There are very few movie scenes that I like as much as the one in America’s Sweethearts when Hal Weidmann (the wonderful Christopher Walken, cameo or not… what a great look they contrived for him) shows the “real” movie he made instead of another star-couple rehash of space/WWII-time-travel-type-flick.
I saw Days of Heaven for the first time about a week ago, and it moves straight to the top of the list, along with Dangerous Liaisons, Delicatessen and Blade Runner. (I have other favourites too, but these seats are uncontested.) In all of these films are moments that will always move me, even if I watched them for the 100th time.
The scene where Valmont (John Malkovich), dying in the snow, hands the damning letters from his lover and co-conspirator, the Marquise de Merteuil (Glen Close) to HER lover and his killer Danceny (Keanu Reeves), always makes me cry a lot. I have seen the film more than ten times. I watch every frame with wonder, and remain astonished.
Delicatessen has its own magic. Caro and Jeunet made a mad, beautiful universe in which the horrors of human nature, as well as its most delicate beauty compete equally in a dark and comic love affair.
And finally… I would be amazed if I had to explain to someone why the moment in which Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), dying, explains the miracle of life to Deckard (Harrison Ford) in the incessant rain on a rooftop against the backdrop of a deconstructed cityscape is one of the great ones in cinema history. And the text…
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tan Hauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.“
…my friend Katrien has never liked movies that featured men in tights as she finds them incredible. I am more likely to embrace these words as profound, and true, than, for example, “I’ll be there in five minutes…. I am already in Parkhurst” or even “I’ll call you.”
One cannot fail to notice that Death features large-ly in the great moments of great films. (Note to self: do the reading, write great blog about Death and movies/food/sex/drinking/life. Also address the fact that others may find less fatal moments meaningful.) In America’s Sweethearts, when Hal blows the top off the Hollywood-dream-couple-fantasy by revealing the miserable, fake little contrivances they call the perfect life, it is also a kind of death-moment. A dream dies, and Gwen (whatserface) and others want to kill the director. Oh, I so loved him in that part. And the movie as a whole, as a result. Great moment.
I could go on about John Cusack, who gave superlative performances in The Grifters, Pushing Tin, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Grosse Point Blank, High Fidelity… I am going to stop now, but I don’t have to. And, say what you like about Julia Roberts, when it comes to chick flicks, Pretty Woman and Erin Brockovitch (fewer great ones on that list, admittedly) only lose to Meg Ryan and When Harry Met Sally. John and Julia together are funny and believable. And with Christopher… yay.
The only thing in the film that is Too Extremely Silly is the Doberman-vs-Billy-Crystal’s-crotch thing. Why? Why? Why?
Ruth and I are driving to Agatha tomorrow. I think it’s going to be a good weekend.