5 Brilliant Moments You Probably Missed in Famous Movies
The greatest things in life sometimes only last a few seconds, and since Cracked has begged me to never talk about my sex life in these columns, let's look at movies as an example. Because of their limited length, all movies have to make every scene count, with not even a single moment of screen time going to waste. But, now and then, they do too good of a job with it by filling in vacant, split-second moments with some of the most amazing scenes you'll ever see -- unless you blink at just the wrong time, like with ...
Rapunzel Reaching Out to Save Mother Gothel (Tangled)
Tangled was a better movie than Frozen. I know that it's impossible for a grown, childless man to argue about such things and not be accused of wearing frilly Tangled panties while doing so, but A) pfff, you think that I wear clothes while writing these columns? And B) shut up, because we're talking about a movie that made me cry. Twice.
The first time was during the scene where Rapunzel's parents are silently grieving the loss of their daughter, who has been kidnapped by an old hag named Mother Gothel because of Rapunzel's magical, immortality-granting hair. The second time was right after Gothel fatally stabs Rapunzel's sort-of-boyfriend Eugene/Flynn Rider because of all the sand in her centuries-old vagina.
I bet that thing could mummify a human penis.
That's when Rapunzel offers to willingly become Gothel's slave if Gothel lets her cure Eugene with her hair. Not willing to let her do that, Eugene sacrifices himself by cutting off Rapunzel's magical locks, causing Gothel to age rapidly before falling out the window to her death. And then Rapunzel's tears bring Eugene back to life because Disney.
The Scene You Almost Missed:
Right before Gothel's fall, Rapunzel reaches out trying to save her. I've probably spent more time thinking about that scene than I did explaining to my wife how those frilly Tangled panties got into my underwear drawer. See, for most of the movie, Rapunzel did not see Gothel as a villain. She saw Gothel as her mother, a person who has cared for her since she was an infant -- and that's what makes Gothel so evil.
She wasn't your typical Disney villain. She had no magic powers or an army of evil minions. All she had was the complete control over one person, and she used it to make her kidnapped/adopted (kidopted? adoptnapped?) child love her. So, even after Rapunzel saw Gothel kill the guy she fell for, she still didn't want Gothel to die. That's why Rapunzel reached out to save her. It might have been because of the overwhelming power of filial love, or it might have been due to severe Stockholm syndrome. In any case, that is A LOT of drama to squeeze into a half-second, and a definite step-up from the original story about a kid named after fucking salad.
Trinity's Scorpion Kick (The Matrix Reloaded)
If I could go back in time to before The Matrix movies were made, I would tell my younger self to invest heavily in CGI and green-screen tech, and just wait for the Wachowskis to make me rich. Then, I would use that money to frame the Wachowskis for white slavery as revenge for The Matrix Reloaded, a creative train wreck starring Hot Topic Superman.
The Scene You Almost Missed:
Speaking of bad characters and boredom, the beginning of the movie had surprisingly none of that. The Matrix Reloaded starts off nicely with the ass-kicking Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) whaling on some security guards with her bike helmet while also performing some cool kung fu moves. Near the end of the scene, Trinity takes out the last guard by leaning forward and kicking him in the face with the sole of her shoe, in what the film's fight specialist dubbed "the Scorpion Kick."
Unlike the rest of the movie, there's very little slow-mo used here, so this one special effect only lasts a split-second, which is amazing because it wasn't a special effect at all. Moss actually performed the move, for real, after more than six months of training to master that one kick.
Five of which she apparently spent squeezing into her costume.
The second Matrix put a half-year's worth of effort into something that most people missed while staring at Moss' ass. I admire the movie for that, more so because it let the scene speak for itself. The Scorpion Kick wasn't like the bullet time from the previous movie. It came, did its job, and then left without stroking its own cock over how awesome it was. That's how all action movies should be. I never thought I would get to say this, but: Congratulations, The Matrix Reloaded, for not wanking over Moss doing battle yoga.
The Beaten Alpha Wolf (The Grey)
When the trailers for The Grey first came out, they made it look like a fast-paced action-adventure film about Liam Neeson strapping broken bottles to his hands and gutting his way through a pack of Alaskan wolves to get back to his beloved wife.
Ra's al Ghul Begins.
In reality, though, The Grey starts with Neeson talking about wanting to commit suicide, and that's as fun as it gets. I'm glad I saw it and all, but I was promised Taken 4: He Beats Up Wolves This Time, and, instead, I got a bleak treatise on nature's violent indifference toward man.
The Scene You Almost Missed:
The last thing we see in the movie is Neeson's character, John Ottway, charging at the leader of the wolf pack. We never find out what happens to them after that ... unless you stay until the after-credits scene, which reveals the alpha wolf lying on its side and breathing heavily with Ottway's head resting against him.
