Tag Archives: Great Movie Scenes

My Favorite Scene: Super Troopers (2001) “The Cat Game”

Super Troopers has become a cult classic comedy since its release in 2001.  Fans of the film so wanted a sequel (opening this Friday) that when the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, whose cast members star in the film, asked for help in raising $2 million dollars in a crowdfunding campaign to secure locations, they had it in 26 hours.  The film is wildly uneven, and a fair review of it is that it’s a comedy that has some fantastic scenes, but feels a bit overlong and patched together…..that being said you really end up kind of loving it.

The film is about a group of bored, misfit Vermont State Troopers who spend most of their time chugging maple syrup and finding new ways to amuse themselves by torturing the people they pull over.  The film has one of the best openings of any comedy, but my favorite set piece, because it’s so easy to do to people in real life, is The Cat Game.  The goal of The Cat Game is to see how many times the trooper can work the word “meow” into a routine traffic stop, and it’s awesome.  I would be lying if I said I had not done this to people in a customer service capacity on the phone on tremendously long Tuesday afternoons.  So if you’re THAT bored today….

Super Troopers

My Favorite Scene: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) “Father & Son”

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark is undoubtedly the best Indiana Jones film, but if I’m going to pop one in to just have a great time, I’ll go with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (where the series should have ended).  Where Temple of Doom was a diversion from Indy as a relic-seeking archaeologist, The Last Crusade brought back everything that made Raiders great.  In a fantastic opening sequence, a young River Phoenix plays Indy (spawning a short-lived TV series) in an early adventure that explains virtually every tic and hiccup about the character we’ve come to love over the two previous films..  It’s one of the best openings of any Spielberg movie, and a brilliant idea to reintroduce audiences to Jones after the five-year gap between Temple and Crusade.   Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) “Father & Son”

My Favorite Scene: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) “Bridge Battle”

Before Crystal Skull, if there was a weak link in the Indy series, it was 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (now it looks like a masterpiece).  Set before Raiders, because Lucas convinced Spielberg that Jones should be like Bond with a different girl in every film.  The original second movie was going to revolve around Karen Allen’s father, Indiana’s mentor, but Lucas wanted to do something darker.  George was going through a divorce and one of the darkest periods of his life, so instead of meeting Marian’s family, we got a Kali death cult in India that kidnapped children and performed human sacrifices.  Dark times for George.

Dark enough that the violence in Temple of Doom upset so many parents that the MPAA created the PG-13 rating directly as a result of this film (which is pretty tame compared to most PG-13 films now, but good luck getting the MPAA to do anything about revising the ratings system).  I can’t stand Kate Capshaw’s incessant screaming, and the opening club/musical number kind of makes me wince, but you can’t deny the awesomeness of Short Round and a number of the action pieces, especially the iconic mine car sequence, but the best piece in the film is Indy’s stand on the bridge.  It’s one of the best moments in the series, hands down.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Poster

My Favorite Scene: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) “An Idol Births an Icon”

Raiders of the Lost Ark is, to my mind, the greatest action-adventure movie in film history.  It has so many iconic moments and set pieces, but none more so that its opening,  The journey through the temple to find the idol was pure excitement, but it also established Indiana Jones’s character by 10 minutes into the film.  It’s one of Spielberg’s greatest sequences, and the greatest movie icon to come out of any of his films.  Given where the franchise is headed in the future, I thought we’d revisit what had been before any more news about Indy 5 and beyond came out.

Spielberg gave an interview this week saying that the franchise will continue after 2020’s Indiana Jones 5, but that it would be Harrison Ford’s farewell.  I’m not sure if they plan to reboot or recast, but Spielberg seemed very intent on gender-bending it saying, “Of course we’d have to change the character’s name to Indiana Joan.”  It’s really hard from a print interview to tell if he was kidding, because not only does that make no sense, but there already is a female Indiana Jones and her name is Lara Croft.  He acts like this is a huge franchise, when it should have been left at three films made in 8 years in the 1980s.  It does not HAVE to go on, and-if it does-he should not be doing it any more.  People seem more focused on Harrison Ford’s age than Spielberg’s inability to deliver a film like Raiders any more, but I don’t want him anywhere near this creation.  I’d like to think Disney is smarter than that.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the one-off in the marketplace also; a take on the classic “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight” trope.  It actually was scripted as an epic fight, whip vs. gun, that was going to include a huge amount of stunt work from Ford, but on the day of filming, he was siiiiiiiiiick.  He had a fever and food poisoning and could barely stand, so he suggested…..”Why don’t I just shoot him?”  Worked out much better, and Ford went back to his hotel.

 

My Favorite Scene: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) “Musical Conversation”

While I give Steven Spielberg plenty of flak for the turn his career has taken over the last 15 years, that in no way diminishes from his early masterpieces.  I don’t know that Close Encounters of the Third Kind would be the hit today that it was back in 1977.  It’s a very deliberately paced film for Spielberg, and the fascination with UFOs isn’t near today what it was even back during the heyday of The X-Files.  We’ve all but shuttered the exploration of space.  We’re a very inward looking species, rather than looking to the stars and thinking about what or who might be out there, and how we might talk to them were they to someday show up.

Today’s planet would almost certainly start lobbing nukes at anything it didn’t understand, and maybe 1977’s would have too, but I love Spielberg’s optimistic and beautiful take on a first encounter with extraterrestrials.  Math is the universal language, and music, at its core, is math.  It’s logical that would be a way to communicate, and if you have John Williams as your composer, you can have a five-minute sequence of simple notes building into a cacophony of musical dialogue that is as spellbinding as any written words could be.  The five tones of initial communication are the most easily iconic thing about Close Encounters.  Over 40 years after its release, this sequence is still chillingly beautiful….and then Richard Dreyfus gets on a spaceship and leaves his family behind (that part I never quite got).

Close Encounters of the Third Kind