Category Archives: Top 5

Top 10: Musical Movie Moments

CineFix is back after a long hiatus with a brand new list highlighting the 10 best uses of music in movies, instances where music is used inside the film to further the plot…but not musical numbers or scores.  There’s actually a word for this if you want to forgo a rip on your Word-of-the-Day Calendar: Diegetics.  Within this concept are a whole lot of extremely specific uses for music in films: music provided by characters in a scene, contrapuntal scoring (or music provided to underscore a scene wildly out of sync with that particular scene’s gravity; think The Mickey Mouse March in Full Metal Jacket or the closing number from The Life of Brian), songs character choose to play that help define that character (ex: Peter Quill dancing to “Come And Get Your Love” in Guardians of the Galaxy), and a whole bunch of more esoteric musical film categories.  Diegetics, people.

Diegetic sound. Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film: voices of characters. sounds made by objects in the story. music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( = source music)

Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption

Top 10: Improvised Scenes in Movie History

As wonderful as a carefully crafted script is, some of the best movie moments are simply made up on the fly.  CineFix returns with another great movie list – Top 10: Improvised Scenes in Movie History.  Some directors hate improv and some barely require a formal script.  I think erring on the side of having a Nolan-esque literary script in place is probably the prudent route, but as those are a handful a year, there’s something seriously admirable about an actor/director collaboration that just spontaneously generates magic on the spot.  While improv is most associated with comedy, a good portion of the spots on the list go to famous dramatic scenes from Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, A Clockwork Orange, and The Breakfast Club.  Improv is a staple of comedy, and a lot of your favorite comedy moments, be they from Judd Apatow, Bill Murray, or Chris Guest, also make the list.  Rather than picking a scene for #1 though, CineFix made the very wise choice of simply sticking Robin Williams’s name up top.  If you’re going to have a list heralding lack of structure, Robin deserves to sit atop it with his whole body of work. Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting

 

Top 10: Jurassic Park Moments

Jurassic Park was the first PG-13 movie I ever got to see in the theater.  Twenty-five years later, as the fifth film in the franchise is getting ready to lumber into theaters, the original still stands as one of the greatest blockbusters ever made.  To honor those pesky dinos, WatchMojo has put together a list of the 10 best moments from the first four films of the Jurassic franchise.  WM 90% nailed this one.  The first film dominates the list, as it should.  If I had to include every installment on the list, the only change between my list and theirs would have been to use the pterodactyl scene from Jurassic Park III instead of the Spinosaurus.  The franchise is more notable for its ability to generate bank rather than its quality past the original film (the bomb that was JPIII aside).  Fallen Kingdom’s early reviews don’t offer much hope that the fifth film will do much better than 2-4, but the original will always rank among my favorite summer films of all-time.Jurassic Park

Top 10: Movie Quitting Scenes

As critical as employment is, most of us have an epic quitting plan on file.  Most of us will never use it, but we’d be lying if we said during hour two of an awful meeting we didn’t take it out, carefully review it, think of the perfect musical accompaniment, and refile it in our brain’s sanity file.  Some people truly love their work, and the rest of us…well, we hate you.  It’s not personal (it might be, I’m trying to soften it), but the majority of us are stabbing minutes trying to get to the small slice of the day that’s actually ours.  That’s why WatchMojo’s Top 10 List of Movie Quitting Scenes is probably not a good idea for work.  Both in content and inspiration, you should probably enjoy this shot of vicarious glee on the weekend.  Unless you have to work on the weekend, in which case you absolutely hate your job and should watch this immediately (I am not responsible for what ensues).  I sometimes have quibbles with WM’s lists, but I think they did a pretty good job here.  I’d have swapped Road House for Burn After Reading off the Honorable Mention Lists, but epic quitting scenes from American Beauty, Fight Club, The Truman Show, Wanted, Office Space, and others are the kind of thing that will give you a case of the Mondays any day of the week.

Fight Club

 

My Favorite Scene: Fight Club (1999) “Welcome to Fight Club”

“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never really been in a fight?” Brad Pitt asks it of Edward Norton shortly after they meet, and people (particularly men) have been asking each other the question ever since David Fincher’s 1999 anarchic masterpiece was released.  Based on the equally (and oddly quite wise) novel by Chuck Palahniuk.  Fincher’s film is a unique and insightful look at the societal neutering of the American male.  I’m going to write this from the standpoint of one…since that’s what I happen to be.  Men are hard-wired for aggression.  We want to punch stuff.  We like to see things blow up, destroyed, and laid low.  We’re hunter-gatherers at our core.  Now we spend 40 hours a week in a sea of grey cubicles, and our weekends at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  There’s something missing.  We’re missing a key part of ourselves and it manifests in bottles of whiskey and Prozac.  We don’t know ourselves, because most of us haven’t been in a fight.  That’s why Fight Club (which didn’t do well in theaters) became a cult sensation.  It touched a nerve with men.  It was a revelation.
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