Friday, April 24, 2015

Favorite Scene Friday! The Princess Bride: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya."

Sometimes this column can be pretty frustrating. You know exactly what movie scene you want to feature, but you can't find it online. Or, even worse, the scene existed when you first thought of using it, but by the time you get around to writing the FSF, it's gone. But that's a complaint for another day.

For example, various times over the past few years, I found myself wanting to share scenes from 1987's The Princess Bride, but I could never find any decent clips online. That is, until MOVIECLIPS finally added the film to their catalogue, rescuing me from my own personal Pit of Despair.


If you're somehow not familiar with The Princess Bride, it's a great fantasy flick. Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, the late great AndrĂ© the Giant, Wallace Shawn and others, it follows Buttercup (Wright) and Westley (Elwes) as they face The Cliffs of Insanity, Rodents of Unusual Size, and other obstacles on their quest to live happily ever after.

Nick Thornborrow via JoBlo

For me, The Princess Bride is right up there with The Neverending Story (also sort of underrepresented on YouTube) in the '80s fantasy hall of fame. The movie's sweetness and boundless fantasy had a big effect on me when I was a kid. One aspect I'll always appreciate about the film is the characters, and not just Westley and Buttercup. In fact, our scene this week doesn't even feature them.

In the film, Inigo Montoya (Patinkin) is hired by Vizzini (Shawn), a villain trying to start a war by kidnapping soon-to-be-Princess Buttercup. This scheme Inigo's involved in essentially sets the whole film in motion and causes a lot of trouble for our heroes. Inigo's not a bad guy, however. In fact, his real motivation in life is to find the man responsible for killing his father when he was a young boy, a man with six fingers on his right hand. We learn early on in the film that Inigo knows exactly what he'll do when he finds the Six Fingered Man (SFM). It's pretty simple - in a nutshell, Inigo plans to introduce himself, remind the SFM of his crime, and kill him for it.

Our scene this week shows what happens when Inigo finally finds the SFM. Unfortunately, Inigo's plan for revenge doesn't quite go as he thought, but that's what makes this scene so inspiring. The SFM has the upper hand (no pun intended?) but Inigo rallies and the line he had planned for years to say only once becomes more of a mantra. Moral of the story? Don't give up hope, whether you're searching for vengeance or clips from one of your favorite movies.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Once Again, A Six Pack of Thoughts

by Jeremy Tidwell

It's been a while since I've found the time to sit back, crack open a few bottles of my favorite alcohol, and slip into my rather obsessive thought pattern over all things pop culture related. Life has been busy and sometimes the simple pleasure of drinking beer after beer while musing upon the current state of things is not something that can happen often.

Yet this past week I actually found time to do just that. After my birthday I found myself a little hung over and decided the best way to remedy my current state was to enjoy some of the “hair of the dog that bit me”. For those unaware of this saying, it just means I drank more to bury my hangover in more alcohol. And in doing this, I was able to enjoy a few cold ones and think.

So here's what I came up with…

BEER ONE

I’m not sure how I missed the Bates Motel train when it first come around, but damn is that not a good show. Bates Motel on A&E is a well scripted and superbly acted show that allows some insight into a fascinating character by the name of Norman Bates.

Laurent Durieux

Speaking of Norman Bates, Freddie Highmore’s portrayal of the confused and disjointed Norman is pitch perfect. He's able to find the nuances of the character that pulls out all the innocence and despair that makes me feel sorry for Norman. I want to see him just succeed and get past it but we all know how Norman turns out – an obsessive, cross dressing psychopath who channels his Mother’s essence to commit his crimes. Damn.

If you've missed out on this one, binge watch it. You won’t be disappointed. “Whatever you say, Mother.”

BEER TWO

As a lifelong horror movie lover, I'm growing more and more frustrated with the current trend of taking iconic horror villains and feeling the need to explain everything about them. Like the viewer needs to know how they became the way they are or why they kill or what color underwear they prefer.

It's overwrought and useless. The recent news of the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre film being about the teenage years of Leatherface and even the idea that a new Friday the 13th film will attempt to explain the immortality of Jason Voorhees, has sparked this recent rant of mine.

The great thing about these characters is their ambiguity. The simple fact that they're killers with no real reason or thought but just that they feel the need to kill is enough. The idea that there's no reasoning with these killers, that there's no remorse with them,  is what makes them frightening.

Take the original Halloween as a shining example of this notion. In that film, Michael Myers’ actions were never explained. He was just pure evil...the embodiment of pure, unchecked evil.

He was the Boogeyman. It was never explained why he killed, but it didn’t matter. The fact that he killed because he was malevolent was all we needed to be scared and check our closet at night before we went to sleep. If you look at all the great horror villains, there is very little explanation or exposition on why they do what they do. Freddy liked killing kids, Jason was left to drown by promiscuous teens, Leatherface was nuts, Myers was a soulless killing machine who had family issues. Simple. Plain. To the point. No need to try and go deeper with these characters because they're like nightmares. Nightmares don’t always make sense, but they sure do keep us up at night.

That's what made these characters great - not that we knew all their motivations and why they wanted to butcher people. Sometimes the thing we know very little about is the thing that scares us the most. I hope those production companies, writers, and filmmakers figure this out before they ruin
everything.

BEER THREE

FUCK KANYE. Yep, I said it. I loved, no, I adored this guy’s music when he first came out. Hell, I still contend 808s and Heartbreak is one of the best rap/pop/R&B/whatever genre albums to come out in the past ten years. But now, see the first statement I made at the beginning of this small section.

