Since at least the New Hollywood era, our favorite American auteurs have been filling their movies with references to other classic Hollywood movies. Lebowski is a simmeringly smart—but also wild—tale, anchored by a loose, meandering central turn by Jeff Bridges as the Dude, who finds himself caught up in a world of mistaken identity, nihilist thugs, bowling, extortion, and outrageous violence.
- Legal Ownership.
- What A Girl Wants.
- Storm Landings: Epic Amphibious Battles in the Central Pacific;
- Beauty from your kitchen.
Not that the plot is what matters. The Big Lebowski is about a world, a political landscape, in which conflicting American values clash against each other, all of it embedded in style, references, and stoner dreaminess. I love my brother, but I think it would be really challenging to direct a film with him. I was wondering how it was gonna be to be directed by these brothers, and the only time that there was any disagreement between them was in that scene.
I think he should be kind of smiling, like this is kind of fun to be a bowling ball. But with the opening salvo of his war masterpiece, Spielberg not only pushed his own art forward—he changed an entire genre. No films about combat made since would look the way they do without the de-saturated, handheld, blood-splatters-and-all horror of cinema that is this extended sequence: Spielberg and his trusty cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, following a terrible march up a beach, bullets and mortars raining down, sand exploding into carnage.
He said no combat movie would have ever been like it. I knew immediately that our job as actors would be to behave and react in the actual physical moment, that we would be trained accordingly over time, and that anything that happened on-screen would be as it should. My rank as captain mattered in training. I had some responsibility and some luxury my own tent!
We all had our moments in the movie and rooted for each other. When I first saw the completed sequence, I wept. The landing, from the boats to the top of the bluff, was just too horrible to watch without becoming undone. People see that landing sequence as a seminal 20 minutes, not just in the history of war movies, but in all of cinema. Was it the opening scene, with Trinity Carrie-Anne Moss battling policemen using a wicked floating kick? Was it the hallway gun battle?
I threw myself back, did the choreography—everyone was really excited hearing the camera shutters. Then, of course, in Wachowski fashion, we did it a whole bunch more, looking for super-perfect. You see them moving a camera like that now during football games. Arguably the first film largely marketed on the Internet, this tiny indie-horror film-turned-box office smash and cultural bellwether arrived at the end of the last millennium as a harbinger of things to come. Heather might have gotten her friends and herself killed by a witch, but she made a lasting contribution to the rest of the world.
Once we saw the performance, we knew we had it. She ramped up into it, as you would expect—after she sort of got into the moment and really let it flow, both with her tears and her snot, which was profuse. Those are legit tears.
Antiheroes are most certainly not a 21st—or even 20th—century innovation. Arch cultural references became the American pop ethos as of this movie—to say nothing of Bale, a chameleonic force we would be watching for years. Usually, we kept the lighting in the apartment moody—but when it came to filming this scene, I insisted we have all the lights on bright.
In the very last take, there was one of those lucky accidents that make filming worthwhile: Bateman had just finished killing Paul Allen in a frenzy, and he sits down on the couch and lights a cigar. In profile, he looked almost normal—but when you cut to another angle, you saw the bloody side. When it came out, the movie was loved and hated in about equal measure.
Let's Talk Bruh
I think the mixture of black comedy and horror and satire was unfamiliar and uncomfortable, and maybe that very nightmarish portrait of society and Wall Street felt more relevant as time went on. The film, produced in China, starring the internationally known Hong Kong action star Chow Yun-fat, and directed by the Taiwanese and by then widely known in the West Lee, was an old-fashioned wuxia epic, full of the high-flying martial arts that verge on surrealistic fantasy.
Crouching Tiger remains unique for ushering in not only broader Western awareness of this time-honored Hong Kong movie genre, but particularly a mainstream American interest in foreign-language cinema. One that was even bigger than the foreign art-house boom that took American cinemas by storm in the midth century. Any one part of that equation would be a nonstarter for the local megaplex. Yet this consummately produced, gorgeous first-act fight explains exactly how Crouching Tiger came to be such a success.
Her presence alone is moving, a humbling testament to the merging of East and West that this film would come to embody. I planned everything; everything worked against me. Even the weather. A lot of it was shot in the desert, it was really tough. The movie industry was not like today. People are not trained. To start something new, that was ambitious work. Crouching Tiger was meant to be a mainstream Chinese movie, but it hit so big here, even bigger than over there. That was unexpected.
