Showing posts with label jawdroppers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jawdroppers. Show all posts

22 December 2012

Jawdroppers and Tearjerkers

by John M. Floyd

First, I'd like to announce another drawing for a SleuthSayers giveaway.  The prize this time is a copy of my second book, a hardcover collection of thirty mystery/suspense stories called MIDNIGHT.  To enter, leave a comment on today's post anytime this week and check back next Saturday (above Elizabeth Zelvin's post) to see if you're the winner.  And I hope everyone has a great holiday!

Those of you who know me know I'm a huge fan of suspense fiction---who wouldn't be?--but I'm also a certified, card-carrying movie maniac.  I absolutely love 'em.  Our three children, probably thanks to me, are almost as movie-crazy as I am.  One of them even has a media room at his house, complete with 70-inch TV and surround-sound and reclining seats that vibrate during earthquakes and shootouts and cattle stampedes.  (Our kids' toys were always as much fun for me as for them, and that hasn't changed.  What's even better now is that I'm not the one who has to pay for them.)

My wife and I were over at our younger son's home a few weeks ago for "movie night,"and I was reminded how much I've enjoyed certain scenes, over the years--mainly scenes that were either surprising (think The Sixth Sense), emotional (think Old Yeller), or visually stunning (think Lawrence of Arabia, or Avatar).  Some scenes--maybe the best ones--manage to be all three, or at least two out of three.  And I fully understand, by the way, that opinions differ a lot in this area.  I remember feeling incredibly sad during the movie Love Story, but only because I had paid good money to sit through it.

Having said that, I've put together a quick list of some of my favorite scenes, in those three categories: (1) surprising, (2) emotional, and (3) pulse-pounding.  If the first group doesn't affect you, you're smarter than I am and have figured everything out already; if the second doesn't, your heart is considerably harder than mine; and if the third doesn't . . . well, maybe you're asleep, or gone to the restroom.

Here they are.  I've forced myself to stop at a dozen each:

Jawdroppers (surprise! version)

Final scene, The Usual Suspects
Fruit-cellar scene, Psycho
"She's my sister AND my daughter" scene, Chinatown
Graveyard (final) scene, The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Final scene, Escape From New York
"Write everything exactly as I say it" scene, The Book of Eli
Butcher knife scene, The Stepford Wives (1972)
Final scene, Primal Fear
The death of Jack Vincennes, L.A. Confidential
Statue of Liberty (final) scene, Planet of the Apes (1968)
Final scene, Presumed Innocent
"Here's what really happened" scene, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance


The death of John Coffey, The Green Mile
Boo Radley's appearance, To Kill a Mockingbird
Forrest talking to Jenny at her gravesite, Forrest Gump
The penny on the door, Ghost
"Did somebody save me?" (final) scene, Signs
Mother elephant singing to her baby, Dumbo
"He was smilin'" (final) scene, Cool Hand Luke
Primroses (final) scene, The Last Sunset
"Goodbye, little Joe" scene, Shane
The death of Carl's wife, Up
"O Captain, my Captain" (final) scene, Dead Poet's Society
"Goodnight, you princes of Maine" (final) scene, The Cider House Rules

Jawdroppers (edge-of-your-seat version)

Chariot race, Ben-Hur
Opening scene, Raiders of the Lost Ark
Final scene, Aliens
Car/train chase, The French Connection
Knocking out the stadium lights, The Natural
Countdown inside Fort Knox, Goldfinger
T-Rex attack, Jurassic Park
Crash of the alien spaceship, Prometheus
Final scene, Blood Simple
Buffalo hunt, Dances With Wolves
San Francisco car chase, Bullitt
Clarice and the killer in the basement, The Silence of the Lambs

I suspect a lot more of these memorable scenes are coming up in the near future--notably in films like Life of Pi, which--if it's anything like the book--will have plenty of surprises, emotion, and goosebumps.  And for action of the guilty-pleasure/Jerry Bruckheimer sort, I'm looking forward to the 2013 remake of The Lone Ranger.

Question: Which film scenes are the ones you remember most?  And don't worry--if none come readily to mind, that's probably a point in your favor.  It means you don't do as much movie-watching and/or daydreaming as I do.  (I think about that stuff all the time.)

I'll close with a line from another of my favorite scenes, one that goes along with the Christmas season: "Look, Daddy.  Teacher says, 'Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.'"

That one jerks a tear every time.