BEER FOUR

With this beer my thoughts are reaching a frenzied point of going off the rails. The alcohol seems to be seeping into my veins a tad quicker than normal due to the fact that I'm nursing a hangover by ingesting more beer. But I'll push forward because I'm sure the readers wonder what other dumb bile I might spew forth if given the chance. Or maybe they're truly interested. Especially after I just said fuck Kanye.

Well, one thing I keep thinking about is tacos. I'm hungry. I think I'm going to get tacos after I finish this article. It seems like the right thing to do.

BEER FIVE

I wonder, can it finally happen? Can two of the coolest time traveling, air guitar playing dudes in
the cinematic universe be close to another adventure? Of course, I'm talking about Bill and Ted. I (and I hope many others) love these characters so much that I would kill someone very slowly for the chance to see another film.

DKNG via /Film

I don’t know if it's just the nostalgia factor or if there's something just truly transcendent about the characters, but I think another Bill and Ted film would be so righteous. A fun film that appeals to the good in all of us. Yes, you may think that's a lofty label placed upon a film about two pretty dumb dudes who stumble into history based hi-jinks, but think back on those films and just how damn cool and fun they were. I can’t see anything wrong with wanting to have another Bill and Ted film and see what happened to the WYLD STALLYNS!

BEER SIX

Actually at this point I've already downed beer six and I'm now enjoying a hard apple cider with a splash of fireball in the neck of the bottle. A very tasty treat that has just the right kick. It does seem by now that I'll be dealing with another treacherous hangover, but, what the hell.

My final thought, well, the final thought for this article, will pertain to how awesome The Walking Dead was this season. It's just been a powerhouse of a show, in my humble, yet inebriated opinion. Many claim the program has become more of a soap opera or a slow, grinding show that really goes nowhere. I disagree. It's a program that shows such power, sadness, rage, hope, and loss that you can’t help but tune in. There are so many chess games and deeper themes floating in this zombie drama, that as a viewer you have to pay more attention to the humans than the zombies. Following the main group and all their struggles and triumphs, you can’t help but become attached, and when the show kills one of them off, you're forced to deal with their death in a very real, human way. The show doesn’t allow you to look away or blink at the atrocities being shown.

The detractors of the show say it's being too slow or melodramatic and focus on the wrong things. The show is based off a comic that was all about the human element of the zombie apocalypse. It was about showing how people and society would deal with all of this happening. It was not about the zombies and how they just ran around and ate people. It was always about Rick Grimes and his band of survivors (his family) and what they did to make it through this new way of life with the undead. So, it seems your complaining is pointless if you look at the source material and what the heart of the story really is. 

I think this show is top notch, and if you're missing it, you should catch up. And if you don’t like my opinion, then maybe the next time I see you I'll “Otis” your ass and let the nearby zombies dine on you like it's half off at the Golden Corral. Maybe that'll happen. Maybe not.

Well, that's all I got. Six beers. Six thoughts. Even though I did sneak in another beverage, it still counts as six. Anyway, I'm going to go drink some more and then talk with real people about all this shit and see what they think.

Jeremy Tidwell is an artist, writer and filmmaker. He loves John Hughes movies and can't sleep with the closet door open. He currently resides at the bottom of Buffalo Bill's pit. He hates the lotion.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Favorite Scene Friday! Point Blank

This week's scene is by Will from Exploding Helicopter!

If there's been a tougher Hollywood hardman than Lee Marvin, then I'd not want to be the man to tell him.

From his early, bit-part roles in innumerable westerns and crime films like The Big Heat or Bad Day At Black Rock through to leading man turns in The Professionals or The Dirty Dozen, Marvin specialised in playing iron-hard men.

Your Nice New Outfit via Leonardo Antunes
In his roles, he came to embody a quiet masculinity. One where steely self-belief in his own competence negated the need for showy demonstrations or hollow blustering. And nowhere has this persona been put to better use than in Point Blank (1967).

In the film, director John Boorman boils down his screen identity to its essence. Together they create an existential angel of death. An impassive, unstoppable, force of nature, relentlessly moving forward, consumed by the sole task of retrieving the money he's owed.

Marvin plays a gangster who, in the aftermath of a heist, is double-crossed by his partner Mal (John Vernon). Vernon shoots Marvin and - thinking he's dead - absconds with the money and Marvin's wife with whom he's having a clandestine affair.

It's a perfect plan, except if you shoot Lee Marvin, you just better make sure you kill Lee Marvin.

After recovering from his wounds and learning where his estranged wife is living, Marvin sets out to retrieve his money and exact his revenge.

The scene starts with Marvin purposefully striding down a spartan corridor, the harsh sound of his heels beating a foreboding drumbeat of dread. As he continues his journey, the crisp, clipping, noise of his shoes continues lending an ominous tone to the sequence.

Finally, Marvin arrives at his wife's location. Bursting into the apartment, he storms into the bedroom and empties his revolver into the vacant bed - the symbol of his personal and professional betrayal.

This isn't the moment of vengeance he sought. But this scene - which takes place near the beginning - sets up the rest of the film.

No scene embodies Marvin's character more in his simplicity and intensity of purpose. If revenge is a dish best served cold, then here it's chilled to absolute zero.



What's your favorite Lee Marvin scene?