I’ve been delayed for a while from finishing the next post I’d planned on The Golden Compass. But it was for a good cause – the survey for a study on spiritual abuse and churches. It’ll still be a few days til I have time to do some more extensive writing, but I thought I could at least finish my second segment of top 10 lines/truisms from films.
These are all movies which move me in one way or another, a smile, a sigh, a tear, a laugh. Some of these are among my favorites, but I will suggest that if you only pick one of them to see, it absolutely must be Lagaan – an amazing film about justice and a wonderful way to introduce you to Bollywood, if you are not yet familiar with films from India. Other top choices: To End All Wars, on survival in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp in World War II. Millions, a comedy about a boy with faith who sees the saints, and when a bag full of money suddenly drops out of heaven, he’s certain it’s a gift from God for his family to use in helping people in need. Ever After – Drew Barrymore survives a medievally dysfunctional family in the midst of catalyzing an enlightenment utopia. For other notes on all these films, be sure to visit http://www.imdb.com/.
Dr. Mouldy (Nicholas Farrell). If life works out just a tiny bit in your favor, it can be beautiful – just beautiful!
A Cinderella Story
Fiona, The Wicked Step-Mom (Jennifer Coolidge). Is this the Norwegian salmon I asked for? Because I need my omega-3s.
Samantha (Hilary Duff). Only the best!
Fiona. Ummm! Um-huh! I can tell. You know, it costs a fortune to fly that stuff in from Norwegia.
Danny (Rhys Ifans). [Giving a speech at a political rally.] We’re the little people all right. We’re the ones who grow the crops, tar the roads, build the towns, teach the kids. Yeah, and when there’s some big important thing that needs doin’, it’s always us – the little people – who damn well get it done. [Crowd cheers.] Sometimes we do it to ourselves. I used to think, “I’m just a nobody. Who am I kidding?” But then I came to Clarence where I’ve learned that you don’t have to be a bigwig to be a somebody. It’s the kind of person you are that’s important, and this town is filled with the most important people I’ve ever met. [Big applause.] Ever!
The Enchanted April
Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence). [To Lady Caroline Dester, who has just informed Lottie and Rose that she has exerted her independence and taken the liberty of arranging meals for their group of four British women, which have rented a castle on the Italian coast for the month of April.] I suppose it is good to be independent, but not so much that you don’t allow others to show you kindness.
To End All Wars
Dusty Miller (Mark Strong). You know, a man can experience an incredible amount of pain if he has hope. When he loses his hope, that’s when he dies.
Danielle De Barbarac (Drew Barrymore). Breathe … just breathe!
BACKGROUND. It is the Victorian era of the Raj in India, and Bhuvan, a young man from a village in the Central India province of Kutch, accepts a daring challenge on behalf of his village. If he can put together a local team that can beat the local British military team, the Colonel in charge of the outpost will himself pay for this year’s Lagaan (land tax), plus the previous two years of tax, the payment of which was postponed due to drought. Otherwise, the locals must pay triple Lagaan. The only problem is that the villagers have never played cricket, though it has some similarities to a local ball-and-bat game. The Colonel’s sister bristles at this injustice, and she agrees to help the villagers understand the rules of the game.
The following scene occurs as Bhuvan leads nine other men in a practice, as they are looking for their eleventh and final player for the team. The entire town – Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs – are all on the hills surrounding the practice area, watching. Many suggestions are made, but Bhuvan says to keep practicing and see who does well. A hit goes past everyone and rolls in front of Kachra, an Untouchable with a crippled hand.
Bhuvan (Aamir Khan). Hey, Kachra, throw the ball. [Kachra hesitates.] Stop gaping and throw it, will you? [Kachra picks up the ball and throws it overhand lightly. It hits the ground and bounces in an unexpected direction … and Bhuvan misses catching it.] Hey! What did you do?
Kachra (Aditya Lakhia). [Scared.] I didn’t do anything. You told me to throw it.
Bhuvan. Come here. [Another team member throw him the ball.] Come here, I said.
Kachra. I didn’t do anything! You said throw and I threw the ball.
Bhuvan. [He waves everyone over to watch, and he has Kachra throw the ball. Again it spins and bounces in an unpredictable way.] We have found our eleventh player! Come, Kachra. [He starts giving directions to other team members to set up some plays, but no one moves.] What’s the matter? Why’s everyone standing and staring?
Lakha (Yashpal Sharma). No, no! We will not play! [All the Muslim villagers stand. “What’s happened?” one of them says.] This damn Untouchable! He can’t play with us. No way! [He walks off the field.]
The Doctor. That’s right. We’ll not mix with an Untouchable. [He, too, walks off the field.]
[Various other team members begin to walk away. “It’s unthinkable!” one says. “I am not playing,” says another. “We too won’t play.” They go off the field and stand on the side, keeping their backs to Bhuvan and Kachra. The village Chief goes over to Bhuvan.]
