Nearly half way through…let’s keep marching along!
Dreams Come True: 500 Days of Summer
How does one react to love, or at least some romantic interest, being confirmed? It’s pretty indescribable from my personal experience. But, I imagine a blitz of happiness overwhelms most love bitten subjects in the same way a sugar rush attacks a child. Or in the case of Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), his touch of love and happiness is expressed through song and dance. After scoring with his long-time crush Summer (Zooey Deschanel), Tom doesn’t pretend to hide his love prompted giddiness. From animated birds to a well-placed reflection of Han Solo, Tom grooves to the joyous sound of Hall and Oates after his hopes have been realized. It’s an energetic scene that we all could probably vouch for in some capacity. yeah, this is how it felt for me.
Bitch OD’ed: Pulp Fiction
There are about ten different scenes I could select from Pulp Fiction (and I already put one down), but this one bears the most weight. As is the case for most scenes in Pulp Fiction, this one has a surreal balance between tension and hilarity. The dialogue is rapid and full of punch lines that only gain a bizarre edge when it’s being delivered over a woman’s seemingly lifeless body. For as amusing and urgent as the dialogue is, the scene reaches a whole new level when Mr.Vega (Travolta) prepares to drive an adrenaline shot into the body of Mrs. Wallace ( Thurman). With a long, vicious looking needle in Vega’s hand and the skin-crawling sound of Eric Stoltz tapping a breast bone, the scene adequately delivers its own rush of adrenaline to the viewer’s heart. All of this is done without even showing the adrenaline shot piercing its target. It’s tension build up at its finest.
Love and Life: Up
There have been very few montages in the history of film that have matched the emotional potency of Up’s opening sequence. Within a few moments we experience the joy of love, the heartbreak of loss, and the reassurance of a loved one through the eyes of Carl Fredrickson. It’s through this joyous and melancholic montage that we become instantaneously invested in Carl’s soon to be adventure. With the gorgeous visuals and delightful score of Michael Giacchino aside, the film’s desire to include the good, the bad, and the lonesome in one segment truly speaks to Pixar’s level of storytelling. Even more so, it’s a wonderful example of how well Pixar embeds a sense of maturity into their colorful playgrounds.
Wendy Peffercorn: The Sandlot
Men are fucking stupid. I say this from personal experience, but thankfully we mature a bit from our teenage years. As well all know, that’s a desperately misguided time in a man’s life. The level of dumb things we do for love and attention is immeasurable at that point. That’s why it’s hard for me not to feel right at home when Squints Palledorous pulls a bold move: he pretends to drown. His reasoning is innocent enough. He just wants to steal a smooch from Wendy Peffercorn, his blonde goddess. What is initially treated like a straightforward, melodramatic scene suddenly turns into a burst of hilarity and nostalgia. I can’t say I’ve ever reached the depths of Squints, but the immovable grin he has after his plan has reached its apex is something I can connect with.
Impromptu Reservation: Goodfellas
Here I go again, hitting you over the head with another long take. I’m sorry but the mastery behind such a difficult scene gets my blood pumping above and below the human equator. This time I drive your attention to Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese’s master piece on the glory and dangers of the mob life. The scene is a clear achievement in production, but it seductively lures us into the mob life in the same vain that Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) seduces Karen (Lorraine Bracco) into his. Had the scene been spliced up, the power of Henry would’ve been minimal. Yet, in this one take, as Henry works his way through a kitchen and right into the front row of a packed club, we understand the significance of his life in crime. Even more so, we implicitly understand the shackles it will place on him in the future.