Every movie has its fate: sometimes it hits, sometimes you hit the wrong time. That one just took off. With his famous, furious rant as corrupt L. He won his first Oscar for best actor in a leading role, and began a lucrative partnership with director Antoine Fuqua. The two have gone on to make three more box-office successes together, and Washington asserted himself as quite possibly the last truly bankable movie star in the business before The Rock came along, at least with only minimal assists from any franchises.
Putting one big moment for one actor on this list may seem like a bit of hyperbole. Washington was also the first black man to win the best-actor Oscar since Sidney Poitier. That same evening, Halle Berry became the first black woman to win a best-actress Oscar. Those victories marked the hopeful beginnings of the long, tortured process of the Academy—and the broader industry—addressing its longstanding and widespread diversity issues. I remember that moment because we were doing the scene, and he just started going off.
It was one of those moments where it gave you chills. My focus puller came up to me afterwards, his hands were shaking. You frankly cannot imagine Hollywood's modern political image without Michael Moore—and not only because of the steady stream of homegrown, outspoken political documentarians to follow in his stead including Steve Bannon. Few American filmmakers have seemed as consistently on topic, off their rocker, and simply around as Michael Moore.
And Bowling for Columbine, his testament to a growing national fear over mass gun violence, forged in our collective fury over the Columbine High School massacre, is probably the greatest evidence of that. He revealed his core beliefs. But I remember feeling kind of sad about it later. When the film came out, the N. When they did that, it went on to break the record at the time for box office. When we started making that film there had not been a school shooting like Columbine. Now mass shootings are almost a daily occurrence.
Our mission, I guess, failed. Any actor fretting about the encroaching development of real-time motion-capture technology, which might someday make live acting a thing of the past, can look to the brilliant Andy Serkis for blame. Whether you love or loathe what this scene spelled for the art form in the years that followed, this lonely aria is a thing of true, lasting power. And obviously that came into being fully in that scene.
I knew it was a really important scene, you just have the feeling. At the world premiere at the Ziegfeld here in New York in , I just remember when it came to that scene I literally felt the audience all as one lean forward in their seats. You could hear a pin drop, you could also hear people not kind of understanding— is this an actor, is it a real person? It felt kind of emotionally real and present. It was really gratifying. And it made a star of the smartly sensuous Scarlett Johansson, who carries this featherweight movie on her shoulders with an invisible grace.
We were exhausted, so I think it helped that they really were saying goodbye. He whispered something between them. It came from the tradition of Italian movies—they would just say numbers and figure out the dialogue later.
The 25 Most Influential Movie Scenes of the Last 25 Years | Vanity Fair
We never seemed to be able to sum it up. We were staying at the Park Hyatt, so I wanted to show [my daughters] the movie. Watching with 8 and year-old girls really changed the way I looked at it. My daughters are raised in such a different generation. From the start, this is a movie with one foot in the door of rom-com serendipity, and another in the unlikelihood of its lead characters being people in their fifties and sixties.
And yet, per her style, Meyers dials up the youthful fantasy of the rom-com, allowing not only for the possibility of older romance, but for the possibility of an audience for such romances. The scene is funny because it never ends. This gives her everything to write about. Having that kind of purpose got her through this. She managed to make you feel the pain she was feeling, and she also made you laugh, within a second of each other.
Not all the films on this list have influenced Hollywood in a positive way. Finally, the circle was completing; this grand space-opera tragedy was getting its full realization. But the scene arrived at the end of so much disappointment, a creative nadir that, even more disappointingly, inspired imitators instead of scaring them off.
What keeps you emotionally grounded is the other actor. Episode II, I was on my own, speaking to thin air. But this scene was harrowing for Obi-Wan. George Lucas wanted to do something very different with the prequels. It was upsetting when people would laugh and joke about it. Now, many years later, the prequels meant a lot to the generation that were kids then.
