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Best Scenes of 2012 
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Post Best Scenes of 2012
Pretty soon we'll all be making our Top 10 lists, but for now I wanted to focus on individual scenes we found really terrific, regardless of whether or not the movie itself was great or mediocre. I'll start with a couple

BLANKET SPOILER WARNING

The Grey's final scene

From the trailers, I assumed that The Grey was going to be an absurd vehicle for Liam Neeson -- Taken with wolves, if you will. It turned out, as many of you agree, to be a real gem of an early release, and the ending was part of the reason why. All alone, surrounded by wolves, he thinks about his wife (and we discover finally what really happened to her) and then prepares to face the alpha wolf with his knife and broken liquor bottles. A scene that looked imbecilic in the trailer ended the movie with real pathos.

The Tsunami sequence in The Impossible

I don't know how they filmed this scene, since I couldn't detect more than a bare minimum of CGI (water is one of the things CGI has real trouble getting right) but it is visceral in a way that few scenes of 2012 are. I was wincing and tense and I really rarely am.

Anne Hathaway sings I Dreamed a Dream in Les Miserables

Susan Boyle has made this song almost a cliche, but Anne Hathaway's raw, anguished emotion (and talented singing voice) was a sight to behold, particularly since the song seems to be filmed in one take. You could be cynical and say "Oh that's her Oscar moment," but it really actually deserves to be. One of the few instances where Hooper's ideas for the movie worked completely.

The masks/hoods scene in Django Unchained

Comic highlight of the year for me, easily. The opening (post-credits) scene in the movie is terrific too, but this scene was particularly delightful

Bernie begins with a lecture about corpse care

Assuming we do the Pedros again this year, Jack Black will have a nod for me as Best Actor. And nowhere is he better than in the first scene, where he gives a lecture to aspiring morticians about primping and preening a corpse which is deadpan and hilarious.

That's enough for me for now. What else did y'all like?

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Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:04 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Great topic, James. I'm game to do The Pedros if everyone else is.

First, I'd like to acknowledge these fine selections, particularly the one featuring a certain Jack Black. Bernie's such a gem of a film and one that will likely make my top five. There are so many great scenes it's hard to choose one, but the first one does a great job at explaining what he does and setting the tone for the movie.

Here are mine.

Hitchcock isn't a great film, but everything it tries to do culminates in the moment where he finally premieres Psycho. When we get to the shower scene and everyone's freaking the fuck out, Hitchcock's in the back conducting along with the music. You could say he's dancing. It's a visual summary of the character we've come to understand, and a comedic moment to boot. The rest of the film is typical biopic shenanigans, but that scene does a lot in trying to elevate it.

The dinner sequence in Django Unchained is great. It moves along slowly and carefully, akin to the tavern sequence in Inglourious Basterds. When Leonardo DiCaprio gets that bit of information, it's just a matter of time before the snake is unleashed. Interesting, then, that he makes that comment about snakes. Oh, Tarantino, you clever bastard.

I'm going to spend the rest of the topic talking about Moonrise Kingdom, which I seem to adore more and more the more I think about it. That intro. It's one really long take that introduces us to Suzy, some of the minor characters, and the type of filmmaking style that's going to dominate the picture. Moonrise Kingdom is very aware of its environment, and as a result very aware of what should be in or out of the frame. Not every shot exceeds ten seconds, but its pace is unhurried and the longer shots tend to be more impressive because of what Wes Anderson ends up putting on screen. Those scenes before Suzy and Sam get caught are great. It's a perfect depiction of both young love and sexual curiosity, and a curt reminder that sometimes perfection is too good to be true. It seems like Sam has hatched a master plan to get the two of them together, but hey, he's only twelve. They were going to get discovered sooner or later. I also love any scene with Tilda Swinton because she provides a nice contrast to all the endearing dumbness the adults seem to be drowning in. That reminds me, SAM GETS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING. And Bob Balaban as the narrator? Wonderful.

In an age of primarily digital cinema, my favorite film of the year was shot on 16mm. Man oh man.

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Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:48 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Great topic and great choices, gents. I'm certainly in favor of doing the Pedros again.

For me:

The first processing in The Master. Physicality in acting can be overrated and overacting, but it's not here. When Joaquin keeps his eyes open, slaps himself? Incredible stuff. Two of the best living actors absolutely owning that scene. Even if one didn't like the film, hard to imagine not being at least a little exhilarated by that scene.

The card game robbery in Killing Them Softly. The film has a lot of detractors and I get that, but this scene worked very well in pace and ton.

Every scene between Denzel and Kelly Reilly in Flight. I don't think Denzel is the best actor ever, but he is great at times, and he is here. Reilly absolutely holds her own without trying to beat him, and it produces a series of excellent and absorbing scenes.


Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:08 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Good call with Flight, Shade. Let me also add the opening crash sequence, which was white-knuckle the whole way. Particular credit due to Zemeckis for staying inside the cockpit and then showing that one amazing shot of the plane upside down

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Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:12 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Looper: disappearing hand scene.

The Master: processing scene.

Beasts of the Southern Wild: brothel/mother scene.

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Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:56 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Excellent thread idea, and some solid mentions already. With a couple exceptions, the moments I'll list give a pretty good idea as to what my favorite films of the year are. Some mild spoilers to follow.

Even though it's already been mentioned, I'll start with a couple of my favorite scenes from Moonrise Kingdom, which still might be my favorite film of 2012, certainly Top 3.

-The khaki scouts go to the Bishop house to rescue Suzy, and when they leave, each one of them exits through the bottom half of a door, until the last one, who casually opens the top half. I probably didn't do that moment justice in my description, but it's one of my favorite blink-and-you'll-miss-it gags of the year.

-The open and heartfelt conversation about love between Sam and Captain Sharp, drinking beer together.

-Finally, Bob Balaban in this pose:

Image

Some great moments from other worthy films:

-In Perfect Sense, when everyone realizes that their sense of taste is disappearing and they all make a last-gasp attempt to eat anything edible around them before it's gone forever. A genuinely harrowing and disturbing moment. Just for contrast, there's also a wonderful scene with Eva Green and Ewan McGregor taking a bath together and discovering the joys of the texture of shaving cream.

-Anne Hathaway's one-shot performance of 'I Dreamed A Dream' in Les Miserables is wonderful, but I'd like to single out another moment that comes shortly after that really got to me. It comes when Jean Valjean goes to find Cosette and take her away from the Thenardiers. There's a brief moment when Jackman is singing when the 'I Dreamed A Dream' melody is reprised; for some reason, I found that simple callback really emotional.

-Two one-take shots in Skyfall: the silhouettes fighting against the lights of Shanghai, and Javier Bardem's introduction.

-Also from Skyfall, the re-introduction of the classic Aston Martin, and the long-overdue revival of the classic James Bond theme.

-Matthew McConaughey's slow-burn seduction/manipulation of Juno Temple in Killer Joe.

-I was also going to mention the processing scene from The Master, but Shade and JackBurns both beat me to it. Actually, I guess I'm mentioning it again now. What a great scene.

-Jennifer Lawrence ambushing Bradley Cooper on his daily jogs in Silver Linings Playbook. There were huge laughs every time in the theater when Lawrence would suddenly enter the frame with a loud "HEY!". Also, the dance contest at the end of the film and their reaction to the final results.

-The storm sequence in Beasts Of The Southern Wild.

-The "morning after" scene in Chico & Rita.

-Arrietty's first "borrowing" adventure with her father in The Secret World Of Arrietty.

-The scenes with Gollum in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the only time during the film when Peter Jackson recaptures the magic of the original Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

-Old Joe's timeline in Looper, showing what his life was like after he closed his own loop, before going back in time again to change it.

-Sam Rockwell's and Christopher Walken's contributions/suggestions to Colin Ferrell's script in Seven Psychopaths.

-I tried to single out a specific moment from Cloud Atlas and couldn't. Take your pick from the entire movie.

That's all for now, although I'm sure I could think of many others. It's been a good year for film.

Just for the record, these are the films I've yet to see that I feel would have a shot of making my 2012 Top 10, even though it's already a pretty crowded field:

Holy Motors
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
The Turin Horse
A Royal Affair
Searching For Sugar Man
Amour
Zero Dark Thirty
The Impossible

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Last edited by Blonde Almond on Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:10 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:02 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
JamesKunz wrote:
The masks/hoods scene in Django Unchained

Comic highlight of the year for me, easily. The opening (post-credits) scene in the movie is terrific too, but this scene was particularly delightful


As much as I loved this film, I found this scene problematic. I think its a prime example of killing a good joke by running it into the ground. The scene just goes on..and on..and on--and in my opinion could have been more memorable if it were condensed.

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Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:02 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
JackBurns wrote:
Looper: disappearing hand scene.

I basically came into this thread just to mention this scene. Holy ass and balls, man. I think it was stuff like this where Looper flexed its muscles most strongly, using the license granted by its loose time travel premise in the service of purely cinematic moments.

Since you took mine, I'll nominate the scene in John Carter when the embattled Dejah falls from the aircraft. I'm a sucker for moments like this. After hiding himself for so long, Carter quite literally springs into action without hesitation. It's a spectacularly constructed scene and a great display of mythical heroism. John Carter may have been far from a perfect movie, but I think it had enough going for it to earn its keep.

