I haven’t done a Let’s Get Translatin’ post in a while, so I thought I’d bring it back. For those new to the series, what I do is take a bunch of well-known movie quotes, lines or monologues and I spin them through a complex set of translations and then back to English again, with […]
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This short list is of five scenes in movies that I consider to be particularly memorable for the way they create tension. Not the five best scenes, mind, but just five I consider to be notable and worth checking out. I’m sure there are dozens of scenes that could be added here, but since I’m […]
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Continuing the series of fun posters where we pretend the characters of a certain director have been given their own spinoff movie are six posters featuring characters from the films of the great Paul Thomas Anderson. Imagine if they had their own movie… — Those are my posters. What do you think? Any suggestions you’d […]
One might be surprised to discover that my two favourite scenes of all time from movies are both from films directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. About two months ago, I revealed my favourite scene of all time and promised to try and work on a list of great scenes. Well now I’ve finished compiling the list, and here it is, unleashed. They’re in no particular order, as it would be too hard to rank them, but I’ll start off with my second favourite scene of all time.
1: The Drug Deal Scene, Boogie Nights (1997)
Everything in this scene is pitch perfect. The tension works brilliantly, with the firecrackers and nervous tics. And the soundtrack… unbelieveable. You’ve got to hand it to P.T.A., he can pick the right music for any movie and it suits perfectly. There’s also a 45-second closeup of Mark Wahlberg (6:30-7:15) that is perhaps my favourite shot in the movie. Not because I like Mark Wahlberg, but just because it’s a perfect little piece of Anderson, and it reveals so much about Dirk Diggler without saying a word. Fantastic.
2: The Goy’s Teeth, A Serious Man (2009)
A perfect example of what makes the Coen brothers so unique. They can have a long, rambling, incredibly interesting monologue with virtually no meaning and it makes sense. The scene is both fun to watch and full of anticipation. Sure, it might be a let down to discover there’s no point in the whole thing, but it’s part of life. A lot of what we go through is long, tedious and has no real affect or reason, and yet, we live through it. The truth is, some questions weren’t made to be answered, and this scene sums it up perfectly.
3: The Street Shootout, Heat (1995)
Michael Mann’s visually daring 1995 heist movie features one of my personal favourite sequences of extended violence and warfare. Imagine a gritty shootout between many men, placed in the middle of a bustling street. Might not sound like the most original idea now, but back in 1995, it sizzled.
4: The Briefcase, The Killing (1956)
Though I sadly cannot find a video for this fantastic final scene to Stanley Kubrick’s heist movie, I can assure you it is brilliant. When two thieves are getting on to a plane escaping with millions in a briefcase, the unexpected happens, the briefcase opens, and all Hell breaks loose. A visually stunning shot, that in some ways anticipated Kubrick’s whole career.
5: Gutterballs, The Big Lebowski (1998)
A perfect combination of stylistic music and sexual innuendo combined with the Dude’s love of bowling, this priceless sequence makes the entire movie worth watching and symbolises (like #2) the uniqueness of the Coen brothers. No other director/s could have pulled this off.
6: “Hello, Dimitri?”, Dr. Strangelove (1964)
If there was a top prize for awkward, subtle humour in film, Dr. Strangelove would be a definite contender for top spot, and this scene explains exactly why. It makes me laugh every single time I watch it, and the first time I saw it, I was in tears by the time it ended. Fantastic. If you like to think you have anything resembling a sense of humour, you must see this movie.
7: Alice’s Monologue, Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
This is not actually the whole scene, but it’s enough of it to get the point across. Nicole Kidman is absolutely fucking fantastic in this scene, spitting out each line perfectly in character and in a manner that almost puts the viewer into the same drug-induced trance as her. A fantastic look at the effects of marriage and human relationships, this is definitely the film’s highlight.
8: Mr. Blonde, Reservoir Dogs (1992)
There are a lot of scenes which deserve a spot on here from QT’s breakthrough debut and it was really tough making a decision, but no other scene has the raw impact and masochistic beauty of this brilliantly filmed violence overblow. QT laughs in our faces and left me gaping when Mr. Blonde exited the warehouse and everything changed for those brief few seconds. He’s a genius, and this scene is a testament to his ability.
