I just read that Rutger Hauer passed away on July 19th. He was 75 years old.
Though Hauer played many great roles, most people will always think of him as the replicant Roy Batty in 1982’s Blade Runner. One of Hauer’s most memorable scenes in that film was his final monologue. Reportedly, Hauer himself came up with this monologue on the spot, feeling that the lines in the original script didn’t do justice to either the story or his character.
Rest in peace, Rutger Hauer. He was one of the greats.
Today, we wish a happy 89th birthday to the one and only Clint Eastwood!
At this point of his career (from which he says he is now semi-retired), Clint Eastwood has become an American icon. In many ways, his persona epitomizes all of the contrasts and extremes of the American experience. A political conservative who specializes in playing taciturn and rather grouchy men, he is also one of our most humanistic directors, specializing in films that often question the traditional view of history and morality. He may have first become a star in Europe but Clint Eastwood is definitely an American original.
In honor of his birthday, I’m sharing a scene that I love from 1971’s Dirty Harry. In this scene, Detective Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) meets the Mayor of San Francisco (John Vernon). The mayor is concerned that there’s a psycho on the loose, gunning people down and demanding money. Callahan’s annoyed that he’s spent a lot of time sitting in a waiting room. Things pretty much go downhill from there.
There’s so much that I love about this scene. Both Eastwood and Vernon do a wonderful job playing off of each other. The Mayor may be in charge of the city but Callahan probably didn’t vote for him. One thing that I especially love about this scene is the look of annoyance that crosses Harry’s face whenever he’s interrupted.
And, of course, there’s that final line! Eastwood does a great job explaining Harry’s “policy” but ultimately, it’s Vernon’s “I think he’s got a point,” that provides the perfect closing note.
As this day comes to a close, I have some sad news to report. The actress Peggy Lipton passed away earlier today, at the age of 72. While one generation may know her best as a star of 1960s television and others know her for her marriage to legendary music producer Quincy Jones (and as the mother of Rashida Jones), I knew Peggy Lipton as Norma Jennings, one of the few characters to get a happy ending in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return.
Norma was the owner of the Double R Diner and, for the most part, one of the few stable residents of Twin Peaks. While the rest of the town was collapsing around her, Norma could usually be found in a back booth, going over expense reports and continually proving herself to often be the lone voice of sanity in her hometown.
The love affair between Norma and Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) was a story that ran through both the original Twin Peaks and the Showtime revival. One of the big moments in the revival came when Ed, having finally gotten Norma to agree to give him a divorce, finally asked Norma to marry him. It’s perhaps the most unabashedly romantic scene to be found in David Lynch’s filmography. (Lynch did the scene in one take and, according to Lipton, was in tears by the end of it.) It’s a scene that’s wonderfully acted by both McGill and Lipton, with both actors saying so much without saying a word.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve shared this scene before but, if I did, it was several years ago. Through the Shattered Lens has been around for nearly ten years now, after all. (TEN YEARS!)
Since today is Orson Welles’s birthday, I wanted to share at least one scene that I love from his films. Even though I didn’t want to go with the obvious choice of picking something from Citizen Kane, there was still a wealth of scenes to choose from. But, in the end, I really didn’t have any choice but to go with the tracking shot that opens 1958’s Touch of Evil.
This scene really does show why Welles was such an important director. It’s not just that the scene is a masterpiece of suspense, starting out with a close-up of a ticking time bomb and then leaving us to wonder just when exactly it’s going to explode. It’s also that the scene perfectly sets up the odd and sordid atmosphere of Touch of Evil. It’s a scene that begins in America, takes the viewer into Mexico, and then literally ends with a bang. And it does it all in just one shot!
Because of a throw-away joke in Ed Wood, there’s a widely-held but incorrect assumption that Welles was forced to cast Charlton Heston in the lead role in Touch of Evil or that Welles and Heston didn’t get along. Actually, Heston was the one who fought for Welles to be given a chance to direct Touch of Evil and, when the studios attempted to fire Welles from the project, Heston stopped them by announcing that he would quite if Welles wasn’t allowed to complete the picture. It may be tempting to make jokes about Heston playing a Mexican cop but, if not for him, this film probably wouldn’t exist right now. And that would be a tragedy.
With all that said and done, here’s a scene that I love:
It has now been over five years since ABC last aired It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown.
While It’s The Easter Beagle might not be as well-known as either It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or A Charlie Brown Christmas, it still doesn’t seem right not to air it. It’s the perfect conclusion to all of Peanuts holiday specials, tying up all the loose ends and building on the lessons of the previous specials. After giving Charlie Brown a hard time about serving popcorn and toast for Thanksgiving, Peppermint Patty discovers that it’s not so easy to prepare for a holiday at the last minute. After getting laughed at about the Great Pumpkin, Linus is proven to be correct about the Easter Beagle. After seeing his nest destroyed a countless number of times, Woodstock finally gets his own birdhouse. Even Lucy is proven right about Easter being the “gift-giving season,” even if the Easter Beagle is just returning to her the same eggs that she previously painted and hid. After not getting any cards on Valentine’s Day, Charlie Brown still doesn’t get any eggs on Easter. Some things will never change.
Whether ABC realizes it or not, we all need the Easter Beagle in our lives. He rewards our hope and reminds us to never surrender our faith in whatever it is that we believe in. He brings happiness to all of the people of the world, or at least he tries to. There’s only so many eggs that can be put in one basket. He’s the Easter Beagle and things just aren’t the same without him.
In just a few more hours, the 2019 MLB regular season will begin when the Mariners’s Ichiro Suzuki tosses out the first pitch of the season. The Mariners and the A’s will be playing a pair of games in Japan, at the Tokyo Dome. In America, it will be around four in the morning when that first pitch is thrown so I’ll probably miss it.
Even if I might not be able to watch the opening pitch, I can still watch my favorite baseball movie, Eight Men Out. Eight Men Out is about the 1919 World Series and how eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of conspiring with gamblers to throw the championship. While everyone agrees that most of the players were guilty, Eight Men Out suggests that both Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver were wrongly accused and, unlike the other players, should not have been banned from playing in the major leagues.
The final scene of Eight Men Out takes place several years after the scandal. A group of baseball fans think that they’ve spotted Shoeless Joe playing for a semi-professional team. While they debate whether or not that’s really Shoeless Joe, Jackson’s old teammate, Buck Weaver, tells them that there will never be another player as great as Joe Jackson. John Cusack plays Weaver while D.B. Sweeney plays Jackson.