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Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:19 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
JamesKunz wrote:
Good call with Flight, Shade. Let me also add the opening crash sequence, which was white-knuckle the whole way. Particular credit due to Zemeckis for staying inside the cockpit and then showing that one amazing shot of the plane upside down


Totally agree. It's a magnificent scene. Upon reflection, stuff like having the stewardess handle some of the equipment seems absurd even given the situation, but the way it's handled (even stuff like when he tells her to talk to her son on the black box recorder) is totally believable and genuine as it happens, which is all that really matters.

I'll also toss in the epilogue scene in End of Watch. I'm so glad to see the film making year-end top 10 lists, because it deserves it. Casting aside the alleged "gimmick" of the shooting style, the film is in many ways a two-man chamber drama and one of the most convincing depictions of male friendship that I've ever seen. The epilogue of the film initially hit me incorrectly, but as soon as the credits rolled I got it and was moved by it and the relative courage that Ayer had for ending the movie that way. It's certainly well-acted (the whole film is), but it hits exactly the right concluding notes by projecting the film's theme completely below the surface. My only complaint of the film is that

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Jake G not dying screams like a reshoot to me to accommodate screeners who found the film too dark, although I can't confirm this


Other than that I loved it, and again, that final scene was sneakily magnificent.


Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:29 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
I really enjoyed the prison sequence(s) in The Dark Knight Rises. When Bruce asks what the prisoners are chanting and the old man who aided him simply replies with "Rise" I got chills.

The final fight scene in Prometheus between the engineer and the giant face hugger was particularly thrilling for me, at least in my theatre viewing. And then the Alien spawning scene afterwards left quite an impression on me.

I agree wholeheartedly with Kunz about the ending of The Grey. The way it went back to his fathers poem again, I almost felt like crying. Live and Die this day, Live and Die this day. Such a good moment. Damn you Liam Neeson.

Oh, one last thing. I hated The Watch but I got a good laugh when the guys realized that they had to shoot the aliens in the balls. Terrible movie though.

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Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:04 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Blonde Almond wrote:


-In Perfect Sense, when everyone realizes that their sense of taste is disappearing and they all make a last-gasp attempt to eat anything edible around them before it's gone forever. A genuinely harrowing and disturbing moment. Just for contrast, there's also a wonderful scene with Eva Green and Ewan McGregor taking a bath together and discovering the joys of the texture of shaving cream.

-Anne Hathaway's one-shot performance of 'I Dreamed A Dream' in Les Miserables is wonderful, but I'd like to single out another moment that comes shortly after that really got to me. It comes when Jean Valjean goes to find Cosette and take her away from the Thenardiers. There's a brief moment when Jackman is singing when the 'I Dreamed A Dream' melody is reprised; for some reason, I found that simple callback really emotional.

-Two one-take shots in Skyfall: the silhouettes fighting against the lights of Shanghai, and Javier Bardem's introduction.

-I was also going to mention the processing scene from The Master, but Shade and JackBurns both beat me to it. Actually, I guess I'm mentioning it again now. What a great scene.


-Sam Rockwell's and Christopher Walken's contributions/suggestions to Colin Ferrell's script in Seven Psychopaths.

-I tried to single out a specific moment from Cloud Atlas and couldn't. Take your pick from the entire movie.

That's all for now, although I'm sure I could think of many others. It's been a good year for film.


Great ones mentioned above. Love Javier Bardem's entry in Skyfall too. The processing scene in The Master was the AV Club's #1 scene of the year, and I'm hard-pressed to disagree. And yeah, the scene in which Sam Rockwell describes the final gun battle in Seven Psychopaths is terrific.

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Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:52 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
I loved the scene the whole "drug trip" in 21 Jump Street.

I laughed my ass off a lot at The Watch but especially the part where the guys are taking pictures of the alien in various poses, R Lee Ermey's scenes were a hoot as well.

The Elevator scene in Total Recall

The opening action scene in Expendables 2, simply mindblowing.

The bar scene in Safe

The car chase and the bathtub scene in Jack Reacher.

The beginning of Seven Psychopaths.


Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:32 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Off the top of my head

Skyfall - Javier Bardem's first appearance and his talk with M later
TDKR - Batman's first appearance, the build-up to and moment of his "jump", and the epilogue
The Impossible - Tsunami sequence, Ewan McGregor's phone call, and the climax
Looper - that kid's second rage. (Never thought a 5-year-old actor could be that scary)
Argo - On the plane at the end. Very touching.
Cabin in the Woods - Monsters' carnage
Prometheus - Self-birth
Cloud Atlas - The whole movie?


