Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Lists used to be a regular thing 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 sixth installment I'll already be putting the final touches on part seven). 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...three of the eight films represented in this installment are currently streaming on Netflix instant, two are easy to come by on DVD & Blu-Ray just about anywhere, and one just left theaters (I'm sure it'll be released on DVD/Blu-Ray) so I don't wanna hear any of that; "no one has heard of or seen any of these movies" (I will admit that two of the films on this list aren't that easy to watch or come by on DVD/Blu-Ray at the moment)

So here's part six. Enjoy...

Joe gets her groove back... (Nymphomaniac: Part 2)

Contrary to what some uninformed film critics will try to have you believe, Charlotte Gainsbourg is not the only actress to work with Lars Von Trier on more than one occasion (if I read that wrong bit of info on another reputable film site or publication I may lose it). Last time I checked, both Lauren Bacall & Chloe Sevigny were in Dogville & Manderly and Siobhan Fallon was also in Dogville as well as Dancer In The Dark. But it is true that no other actress has been dragged through hell with LvT like Gainsbourg (sorry Bjork, but Dancer In The Dark was 14 years ago. Get over it).
There's something about Charlotte's performances in LvT's films that leads me to believe she's a little bit like "She" (Antichrist) or "Joe" (Nymphomaniac) in real life. I feel like a woman would kinda have to be a bit of a masochist to work with Lars on three consecutive (depressing) films.
This scene above, where Joe is finally able to have an orgasm again, is just as heartbreaking as it is shocking because she can only reach climax through pain.
I feel as if this scene (along with the entire film) was partially Von Trier intentionally playing in to decades of criticism he's faced when it came to his portrayal of women in film. Again - is there a LvT film where a woman isn't beaten, emotionally abused, raped or killed?

Fred stands up for Laurence (Laurence Anyways)

wheeeeew... no words needed for this one. Just watch the clip below...

Tiffany puts Pat Sr. in his place (Silver Linings Playbook)

This scene was a generational thing for me. Its a great moment but more than that, it's about a younger actress (Lawrence) holding her own (and stealing the show) with a legend (Deniro).
And the entire supporting cast in the background during this scene, specifically Bradley Cooper, just adds to the humor.

 "What were your final words were to mum?" (Stories We Tell)

These moments are what make documentaries great in my opinion. Towards the end of Stories We Tell, Sarah Polley, off camera, asks her father what his final words were to his wife (her mother) before passing away. In a moment that feels like five minutes, he pauses and awkwardly responds; "...dunno. that I loved her and I'll miss her. Something like that..." Its a such a telling moment because you can see the hurt on his face and hear it in his voice. If you haven't seen Stories We Tell, I highly recommend it so you can see where that hurt comes from.

8MM... (Bastards)

Last year my insecurities got the best of me and I didn't wanna get called on favoritism so I decided to not include Bastards in my top 10 (or in my honorable mention) even though I liked it very much. But once I saw all the reputable/good end of the year movie lists that included Denis' latest, I realized I messed up and should have gone with my gut. Much like what Trouble Every Day did for Denis following Beau Travail, which is to basically turn people off and be intentionally challenging, Bastards did the same thing as the follow-up to White Material. White Material got Denis a slightly bigger audience and what does she do in her follow-up? Intentionally confuse & disgust people. Its trolling but because its Claire Denis, I respect it. And she waited til the final moments of the film to show the most shocking part - Taking a page out of 8mm, Denis sheds some light on the disturbing incestious shit that's been going on just below the surface of the story.

Flying seagulls (Leviathan)

Leviathan is a very cloustrophobic film at times. After being trapped on a boat with crunching water noises & fish guts for minutes at a time, its nice to experience the freedom of flying over the ocean with the birds (I don't know if any other scenario could represent "freedom" any more clearly than that). These moments are very hypnotic but they also act as a breath of fresh air.

The mask scene from Newlyweeds...

Speaking of hypnotic...
here's another excellent scene, made even better by the subtle score, that almost gives you a contact high. I don't smoke weed so I'm amazed at how mesmerized I was at this marijuana-induced moment.

"AIM FOR THE DICK!" (Holy Motors)

It's tough to pick one isolated scene from this excellent movie. Holy Motors plays out like a series of brilliant sketches rolled in to one movie. But this quick moment where Denis Lavant randomly shouts out: "Aim for the dick!" (which has since been slightly edited to "aim for the crotch") made me legitimately laugh out loud the first time I saw it at the theater.


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