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Rich's three favorite scenes

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Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010 3:23 pm | Updated: 7:04 pm, Fri Oct 8, 2010.

OK, a worthy challenge. Jason offered up some interesting choices, a bit on the blood-spattered side, perhaps, but an ambitious list nonetheless. 

Afraid I don't have Jason's powers of cinematic recall. So here are three of my top scenes:

Call it, from No Country for Old Men. Javier Bardem is such a deliciously wicked jackal, toying with the life of an everyman. When he tosses a quarter and tells the store clerk to "call it," there is no doubt Bardem is ready to whip out his compressed-air killing machine if the call is wrong. This rivets because of Bardem's brilliant depiction of psycho-assassin Anton Chigurh, calmly munching cashews as he plays out his deadly game, and the terse writing of the Coen Brothers. Watch it, and feel your gut tighten into a very hard little knot.

A brief and final encounter, from The Way We Were. Former lovers Barbra Streisand, the commie, and Robert Redford, the capitalist, meet again through happenstance. The embers of all that went before are stirred for a few last, aching moments. As you watch these two icons, you can't help but wonder: What might have been? Streisand and Redford create more chemistry than a Chevron research lab. The scene is heart-rending without being schmaltzy.

The last gunfight, from Shane. Alan Ladd's finest role. He's the tight-lipped gunslinger who rides into the valley to protect the homesteaders from the ranchers and their sociopathic enforcer, played by Jack Palance. The final shoot-out may be predictable, but that doesn't make it any less satisying. Stand up, applaud, and throw some popcorn. Classic finale to a classic Western.

There are others that come to mind as honorable mention: Horse's head, from The Godfather, You Talkin' to Me? from Taxi Driver, and the opening monologue from Patton, among them.

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  • Jason Wallis posted at 8:57 pm on Sun, Oct 10, 2010.

    Jason Wallis Posts: 36 Staff

    So you decry cinematic violence, but heap praises upon "No Country for Old Men"? Is the idea that somehow the serious nature of the film makes it more "okay" to include gratuitous bloodshed? Explain yourself, sir.

    That said, "You talkin' to me?" and the horse head scene are both killer. I remember first seeing the "Godfather" scene on Christmas Eve when I was 10 years old, and being quite upset. "Mr. Corleone prefers to receive bad news as soon as possible." Indeed.

  • Elizabeth Wallis posted at 8:59 pm on Fri, Oct 8, 2010.

    Liz Wallis Posts: 10

    "Call It" was great. Very intense.
    Horse head was so creepy. That is one of those scenes that is stronger after the initial viewing for me, I now know what is making that strange sound and what Jack Woltz is feeling long before he turns on the light.

  • Jason Wallis posted at 6:40 pm on Fri, Oct 8, 2010.

    Jason Wallis Posts: 36 Staff

    "What time do you close?"
    "We're closing now."
    "'Now' is not a time. What time do you close?"

    So creepy.

    Can't say I've seen "The Way We Were," but as far as Redford scenes go, I'll throw in my vote for the closing sequence of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Guns a-blazin', baby.


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