9: The German Girl, Paths of Glory (1957)
I hope you have a box of Kleenex, because you may be about to cry. The following is technically two scenes, one in which Kirk Douglas tells his boss where to stick his promotion (my favourite line in the film occurs at 0:59, listen for that one), and in the second part, in a scene that really is a testament to the heartlessness and cruelty of war, a German girl is forced to sing by a bunch of rowdy, drunken, ogling American soldiers, but the unexpected happens. Seriously, this scene… I cannot express my love for it enough, and it is one of the main reasons it’s placed so high among my favourite movies of all time. The best scene Kubrick ever directed. Ever.
10: Perfect Day, Trainspotting (1996)
Apparently, embedding is disabled so you can watch it here if it doesn’t work. What follows is an example of Danny Boyle’s great talent. He hear combines a scene where we see the protagonist Renton (Ewan MacGregor) take a “final” hit of heroin, and uses the best possible music to ironically describe the hellish levels to which he has sunk. Spectacularly depressing.
11: The End, Dogville (2003)
I warn you now, do NOT watch this scene if you have not already seen the movie. It contains spoilers that should NEVER be spoiled. It is the almost perfect, sadistic ending to Lars von Trier’s amazing stage-play filmed Dogville. It’s definitely in my Top 5 for jaw-dropping scenes. You will be stunned.
12: The Club Silencio, Mulholland Dr. (2001)
A beautiful, artistic, memorable scene from David Lynch’s amazing movie, this is a really well-done look at the thin line between dreams and reality, and how easily we can be tricked.
13: Don’t Leave, Magnolia (1999)
I know I’ve mentioned and shown this scene all over Southern Vision a few times, but if you haven’t seen it, it really is worth it. In general, I dislike Tom Cruise as an actor. But in this scene… wow, he really packs a punch that’s difficult to shake. Amazing portrayal of grief and loss.
14: Plastic Bag in the Wind, American Beauty (1999)
The scene has such emotion, and beauty, that there’s really nothing much left to say that Wes Bentley doesn’t say himself. Great background score from Thomas Newman, one of my favourite musical score composers of all time.
15: The Pool Scene, Let the Right One In (2008)
Almost poetic in its use of strewn body parts, sudden deaths, and great audio, this scene forces the audience to use their imagination which produces much more horrific results than any scary imagery. A beautiful, terrifying scene.
16: The Boardwalk Scene, A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The perfect combination of sickening violence and amazing classical music, Stanley Kubrick’s controversial masterpiece features countless great scenes of amazing direction, but this one tops them all.
17: Standing In Line for a Movie, Annie Hall (1977)
Woody Allen’s famous comedy works more like a series of hilarious sketches, and it’s difficult to pick just one, but when I watched it the first time, this scene really struck me as very funny, and has been parodied often in pop culture.
18: Lovefool, Hot Fuzz (2007)
This list would go uncomplete without a reference to the funniest of all the hilarious scenes in this Edgar Wright classic. The look on Simon Pegg’s face is hysterical.
19: The Copacabana Shot, Goodfellas (1991)
You’ll have to skip to two minutes before the actual shot starts, but it is a brilliant one. One of the most famous and influential tracking shots in all of cinema, this really pumps up the class in this Scorsese classic and is one of the many reasons it is as brilliant as it is.
20: Dreams, No Country for Old Men (2007)
A fitting way to finish off this list is with the disquieting, eerie, brilliant final scene that tops off an amazingly fantastic movie. Tommy Lee Jones leads the Coen brothers’ western-style classic to an awesome conclusion.
There, that’s my list. There’s plenty more I could add, but this is enough for now. So, what do you think? Anything you’d like to add? Leave a comment below.
It’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s birthday today, so I’ve decided to honour the greatest living American film director (that’s right, I said it!) by presenting us with a look into his amazing mind and five crazy, unique characters that only he could have created.