The scene might only be six seconds long, but it completely transforms the movie into a dark and bleak message of hope. If The Grey had ended with the hero charging the alpha wolf, I would have assumed that he was immediately torn to shreds after the wolves rubbed their dicks all over the picture of his dying wife. But, with that one scene, Ottway kind of gets a happy ending.
"The joy ... it hurts."
Even if Neeson's character survives this ordeal, his wife will still be dying, and there's nothing he can do about it. However, what he can do is knife-fist a killer wolf in the dick to get a semblance of control over his life. Whether the wolf lives or dies isn't really important. The only thing that matters is that Ottway hurt him -- because that will leave a tangible impact on the world that has made it abundantly clear it doesn't give a fuck about his problems. It's the only "happy ending" I would expect from a movie with the main message that happiness is just something Hallmark made up to sell more greeting cards.
The "I Didn't Know That Until Now" Line (The Hunger Games)
Did The Hunger Games rip off Battle Royale? Probably not, and even if it did, I have an entire school notebook filled with disturbing drawings, proving that I wanted to force a bunch of stupid teenagers to murder each other, way before both franchises. And besides, that's not what The Hunger Games is really about.
Yeah, wasn't there something about the heroine's mother being turned into a bear?
At its core, The Hunger Games is about a revolution in a world ruled by class and wealth divide -- where the bad guys are all rich assholes while the heroes have 20 words for dirt, depending on whether they're planning to eat, wear, or sleep in it.
The Scene You Almost Missed:
An important part of the first film concerns the Careers: kids from richer districts who willingly participate in Hunger Games kill-a-thons after years of training. Now, in the book, the Careers are just straight-up, unredeemable villains, but the movie finale actually tweaks their characterization to make the lives of The Hunger Games' rich and privileged look less like Party Town, Panem, and more like Jonestown, Guyana.
"Man, you order ONE guy to commit suicide by poison, and, suddenly, you're Jim Jones ..."
Near the end of the movie, the last remaining Career kid, Cato, takes Peeta hostage and starts telling Katniss just to kill him. Cato is suddenly asking for death, saying that he finally realizes he was always doomed to die in the Hunger Games, before adding: "I didn't know that until now." Just stop to think about that line for a second.
The rules of the Hunger Games are simple: A bunch of kids enter, murder ensues, and one kid survives. It's a statistically messed-up deal and yet the Careers freely volunteer for it. Or do they? Cato's little breakdown seems to suggest that the Careers don't really understand the full ramifications of what they're getting into. All they are told is that they will be bringing pride to their District, and it is continually beaten into their heads until the prospect of signing up for a reverse Russian roulette starts to sound ... fuck, appealing.
"Also, I was told there would be cake ..."
As Den of Geek put it, the scene with Cato is brilliant because it makes the depressingly dystopian world of The Hunger Games look even more horrifying than it already is, all with just a few seconds of footage.
Children Playing Behind a Hanging Solomon Northup (12 Years a Slave)
I honestly didn't think 12 Years a Slave was going to be a hit. I reckoned that most people didn't need a two-hour movie to remind them that slavery was bad, and those who did weren't able to see the movie on account of all the stupidity they have blindfolded themselves with.
"All I see is a man having a blast with some rope!" says the ignorant fool.
But, nearly $200 million later, 12 Years a Slave turned out to be a critical and commercial success, which I credit to scenes such as the one where the main character, a free-man-turned-slave, named Solomon Northup, almost gets lynched. Solomon's rescued at the last second by the overseer of the plantation he's been working on. The rescuer then slowly strolls off to fetch his boss -- without first taking the noose off Solomon. The lynching itself was very brutal, but the truly disturbing part was how Solomon was just left there, hanging by the neck with his toes barely touching the ground, when it would've taken less than a second to ease the man's agony.
For example, they could have given him a Bible to stand on. Clearly, they weren't using it for anything.
The Scene You Almost Missed:
Solomon's hanging scene goes on for nearly six minutes, and, in that time, the other slaves go about their jobs without paying any attention to him. At one time, we even get a glimpse of three kids playing and laughing near the dangling Solomon, which was so brief, I actually missed it the first time I saw 12 Years a Slave.
I only discovered it after reading a review of the movie by Jason Bellamy. And when I did, the weight of those few seconds really hit me. See, you can use physical violence to make someone feel afraid, but you can never force another human to be happy or to laugh earnestly. That requires something more subtle and infinitely more sinister. It requires getting into somebody's mind and suffocating every natural drive in their bodies, such as being horrified at the sight of a suffering human pinata. Those kids lacked that drive after having been raised to treat the brutal subjugation of their own race as the most natural thing in the world. A single blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in a movie said everything you need to know about the horror and suffering humans put each other through, and we do it all for reasons that can't be explained without sounding like a willfully hateful idiot.
In other words, it's just your typical Magneto stuff.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more from Cezary, check out 4 WTF True Stories Behind the Traits of Famous Characters and 4 Pop Culture Icons Who Were Originally Meant to Be Women.
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