Top 100 Movies (2014 Edition): Scenes from Numbers 70, 100, 37, 94, and 89

2011_take_shelter_002

Hmm, here’s a problem. I don’t have a number 100 movie yet. I started this whole project before I actually finalized my list, so as it stands this moment I only have 99 movies on the list. So, I guess today’s post will only have 4 scenes. Everything else remains the same: the movie titles will link to a full review if I have one. See entries one, two, and three for more scenes, and my full list for full listiness.

70. Take Shelter – Blow up at dinner

This scene is a pretty big spoiler, so if you haven’t seen Take Shelter yet, stop now and go watch it. While this scene isn’t the climax of the film, it does contain the turning point of the film. For the majority of the movie, the audience is privy to Michael Shannon’s growing paranoia but he hides it from his family. Here they see his fury for the first time, and it’s quite a sight. But the more important part is what Jessica Chastain does after he explodes. She looks at him, shocked, but slowly realizes that she still loves him, and that he’s having issues. The hug is not a healing one, exactly, but one of acceptance.

37. Paths of Glory – No Man’s Land.

 

With Paths of Glory, Stanley Kubrick expertly creates one of the most intense war movies of all time. World War I was full of terrible ideas, trench warfare being only one of its great travesties. Here, Kubrick captures just how horrible a situation the grunts were in. Kirk Douglas first walks through the trenches, but he offers no words of encouragement. In fact, the only words in the scene are a countdown to the push into No Man’s Land. And there pretty much everybody dies. War is chaos.

94. Fargo – Cooperating

If there’s one thing the Coen brothers do amazingly throughout their career, it’s document the way we talk. Theirs is not usually a very realistic milieu, but rather a heightened one. The people of Fargo (or, more accurately, the North Dakota area, since only one scene actually takes place in Fargo) probably don’t really talk exactly like this, but the Coens and their performers have taken the peculiarities of their speech and twisted it, enhanced it, “you betcha”ed it up some more, so that it becomes one of the defining characteristics of the movie, the contrast between the “Minnesota nice” way of speaking and the horrific violence that the characters bring into the world. 

89. 7th Heaven – Climbing to Heaven

Frank Borzage isn’t often a subtle filmmaker. He likes to paint with large brushstrokes, and in the vibrant colors of love, loss, suffering, and life, even if he does so mostly in black and white. Here, just after Chico rescues Diane from killing herself on the street, he brings her up to his apartment in the sky. The long, slow climb up the stairs in one long tracking shot is technically marvelous for 1927, but it’s the visual metaphor that draws me in. Look at the light at the bottom of the stairs as compared to the top. He’s literally bringing her up into Heaven. This opens the door for the final scene of the film and builds Borzage’s beautiful visual palette.

That’s all for now. Like anything you see here? Let me know. Like any other scenes better than the ones I picked? Ditto.  

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