Scenes That I Love: Happy Birthday, Sam Elliott!


Today is the 73rd birthday of the perennially underrated actor, Sam Elliott!

Sam’s been acting for longer than I’ve been alive.  He’s been in a ton of good movies and he’s given some truly iconic performances and yet, with all that in mind, he still seems to be strangely underrated.  At the very least, he deserved an Oscar nomination for his performance in last year’s The Hero.   There’s some speculation that he might get one this year for his role in A Star is Born.

With all that said, most people seem to know Sam Elliott best for playing The Stranger in 1998’s The Big Lebowski.  So, with that in mind, here’s a scene I love featuring Sam Elliott from that very film!

Sam Elliott abides.

Scenes that I Love: Harry Potter Confronts Snape in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2


Since today is apparently Harry Potter’s birthday (Mazel Tov!), it seems like a good day to share a Harry Potter scene that I love.  Here is Harry Potter confronting the sadly misunderstood Snape in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2!

Enjoy!

(RIP, the great Alan Rickman)

Canadian Dances Scenes That I Love: Jamie Lee Curtis and Casey Stevens in Prom Night


Prom Night … everything is alright…

Since today is technically still Canada Day, I figured why not share one of the greatest dance scenes ever filmed?  This scene is from the classic 1980 film, Prom Night, and it features Jamie Lee Curtis and Casey Stevens showing what they can do on the dance floor!

Well, actually, it shows Jamie Lee Curtis showing what she could do.  According to David Grove’s Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queen, Casey Stevens claimed that he could dance but, when it came time to shoot the scene, he turned out to be rather awkward and the responsibility for selling the scene pretty much fell completely on Jamie Lee Curtis’s shoulders.  As Prom Night co-star MaryBeth Rubens put it, it was impossible to imagine Casey and Jamie Lee ever being a couple in real life, despite the fact that they were during the making of this film.

Interestingly enough, Prom Night would later bring Jamie Lee Curtis her first acting nomination when she was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Foreign Actress.  (Indeed, one of the interesting thing about the early history of the Genie Awards is just how many slasher films were nominated.  Apparently, during the early 80s, the Canadian film industry was a bit less robust than it is today.)  That said, Jamie Lee does give a really good performance in this film and dammit, she deserved the award!

(Or, at the very least, I assume she did.  I’m not really sure to whom she lost and I’m too lazy to look it up on Wikipedia.)

(Okay, screw it.  I felt guilty for being lazy so I decided to look it up.  Jamie Lee Curtis lost to Susan Sarandon, who won for her performance in Atlantic City.  Since Sarandon’s role was actually a supporting one to Burt Lancaster’s, I still say that Curtis should have won.)

The song’s great too.

So, enjoy this scene and just try not to dance!

A Scene That I Love: The Opening of Scarface


Produced by Martin Bregman, directed by Brian De Palma, written by Oliver Stone, and starring Al Pacino, the 1983 remake of Scarface is one of the best-known, most iconic gangster films ever made.  It opened to mixed reviews but it’s gone on to be recognized as a classic.  Everyone can quote the script:  “Say hello to my little friend!” “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.”  “Say goodnight to the bad guy!”

Scarface starts with one of my favorite opening scenes of all time.  Powered by Giorgio Moroder’s score, the opening credits of Scarface play out over footage of the real-life Mariel boatlift.  Combined with footage of Fidel Castro ranting that Cuba does not need the Marielitos, this opening gives real-world credibility to everything that follows.  We then segue from the actual boatlift to Al Pacino as Tony Montana, answering questions with that shit-eating grin on his face.

Listen to the interrogation scene carefully and you’ll hear both Charles Durning and Dennis Franz, dubbing the lines of the actors who played the immigration agents.

Scenes That I Love: James Bond Meets Sylvia Trench in Dr. No (In memory of Eunice Grayson)


Earlier today, I read the sad news that British actress Eunice Grayson passed away at the age of 90.  Grayson may not have been a household name but true fans of James Bond (as opposed to those who think that the franchise started with Daniel Craig) know Grayson from her role as Sylvia Trench in both Dr. No and From Russia With Love.

Eunice Grayson was the first Bond girl.  When we first meet Bond in Dr. No, he’s sitting down across from her at the Baccarat table.  When Bond asks her name, she replies, “Trench. Sylvia Trench.”  When she asks his name, he playfully replies, “Bond.  James Bond.” and history is made.

Grayson originally auditioned for the role of Miss Moneypenny but, when the producers decided to give that role to Lois Maxwell, Grayson was instead cast as Sylvia Trench.  At first, Sylvia was envisioned as being Bond’s permanent “off-duty” girlfriend.  That’s certainly the role that she’s plays when she briefly reappears in From Russia With Love.  The original plan was for Sylvia (and Grayson) to appear in at least six Bond films and to be the principal Bond girl in the sixth one.  However, those plans were abandoned with Goldfinger.

(Check out this 2012 interview that Grayson gave to the BBC for more details about her experiences as a part of the Bond franchise.)

Today’s scene that I love is in memory of both Eunice Grayson and the role she played in the history of one of my favorite film franchises.  From 1962’s Dr. No, James Bond meets Sylvia Trench for the first time…

Scenes That I Love: The Mirror Scene From Duck Soup


Since today is May Day, how about a little Marx for today’s scene of the day?

Believe it or not, when Duck Soup was initially released in 1933, it was considered to be something of a failure.  Especially when compared to previous Marx Brothers films, it was seen as being a box office disappointment.  The critics didn’t care much for it, either.  They felt that the film’s political satire was preposterous and tasteless.  Much as how today’s critics attacked the Death Wish remake for being released at a time when gun control was trending on twitter, critics in 1933 attacked Duck Soup for being a cynical, anti-government satire released during the Great Depression.

(To be honest, you would think that the Great Depression would have made people better appreciate anything that made fun of the incompetence of government but maybe people were in too bad of a mood to see the joke.  Who knows?  1933 was a strange year.)

Of course, today, Duck Soup is justifiably viewed as being a classic comedy.  It’s certainly my favorite Marx Brothers film.  In the classic scene below, Harpo pretends to be Groucho’s reflection in a shattered mirror.  It’s a marvelous piece of physical humor so enjoy it!

(And the next time you see a film bragging about their Rotten Tomatoes score, consider that if Rotten Tomatoes had existed in 1933, it would have gotten a “rotten” rating.  The truth of the matter is that most critics are as clueless as Rufus T. Firefly looking into a broken mirror.)