Small pieces of big movies

With the forthcoming Academy Awards, it might be fun to select small funny pieces or vignettes from movies that had some level of acclaim.

Annie Hall: Two small scenes that must be paired stand out. In an earlier scene Woody Allen’s character is speaking with Annie Hall’s brother. The brother notes that sometimes when he is driving at night, he briefly considers veering into an oncoming set of headlights to end it all. A few scenes later the expression on Allen’s face is priceless as guess who is driving them to the airport at night?

Forrest Gump: Two priceless scenes stand out. One is when Bubba finishes telling Forrest the many ways to cook shrimp. They are using toothbrushes to clean bathroom tile and Bubba’s says “Well, that’s about it.” Forrest pauses and then goes back to scrubbing. The other is when Lieutenant Dan shows up at the Bayou and Forrest just leaps into the water, while the now pilotless boat is still running.

Casablanca: There are countless scenes in this most quoted movie of all time. One that I love is just after Inspector Renault is forced to close “Rick’s” because he is shocked there is gambling going on, the pit boss hands the Inspector his winnings. The other is when Rick tells the Nazi Major Strasser that he came to Casablanca for the waters. When the Major replies there are no waters here, Rick says “So, I was misinformed,” with a very wry grin.

Jaws: The running gag line echoed by Roy Scheider, the land preferring lawman, is “We gotta get a bigger boat.” The other eerily funny scene is when the grizzled sea captain played by Robert Shaw got the attention of a talkative town council by slowly scraping his finger nails on a chalkboard. Yikes. Another funny scene is on the boat, after much drinking, the guys are comparing scars. At the end, Richard Dreyfus’ character points at his heart and notes the name of the girl who first broke it.

Rocky: A couple of character names for the pets gives me a chuckle. The bulldog was called “Butkus” in homage to the tough linebacker for the Chicago Bears. The two pet turtles of Rocky were humorously named “Cuff” and “Link.” As Rocky heads to the ring to fight Apollo Creed, he is wearing a robe with advertising on the back. When his manager asks him what he gets out of the deal, Rocky said he gets to keep the robe. “Shrewd,” the manager replies.

Gone with the Wind: A humorous set up occurs when Scarlett is about to get a visit from Rhett Butler in Atlanta and does not want to reveal she is on hard times. So, she has a dress made from the draperies. By itself, this is a humorous scene when the audience recognizes what she is wearing. But the funniest parody of this scene is courtesy of comedienne Carol Burnett, when she comes down the stairs with a dress made out of the drapes, including the curtain rod.

Please share with me your memorable scenes from award-winning movies. They can be funny, impactful, romantic, sensual or sensuous. Tell me who you think will take home best picture.


20 thoughts on “Small pieces of big movies

  1. My favorite of all time is Struther Martin’s classic line in “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.” when he looks disgusted at his two gunfighters and says, “Morons on my team.” That’s something we can all sympathize with these days, isn’t it??

    • Great line in a great movie. The next line I think is “Coming down the mountain, we haven’t got the money. We don’t have to worry about being robbed when we haven’t got the money.” It is akin to worrying more about terrorists who are not here, than the far greater threat of the ones who are here.

  2. Dunno what awards it may have won, but Woody Allen’s *Take the Money and Run* deserved a few and has 2 superb sight gags.

    A segment on the troubled youth of Allen’s character shows him as a member of his high school marching band. He plays cello. Carrying a chair as well a cello, he takes a few steps, sits down to play, and has to get up again before he can play anything. Later in life, I noticed that “cellist in a marching band” was an apt description of what my job had become.

    In adulthood, Allen’s character turns to crime but tries to live a wholesome family life. One short segment shows him driving in a convertible with the top down, turning a few times in his seat to get off a quick pistol shot at a pursuing police car. Hunkered down in the back seat, his wife is reading a story to his very young son, just as if they were on a sofa at home.

  3. Dear Keith,

    How can anyone forget the famous scene in “Harry Meets Sally, when Meg Ryan acts out the fake orgasm with lots of people present? And then an elderly lady says, “I’ll have whatever she’s having.”

    Ciao, Gronda

  4. Note to Readers: Hugh reminds us of Strother Martin’s line from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” He also had the classic line from “Cool Hand Luke,” where as prison warden he utters, “What we have here, is a fail…ure to communicate.” The three dots indicate a southern language exaggeration of the word “failure.”

  5. Note to Readers: It was not acclaimed as other movies, but my daughter and I get tickled by a line from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” The knight charged with guarding the Holy Grail utters a low key line that steals the scene. After the financier drinks from the wrong cup which kills him rather suddenly, the knight says “He chose poorly.”

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