Tummy Sticks: Wedding Crashers
I personally love the unapologetic and fun nature of Wedding Crashers. Sure it gets a little too serious at the end, but man is it full of gags that shake the funny bone. Oddly enough, it’s most bizarre and awkward scene is the first scene I always think of when the film gets brought up. Said scene is a moment of unbridled lusting between Vince Vaughn and character actor Keir O’Donnell. Granted, Vince Vaughn’s character is not interested in reciprocating any kind of sexual favors, but it is fun to watch Vaughn try to verbally work his way out of this sexual predicament.
The Watch: Pulp Fiction
Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to begin a scene with a heart touching story about a son’s heirloom and completely turn it into a hilarious joke. Amidst the joke, Christopher Walken shows up as a form of inspired casting. The usual Walken droll and cool vibe is present, as he talks about hiding a watch up his ass. Even though it’s a few minutes, Walken does something quite unbelievable: he not only sells the joke of the scene, but he cements the psyche of a main character. It’s a deft blend of comedy and character. Not to mention, it’s fun to hear Walken accentuate the word “ass”.
A Magic Trick: The Dark Knight
How do you eradicate the impenetrable image of Jack Nicholson as the Joker? You strip the character of his buffoonery and give him an edge that’s deadly. That’s exactly what Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger did when they brought the Joker back to the silver screen. Featuring shoddy clown makeup and a raspy voice, Ledger introduced us to a villain that reset the curve. Oh and it didn’t hurt his insults were on par and drove a pencil into a thug’s head. It’s at once askew, violent, and oddly charming.
Blame that Bitch Mame: Gilda
There have been plenty of starlets and bombshells in the history of Hollywood, but there isn’t one that I pine for more than Rita Hayworth. For obvious physical reasons she catches my eye, but her mix of sexuality and raw emotion is what makes her standout in Gilda, the film from which this scene is from. Hayworth singing and dancing around sexually is the scene’s first asset, especially for how glitzy it is, but the anguish she causes to Glenn Ford’s Johnny is sinfully dramatic. Not to mention, the scene’s risqué number is quite naughty for a film from the 40’s, so I respect the testicular fortitude behind this entrancing scene.
Just thinking about a one take is enough to make a director and his team quiver. Hitting all of your cues and marks while maintaining a consistent performance is an achievement just for a couple of seconds, but to do it for a full on scene is difficult. That’s why kudos should be showered upon director Joe Wright and his crew for their work in Atonement. His one take on the beach of Dunkirk is breathtaking in not only its ambition, but also for its visual wonder. Mix in a heartbreakingly defeated tone and the swelling music of Dario Marianelli, and you have one mesmerizing scene.