Dec 11, 2010

BEST MOVIE SCENES OF THE YEAR

Howard Hawks once said that you only needed three or four good scenes in a movie for the movie to be good — the rest was just filler — and we are inclined to agree with him. For all our admiration of narrative architecture here at TBTTM, we must admit that movies can be won or lost in the space of a single scene, or even moment; Hawks himself was a master of such moments, having Lauren Bacall on hand, which always helps. Here, with a big SPOILER ALERT, is a selection of our favorite such scenes from the last year, bearing no or little relation to our opinion of the film as a whole, and collated by means of that rigorous, scientific method known as sitting down at a desk and seeing what comes to mind first. Any other suggestions?

1. TRUE GRIT
The horse-ride home. A case of a single scene making a whole movie, all the cussedness and cruelty of the Coens wild west falling away for a single act of selflessness, as Rooster scoops up Maddie and drives his horse through sleet and snow, day and night, to get her back home. Even the back-projection felt magical, with a touch of Night-of-the-Hunter to it.

2. LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS
The scene where Jake Gyllenhaal seduces Anne Hathaway by reassuring her that yes, he is indeed a shithead, as advertised. "Do you promise?" "I promise." A wonderfully sexy, inverted premise, worthy of Wilder, perfectly realised by the actors: saying those words Gyllenhaal looked, for the first time in his life, as if they might not be true.

3. THE SOCIAL NETWORK
The very first scene not the break-up scene, but the running-through-Harvard-at-night to Trent Reznor's zombie minuet. I treasure film beginnings the way some people collect endings, and this one gave me goose-bumps: you don't know what is going on, or even what this film could be about. You just know you will not be moving for the next two hours.

4. THE TOWN
Jeremy Renner's death scene. It begins with Jon Hamm blowing Jem's cover — "Officer?..... officer?.... Coughlin!" — and ends with a slurp of coke, snatched behind a mailbox, before heading into a hail of bullets. Who dies at the movies any more? The intimations of Butch-and-Sundance felt fully-earnt.

5. KNIGHT AND DAY
The sequence in which Cruise and Diaz escape — via a helicopter, a skydive, a speedboat, a jungle, a jeep — but all from the point of view of Diaz, who is drugged. A great gag at the expense of senseless action sequences. Would that the rest of the movie had taken heed.

6. SHUTTER ISLAND
The lake scene. Eerily prefigured throughout the movie — all credit to Thelma Schoonmaker's slights of hand and eye — by the time we got to that jade-colored lake it had the technicolor intensity of remembered trauma.

7. TOY STORY 3
Lotso's backstory, as narrated by Chuckles the Clown. A dexterous genre parody, plucking at the heart-strings, served up with mordant deadpan — Chaplin meets Bogart. Who knew that the most efficient spelunker of our Jungian movie unconscious, besides Martin Scorsese, would turn out to be Pixar?

8. FISH TANK
The climactic dance-off between mother and daughterunexpected, transfixing, and oddly moving. A kind of mother-daughter version of the Maori Hukka. You couldn't tell whether they were coming together, or formalising their determination to part.

9. THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
My colleague James Wolcott has jogged my memory about another of my favorite movie scenes — I told you this wasn't scientific! — so it's goodbye to the exploding-brunch from Inception, I'm afraid, and make way for Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore's sex scene in The Kids Are Alright, a riotous mixture of white-flanked awkwardness and lusty, ass-grabbing gumption.

10. BLUE VALENTINE
The end credits — a montage of the relationship we have just born witness to, over a scrim of fireworks, set to a song by Grizzly Bear. One of the few relationship montages to pull its weight. One imagines it was conceived as a way to leaven the bleakness of the ending, but it releases the feelings of the film so beautifully as to becomes a new ending in its own right.

