Saturday, February 28, 2009

Movie Moments

My family loves movies. I mean, we LOVE movies. When we get together, it is one of the family activities we often do. A few of us, mostly me, BS, sister, nephew & niece, make a game of quoting movie lines to each other. BS even subscribed to Netflix, and man-o-man, it is the greatest thing! And FAST. We mailed the last batch back on Wednesday and got the next ones on our list in the mail on Friday. They have a huge selection, and a lot that you can even watch on your computer for those who just can't wait a whole 2 days. Like me, sometimes. Theater movies, TV movies, TV series, documentaries, HBO & Showtime series. You name it, they probably have it. Wow, we are in movie watchin' heaven.

Because of this movie-lovin', there have been cinematic moments that have had a huge impact on me, moments that stay with me, moments that haunt me, moments I can't forget, for whatever reason. My memory of them may not be completely accurate, especially if it has been a long time since I saw them, but this is how I remember them. Here are some in no order whatsoever:

Dirty Harry

The scene: the bad guy has hijacked a school bus full of children. One shot shows the kids in the back of the bus and the camera focuses on one boy, the ever-present fat kid, sitting quietly in his seat, crying. Tears are rolling down his face. That broke my heart when I saw it ,and I still want to hug that chubby boy.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

The scene: The young, engaged, interracial couple comes home to break the news to their parents, who have gathered at the house of Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy. At one point, after hearing both sets of parents express politely worded . . . ahem . . . 'concern', Sidney Poitier's character takes his father into a separate room and proceeds to chew him out. The camera focuses on the father, and tears are rolling down his face. This is the scene:

What might be interesting to do is figure out why these two scenes of lone people crying affected me so much. Probably my innermost fear of loneliness & abandonment, right? Yeah yeah, that's it.

Little Big Man

The scene: pretty much the whole movie, so I have to pick one thing . . . . . hmmmm . . . . . okay, it is not a scene, but some music. The theme music that is played by the fife & drums as the soldier regiment slaughters the village of Indians, and the theme is repeated a few times throughout the movie, always during some carnage. The music is "Garry Owen" or "Garryowen", and here is an excerpt about it from Wiki:
It later became the marching tune for the US 7th Cavalry Regiment during the late 1800s. The tune was a favorite of General George Armstrong Custer and became the official air of the Regiment in 1867. According to legend it was the last tune played before the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
You can listen to it here.

The Final Episode of MASH: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

The scene: Hawkeye is talking to Sidney the shrink and recalling an episode on a bus when they had to pull over to the side of the road in the bushes to hide from the North Korean Army. It is full of frightened people, and a chicken in the back won't stop squawking (some of you remember where this is going). He yells at the woman holding the chicken to keep it quiet. A minute later, the noise stops, and when he looks back, she has wrung the chicken's neck (and she is crying - not again, sheesh!). The only problem is, this is not how it really played out. The chicken was really a baby, and the mother smothered it to save everyone on the bus.

I know why this affected me so much. When it aired, BS was only a few months old, and the thought of having to do that to my child sent me over the edge. I started wailing and couldn't stop.

**Now, you are going to hear me say a nice thing about BS's dad. Mark this moment. It may not come again.**

At the time, he was in the seminary, studying to be an Episcopal priest, and when he heard me caterwauling downstairs, he was able to come down & comfort me by saying something along the lines of:
"Do you have any doubt that Jesus is going to be right there waiting for that baby to take him in his arms?"
Or something like that. It was the most perfect thing he could have said.


The scene: there is violent fighting between Muslims and Hindus and they are killing each other right & left. Gandhi goes on a hunger strike until the fighting stops, and a distraught and angry Hindu man bursts into his room. His family has been killed by Muslims. In retaliation, he found a Muslim boy (spreads his hands apart to indicate a small child) and "smashed his head against the wall". He has brought Gandhi food to try and make him eat because he does not want Gandhi's death on his conscience as well. He wants to know how, after all this, can he still get into heaven. Gandhi tells him to find a young boy, about this big (spreads his hands apart to indicate a small child), whose parents have been killed in the violence, and raise him as his own. Only make sure that the child is a Muslim, and that he raise it as one. In that way, he will find his way to heaven.

(Note, as I am typing this, while watching the scene from the movie, my blog got a hit from Calcutta. Spooky)

The Incredible Shrinking Man

The scene: after sailing through some sort of cosmic nasty cloud while out on his boat, this man starts shrinking. He has become very small and has ended up in the basement of his house when he encounters a common house spider which is, compared to him, HUGE. And hairy. With fangs. (s~h~u~d~d~e~r - this scene is the source of my lifelong fear of spiders) He must fight it off with whatever he can find, which is a sewing pin, and manages to stab it and run away.

As a result, for much of my life, in that state between awake and sleep, I would 'dream' of spiders hanging down from the ceiling, getting ready to drop onto my face. I wave my arms wildly to brush them away. I haven't had a spider dream in a long time, but it wasn't a dream. I was really awake. I saw them. Really. I have posted about this before, so you might have heard it already. Tough.

I know there have been these moments for you as well. Leave a comment & tell us about yours. Please? I KNOW my relatives have some (nudge,nudge, wink, wink, hint, hint).


Rosie Hawthorne said...

Gimme some Dirty Harry any day and I'm toast.

Sister G said...

OK - Sister G here. You know I could go on and on forever about this whole "affecting scenes in movies" subject - Shawshank, Green Mile, Steel Magnolias, Schindler's List, Old Yeller, etc. etc. I like two other scenes in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner as well. First, the one near the end where Poitier's mom is talking to Spencer Tracy in very calm but pointed tones about the different kinds of love. Then, there's the big speech at the end by Spencer Tracy that melts everyone in the room, and in the audience. The fact that it was Tracy's last performance before he died makes me cry, too!

Kathy said...

Thanks Toughie. I like comments. And I had a hard time choosing these moments, since there are so many. But these are the ones, not necessarily that I like, but that haunt me.