Friday, April 29, 2005

Unforgetable Moments From the Movies

Apart from books, I love the movies. I guess it's because movies are a combination of my two favourite art forms: pictorial and written. What better way to enjoy art than watching talking moving pictures right? So I am quite proud to acquire Now Showing: Unforgettable Moments From the Movies as part of my book collection.

I finished reading Now Showing within 2 days. This coffe-table book is a compilation of 25 memorable moments, according to the author Joe Garner. Though the selections are debatable you must consider the circumstances.

Out of millions of films that had been churned out since technology made moving pictures possible, how do you chose 25? There's also the problem of getting copyright release. For example, Lucas had no problem giving permission for Indiana Jones but no permission was given for Star Wars. So Garner just had to work with what he has available and I think he did a pretty good job. The collection makes an enjoyable read. I even forget to take a nap one eezy-breezy Sunday afternoon.

However I feel that his choice is also governed by the popularity of the films. Though I've seen 15 out of the 25 films he has selected, the 'unforgettable moments' highlighted in the book didn't strike a chord in me. And so we arrived to the point of this whole post, what are MY unforgettable moments from the movies? I wish I can put up some stills from the respective moments like in the book, but you know me, I'm too kampung to know how to do that.

(Warning: The next part MAY have some spoilers. Do exercise some caution if you care about this stuff)

One movie popped in my mind immediately - Billy Elliot.
My favourite part is when Billy's father and brother sacrificed the cause they have been fighting for strongly, better conditions for coal miners. The quit the fight to go back to work so little Billy can have a better future by going to a very good Ballet school rather than see him ending up in the mines with them. They were glum when the elevator took them down to the mine but they were happy and proud to see Billy danced later on.

LOTR: Return of the King.
Among the three films, the battles are of course memorable. But one little scene from the third instalment of the trilogy has a special place in my heart. Osgiliath was over-run by Orcs and Faramir was forced to order his men to retreat. On his return his father said, "Is there a captain here who still has the courage to do his lord's will?"
Faramir: You wish now that our places had been exchanged... that I had died and Boromir had lived.
Denethor: Yes. I wish that.
Faramir: Since you are robbed of Boromir... I will do what I can in his stead. If I should return, think better of me, Father.
Denethor: That will depend on the manner of your return.
And the look on his face when he heard that was so heart-breaking that I will never forget it. Everytime I see it, everytime I think of it, I will get choked up. Those remarkable lines written by a master were delivered perfectly by two amazing actors. Could've done it better than this.

Dead Man Walking.
When the death row inmate, Matthew Poncelet, a few hours before his sentence is carried out, finally confessed to his spiritual advisor Sister Helen Prejean. It's pretty hard to explain why I love this part. I think it's because that it gives a sense of hope that even the most heinous criminal can still find redemption with the proper guidance. That there is still hope for anyone if you're ready to accept it. That even at the doorstep of death's door you can still find love. The two great actors, Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, makes this scene even greater.

In between the hyped-up, high-tech talk, alien theories, handsome Matthew McConaughey and nerdy scientists, is the story of one passionate scientist, Ellie Arroway. If you look carefully, there are two slow motion sequence throughtout the whole movie. First is when Ellie was running to get her father's medication and second is when the first transporting machine was destroyed. To me, the slow motion effects signifies the two most significant yet catastrophic moments of her life. One is when her father died and the other is when she witnessed her life's work literally blows up in her face. Two memorable moments for her and two memorable moments for me.

This 1980s (could be 70s) movie is the scariest Malaysian movie I've ever seen. I think I was about 10 and I have already developed an appetite for horror movies. I remember watching it with my mother and my sister and my sister was such a scaredy-cat that she got her face covered with a blanket most of the time while I watched it with unblinking eyes from beginning to end.

For those not familiar with the term, toyol is a supernatural being that takes the form of a green naked boy. Its purpose? To steal money for its owner.

The part that I remembered very well until today is the climax. If I recall correctly, the toyol has been hurt and it came running back to its master, a man named Bachok. It found him and clung to him for dear life and suddenly it burst into flames, killing Bachok in the process. What I also cannot get out of my head is a soft, high-pitched, lilting, little girl-like voice saying, "Mari Bachok... mari... hihihi.. mari Bachok.. mari..." [Come here Bachok.... come....hihihi] I can't remember who said it and what for but it sure gives me the creeps everytime I think about it.

I never saw the movie again though I'd love to. Probably due to the stringent censorship on movies with supernatural subjects. Quite a shame because that movie has some moral to convey too like don't mess with things you can't possibly comprehend or control.

Star Trek
I can't remember in which particular movie from the whole Star Trek saga this memorable moment came from but I remember the scene well. A prisoner has been caught by the enemy and he was forced to become a spy for them. It seems that in the 24th century, forcing someone to spy for you doesn't involve threatening his life or a loved one. Instead the prisoner is 'installed' with a biological device that can control him. That biological device is a glowing flourescent yellow leech that is dropped into the victim's ear. Long story short, I sleep with my hands covering my ears that night.

Inspiring, horrifying, heart-breaking. For various reasons, these scenes made it into the list of my most unforgetable moments from the movies and I'm looking forward to adding more of them. What about you? What's your unforgetable moment from the movies?

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