That easygoing, friends-shooting-the-shit vibe, peppered with bits of manic high-comedy, would become the standard for the next decade-plus. The Apatovian comedy has faded a bit in its primacy in the last year or two, making way for an alt-er, queerer style burbling up out of Twitter and the remnants of mumblecore. That it was mostly the boys who got to enjoy those good times is maybe part of the reason they now seem to be fading. And it would be funny to see me in pain.
Steve almost lost one of his two nipples. He was bleeding—we had to use C. Paul [Rudd] was the one who noticed that it was turning into a shape that looked like a Halloween pumpkin. There were queer films before Brokeback Mountain —there have been queer films since the silent era. The film starred Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger as a pair of quiet, guarded, temperamental cowboys in love; straight actors in what has otherwise—given the soaring, masculine landscape and all the Western trappings—tended to be a straight genre. Queerness had reached Hollywood in a big way: its own classical codes of manhood and romance were being re-written before our eyes.
Though not, perhaps, without a price. And here, as well, was a testament to its limits. It has the best view of this Canadian mountain. There was snow, there was water—it was perfect. I remember building up to that [scene], I did something weird with the camera, kept moving it, to freak [Ledger and Gyllenhaal] out a little bit. Keep them fresh. It was a rough shoot for the actors, I would say. He was just very specific about the goal he wants to hit.
Jake, on the other side, he was very young, at times naughty, experimental.
That would drive Heath crazy sometimes. That speech came from one take. I questioned that line in the script. None of us expected it. It set a standard for showing off. Children of Men, released in , set a new high bar for science-fiction filmmaking, which is saying something for a genre that, thanks to the likes of Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and George Lucas to say nothing of Stanley Kubrick , is constantly breaking the mold of blockbuster filmmaking.
The long take is its loudest accomplishment. And for a couple of months, we were all satisfied with the main idea. But every time I thought about it, something felt really weird and wrong. By doing tests, I realized that if I was able to hang the camera from the roof of the car, maybe I could do the entire shot in one shot. By doing everything in real time, I think you feel the desperation and the claustrophobia of the characters. And in only one week, we put together this thing that nobody has ever done before.
Film and TV
By , with the likes of Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love, and the manically ambitious Magnolia already under his belt, Paul Thomas Anderson had more or less fulfilled his promise as a standard-bearer for the next generation of Serious American Moviemaking. And then came There Will Be Blood —and with it, the searing-hot Daniel Plainview, instantly one of the most unforgettable characters in the history of American movies. But Daniel Day-Lewis, who brings him to life, makes it impossible to see him solely as symbol or abstraction. March 2, - Published on Amazon.
Verified Purchase. One infers that Gorbahn would have preferred this book to have been a film, if he had had the budget. How we would look, in any event, depends considerably on whether the work is fiction or autobiography. Like most first novels, this one is autobiographical, perhaps less thinly disguised, one guesses, than most. Literal autobiography can be constraining, in protecting significant others if not ourselves. Fiction allows us to say whatever we want, but then it is not really ourselves who are portrayed. There is one missing piece here which is particularly conspicuous, in rendering Dray psychologically unreal, at least to a reader of an older generation.
There are many remarks made by others about the two of them being gay, but none of these have any visible impact on Dray. He has the requisite narcissism, not only in writing a book about himself, but giving it a title focusing on appearances. Girls throw themselves at him, and he appears uninterested, reinforcing general suspicions. So it is not necessarily to be inferred that he is really gay. The anomaly is his utter lack of concern about the issue under the circumstances.
It may well be possible for a straight young man today to be so indifferent to being commonly perceived as gay; the world has come a long way in the 50 years since I was in high school. In what would have to be called typical adolescent fashion, he makes it his own simply by doing the opposite of what he is supposed to. He retains enough sense to recognize how poorly that course is working for him.
His former life looks more appealing once had can experience it as chosen, as his own. One hopes that he can see more alternatives than anomie and Mormonism. And that he meets enough happy bisexuals to see that, whatever your pattern of relationships, you can enjoy attractions across the spectrum of gender. There may be material here for an interesting sequel, which would presumably have to start with an acknowledgment that the perfect woman who walks into his life on the next-to-last page is pure desperate?
July 30, - Published on Amazon. Wonderful honest account of the excitement and challenges of becoming an adult today in a rural Canadian town. An amazingly good work of fiction by an up and coming young author. Highly recommended! August 14, - Published on Amazon.