In one of my better birthday present ideas for The Girlfriend (No, I didn’t think at the time that body wash was a bad present), she and I will be leaving for New Orleans tomorrow where we will be swimming in our hotel’s rooftop pool, baring our breasts for beads and seeing Ray Lamontagne at the House of Blues. I’ll be sure to keep track of all the fun and illegal-in-the-state-of-New York events and give a less than full recounting when I get back.
Two quick highlights from the Philharmonic in Central Park trip on Tuesday night:
Pete commenting to James that he must have spent $15 on the prosciutto he brought, James telling Pete he’s correct, and the rest of us launching into a completely overdrawn, five minute rant/sketch comedy about “Pete the Meat Appraiser” going around town telling people how much their meat is worth. Absolutely classic.
During the firework show at the end, a large, white firework (the ones that hang in the air a little like a weeping willow) goes off and this takes place:
Random guy on blanket next to us: “Oh, that’s my favorite firework.”
Matt (under his breath): “Come on man, that’s your favorite one?”
For a weekly round-up, I think we’ll go with this:
The Long Awaited First Ever Top Five List: Top 5 Tragic Death in Cinema.
I have narrowed down the field by the following criteria.
– No gangster movies. One, they’re awful people and you shouldn’t feel bad when one of them dies, and two everyone dies anyway. (Honorable mention to Joe Pesci in Goodfellas for the surprise factor and Sonny in A Bronx Tale, because he just had some classic lines.)
– No animals. It’s just a given that animals dying is sadder than people dying. People don’t have fur. (If they were included, though, Hooch from Turner and Hooch would be the hands down winner. Although more than one of my friends has admitted that he has proudly cried at the end of All Dogs Go to Heaven. Simply put, dogs should never die. My friend BJ took it a step further in telling us about when his dog Missy died: “I cried in Fordham church and told God to his son's face that if Missy wasn’t in heaven then I wouldn't go.” Like I said . . . it’s sadder.)
– No movies based on true stories. It’s always more tragic when you know that it actually happened. Like when you’re watching a movie trailer and thinking, “Hmm, that looks good,” and then the voice over says, “Based on a true story,” and you get the chills. (Case IN Point: “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I can handle it when it’s a family that’s down on their luck, like their house was swept away in a raging flood – but give me a guy who’s raising three kids after his wife was killed in a car accident and I lose it.)
– No more Tom Hanks movies. It’s a proven fact – people don’t like to see Tom Hanks die, or, for that matter, anyone around him die. In fact, I could do a Top Five Tragic Deaths in Tom Hanks Movies:
1. Hooch, Turner and Hooch.
2. Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan.
3. Tom Hanks, Philadelphia.
4. Tom Hanks, Road to Perdition.
5. Jenny, Forrest Gump.
– No movies I haven’t seen. Self-explanatory.
First, the short listed movies that didn’t make the cut:
Gladiator. Not Russell Crowe’s death, but the death of his wife and child. The alternating scenes of Crowe riding his horse to his home, knowing that soldiers are on their way to kill his family, and the scenes of the soldiers arriving and riding over the family are heart-wrenching. And he finally reaches home to find them hanging from a tree.
Life is Beautiful. Utterly tragic, but almost disqualified due to the “no true stories” rule. Not that this really happened, but the Holocaust itself is the prevailing tragedy here.
My Girl. Don’t laugh – it’s romantic, it’s poignant, and it’s terribly sad. But didn’t make the list because I’m 25 years old.
American History X. He was never really a good kid who made all the right choices, but he was turning himself around, and that was right when he was cut down. The most tragic part? The overwhelming feeling that evil doesn’t always lose, and redemption isn’t always possible.
Shawshank Redemption. Brooks is released from prison as an old man, his crime a distant memory, but with no future. Narrated perfectly and touchingly, you really feel like the remainder of his life outside of prison is not worth living, and that the only mark he has left on anything is the carving of “Brooks was here” before he hangs himself.
And now the list.
#5 Seven. An odd choice, I know, but it had to be on the list for the following reasons: 1. Gwyneth Paltrow is hot; 2. You never see it coming, you can’t convince me that you did; and 3. Brad Pitt became a not just an honorary member of, but a spokesperson for the Hall of Fame of Bad Acting Scenes with his “What’s in the box?!” routine.
#4 The Professional. The scene where he is killed is filmed perfectly, with the literal light at the end of the tunnel that really does make you think he’s going to make it out of the building alive. But it’s a great story of a guy who risked, and lost, his life to help a little girl (a young Natalie Portman) who, subsequently, make every grown man watching the movie question their ethical standards.
#3 Million Dollar Baby. Rags to riches girl who is on the cusp of achieving hard fought goals she never dreamed possible is cut down and faced with the fact that if she cannot fight, she doesn’t want to live. Made all the more heart-wrenching by the scenes with her family pretending to care for her when they are really trying to get her money, because to them that is all she is worth. (Note: This is the movie where The Girlfriend earned her nickname “Ice Queen” for not crying at the end, while I, of course, was a snot covered mess. Later, she tries to convince me that she is not an Ice Queen, because she cried once at a movie called “The Dog Who Stopped the War” when she was about eight years old.)
#2 Mystic River. A friend suspects his lifelong friend of killing his daughter. He kills him in revenge. Turns out he is wrong. Great character played by Sean Penn, and the scene leading up to Tim Robins being killed is so long and drawn out (mixed perfectly with scenes of Kevin Bacon discovering who really killed his daughter) that I can’t sit still while I watch it. And then Sean Penn’s stoic reaction to finding out he killed his friend for nothing just leaves you wasted.
#1 Dead Poets Society. Right in the middle of a funny, uplifting movie about a bunch of uptight kids at a boarding school who are taught to love and embrace life, one kid is driven to suicide by his overbearing parents preventing him from doing the one thing that makes him happy. Robin Williams best role ever in a movie that runs the emotional gamut of happiness and heartbreak. What’s more, I could watch this movie over and over and over and still regret it every time Neil kills himself.
And there you go. First Top Five in the books, and now I'm off to the Big Easy. I trust that if The Girlfriend and I get into any trouble with the law, I can rely on my readers (the ones located in the Americas at least) to lend a helping hand.