Beware spoilers for Cloverfield, Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire, Traitor, Waltz with Bashir, Wanted, and The Wrestler.
This is a special category of the 2nd Annual AFT Film Awards, my own personal choices for the best in film of each year and the best in television of each season. The AFT Film Awards include the traditional Oscar categories and a number of additional specific honors. These are my ten favorite scenes of the year, listed in alphabetical order by film title.
That entirely elusive monster finally shows its face – only for a second, but it’s such a gloriously exciting and thrilling moment.
Those dumb characters think they’re going to get out of New York alive, and board a helicopter to catch a ride out. Their helicopter doesn’t just go down – the monster swats it down and the last survivors don’t have much time left.
All the tension that’s been building the whole time between Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius explodes as the two debate what’s really happened, and start screaming at each other. Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman yelling at each other is a marvelous sight.
Latika waits at the train station for Jamal, and he spots her, looking so perfect to him. His happiness is short-lived and interrupted by his brother and the goons as well as A.R. Rahman’s fantastic beat.
Jamal’s made it to the final question, and decides to call his brother, who of course has put the phone in Latika’s getaway car. Her race to find the phone is combined via parallel editing with the heroic demise of Salim. The best part – she answers the phone and doesn’t have any idea what the answer is. That’s always been the point of this amazingly unique film, though.
A so-so movie is made slightly exceptional in one brilliant yet highly implausible moment, as Samir reveals how he prevented two dozen suicide bombers from inflicting mass casualties across the United States – putting them all on the same bus. It doesn’t quite make sense but watching them all realize that they’ve been put together is a great victory for this otherwise disappointment-filled film.
Waltz with Bashir
Ari remembers his dream in this repeated scene accompanied by the unbelievable musical track “The Haunted Ocean,” and the animated background is incredible. The scene plays again and again because it’s just as effective the fourth of fifth time around.
Angelina Jolie’s Fox has only just introduced herself, and James McAvoy’s Wesley is not prepared for the thrill ride he’s about to experience. He’s just standing there as the guy in the truck is about to take him out, but have no fear! Fox is able to spin the car around and get the door to open and close, timed perfectly to drag Wesley in. It’s one of the first of many fantastically exciting moments throughout the film.
Fraternity leader Sloan’s duplicity is revealed, and all the gang is ready to just ignore it and be content with the sins they’ve committed. Not so much for Fox, who opts to kill every one of them with a single bullet. This is no normal bullet, of course, since throughout the film it’s been made clear that bullets don’t necessarily fly straight, and therefore one bullet can go around in a circle and take out every one in slow motion. Brilliant.
Aging wrestler Randy the Ram needs to make some more dough, and so he gets a job at a deli counter. While his job will lead to future woes and bloody fingers, there’s one wonderful scene where he seems genuinely happy and interacts in a fun way with his customers, even calling one scrawny guy “good looking” while serving him meat. It’s a great showcase for Mickey Rourke.