Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Movie Picks: Dramatic Scenes

Hello boys and girls. We've landed on another Thursday. It's that day when I suggest a trio of movies to you based on a theme selected by Wanderer over at Wandering Through the Shelves. It's a wonderful weekly meme that she cooked up and I've had a blast taking part in. Last week, we had more participants than ever. Feel free to join in and help us break that record.

This week's theme was a tough one for me and a change of pace for the meme. Instead of just writing about three movies, we're asked to pick three "dramatic" scenes.


That's awfully vague. Therefore, I'll apologize in advance in case the scenes I pick aren't dramatic enough.

Usually, I go with three hidden gems. This week, I'm going to go with one I love, one I hate, and one hidden gem. Why? Because Wanderer said I could, that's why.

I'll start with my hidden gem. This is a big moment for me because I am about to do something I have rarely done in my entire life: praise a Tyler Perry movie. It comes from For Colored Girls, by far his most ambitious effort. Overall, it ends up just shy of hitting its mark. Even though that's the case, because it is a film where the director is stretching his boundaries I'm certainly willing to revisit and reconsider it (my full review, here). Within this is a cameo by singer Macy Gray. She plays a woman who gives abortions right out of her apartment and is paid a visit by one of the main characters. Trust me, this isn't a woman you want doing anything medical to you. I'm not sure how it plays out of context, but within the movie it's an insanely tense two minutes. It's perhaps the best scene Mr. Perry has ever filmed. In case you're unfamiliar with the movie and the dialogue sounds a little strange, it's because it's adapted from an extended dramatic poem and adapts long stretches of it verbatim.

The reason I started with the hidden gem because the scene that I love and the one I hate are related even though they are from two different movies. To begin with, they were both filmed by the same director, Michael Mann. In fact, they're actually the same scene.


Okay, let me explain.

As far as I'm concerned, the crown jewel in Mann's filmography is the three hour, but still thrilling 1995 movie Heat starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The key information here is the names of the two stars. Here's the deal: Heat is actually a remake of an earlier Mann movie, L.A. Takedown from 1989, that was actually a TV movie that was an unsuccessful pilot for a potential series. It was later given a DVD release after the success of Heat. Neither Pacino or De Niro appeared in that movie. One of the most famous scenes in Heat is the one where Pacino, the good guy is sitting in a diner with De Niro, the bad guy. The two have a tense conversation that serves as a turning point for the film. The exact same scenario plays out in L.A. Takedown. It features Scott Plank as our good guy, or the Pacino role and Alex McArthur as the bad guy, or the De Niro role. Let's just say, neither guy is giving an Oscar worthy portrayal. Just take a look...

Bad acting. Acting is bad.

You'll probably never get McArthur's unblinking death stare out of your head. Sorry 'bout that. Let's just watch the pros do it and call it a day.


  1. Have not seen all the movies you mention, though I should get around to watching Heat since it gets mention so often.
    By the way, did you include videoclips in you post? Maybe it's because I'm reading using a tablet, but all I see is empty paragraphs.
    Wandering through the Shelves

    1. Heat is definitely one you should watch. Yes, there are three YouTube clips in the post.

  2. A lot of young actors send me their reels, hoping we might be able to work together some day. If those actors have yet to book a legit gig, then they often film themselves doing challenging scenes from movies. That's what that scene from LA Takedown feels like. Two actors who are incredibly green and laughably flat. Like you said, always best to stick with the pros.

    1. Totally agreed. The LA Takedown scene took material we now know ia great and made it painful to watch.