Little Sights & Sounds


Is it just me, or does anybody else have little personal “iconic” moments from a movie or movies? I don’t mean obvious ones like Mel Gibson’s “Freedom” speech from Braveheart or anything like that. I mean something that struck a chord with you but likely was overlooked by most other pople?

For example, being the geek that I am, I’ll give you a couple of mine from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

1) as Gandalf and Bilbo are having tea together in Bag End near the beginning of the film, Bilbo says, “I’m old, Gandalf.” To look at it “on paper” it seems like a throwaway line, but the way Ian Holm delivers it, with a brilliant “very old man” quaver in his voice, struck me the first time I saw the movie, and continues to do so.

2) near the end of the Council of Elrond, Frodo announces that he is willing to take the Ring to Mordor. The first person to hear him make this offer over the tumult of arguing voices is Gandalf, and the look that crosses over Ian McKellen’s face is just beautiful. You can just hear in your head the thought running through his mind, “No, Frodo, NO! What are you doing?! I would’ve spared you this… (sigh)”

Now, what about music? I don’t mean the soundtrack, like “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins from Top Gun, I mean the score. Isn’t it amazing how pieces of background music can stick with you and make or break the movie for you? “Rocky’s Theme” is an obvious one, but I’ve had less obvious ones really stay with me. On the plus side:

1) three from the Lord of the Rings films – the rousing crescendo theme that comes up when, for example, you see the Fellowship come up over a hill one by one after leaving Rivendell. The smile-inspiring theme you hear when you see the Shire for the first time. And last but not least, the chill-inspring, Celtic-influnced theme when Rohan is introduced for the first time.

2) there’s a very Irish-sounding piece in Daniel Day-Lewis’ Last of the Mohicans towards the end as Lewis’ character chases and fights with the Huron to rescue Madeleine Stowe.

3) as Mitch, Ed, and Phil succeed in getting the cows across the river in City Slickers there’s a great little Western-sounding piece.

4) as Shane Falco tries to engineer a come-from-behind victory near the end of The Replacements there’s some very rousing music in the background.

5) the techno-style score throughout almost all of the first Blade is pretty cool.

6) there’s a short little guitar-laden catchy bit that comes up in a couple of places in the first Bad Boys.

On the negative side:

1) the entire eighties-souding score of Ladyhawke practically ruins what is otherwise a decent film. Someboy should re-release that movie with a more appropriate score.

What about you? What little scenes or lines or bits of music from movies have stuck with you?


7 Responses to “Little Sights & Sounds”

  1. saintseester Says:

    I must have dozens of these stashed away in my mind. It’s hard to recall them on-demand, though. The ones that immediately pop into my head are

    1. Star Wars (the original) – when Han watches Leia leave the cockpit on the MF, he angles his head around to see her, and then rights himself before he starts ribbing Luke.

    2. Field of Dreams – the moment when Timothy Busfield walks through the bb field, not seeing anyone, even walking nearly through the pitch to go yell at Kevin Costner about the mortgage. I love that moment.

    I could go on and on, but I’ll stop now.

    And the score of Rudy nearly makes me cry every time I hear it.

  2. mrschili Says:

    I, too, have a dozen or so of these kinds of scenes tucked away. Some that immediately come to mind are these:

    1. In The Hunt for Red October (you KNEW that one would come up, didn’t you?), when the entire crew of the Red October is singing the Soviet National Anthem just as the ship goes quiet, Vassily asks Ramius if they should stop them singing. The look that passes over Connery’s face is GORGEOUS – it’s a combination of “these people are just as likely to die as a result of what I’m doing – let them sing” and “if the Americans are any good at all at what they’re supposed to be doing, they’ll hear us – let them sing.” It’s something that can’t even be adequately rendered in dialogue, even internal monologue, and I love it.

    2. The silent exchange between Broderick’s and Washington’s characters in the whipping scene in Glory is one that I will never forget and will forever be trying to analyze.

    3. I’m also crazy in love with Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump in that split second when he absorbs that little Forrest is his child, and he fears that the boy is simple.

    4. I’m also convinced that the “I see dead people” scene in The Sixth Sense” is when Willis’ character starts to entertain the possibility that maybe….

    There are SO many more, but I don’t want to take them all…. GREAT question, Falcon!

    oh, and p.s. – I TOTALLY agree with you about the soundtrack to Ladyhawke. I ADORE the movie for what it is, but I try very hard to ignore the entirely inappropriate 80’s synthesizer music in the background.

  3. saintseester Says:

    It just occurred to me that the southern accents in The Legend of Baggar Vance are so poorly done that it nearly ruins the movie. However, I ignore it, and that is one of my favorite movies ever. So, I would suppose that is similar to a wholly inappropriate soundtrack.

  4. Derek Says:

    There are tons of these around for me. However, one that sticks out is in Requiem for a Dream. The Mother has been watching TV, having severe hallucinations, and she goes completely berzerk, fleeing the apartment. Loud sounds come crashing down to silence. Quietly, there is a testing pattern on the TV with typical high-pitched drone. After about 20 seconds of that, a cut comes crashing down to angry strings over open strings with the haunting melody of the theme, watching the Mother traipsing around in the winter in a red dress looking for help.

  5. mabnyc Says:

    Way too many to mention. One that comes to mind is the scene in Mike Nichols’ “Postcards from the Edge” where Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep are arguing in the office of (if I recall correctly) a therapist. I could be wrong about the occupation. And I may be paraphrasing here.

    In the midst of the bickering, Shirley says something to Meryl about not understanding “your generation’s humor”. Meryl replies “I don’t have a generation.”

    To which the therapist politely interjects, “Then I think you should get one.”

    Transcription does not do it justice. The inflection of the therapist is priceless. This is is the sage advice he has and this is the only manner he has of delivering it.

    Naturally, the scene can go no further and Nichols immediately cuts to the next shot.

  6. mabnyc Says:

    Oh, and that soundtrack in “Ladyhawke” is possibly the most awful ever recorded. The film is unwatchable because of it. It was badly dated two weeks after it came out and has only gotten worse since then.

  7. AndKikki Says:

    After a quick scan over some of the previous comments, I have to agree on the instrumental at the end of the Last of Mohicans. Love that part!

    One scene that will always be embedded in my brain is in “Affair to Remember” when Cary Grant realizes that Deborah Kerr is paralyzed. I fell in love with Cary Grant the first time I saw that movie.

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