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100 Things I Love About the Movies

Recently, John at The Droid You’re Looking For made a sequel to his hugely successful “100 Things I Love About the Movies” post, and being a fan of both posts, I’ve decided it’s about time I did my own. It was a very inspirational and thoughtful post, and if you read it yourself it might just make you want to do one of the same. For now, here’s mine:

1: Hi-hi-hi there, at last we meet.

2: The shaking fence in Evil Dead.

3: A rape depicted through the clever usage of a silent movie in Pedro Almodovar’s Talk to Her.

4: Qantas never crashed.

5: Whatever you want, Leo Getz.

6: The stunning ending to Lars von Trier’s Dogville.

7: Dave. Stop, Dave. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it.

8: The best movie cut of all history in Lawrence of Arabia.

9: The theme that plays when we see the man with the Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West.

10: Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me…

11: The abrupt ending of Bonnie and Clyde.

12: 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.

13: The final perfect five minutes of Irreversible…

14: …and how The King’s Speech stole the music!

15: Ellen Burstyn’s monologue in Requiem for a Dream.

16: The hand emerging from the water in Deliverance.

17: The final half-hour of Audition.

18: Jimmy Schtewart.

19: The emotion and raw energy with which Kirk Douglas delivers this line in Paths of Glory: “I apologise to you, sir, for not informing you sooner that you’re a degenerate, sadistic old man, and you can go to Hell before I apologise to you now or ever again!”

20: John C. Reilly shining his flashlight into the camera in Magnolia.

21: Blood Simple to True Grit and everything in between.

22: Hello… Hello, Dimitri? I… I can’t hear, could you turn the music down? That’s great, you’re coming through fine. I’m coming through fine, too, am I? I agree with you, it’s great to be fine. Now then, Dimitri. One of our generals… he went a little funny in the head… you know, funny. And he went and did a silly thing.

23: Tracking shots. All of them.

24: The Monty Python movies (“I fart in your general direction!”)

25: Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit crushing game shows, stuffing junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life.

26: Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar.

27: Steve Martin in The Jerk.

28: Isabella Rossellini begging Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet (“Hit me!”).

29: In Heaven… everything is fine.

30: Did You Know You Can Use Old Motor Oil to Fertilise Your Lawn?

31: That lucky occasion when you come across a really, really good TV movie (Indictment: The McMartin Trial)

32: Get away from her, you BITCH!

33: I am Death. I have long walked at your side.

34: The most striking and disturbing use of colour in any film, that of Sven Nykvist’s brilliant cinematography in Ingmar Bergman’s fantastic Cries and Whispers.

35: NOT LOVELY, LOVELY LUDWIG VAAAANNNN!!!!

36: The slow-paced and slightly comic final duel in Barry Lyndon.

37: The deadly silent arrival of Martin Sheen into Colonel Kurtz new jungle home, rudely interrupted by an obviously high Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.

38: The first six or so minutes of Persona.

39: This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for fighting, this is for fun.

40: The haunting piano music that plays throughout the latter half of Kubrick’s fantastic Eyes Wide Shut.

41: A surprise cameo from the greatest stand-up comedian of all time in a non-comedy role in Lost Highway.

42: Tom Cruise’s finest hour:

43: The perfect opening shot of Apocalypse Now.

44: Bernard Herrman’s shrieking violins.

45: Black and White movies in the era of Colour.

46: The nameless dystopian city in David Fincher’s Se7en.

47: Uncomfortably casual nudity in Short Cuts.

48: Marge Gunderson.

49: Nobody fucks with the Jesus.

50: Bring Out the Gimp.

51: Norma Desmond’s delusions of grandeur.

52: The drug deal scene in Boogie Nights.

53: I only got two things in this world: my balls and my word. And I don’t break em for nobody.

54: Robert Downey, Jr. in Natural Born Killers.

55: The “train going into the tunnel” at the very end of North by Northwest, a clever albeit overused sexual metaphor.

56: Ricky Gervais. Always. Always.

57: A movie set entirely within one room (i.e. Buried)

58: Rob Brydon’s cameo in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

59: Nothing’s wrong with it, Tommy. It’s tip top. I’m just not sure about the colour.

60: I am Jack’s _____ ______.

61: Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, oh, and while we’re at it…

62: 80s high school movies. All of them.

63: The epilogue of Pink Flamingos.

64: Clerks. ‘Nuff said.

65: Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fucking stupid bastard!

66: Silencio.

67: Earn this. Earn it.

68: The final shot of the rat at the end of The Departed.

69: Extended Director’s Cuts.

70: I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

71: The inability of Jack Lemmon to be able to watch Grand Hotel in The Apartment.

72: Memorable last lines in Billy Wilder movies.

73: We’re a loving couple that doesn’t touch.

74: Sunday nights, where I put aside a few hours to rewatch one of my favourite movies, no matter what it is or how many times I’ve seen it.

75: The creepy hidden camera shots in Michael Haneke’s Cache.

76: Amelie’s strange games with random people in the film of the same name.

77: Go round mums, deal with Phillip, grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint and wait for all this to blow over.

78: Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure: “In the water, I’m a very skinny lady.”

79: Sidney Lumet. Rest in Peace.

80: The final shocking moments of Planet of the Apes.

81: The meaning of Roger O. Thornhill’s middle initial.

82: Martin Scorsese’s cameo in Taxi Driver.

83: Gregory Peck’s powerful courtroom monologue in To Kill A Mockingbird…

84: …and the uniquely different but still subtly similar version presented by a suprisingly good Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill.

85: Dustin Hoffman’s moving turn as Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy…

86: …and the eerie subtle similarities between Jon Voight’s character in the same movie and Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights.

87: Mr. Jingles.

88: I just wanted to hold the little baby.

89: You mean the man who inserted rubber fist in my anus was a homosexual?

90: The stunning revelation at the end of Spoorloos (The Vanishing).

91: How quickly a director can take my interest, and how stunningly tight their grip remains on me within the shortest of times, and how it can last seemingly forever, as evidenced by my recent delve into the films of Ingmar Bergman.

92: Hit Girl.

93: Bill Murray waking up to the same nauseatingly repetitive jingle every morning in Groundhog Day.

94: Reese Witherspoon humiliating a disfigured Kiefer Sutherland in Freeway.

95: The little bit of low-budget masterpiece that was Sex, Lies and Videotape.

96: Dogme 95.

97: The Criterion Collection.

98: The little things in movies that so few directors really think to care about.

99: How movies affect my everyday life, the way I do things, the little idiosyncrasies that people rarely notice, and how I think and perceive things.

100: “I’m finished.”

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5 Memorable Earthquakes in Movies

John Cusack and Woody Harrelson in the big-budget CGI-laden "2012," in a scene shortly before a series of disasters begins the apocalypse...

I live in New Zealand, an island country in the South Pacific that is located southeast of Australia. Recently, in one of our major cities, Christchurch, a disastrous earthquake struck, leaving hundreds dead and many buildings in ruins.

I, being the optimist I am, have decided to take it upon myself to list some of the most memorable earthquakes in movies:

1: Short Cuts (1993)

Robert Altman’s picturesque masterpiece of life in L.A. for cops, jazz singers, phone sex operaters, makeup artists, pool cleaners, waitresses and countless others would be nothing without the films anticlimactic earthquake. Normally in a film, an earthquake or natural disaster at the end would signify some sort of amazing event that changes the lives of all the characters (wink-wink Magnolia), but the quake in this film seems to have little or no effect on the way these Hollywood characters operate, which I’ve come to determine is simply because California has so many earthquakes!

2: The Mist (2007)

Frank Darabont returned to adapting Stephen King novellas for this interesting monster movie which begins with an “earthquake” and sends its characters into a torrent of cabin fever when strange monsters prevent them from safely leaving a supermarket in which they are encapsulated. But is expiation the answer? Or suicide, for that matter? The film’s infamous ending is both brilliant and absolutely lame and stupid. Tacky, Darabont, just tacky. It would’ve been better if he’d stuck to the original ending.

3: 2012 (2009)

Roland Emmerich once again succeeds to scare the shit out of us with this once more very prophetic and very interesting look at how the world will end. Unsurprisingly its extremely pessimistic, even if the ending is a happy one for John Cusack. The pessimism is in the destruction itself, which is a deluge of disasters. CGI earthquakes tear cities apart, while Cusack manages to miraculously escape the disaster with his children. Woody Harrelson also has a cameo as a radio broadcaster with insane predictions, though his character is killed as the chaos begins. Shame. The only thing the film has going for itself is the destruction, which is intense and realistic, thank God. But there is very little else of interest, and annoying questions raised such as: “How could the Mayans predict a solar flare?” and “How come John Cusack survives but billions of other people have to die?” I don’t know the answer to that; all I do know is that Cusack should have died and Woody should’ve survived.

4: The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

My favourite disaster movie is undeniably The Poseidon Adventure. There are consistently excellent performances from the all-star cast and it is a masterpiece I can watch over and over again. Though the “earthquake” in this film is an underwater one, that still counts, because it is what triggers the title wave that capsizes the ocean liner. Forget Titanic (1997). While it does have much more stunning imagery, the drama and excitement of The Poseidon Adventure towers over it, alongside what I like to refer to as its “sister film” The Towering Inferno (1974). What’s not to love about Poseidon? It has everything you could want, and more. The drama is vicious and enriching, as is the adventure to the “one-inch-thick” propeller shaft room. Gene Hackman dominates it all with his own terrific acting, and is supported by notable performances from Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters and others. A definite watch for lovers of disaster movies or adventure films.

5: Earthquake (1974)

Directed by Mark Robson (Peyton Place, Valley of the Dolls) and partially scripted by Mario Puzo, this disaster film for the ages is a fun excersize, and even though its not a great one, there are some enjoyable moments. I’m a sucker for films with numerous characters and multiple storylines and, so, I had to see this. It was ages ago and I can barely remember it, but it is an earthquake film and the quake is memorable. A fitting conclusion to a series of five.

So there you have it! Five memorable earthquake scenes, as promised. But… were there any I forgot? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks.