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Posted on Monday, March 15th, 2010

Dave!One of these days, I'm going to mount a video camera on my dashboard so I can have evidence of just how insane my 5-minute commute home can get. Today I added stops at the post office and the bank, which just tripled the crazy-ass shit I had to deal with. Being cut-off twice, nearly hit three times, and fuming over the SEVEN CARS coming from the opposite direction that DIDN'T stop while I waited to let a young boy cross the street... it's no wonder I'm near-homicidal by the time I get home. ARRRRRRRRRGH!

But anyway...

Peter Graves died over the weekend, which was some really sad news for me. As a mega-huge fan of both his Mission: Impossible television series and the Airplane movies, Graves has been a permanent fixture in my memory as both a brilliant source of suspense and comedy, which is a rare thing for an actor. My respect for him only grew when he turned down what was certainly a nice chunk of money to reprise his Jim Phelps role in the Mission: Impossible movie. The film totally betrayed the character, and Peter Graves would have none of it, which is really cool.

I always held out hope for another Airplane movie, but any attempt to do so now without Captain Oveur in at least a cameo would be a huge mistake. Most of the best scenes in Airplane are his...

It's Captain Oveur!
"Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"

Oveur and out.


Speaking of scenes...

There's a very cool article over at The Guardian where their film critics pick their favorite movie scenes. That got me to thinking about what my favorite scenes might be, so I decided to take a stab at listing them over the next several weeks for MOVIE SCENE MONDAYS! The first scene I look at is from Katheryn Bigelow's Strange Days released in 1995. There be  SPOILERS  below, and the film is well-worth watching if you haven't seen it, so don't click through unless you have!


Dave's Favorite Movie Scenes... STRANGE DAYS: The New Years Riot

Long before Kathryn Bigelow nabbed her Best Picture Oscar for The Hurt Locker, she directed a visually stunning and powerful film written by her ex-husband, James Cameron, called Strange Days. Taking place in the year 2000 (the near-future from the film's release date of 1995), technology allows memories to be recorded and relived over and over again. This provides a nifty plot element for a crime thriller that has just enough twists to keep things interesting to the very end.

There are many well-crafted scenes in the film, but "The New Years Riot" is the one that will haunt you ever after. Carrying on James Cameron's trademark "stong woman character" that lept from Sarah Conner in The Terminator to Ripley in Aliens to Mace in Strange Days, Cameron wrote a riot in downtown Los Angeles at the brink of "2K" which was inspired by the Rodney King L.A. Riots. Not only does Mace best two dirty cops, she also faces off with an entire riot squad of the LAPD before being savagely beaten. What follows is a frenzy of action that leads to the film's fulfilling and oddly romantic conclusion...

Strange Days Screen Caps

If Bigelow's directing is the flow of the scene, the amazing performances are the glue that holds it together. You've got Angela Bassett as Mace, being as strong and beautiful a woman as you'll ever see. Ralph Fiennes playing "memory peddler" Lenny with equal measures of charm and sleaze. And a gut-wrenching turn by Vincent D'Onofrio as the reprehensible bad-cop Steckler. The trio is firing on all cylinders here, delivering performances you don't see very often in this type of film.

Everything in this scene is cinema magic, enhanced by a killer soundtrack with Lori Carson's haunting Fall in the Light providing a flawless transition from raw brutality to a tender moment. Then another effortless transition has Peter Gabriel and Deep Forest's While the Earth Sleeps leading you to the closing credits.

It's a powerful ending that leaves you wanting to live a little longer in Bigelow's Year 2000, which is about as good a testiment to why I love this scene as you can get.


  1. Avitable says:

    The Oveur/Unger/Dunn and Clarence/Roger/Victor bit is one of my all-time favorites. Although I’m also partial to the Andy/Buddy/Howie courtroom bit in the sequel.

  2. Sybil Law says:

    Anything with Vincent D’Onofrio is good with me. I love him!
    I don’t need to get started on traffic and idiots. My daughters’ school is 2 minutes away, and yet I am all ready to kill someone when I get back from dropping her off. Even worse – today, she left her lunch in the car, which means I have to do it again! GAH!

  3. B.E. Earl says:

    I haven’t seen it in a while, but is that the one with Juliette Lewis lip syncing (or doing her own version of) songs by PJ Harvey?

  4. muskrat says:

    Airplane! taught me much as a child, like how black men communicated with one another (back when they called it “jive” and not “ebonics”).

  5. I want a video camera for my bicycle! The number of people who don’t look (and are on a cell phone) that roll out into the crosswalk is insane!

  6. Hilly says:

    Any movie with both D’Onofrio and Fiennes has to be a movie that I will like! I’ve not seen “Strange Days” but plan on doing so soon.

    Bahhhh bahhhh….

  7. delmer says:

    I was disappointed that Graves wasn’t in Mission Impossible, the movie, but was even more disappointed that the character he’d played turned out to be a traitor.

    I’m happy to hear that Graves wasn’t in the movie as he had too much character to take on the role.

  8. Robin says:

    Why yes, I speak Jive…

    LOVE that movie!

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