Go to your DVD collection and take out AMERICAN BEAUTY. I bet you haven’t done so in a while. Many feel the film is “of its time” and would rather revisit something more pulse-quickening.

Get to around the 15min mark -- the gym scene – and watch Rockwell High’s award-winning Dancing Spartanettes take the floor.
What follows is a perfect piece of artistic filmmaking. To the tune of “On Broadway” the dancers begin their routine, while the camera slowly begins to focus in on one single dancer.
While watching, you forget the quick rise and sudden fall of nymphet Mena Suvari. You forget Spacey’s numerous bad career choices, and personal gossip following this triumph. The light intensifies, the editing becomes more seductive, and the band seamlessly (though abruptly) segues into Thomas Newman’s beautiful score.
A minute and half, and the moment is over. (And I’m not saying you should stop there. The entire film still holds up, with career-best performances from everyone involved, except Chris Cooper.)
It’s one of those moments that remind me why I love movies.
What are some of yours?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I am stranded in a hotel room in Oak Ridge, TN, and do not have access to my DVD collection, here are a few off the top of my head:


BOOGIE NIGHTS – Opening Shot

MAGNOLIA – The Frogs

OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? – The Flood (yeah, I dig the biblical stuff)

SEVEN – Sloth (the realization that this in not your average serial killer flick) & Envy/Wrath (even if you know it’s coming, there is still a pure sense of existential dread in this scene)

THE GODFATHER – Michael decides to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey (this is perhaps the most perfectly crafted dramatic scene of all time; before this point Michael is our guide to this world, the one we can relate to; from this point forward he owns the story)

BLEU – The final montage, ending in a truly spectacular shot

BARRY LYNDON – The final duel

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE – The first 20 minutes (up to the dancing Jesus statue; perhaps the best reel of film ever made?)

BRAVEHEART – The first big battle with the English (this really raised the bar for epic filmmaking, was quite stunning at the time, and still holds up 10 years latter)

So, yeah, movies are pretty cool…

the man who wasn’t there

6:58 PM  

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