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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
My favorite scene of the year:

Lincoln - the explanation to the Cabinet of the (possible) legality of the Emancipation Proclamation. Just a perfectly written and acted scene. Jim Emerson has a good write-up on Ebert's site.

Other great scenes:

Beasts of the Southern Wild: The opening title sequence with the fireworks. Probably my favorite score of the year; definitely my favorite main theme of the year. And just a beautiful scene. Of everything that happens in the movie, the opening title was the one moment I actually teared up.

Intouchables: Opening credits set to "September." Pure joy.

Flight: the crash scene.

The Grey: the crash scene. Two very different crash scenes; both amazing. I loved how the crash in the Grey jumped in and out of Ottway's dream. Really gut-wrenching stuff.

Snow White and the Huntsman: Enchanted forest scene; almost every Charlize Theron scene. More than any other movie this year, this one had some beautiful and amazing individual moments--that were kind of lost in the overall dramatic muddle.


Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:26 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Silva's assault on Skyfall lodge is number 1 for me. Brilliant!

Also, despite some issues, the occupation and battle of Gotham in DKR.

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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Silver Linings Playbook: wedding video scene.

Taken 2: Neeson's timed pursuit of his wife while the daughter waits in the car; cause it was a riff on Drive. Also: the opening scene, cause it was basically the same opening as Avengers except this time the set up actually paid off.

RE5: Leon team's entrance into the facility, cause it riffs on Inception.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Barry's death
cause it also riffs on Inception. I'd also nominate the scenes which riff on Truman Show, Monsters Inc, The Shining, Independence Day, and The Fog.

Skyfall: shotglass target practice, cause it's one of the most coldly relaxed examples of unabashed cruelty in the series, and cause it's mannish. The ice lake scene, cause it was also in RE5, serving the same purpose.

Avengers: when Loki is confronted by a Holocaust survivor; cause it's the only scene that's different from any other scene in the movie, if only for a few seconds.

Dark Knight Rises: the opening sequence; kinda cool I guess.


Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:16 am
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
My picks for fave scenes of the past year:

EDIT: In light of the thread made by Wisey, I will be putting up a *spoiler warning* to anyone else who chooses to read this post. Sorry, Wisey, I wasn't looking to spoil anything, and ditto for you, Ken.

We Need To Talk About Kevin - The scene involving Eva and the 2 missionaries who come to her door.

Looper - The conversation between the two Joes in the cafe.

The Dark Knight Rises - The initial fight scene between Bane and Batman.

The Dark Knight Rises - Selina's negotiation with Daggett's henchman over Bruce's fingerprints.

The Avengers - The heroes eat some chicken shawarma at the end of a hard day's work.

Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino's death, arguably the most spectacular of the film aside from Stephen's.

Django Unchained - "Say goodbye to Miss Lara."

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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Saw a couple movies since yesterday....

Django Unchained: very last scene. The third act drags quite a bit, and the violence gets over-the-top to distraction. But that last scene just nails it.

Hobbit: Gollum scene. The special effects on Gollum--wow. Almost like the difference between Toy Story 2 and 3. Completely in line what was done before, but the subtle upgrades are enough to really notice. And Andy Serkis is clearly having a crazy amount of fun with the riddles. The best scene in the movie, and also the best scene at establishing the slightly different tone of the pre-Sauron Middle Earth, with the lower stakes. Whereas in LOTR every threat is part of the main apocalyptic threat, this is the one scene where the Hobbit shows that the crazy creepy dude under the mountain can be a worthy threat all on his own. There should have been more of that and less
[Reveal] Spoiler:
tying things in to the rise of Sauron
.

Hobbit: When the Eagles
[Reveal] Spoiler:
rescue them from the cliff.
Whereas the Gollum scene did a good job of establishing the Hobbit as existing in the more innocent pre-Sauron Middle Earth, the Eagles scene is the closest the movie gets to recreating some of the more thrilling LOTR moments. Great effects, very exciting.

Edit:

Looper: "I'm going to talk for a little." Great scene for Jeff Daniels.

Looper: Garret Dillahunt getting
[Reveal] Spoiler:
exploded from the inside out.
Such a beautiful/creepy shot, and really cements dilemma at the heart of the movie.


Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:57 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
Take This Waltz :

Video Killed the Radio Star
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJUXGPz3Zz4
Breathtaking stuff


Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:22 pm
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Post Re: Best Scenes of 2012
peng wrote:
Take This Waltz :

Video Killed the Radio Star
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJUXGPz3Zz4
Breathtaking stuff


Particularly with the bookend scene at the end when she's on the ride again, but this time by herself...it was the sensation she was after, not the company

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