Movies, like books and songs, can be life-defining. Many times in my life I have been deeply moved by particular scenes in movies and have carried those screen shots in my mind continually as the ideas and ideals within became a part of my life philosophy. So here’s a peek into how I tick and what matters to me through the lens of a movie camera:
There Will Be Blood
Scene: Daniel Plainview and Pastor Eli chat after a church service.
Eli’s preaching was soaked in theatrics and emotional manipulation, and Plainview’s statement is simple and powerful. “That was one &@%# helluva show.” I couldn’t get that phrase out of my mind. I’d enjoyed using entertainment in my ministry, but I was always determined (especially after seeing this scene) to never allow my faith to be a helluva show for anyone.
Scene: Jerry and Rod hug.
There are lots of movies that have a big hug at the climax, but none come close to the significance of the one in this movie. After slogging through the rigors of trying to live by conviction and being grossly and embarrassingly under-appreciated, the moment of greatness finally comes for both characters. Their act of friendship, respect and love for each other couldn’t be captured better. Working hard and keeping true to yourself is invaluable beyond words.
Scene: Karl faces his father.
When you watch this scene it’s hard not to feel proud for Billy Bob Thornton’s character. His words, “You shoulda let that little feller live,” mulled in my brain and heart for years and was would prove to be a point of emotional outlet for me when Joy and I lost a child in a miscarriage.
Scene: Dumbo visits his mom.
Scenes in other Disney animated films moved me when I was young (Lady and the
Tramp and The Fox and the Hound, for instance), but nowhere near as much as this one did. I remember feeling so bad for the little guy and for his mother too through this scene. What made it even more emotional is that by this time you have watched him and his mom meet each other and bond for the first time, and you pumped your fist in the air when she stuck up for him and shut the mouths of other elephants mocking him. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for people who are rejected, and I sometimes think this movie helped influence me in that way. I’d say that it influenced me and my love for my mom, but that was always strong before and after seeing Dumbo. Mom, I know you’re reading this. I love you.
This is one of those scenes that has been quoted, referenced, and dramatized so many times it’s easy to forget how impacting it was/is. It’s one of my absolute favourite moments in all of cinema. It gives me the same feelings and thoughts as the Jerry Maguire and Ratatouille scenes.
Scene: Chef Gusteau’s TV show speaks to Remy.
“Anyone can cook.” I couldn’t agree more with the chef. These words surprisingly inspired me in my pursuit of a business. I felt inept and unqualified, but in my heart I knew that these feelings are self-defeating and aren’t to be trusted. Yes, anyone can cook. And if I can paint cars, trust me, anyone can do anything they set their minds to.
Scene: Is he smart? Or is he…
Many times in my life I have felt stupid. We all have. In the worst of times I’d mourn inside that I was more simple-minded, gullible or easily persuaded than those around me. Whether that’s true or not is beside the point. When I saw Forrest’s face and heard his voice as he asked this question, I could relate. He didn’t finish his sentence, but we all know what he wanted to say: “…or is he like me.” After following his journey in this movie you realize how elusive the definition of “smart” really is. It brings you back to another of his statements in this movie: “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.”
And now, cheers to not only one of the most impacting, but also one of the greatest films of all time.
Congratulations Schindler’s List. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Alexandra Maria Lara as Traudl Junge in Downfall.
Best Actor: Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List.
Best Quote: “I just know that every man I kill, the farther away from home I feel.” — Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan.
Even if you’re working this Wednesday, don’t forget the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.
Movie of the Week