Superfluous 7…..Great Movie Scenes Part II

When I did the initial list of great movie scenes a couple of weeks ago I warned you that, in true cinematic tradition, there would be a sequel. As with the previous list I tried to find the best possible video but wasn’t successful in all cases. I hope these bring back good memories and remain optimistic that Hollywood, despite being a liberal bastion of questionable ethics & moral decay, will provide more of these moments in the future. Until then, The Manofesto proudly presents…..

 

 

from the home office in Horseheads, NY…..

 

 

 

The Superfluous 7 Great Movie Scenes Part II:

 

 

 

7 The Deli in When Harry Met Sally

I am secure enough in my machismo to admit that I like a good romantic comedy, otherwise known as a rom-com or a chick flick. Among the best of that particular genre is 1989’s When Harry Met Sally, starring Billy Crystal & Meg Ryan (back when she was cute & perky and not a science experiment gone horribly wrong) in a story that asks the much debated question of whether or not men & women can simply be friends. Early on in the film, while having dinner at a deli, the two

debate the concept of women faking…pleasure, with her stating that most women have done so at one point or another, and him confidently declaring that no one has ever done so with him. She decides to…ummm…demonstrate, which is amusing enough. However, what boosts the scene’s notability factor is the very end, when another customer at the eatery nonchalantly quips to a waitress that “I’ll have what she’s having”. Hilarious. Interesting trivia: that patron is portrayed by director Rob Reiner’s mother Estelle. I guess we all really do have our 15 minutes of fame.

 

 

6 The Motel Room in Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

The best…maybe only…Thanksgiving film is 1987’s Planes, Trains, & Automobiles. The ingredients of this movie are almost perfect: a buddy/road trip comedy with a holiday motif written & directed by the sublime John Hughes and starring comic geniuses John Candy & Steve Martin. With a recipe

like that it’d have to be darn near flawless. Midway thru there is a scene where Candy & Martin are sharing a motel room with only one bed. The two wake up and Candy believes that one of his hands is between two pillows. Unfortunately for both men his hand is actually…elsewhere. It’s a really funny scene in a really funny movie that I look forward to seeing annually at this time of the year.

 

 

5 Sonny’s Death in The Godfather

Nearly every scene in The Godfather is memorable and pitch perfect, which is why a few of them have made these lists. One of the more violent scenes (especially by 1972 standards) is the death of Don Vito Corleone’s eldest son Santino, played by the incomparable James Caan. Anyone who has watched The Godfather knows that Sonny is a bit of a hothead, and when he races off in the midst of

a mob war with no protection to confront his malicious brother-in-law Carlo (who is physically abusive to his wife, Sonny’s sister) he pays the ultimate price for his recklessness. If you have ever watched Santino Corleone executed firing squad style in a hail of gunfire then it probably runs across your mind whenever you have to pass thru a tollbooth. I’ve always heard that actors are attracted to a really good death scene, and I think Caan has the honor of starring in one of the most extraordinary ones in the history of cinema.

 

 

4 Tom Hanks Gets Emotional in Forrest Gump

There are two scenes in Forrest Gump that I believe clinched Tom Hanks his second Academy Award for Best Actor. Gump is one of those hybrid dramedies that I absolutely adore. There are moments of laugh-out-loud conviviality, but they are almost always followed by a sober moment that lets you know that this isn’t a traditional comedy. Toward the end of the film nearly all vestiges of amusement are put aside and the story becomes quite serious. The best scene in the film, in my humble opinion, is when Forrest Gump catches up with his love Jenny sometime in the early 80’s

and he finds out that he fathered her child. Forrest physically recoils in horrific shock and poignantly asks Jenny “Is he smart or is he…??”, and we can fill in the blanks. Forrest wants to know if the boy is…oh, I don’t know what the
proper terminology is…dumb, slow, retarded, mentally challenged?? It becomes clear that the supposedly dimwitted Forrest is acutely cognizant of his low IQ, and it is a powerful moment not only due to his self-awareness but also because of his selfless concern for the child and the possibility that he may have inherited his father’s shortcomings. The second scene is after Jenny dies (ostensibly of AIDS) and Forrest talks to her grave. Hanks conveys Forrest’s sadness & emotion in such a way that we feel his pain & grieve Jenny’s death as well, even though she hasn’t exactly been a model citizen throughout the story.

 

 

3 The Hospital in The Godfather     

I sincerely believe that this is one of the most criminally disregarded scenes in cinema. It is so overlooked that I couldn’t even find a clip (but please enjoy Francis Ford Coppola on Inside the Actor’s Studio). As I said earlier, The Godfather is overflowing with fantastic scenes, but unlike the grandiose virtuosity of the more acclaimed scenes this one is more subtle, even though it is dripping with dramatic tension. When one considers the fact that the whole Godfather trilogy essentially centers around the rise & fall of Michael Corleone it becomes clear that what takes place in the

hospital is a linchpin. Michael goes to visit his father, who has been shot. Finding the building all but abandoned, Michael quickly assesses the situation and figures out that The Don’s enemies are on their way to finish the job. We see that Michael, who heretofore has not been involved in the mafia, is the direct opposite of his older brothers Santino & Fredo. Santino angers easily and acts before he thinks…Michael is cool as a cucumber. Fredo is a slow witted bundle of nerves…Michael is fearless & sharp as a tack. Basically we learn that, as opposed to the traditional hierarchy, it is the baby brother who is absolutely perfect to take over leadership of the family empire…not his elder siblings. Michael was born to lead. As he & a nurse move the ailing patriarch to another room to hide from the would be assassins Michael bends over and softly whisper’s into his semi-conscious father’s ear “I’m with you now…I’m with you”. It is the moment that Michael Corleone crosses over to the dark side.

 

 

2 The Big Reveal in The Empire Strikes Back

Speaking of The Dark Side…

One of the most infamous scenes in one of the most beloved film trilogies of all time is the moment

when our hero, Luke Skywalker, learns his true parentage…that he is the son of the story’s evil villain Darth Vader. This of course was decades before The Internet and our collective obsession with spoilers. Since George Lucas only let less than a half dozen people in on the secret it was a genuine shock to moviegoers. It’s a shame that such an amazing moment would be almost impossible to pull off today.

 

 

1 The Indianapolis in Jaws

When the triumvirate of Roy Schneider, Richard Dreyfus, & Robert Shaw set out to catch the shark in Steven Spielberg’s magnificent 1975 epic Jaws, the three men spend some quality time in their boat waiting. During that time they are shown drinking a bit, which prompts them to break into a rousing rendition of the British folk song “Show Me the Way to Go Home”. Unfortunately that’s when the shark decides to show up and end their merriment. But before that we are given a real gem

and one of the best soliloquys ever on film, when Shaw’s shark hunter Quint relays the chilling story of being on the USS Indianapolis, an American warship that was sunk by the Japanese in the summer of 1945, causing the single greatest
loss of life at sea in the history of the United States Navy.  The Indianapolis delivered the atomic bomb that would eventually be known as Little Boy to an air base on The Tinian Islands just weeks before it was dropped on Hiroshima, but was then lost on its return trip. Nearly 1200 men were on board and only about a quarter of them survived. In Jaws we are told that Quint was one of them, and he relays, in mesmerizing detail, how a great many of those that died were eaten by sharks.

 

 

 

 

 

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