Monday, February 10, 2014


Lists used to be a regular thing on here at PINNLAND EMPIRE, but for whatever reason I gave them a rest in favor of writing longer articles that most of you probably don't even finish reading once you start. It recently hit me that although its way too early to start deciding what the defining movies of the decade are, there's already quite a few isolated moments from the last 4+ years that are either so visually striking, prolific, heartbreaking, frightening, hilarious or a combination of everything that they deserve to be mentioned.

So as part of a new ongoing series, we're going to list my personal favorite movie moments of the decade so far.
I put an emphasis on the word personal because its just that. My own personal opinion. This list in no way speaks for anyone else. And please keep in mind that this is ongoing (as you're checking this second installment I'll already be putting the final touches on part five). So if you don't see something listed that you feel should be, give it some time. It may show up eventually. There's no order or hierarchy in what gets listed either.

FYI...five of the eight films represented in this installment are currently streaming on Netflix instant, and two of the others can be bought on DVD or Blu-Ray just about anywhere, so I don't wanna hear any of that; "no one has heard of or seen any of these movies"

So here's part two. Enjoy...

"Go back to Toronto" (Alps)
Diabetes is rarely explored in cinema and when it is, it’s usually in a film that I don’t like. While Uncle Boonmee & The Tree Of Life touch on personal issues that I relate too like Kidney Disease & the career path I’ve chosen, this scene from Alps touched a chord in me because it’s just as touching & intimate as it is funny & awkward. I know it’s immature but I usually deal with my serious health issues (like type 2 diabetes, which I have) through humor, all while being completely conscious of how serious it really is, and this scene really captures that mindset.

The wedding scene in Mother Of George
I love weddings and I also don’t. It’s always wonderful to watch two people form a union and start a new chapter in their lives, but it's also a big production of sitting, standing, dressing up in uncomfortable clothes, etc. But the beginning of Mother Of George looks like the most fun wedding I’ve seen in a movie (or in real life) since Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding

Accepting Death in Toy Story 3
this was a kids movie??

The woman who laughs (House Of Tolerance)
I could seriously think of at least three other polarizing scenes from this underrated film on brothels in the early 1900’s (we'll be seeing this film in this series again) but this one is by far my favorite. It's like watching a real life oil painting come to life. 
After getting her face slashed at the beginning of the film, Madeline obviously can no longer make money working in a brothel given that her main asset (her face) is now damaged goods. But midway in to the film she’s reborn as “The Woman Who Laughs” and is essentially turned in to an attraction at a massive orgy. What’s strange is that this scene should really be heartbreaking and/or upsetting. I mean, it pretty much represents the objectification of women. But for some strange reason, Bertrand Bonello makes this a very arousing & intriguing moment.

Freddie escapes in The Master
This one is special because it’s the first scene in the series from a film that I’m not very fond of. I respect Paul Thomas Anderson’s ambition to make this film and, I’m still amazed that it was even allowed to be made in the first place given the shots it fires at a certain organization. But I honestly found this movie to be overrated, misguided and almost boring. However this scene of Joaquin Phoenix running away from the migrant workers, which is reminiscent of Adam Sandler running away from the thugs in PT Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love, is just great. From the way this scene is framed to the sound design, to the rhythm of the landscape surrounding him, to the gray-ish atmosphere - everything in these 20 seconds or so is just haunting.

"That's like puttin' a marshmallow in a parking meter" - Joyce McKinney (Tabloid)
Joyce McKinney is quite the character and this quote from Errol Morris’ Tabloid, on whether or not it’s possible for a man to be raped by a woman, is probably the greatest one-liner she says in this documentary

Marie & Francis are over Nicolas (Heartbeats)
I know it’s typical for a young hipster filmmaker to draw upon icons like Godard, Anna Karina & Audrey Hepburn, but this scene is priceless (plus, Xavier Dolan makes Montreal Hipsters seem pretty cool). This scene in Heartbeats is another scenario we can all relate too which is that moment when you beat yourself up for being attracted too or involved with someone who was never really worth it in the first place.

The Avengers assemble
Maybe it’s the little kid in me, but I’m really loving what Marvel studios is doing these days with all the Avenger-related movies. Not only are Ironman, Thor, Hulk, Captain America and rest of the gang intertwined in the same cinematic universe, but they’ve also branched off into a whole 'nother world with Guardians Of The Galaxy. The large majority of The Avengers features quite a few scenes with various combinations of our heroes sharing screen time with one another, but nothing like this one shot here where all six of them assemble together…


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