Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Good scenes in not-so-good films

Okay, so not all these films are what I'd call "bad" per se, but certainly none of them are classics. Here's my offerings, although I'm sure there's plenty more that I could mention.

You Don't Mess With The Zohan - opening chase scene

Zohan by and large is a stinker. Misfire after misfire at political and ethnic satire, crude sex jokes that are about as subtle as a baseball bat to the scrotum, and Rob Schneider as a "foreign" cab driver. It sits firmly in the Adam Sandler pile labeled "ones to miss". But watching the first ten minutes, you would be mistaken (as I was) to think that maybe the film is a well-observed action/secret agent film parody. The chemistry between Turturro and Sandler is excellent, and the jokes by and large mainly hit the mark fairly well. Not perfect, but a very funny scene. Shame the rest of the film is such a steaming pile of Schneider.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - The Beatles scene

Walk Hard is not a bad film. It's actually a fairly good film in many ways. But it's also a film that suffers from having long sections that are distinctly average, jokes that either don't go far enough or are done to death, and some parts that you really wish were funnier. The standout scene for me was definitely the fantastic Beatles parody provided through cameos from Paul Rudd, Jason Schwartzman, Justin Long and Jack Black. The Liverpudlian accents range from poor to almost unrecognisable, but that just makes it all the more funny. The reference to Yellow Submarine works well. But it's the interaction between the four "Beatles" that just cracks me up every time. "I've got a song about an octopus!".

Matrix Revolutions - The final battle between Neo and Smith

Towards the end of the third and final Matrix film, after all the needlessly drawn out stuff about giant mechanoid fighting machines and all the religious imagery, the Wachowskis remembered what a lot of people went to see The Matrix to watch: kick ass kung fu fighting scenes with ace choreography. And whilst it's not flawless, the final fight between Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving under a raging thunderstorm whilst an infinite number of Weavings watching this shit go down, is simply great.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End
- Jack in Purgatory

Much like the third Matrix film, the third Pirates film suffers from simply being too long and overindulgent, giving us overlong sea battles, a huge amount of confused pirate mythology and folklore and generally not a great deal to care about. This scene is one of the film's few saving graces, being as it is gloriously surreal and very well executed, so much so that it doesn't really feel like part of the same film. Johnny Depp is on top form, giving us a truly classic Jack Sparrow moment that rivals any other from all three of the Pirates films so far. It's a shame that for the majority of the film Depp's character takes a backseat to the long list of other characters and scenes such as Geoffrey Rush marrying Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley during a pirate battle, with Rush in full Captain Birdseye/Sea-Captain-from-The-Simpsons mode.

I'll leave the list there for now, but there are a few more that are coming to mind even as I type this, so I may do a second installment of something along these lines. Essentially, the way I've presented these clips - by the power of YouTube - shows that having one standout scene in a film isn't necessarily a hindrance to the film these days. The internet, and even DVD scene selection, means you can enjoy the ten minutes worth watching out of a two hour film full of mediocrity with relative ease. Then move on to the next bitesize piece of entertainment, I guess. Good or bad, it's the age in which we live.

1 comment:

Hanspan said...

Hehe. That Beatles scene makes me want to watch that film that I've never heard of.

Watching the Matrix one just reminded me how bored I was by that film and how shit I found that scene in particular (sorry Bambi!).

Why are they wearing sunglasses? It's a *THUNDERSTORM*. Arg. At least Neo's have the decency to fall off. I just thought by the time they got back round to the fighting, it had lost its impact. And the whole reason for just one Smith fighting him seemed contrived. Surely any halfway intelligent bad guy knows that if the odds are in your favour, use them, don't just piss them away. And, and I admit, this is a long time ago, from what I recall it just degenerates into one slow motion big punch after another, until finally Neo wins. By that time, I'd had enough of the big bubble CGI shockwave and just wasn't impressed anymore.