Wednesday, December 3, 2008

MORE MAGIC MOMENTS

The great Maggie Smith, haughty by nature (and perfecting her patented prickly persona), in California Suite... Juliette Binoche, attempting to check out emotionally and failing miserably, in Trois Couleurs: Bleu... I think I'll just stay here and drink: Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend. Susan Hayward in I'll Cry Tomorrow. Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick in Days of Wine And Roses... Barbara Stanwyck, earning an Oscar nomination without getting out of bed, in Sorry, Wrong Number... Catherine Deneuve, looking gorgeous, smoking opium...and inhaling, in Indochine... Miranda Richardson, confronting Jeremy Irons in the nude after the death of their son, in Damage...

Going out with a bang: The beautifully directed suicide that closes Carrington. Emma Thompson, as the title character, propping herself over the barrel of a rifle. A sweeping outdoor view of her estate. Swelling music. Pow! The End... One tear falling down Glenn Close's cheek in the closing frame of Dangerous Liaisons (above, pre-tear). Slow fade to black. The best movie ending ever... Tears of the lonely: Close-ups of Jack Nicholson and Fernanda Montenegro, both unexpectedly transformed by the gratitude of a child, weeping in the final scenes of, respectively, About Schmidt and Central Station... Before the crash at the end of The Unbearable Lightness Of Being. Juliette Binoche: "What are you thinking?" Daniel Day-Lewis: "About how happy I am?"... Olivia de Havilland's ascent up the staircase in The Heiress... Susan Hayward's march to the gas chamber in I Want To Live!... Take me to the river: Nicole Kidman, as Virginia Woolf, drawn to the water, in The Hours...

Geraldine Page, killing the pain (and herself), in identical fashion, in Interiors... Road kill: Simone Signoret and Elizabeth Taylor, winning Oscars for playing the doomed objects of Laurence Harvey's affection and, ultimately, his rejection, in, respectively, Room At The Top and Butterfield 8... Burt Lancaster's unhinged, Oscar-winning, leading ladies: Anna Magnani in The Rose Tattoo and Shirley Booth in Come Back, Little Sheba... Sounder, another movie named for a dog but not really about the dog... Beah Richards, so dignified and spot on in her assessment of grumpy old men, in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner...

The terrifying breakdown of Ellen Burstyn's diet pill-popping Long Island Jewish matron in Requiem For A Dream... Natalie Wood, coming undone, in Splendor In The Grass... Naomi Watts, clobbering Benicio del Toro with a baseball bat, in 21 Grams... Catherine Zeta-Jones' complete 180 in Traffic: "Shoot him in the head! Just shoot him in the head!"... Julianne Moore, allergic to life, in Safe... Hugh Grant's floppy hair... Golden Girl: Gena Rowlands, sexy and sixtysomething, in Unhook The Stars... Sissy Spacek, smacking Marisa Tomei without standing up or even bothering to look at her, in In The Bedroom... Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft, clobbering each other, in The Turning Point...

Watching Richard Dreyfuss in the The Goodbye Girl trailer at age 8. "I Don't. Like. The panties. Drying. On. The. Rod."... Eddie Murphy, all pompous and a victim of circumstances, in Dreamgirls (and getting robbed on Oscar night for his considerable efforts)... Women scorned: Bette Davis' grand entrance, smoking gun in hand and still-firing, in The Letter. Cameron Diaz, going off the rails and taking Tom Cruise down with her, in Vanilla Sky. Judi Dench, rebuffed by Cate Blanchett and giving lesbians a very bad name, in Notes On A Scandal...

Joan Crawford, catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror and being appalled by what she sees, in Sudden Fear... Angelica Huston's mother from hell in The Grifters. Angela Lansbury, giving her a run for her depravity, in The Manchurian Candidate... Reese Witherspoon, haunting Matthew Broderick's dreams, in Election... Love, Italian-style: Audrey Hepburn swept away by Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. Katharine Hepburn caught up in the rapture in Summertime. The camera falling in love with Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley... Forget Paris. Who needs a French kiss? We've got Italy.
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