The Chief. What are you doing? It’s absolutely wrong! You are polluting the whole system. To fight the English is our duty but mixing a low-caste is like poisoning milk. I will not allow this!
Lakha. Kachra, you scum! Get lost!
[Kachra starts to walk away from the crowd, but Bhuvan tells him to stop, and then does the unthinkable – reaches out and holds Kachra’s shoulder. “Oh, my God!” one of the villager women says, “Bhuvan touched an Untouchable!” There is silence, and now all the villagers, regardless of religion are standing and watching intently. Bhuvan speaks directly to the Chief and others.]
Bhuvan. You brand people untouchable and pollute humanity itself. Chief, why are you choking the very air of our village with this caste division! Is it right to destroy and shatter hearts in the name of skin colour? Then why worship Ram who ate a tribal woman’s half-eaten berries? The Lord who ferries us all across this sea of life was himself ferried by a low-caste boatman. You know all this and yet talk of untouchability! And you, Isar Kaka! You are a man of medicine. You check the ailing patient’s pulse and treat him. Do your scriptures tell you not to treat an untouchable? And let him die? If that’s so, it’ll be the darkest blot on humanity. After this no one will regard a man of medicine as God’s other form!
Lakha. Leave all that, Bhuvan. You want a big hefty player, don’t you? This Kachra is a cripple!
Bhuvan. You hands aren’t deformed, right? It’s by God’s grace, Lakha, that you can say all this. But the man you call crippled will be our greatest strength. Wait and see. [Bhuvan goes back over to Kachra and lifts up his hand.] This seemingly lifeless hand will give us victory. Let me remind all of you of one thing. This is not a game we are playing for fun or entertainment. This is a battle we must win! Our only goal is liberation from Lagaan and welfare of our village. And for that, I will not bow before anyone till my last breath! Whether you support me or not, Kachra will play.
[Bhuvan returns to Kachra, again places his hand on Kachra’s shoulder, and holds it there. There is a very long silence … and for what happens next, you must see Lagaan!]
(Sidenote: Please leave a comment to correct any of the names that are wrong. This is one of the films I will be studying in depth eventually, but didn’t have time to go back right now and figure out who is which character. Also, all quotes are taken directly from the English subtitles on this Hindi-language film.)
The Lion in Winter
BACKGROUND. King Henry II of England is getting old. He must decide which of his three sons will be his heir: Richard, the eldest and a warrior; Geoffrey, the second-born and a counselor; or John the youngest and an idiot. Henry loves John. His wife, the fabled and plotting Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom he has confined to prison except for rare occasions, wants Richard as Henry’s successor. No one wants Geoffrey, which makes him dangerous. Throw in some provinces in France (the Vexon and the Aquitaine), a young French king and his sister (who has been promised to wed Richard), and a fast-paced Christmas court intrigue and you have what may be one of the most complex screenplays of the 20th century.
Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn). [To Geoffrey.] You must know Henry isn’t through with John. He’ll keep the Vexon ’til the moon goes blue from cold. And as for Richard’s wedding day, we’ll see the Second Coming first – the needlework alone can last for years!
Geoffrey (John Castle). I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We’re a knowledgeable family!
Damian (Alex Etel). [He’s sitting in his playhouse made from moving boxes, which suddenly, a saint drops in, complete in nun’s habit and with what appears to be a globus cruciger (cross-bearing orb showing authority or dominion).] Clare of Assisi! 1194 till 1253.
St. Clare (Kathryn Pogson). That’s right! I used to have a hermitage meself once. [She pulls out a lighter and fires up a smoke.] I used to go and hide up there. Anyone needed me, I’d send ’em a vision … sort ’em out. That’s why I’m the patron saint of television. I was like human television!
Damian. You’re the patron saint of television?
St. Clare. Keeps me busy, you know. [Takes another deep drag on her smoke.]
Damian. Are you allowed to smoke up there?
St. Clare. You can do what you like up there, son. It’s down here you have to make the effort.
Mobsters and Mormons
BACKGROUND. Carmine Pasquale has been involved with the East Coast Mob, but is overlooked for a promotion within The Family. After Carmine squeals to the police and his boss is put into jail, he and his wife and son are put into the witness protection program, and sent to an obscure town in Utah. There they are, of course, real standouts who just do not fit in … though they are beginning to try. While I have done some studies of Mormon theology and am no fan of it, I do happen to find many funny fish-out-of-water moments in this Mormon comedy genre film.
Gina Pasquale (Jeanette Puhich). Carmine Zindeli Pasquale, this Sunday you are gonna get dressed, your son is gonna get dressed, and we are gonna go to church LIKE A NOR-MAL, HAP-PY FAM-LY!!!