Somethign About Mary -- the "falling in love" montage

Fun Joel said...

Oh yeah, I also forgot one I was planning to mention:

All of Me -- First scene wneh Lily Tomlin is in Steve Martin's body and he tries to walk down the street, fighting with his own body. Brilliant physical comedy.

Kid Sis said...

These are so great!!!!!! I'm going to print these out as writing inspiration. And Fun Joel, thanks for remembering All of Me. Nurse Sis and I were just saying the other day that we need to show that to Mom to perk her up. One of our all time favorites.

MIM, nope, totally had forgotten that...me, forget a dirty joke? WTF? But I totally remembered Passport as soon as Meg said it!

MWitty, great scene. I know it's crass, but I really did love when she threw up on the FBI desk. Hal told me to do that once at UCLA after I'd read something really personal and gut-wrenching and was a sobbing mess. I said I thought I might throw up, and he gestured grandly at the conference table and encouraged me to go for it. :)

Meg, Garden State and Memento and Lone Star...thanks for reminding us of the brilliance. I can get chills just picturing these scenes in my head. Natalie Portman did an original moment for us at Comic-con. She's so charming.

Fun Joel, sorry for the stress but it was worth the wait! SOTL - a top five film of mine. Though my favorite scene that sums it all up for me is when she steps into the elevator, the short vulnerable woman in an enclosed space of men. WOW. Daily existance of women, and captured preternaturally by an amazing male screenwriter and director. Thanks Jonathan and Ted (and Thomas for setting the tone and raising the bar). We'll never know what team SOFL could have made of Hannibal...And glad someone mentioned the Fast Times scene it's a classic. Though in that vein, I'm now compelled to bring up the male skinny dip scene in Room With a View. Floppy fun. My videotape was worn out from all the rewinding and pausing.

Andrew Ironwood said...

Just to be different, I figured I'd just give you dialogue excerpts from my favorite scenes (done with the minimum of obsessional picayunity I could muster):

1)
New Jersey: Why is there a watermelon there?
Reno: I'll tell you later.

2)
D-Day: War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough...
[thinks hard]
Bluto: ...the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go!
[runs out, alone; then returns]
Bluto: What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer...
Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.
D-Day: Let's do it.
Bluto: LET'S DO IT!

3)
Duane: Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist,I think you'll understand. Sometimes when I'm driving... on the road at night... I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The... flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.
Alvy Singer: Right. Well, I have to - I have to go now, Duane, because I, I'm due back on the planet Earth.

4)
Jerry Lundegaard: Well, heck, if you wanna play games here! I'm workin' with ya on this thing, but I... Okay, I'll do a damned lot count!
Marge Gunderson: Sir? Right now?
Jerry Lundegaard: Sure right now! You're darned tootin'!

5)
Tracy: Not everybody gets corrupted. You have to have a little faith in people.

6)
Hotlips O'Houlihan: This isn't a hospital. It's an insane asylum. And it's your fault.

7)
Raymond: Ofcourse I don't have my underwear. I'm definately not wearing my underwear.
Charlie: I gave you a fresh pair of mine to wear. Where are they?
Raymond: They're in the pocket of my jacket. Here.
Charlie: I don't want them back.
Raymond: These are not boxer shorts. Mine are boxer shorts. These are Hanes 32.
Charlie: Underwear is underwear, Ray.
Raymond: My boxer shorts have my name and it says Raymond.
Charlie: All right, when we pass the store, we'll pick you up a pair of boxer shorts.
Raymond: I get my boxer shorts at K-Mart in Cincinatti.
Charlie: We're not going back to Cincinatti, Ray, so don't even start with that.

8)
Parole Board chairman: They've got a name for people like you H.I. That name is called "recidivism."
Parole Board member: Repeat offender!
Parole Board chairman: Not a pretty name, is it H.I.?
H.I.: No, sir. That's one bonehead name, but that ain't me any more.
Parole Board chairman: You're not just telling us what we want to hear?
H.I.: No, sir, no way.
Parole Board member: 'Cause we just want to hear the truth.
H.I.: Well, then I guess I am telling you what you want to hear.
Parole Board chairman: Boy, didn't we just tell you not to do that?
H.I.: Yes, sir.
Parole Board chairman: Okay, then.

9)
Carol Connelly: I'm not going to sleep with you! I will never sleep with you, never, ever! Not ever!
Melvin Udall: Well, I'm sorry, but... we don't open for the "no sex oaths" until 9am.

10)
[in Gelt's lair and treasure chamber]
Shad: I'm hiring mercenaries for defense of the planet Akir. But food and shelter are all we can offer in payment. All our wealth is in our culture.
Gelt: I could buy your planet ten times over with what I've gathered in this room: plutonium, cadmium, quanine crystals... I've been very well paid for my work.
Shad: I'm sorry; I've wasted your time...
Gelt: NO... WAIT... Listen to the rest of it. I sleep with my back to the wall, when I CAN sleep. I EAT SERPENTS, seven times a week. There's not a major city in this galaxy where I can show my face, or spend my wealth. Right now, your offer looks very attractive to me... A meal, and a place to hide. Agreed?