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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Two To Zero (So Far)

What film scenes are permanently etched into your brain?

Last night I was riveted watching Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, an excellent film, start to finish. But as good as it was, the extended scene near the end - featuring just Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansen - will always stand out. The acting, writing, and directing are equally masterful. The burn is slow as the recriminations between husband and wife grow more vile. Though I wasn't sure how the scene would end, I'll never forget it.

For me, no American writer/director working in film today is as skilled at depicting the fault lines of marriage than Noah Baumbach. Recently re-watching The Squid and the Whale I noticed how subtly Baumbach's script revealed fissures in that marriage, a less volatile couple than the one portrayed in Marriage Story. It also seemed appropriate to me that Baumbach used a lighter director's touch in his earlier film working with Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney. There was no climactic scene in The Squid and the Whale like the one in Marriage Story. Given the entropy of the marriage depicted in Squid, fireworks would have seemed out of place.

Considering my movie jones, I suspect regular readers won't be surprised to learn that exactly three years ago today, a scene from Manchester By The Sea hit me just as hard as the one from Marriage Story. So, now you've got two of mine. Your turn.  



  1. I am a fan of Quentin Tarantino movies so there are many unforgettable scenes. Pulp Fiction has a few scenes.

    But there are so many movies that pop into your head for different reasons.

    The Godfather trilogy, Scarface, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Top Gun, Saturday Night Fever, Shawshank Redemption, Remember the Titans, ET, etc...

    Glad you enjoyed the movie. I noticed it's nominated for a Golden Globe for best motion picture. I am in the process of viewing the Irishman.

    1. Hey Chris; So which specific Tarantino scenes stick with you most? For me, in "Pulp Fiction" it would have to be when Harvey Keitel comes in as the "cleaner" after Travolta and Jackson have done their dirty deeds and created a bloody mess. In "Jackie Brown" it would be when Robert DeNiro dispatches Bridget Fonda simply because she's bugging him. In "Hateful Eight" it would be when Jennifer Jason Leigh is dangling on the end of the noose. And in "Django" it would be when Jamie Foxx incinerates Samuel Jackson. All great scenes but none of them are nearly as emotionally raw as that scene from "Marriage Story" or the earlier one from "Manchester By The Sea" that I cited in my 12/11/16 blog post. Thanks for reading & commenting.