Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Great Speeches in Films

Tony, A Red Mind in a Blue State, had a light hearted article naming his favorite show stopper speeches in films. He has a link which includes video snippets, more than I intend to provide; but if you have the time go watch some clips.

I’ll start by including a couple from Tony’s list; not necessarily in order of how I’d rate them, simply as they come to mind; and yes, I laughed at the one liner from Die Hard.

1. Albert Brook's "devil" speech from, “Broadcast News”, the one I have always thought fit a certain unnamed-in-this-non-political-post former President -- except the last line:

(What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing... he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he'll get all the great women. )

2. Wilford Brimley's movie-stealing scene in, “Absence of Malice”.

3. Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd in, “Harvey”, where he goes about explaining, “My mother used to say to me, ‘Elwood’ -- she always called me Elwood – ‘Elwood, in this world you must be oh-so clever, or oh-so pleasant.’ For years I was clever. I’d recommend pleasant -- and you may quote me.”

4. Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth in, “Shakespeare in Love”, when she clears the air regarding whether or not a bet had been won or lost forcing the payment and explains the loneliness of being a woman in a position of power, herself.

5. Spencer Tracy in, “Adam’s Rib”, where he aims the licorice pistol at Amanda and then takes a bite out of it after getting her to admit that nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands, “I just love licorice.”

6. Cameron Mitchell playing the part of “the gas jockey” in, “How to Marry a Millionaire”, when they’re all sitting around the counter and he pulls out a roll of money that would choke a horse and starts naming all his stock holdings, buildings and accumulated worth.

7. Dustin Hoffman in the role, “Little Big Man”, as the movie starts off in the old folks home where he’s being interviewed, “Turn that thing on…I’m the sole surviving white man from the battle of the Little Big Horn…”

8. James Cagney as George M. Cohan, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. I’ll stretch the topic to include “great speeches without words” as he tap danced down the enormous staircase at the White House after having talked with President Roosevelt. In my wildest imagination I’d love to have the agility to strut down a set of stairs like that; call 911, I think I broke something.

9. Still in the category of “great speeches without words” would be, “The Guns of Navarone”, at the very end where the mountain is ablaze, the huge guns have already fallen and the ships horns and whistles all applaud the victory knowing safe passage is assured. If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes and a lump in your throat then put a toe tag on; you’re already dead.

10. Marisa Tomei in, “My Cousin Vinny”, the courtroom scene where she validates the issue of whether or not she’s an expert witness in the automotive industry.

I wouldn’t call this a challenge; but if you’re of a mind to, make a list of your own with ten movie scenes worth remembering. This beats listening to the political mud slingers and pundits.

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