29 comments:

  1. Loved this post. Even though I hadn't seen all the films listed, I'm amazed at how you pinpointed those excellent scenes and described them so perfectly and vividly, just the way I felt when I saw them but had since forgotten. You're very good at this, Shone. Very good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Came across your blog via Wolcott and am so glad I did. Had to comment on this post and concur on that scene in Fish Tank. Having just watched that last night, I have to say that that scene really stuck with me; it's heartbreaking and somehow defiant at the same time and beautifully summarizes the whole family dynamic without fanfare or overstatement. I also have to heartily agree with your enthusiasm for a movie's beginning. I've long felt it was an overlooked part of the experience and often indicated the director's whole approach to not only the story but how it might unfold cinematically - often encapsulating their entire esthetic in a few minutes time. It would be a great list to compile- favorite movie beginnings.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's awesome to pay a quick visit this site and reading the views of all mates regarding this paragraph, while I am also eager of getting experience.

    Also visit my web page :: forex trading

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew
    where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having trouble
    finding one? Thanks a lot!

    Also visit my web blog :: server web hosting

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's genuinely very complicated in this active life to listen news on TV, therefore I only use world wide web for that purpose, and obtain the newest information.

    Also visit my web page ... Sports Betting Lines

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi there, You've done a great job. I'll definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I'm confident they'll be benefited from this site.

    Have a look at my webpage best website hosting plans ()

    ReplyDelete
  7. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I'm quite certain I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

    Feel free to surf to my site ... forex megadroid setting (http://www.love2dating.com/)

    ReplyDelete
  8. The quality of your blogs and articles and worth appreciating.123moviestube.io

    ReplyDelete
  9. I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike other blogs I have read which are really not that good.Thanks alot! best projector under 300

    ReplyDelete
  10. You have outdone yourself this time. It is probably the best, most short step by step guide that I have ever seen. cimalight

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it's discussion, thank you. best movies reviews

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow i can say that this is another great article as expected of this blog.Bookmarked this site.. 먹튀검증

    ReplyDelete
  13. Regular visits listed here are the easiest method to appreciate your energy, which is why why I am going to the website everyday, searching for new, interesting info. Many, thank you! vape attic olathe

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've been looking for photos and articles on this topic over the past few days due to a school assignment, keonhacai and I'm really happy to find a post with the material I was looking for! I bookmark and will come often! Thanks :D

    ReplyDelete
  15. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch. 먹튀신고

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently 안전놀이터추천

    ReplyDelete
  17. I’m very happy to discover this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every part of it and i also have you book-marked to check out new information on your web site. 안전놀이터순위

    ReplyDelete
  18. Really no matter if someone doesn't be aware of after that its up to other users that they will help, so here it takes place 토토사이트추천.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Why couldn't I have the same or similar opinions as you? T^T I hope you also visit my blog and give us a good opinion.온라인슬롯


    ReplyDelete
  20. Nhà cái lừa đảoNovember 26, 2021 at 12:21 PM

    While looking for articles on these topics, I came across this article on the site here. As I read your article, I felt like an expert in this field. I have several articles on these topics posted on my site. Could you please visit my homepage? Nhà cái lừa đảo


    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and new initiatives in the same niche. Blog gave us useful information to work. You have done an amazing job! 메이저토토사이트 Thank you very much. Can I refer to your post on my website? Your post touched me a lot and helped me a lot. If you have any questions, please visit my site and read what kind of posts I am posting. I am sure it will be interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a post I've been looking for! I'm very happy to finally read this post. 안전놀이터 Thank you very much. Can I refer to your post on my website? Your post touched me a lot and helped me a lot. If you have any questions, please visit my site and read what kind of posts I am posting. I am sure it will be interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value. Im glad to have found this post as its such an interesting one! I am always on the lookout for quality posts and articles so i suppose im lucky to have found this! I hope you will be adding more in the future. 토토사이트추천

    ReplyDelete
  24. When did it start? The day I started surfing the Internet to read articles related to . I've been fond of seeing various sites related to 안전놀이터 around the world for over 10 years. Among them, I saw your site writing articles related to and I am very satisfied.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I accidentally searched and visited your site. I still saw several posts during my visit, but the text was neat and readable. I will quote this post and post it on my blog. Would you like to visit my blog later? 메이저놀이터추천

    ReplyDelete
  26. Your ideas inspired me very much. 온라인바카라사이트 It's amazing. I want to learn your writing skills. In fact, I also have a website. If you are okay, please visit once and leave your opinion. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete