The ensemble for Ocean’s Eleven can stand against pretty much any film ever made, containing EIGHT Oscar-winning/nominated actors and actresses (Elliot Gould, Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, and Andy Garcia) and that doesn’t even count NINE-time Emmy winner and legend Carl Reiner in his final major role or the Golden Globe and Emmy nominated Bernie Mac. That’s a cast! Unfortunately YouTube was unable to give me the whole assembling of the 11, so I cobbled it together the best I can from four clips. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Ocean’s Eleven (2001) “Putting the Team Together”
I know we normally do “My Favorite Scene” on Tuesdays, but I felt like putting up a Monday morning laugh. For the defining sitcoms of my teens and early twenties, I had Frasier and Friends, the latter of which was more pertinent to my life as my friends have been the story of mine, so a sitcom about a tightly knit group of them trying to figure out how to be adults (and failing miserably often as we so often all do, was my favorite). There are so many hysterical moments over the show’s run, but one of my favorites is just a stupid moment when Chandler and Rachel are trying to help Ross move a couch up the stairs to his new apartment (the use of friends as slave labor is pretty much what a “contractor” is in your twenties). It’s hysterically set up, but it’s David Schwimmer’s manic screaming of ‘PIVOT!” that absolutely slays me when I rewatch the clip. Not just me either. They had to do this scene a LOT, because Schwimmer’s PIVOT scream was causing them all to lose it as you can see in this retrospective/blooper.
After Kathryn Bigelow gets Detroit out this week, following The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, the woman really needs to mellow out and make a movie about animated ducks or something. She is possibly the most INTENSE director about unflinchingly taking on controversial, contemporary issues working today, and my first sentence was flippant, because we need someone doing that. Hollywood doesn’t really finance many message pictures anymore, any issue pictures, and that’s what Bigelow brings to the table.
Zero Dark Thirty is a controversial movie for a lot of reasons, not the least of which the graphic torture depicted (which happened), but also because it was made so soon after the killing of Osama bin Laden. The “War of Terror” is so frustrating because it isn’t traditional warfare. Our enemies don’t wear uniforms, adhere to a country, or even a single doctrine. It’s more a war against a sick madness and how do you fight that? The hunt for bin Laden was so important to Americans because he was the face. He was the uniform, the symbol, the figurehead. There are a lot of powerful scenes in the film but I like this meeting at the beginning with Mark Strong (tremendously underrated actor) painting the picture of frustration of the American people that this man had eluded the largest manhunt in history for a decade and sets the stage for everything to come.
With the triumphant return of The Wizarding World in the wake of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the sequel for which is set for a November 2018 release), we’re running back through the Harry Potter series, examining the best of each in one “My Favorite Scene” column a month. This installment ends our eight month journey through the original Wizarding World series with the finale: Harry Potter and the Dealthly Hallows Part Two. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 (2011) “The Albino Dragon/The Final Duel”
Disney recently announced that Toy Story 4 is set for release in 2019. That sparks in me the immediate reaction that we don’t NEED another Toy Story, because we already have three perfect ones. Granted, I had this reaction when Toy Story 2 was announced AND when Toy Story 3 was announced, and while it’s hard to differentiate between how perfect these films are, the sequels are probably both better than the original. I hope the same kind of care to the legacy of these characters (much more recognizable to the children of the world today than Mickey, Minnie, or Pluto) is upheld.
Toy Story 2 introduced a number of new characters to the gang, most notably, Jessie the Cowgirl (voiced by Joan Cusack). Unlike the toys of Andy’s room, Jessie had lead a much more tumultuous life. She preferred life as a collectible, because being loved by a child hurt too much (as all the toys would learn in the next installment) when that child outgrows them. Woody finally gets her to open up and tell her story, which is sad enough, but oh no, no, Pixar wasn’t satisfied with jumping up and down on your heart strings. They wantonly deployed Sarah McLachlan, the master of vocal tear generation, to sing the beautiful “When She Loved Me” over Jessie’s tale.
Pixar’s been in a rut for the most part over the last few years. It is heartening to hear the sequels are stopping after Toy Story 2, and we have had a few gems like Inside Out and Finding Dory, but when you watch a scene like this, you remember what Pixar was and should be again. There isn’t a demographic on Earth not moved by some part of this scene. They didn’t make films for kids, they made them for all ages in a way that never pandered to any age. This is the bar they face in Toy Story 4. So….good luck with that!