1: Rahad Jackson, Boogie Nights (1997)
Even more astoundingly memorable than Mark Wahlberg’s Dirk Diggler or Burt Reynolds’s Jack Horner is Alfred Molina’s Rahad Jackson, who appears in only one scene, but one of the best scenes Anderson ever directed. His great tastes in American music and fiery rage with a gun are only two of the great reasons he’s on this list. Anderson created a character that any director or writer could easily have taken overboard, but has the right amount of great comedic value and genuinely chilling attitude.
2: Officer Jim Kurring, Magnolia (1999)
A warm source of naive empathy and contrasting experienced wisdom that is naturally necessary for a film like this, John C. Reilly delivers perhaps the most convicted and developed performance of his career as a young cop who falls in love with a drug addict, just one of various storylines in Anderson’s epic Boogie Nights follow-up. Delivering empowered Cops-style monologues to an imagined camera, and suffering for his job in the name of a God he’s forced to believe in following the death of his wife, Kurring is one of the most easily relatable and intricately accurate portrayals of hilarious naivety and saddening realization. Tough part of the job. Tough part of walking down the street.
3: Frank T.J. Mackey, Magnolia (1999)
In a brilliant film like Magnolia with so many characters, it’s easy to pick more than one and so here is another: an Oscar-nominated performance from a surprisingly excellent Tom Cruise as one of the most basically complex characters in the Anderson universe. Mackey is a man who is easy to despise. But he, like many of us, has been hurt, his life changed forever, by cruelty. He’s more of a victim than he is a perpetrator, and misogynistic or not, he’s a broken, unmended man, and Anderson has captured that perfectly.
4: Barry Egan, Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
It just goes to show that Paul Thomas Anderson can get a brilliant Oscar-worthy performance out of an acting failure like Adam Sandler. His performance as Egan is multilayered and filled with mental complexity, but he is written so brilliantly, so excellently, that it is easy for Sandler to rip his teeth into it and shine in the role he was born for.
5: Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood (2007)
Daniel Day-Lewis gives one of the best acting performances of all time in a stunning role as a man consumed by greed and sin, a man on whose face we see nothing but unrelenting age, and in whose eyes we see only brutal, unflinching hatred. I look at people and see nothing worth liking, says Plainview, and it is one of many chilling observations that are windows into the soul of a truly evil man. Sure, Day-Lewis brought him to life, but Anderson conceived him, and without him, we’d be without one of the most formidable, terrifying villains of all time, beating the hell out of Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates by miles.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Anderson, and hopefully with The Master, there’ll be yet another character/s to add to the list.
Paul Thomas Anderson, as I’m sure you know, is a fantastic director who has made a continuous string of brilliant, extraordinary movies. He’s probably the best American director working in cinema today, and we’re eagerly awaiting more news about the creation of his newest film, The Master. When I heard that he was working on this film, I got so excited I decided to rewatch all his other films in preparation. You can never see a P.T. Anderson movie too many times.
Here are 25 great quotes I picked up from his five movies. Enjoy.
1: “If you stay here, you don’t wanna get caught, okay? We’re talking about kidnapping, extortion, other things, I dunno what. But not good things.”
2: “I know three kinds of karate: jujitsu, aikido, and regular karate.”
3: “I have the money to give you right now, in this moment. I will give you all that I have. Maybe before you were gonna kill me. Maybe. I don’t know. I know John, and I love him like he was my own child. But I can tell you this: I don’t want to die. I killed his father. I can tell you what it was. This is not an excuse. I’m not begging for clemency. All that matters, I do not wish to sacrifice my life for John’s well-being. But I will sacrifice this money for mine because you have asked me. Because after this, I will have done all I can for John and for myself. I’m going to ask you with all the heart and sincerety that I have, please do not put a bullet in me. And, please, don’t tell John what I’ve done. I trust that once I gave you this money, you and I will take separate paths and that this negotiation will settle everything. That is my hope. I don’t wanna die.”
4: “I know some things about Atlantic city…”
5: “This is a very fucked up situation.”
Boogie Nights (1997)
6: “I got a feeling that behind those jeans is something wonderful just waiting to get out.”
7: “I’m ready to shoot right now!”
8: “If it looks like shit, and it sounds like shit, it must be shit!”
9: “I’m gonna keep trying if you guys keep trying. Let’s keep rocking and rolling.”
10: “I’m a star. I’m a star, I’m a star, I’m a star. I’m a big, bright shining star. That’s right.”
11: “These strange things happen all the time.”
12: “And the book says, ‘we may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.'”
13: “I’m quietly judging you.”
14: “The biggest regret of my life… I let my love go.”
15: “Don’t go away, you fucking asshole, don’t go away, you fucking asshole, don’t go away….”
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
16: “I don’t like myself sometimes.”
17: “I didn’t do anything. I’m a nice man. I mind my own business. So you tell me ‘that’s that’ before I beat the hell from you. I have so much strength in me you have no idea. I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine. I would say ‘that’s that’, Mattress Man.”
18: “I’m lookin’ at your face and I just wanna smash it. I just wanna fuckin’ smash it with a sledgehammer and squeeze it. You’re so pretty.”
19: “Healthy Choice and American Airlines got together and put this promotion: If you buy any 10 Healthy Choice products, they will reward you with 500 frequent flier miles; with this special coupon, they’ll up it to 1,000 miles. So, I think they are trying to push their teriyaki chicken which is $1.79, but I went to the supermarket and I looked around and I saw that they had pudding… for 25¢ a cup… comes in packages of four. But insanely… the barcodes… are on the individual cups! So, quarter a cup, say you bought $2.50 worth. That’s worth 500… with the coupon it’s 1,000 miles. It’s a marketing mistake but I’m taking advantage of it. If you were to spend $3,000, that would get you a million frequent flier miles. You would never have to pay for a ticket the rest of your life.”
20: “Yes-that-would-be-great-but-I’m-not-exactly-sure-I-have-so-much-going-on-here-a-lot-depends-on-this-thing-if-it-happens-I-won’t-be-able-to-go-but-if-it-doesn’t-happen-I-might-be-able-to… I probably won’t though.”
There Will Be Blood (2007)
21: “There are times when I look at people and see nothing worth liking.”
22: “One night, I’m going to come to you, inside your house, wherever you’re sleeping, and I’m going to cut your throat.”
24: “I told you I would eat you!”
25: “I’m finished.”
There are so many more I could list than the above 25, especially from Magnolia and There Will Be Blood (in fact, the whole final scene of the latter film could be easily and appropriately quotable), but I’ll leave that up to you.
Leave a comment with what you thought of my selections, and list some quotes of your own. What directors do you find easily quotable? What do you think of Paul Thomas Anderson’s films? Let me know.
Thanks for reading.
When I watch movies, I often look for great opening shots. These are the first things we see when the camera fades in from black and the film begins. A good director will often make a good opening shot to hook the viewer into the film, and here are five of my favourites, in no particular order:
The film opens with a deceptively simple stationary shot of the house of a wealthy French couple and their son. We soon release, in a perfectly Michael Haneke manner, that this is a videotape of their house recorded by an unknown person/s, who have then mailed the recording to the couple. A fantastic film which opens in an excellent manner.
Sofia Coppola’s newest film, and undoubtedly her best, is the excellent indie drama Somewhere. It opens with one of my favourite shots of all time, a shot quite similar to the opening of The Brown Bunny, except this shot is stationary and unmoving, a wise decision. If you find this boring and meaningless, then I suggest you watch the whole movie. If, after that, you still find it boring and meaningless… I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Oh, wow. Who could forget that awesome movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey? Obviously, a lot of people, as I was the only one in my family who didn’t doze off while the movie played on when I watched it when I was twelve after Stanley Kubrick died. From this magnificently epic opening shot and onwards, it catapulted my life into a realm of film and cinema. It’s so simplistic, yet so beautiful:
Boogie Nights (1997)
Steadicam, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… Boogie Nights is easily number one. The opening shot actually really made me feel like I was cruising around the disco, checking out all the funky characters. Everything about it is perfect; the timing, the way it moves so rhythmically, and how awesome the seventies looked through the eyes of Paul Thomas Anderson.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video for this, which is sad, because the music is absolutely perfect in this scene, but let me cut it down to the bare basics. This is Stanley Kubrick being cheeky, which is something we very rarely get from the director, and is what makes the opening so unique. No one knew how to get an audience’s attention like Kubrick:
Now it’s time for…
Leave a comment with what you thought of my five choices, and name some of your own.
Thanks for reading.
Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood:
They’re three great–no, fantastic movies from legendary director Paul Thomas Anderson. The films are epic mosaics of extraordinary colour and vision and they present amazing and enthralling tales. They’re all among my twenty favourite films, and this makes it even more difficult to pick the best one. An almost impossible task. But one I will attempt.
I’m not shy to admit that my personal favourite is Magnolia, but one of the other two follows very closely behind, and the third is an ever-lingering shadow trying to catch up. Just because it’s my favourite, does that mean it’s the best? Not necessarily. One of the others could be better. Let’s examine them, one by one, in chronological order, and see if we can figure it out.
Boogie Nights (1997)
This was P.T. Anderson’s second film, after the often-neglected Sydney (1996). It has a great ensemble cast of colourful characters, whose lives are all affected by involvement in the pornography industry. The cast is led by Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg), a young nightclub dishwasher who is discovered by porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds, the epitome of still got it) and propels to stardom through the films in which he ‘stars.’ He believes he is a big bright shining star, and along with his amateur kung-fu moves and a naive determination attempts to make it big. Anderson directs with grace, showing us beautiful tracking shots and a stunningly well-picked and suitable soundtrack. He recreates the 70s and 80s with the skill of experience, making a more realistic vision than we ever could’ve hoped for. Excellent.
Unashamedly my personal favourite, Anderson’s most sweeping, ensemble-casted film is ripe with emotion and deep, deep scars of humanity. The whole cast manage to give Academy Award-worthy performances, in my opinion. Anderson tells a story of cancer and cruelty, and the lasting effect such disasters have on the human mind and soul. Almost all the characters are hurt and feel alone, and many regret their past choices. The film’s screenplay is one of the most well-written pieces of the nineties, right up there with Pulp Fiction, a rather similar film. But Pulp never had the emotion and honesty of Magnolia. There was far less truth in Pulp, and it was more focused on the comic side of humanity, with a helpful splatter of violence. Magnolia has a unique knowledge of coincidence and chance, as well as ripping acting performances and a decent spoonful of heartfelt monologues. The coincidence theme is original and well-done, and helps to provide a more unique view of life in the San Fernando Valley and… life in general. Never have I felt the way I felt while watching Magnolia. Fantastic.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Now the real contest begins. I’ve plead my case for Magnolia, but There Will Be Blood is a close runner-up in my favourites. But is it generally a better film? Let’s see… The story is an honest one with nice factual anecdotes and a vital attention paid to detail. The perfect Daniel Day-Lewis delivers his career-best performance as oil tycoon Daniel Plainview, who lacks but two emotions: greed and hate. By the sweeping, stunning ending, the greed emotion has been overcome by the hate, which seeps through his skin and explodes out of his body in fits of emotional, frightening rage. In Plainview’s words, “I look at people and see nothing worth liking.” His relationships with people are all mostly fake, and he lacks any real respect or love for his son, whom he cruelly abandons. There Will Be Blood pulls no punches, and is painful in its truthfulness. The cinematography earned an Oscar, and with good reason. The beautifully recreated early 20th century is punctuated with a sweeping camera which makes for enthralling, amazing viewing. The soundtrack is also worth noting. As usual, Anderson picks music which perfectly matches the mood and atmosphere and provides a notable addition to an awesome image. Spectacular.
So there you have it. Three quick reviews of three long, beautiful films. So which is the best? While Magnolia is my favourite, I’m going to have to go with There Will Be Blood. Every aspect of this film was perfect, and its cruel defeat at the Oscars by the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men was a painful sight to see. The true fact is that TWBB is a cinematic success, whatever way you look at it, and is a true masterpiece which tells, brutally, the true attitude and atmosphere of a greedy, sinful era.
Anywho, those’re my thoughts… What’s yours? Leave a comment and let me know.
Thanks for reading.