Monday, February 14, 2011

AFT Awards: Top 15 Scenes of the Year

This is a special category of the 4th 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 fifteen favorite scenes of the year, listed in alphabetical order by film title. Click here to see previous years of this category. Beware spoilers for these films. This year I’ve chosen to limit the nominees to one scene per film.

Animal Kingdom
Early on in the film, the first shocking murder sets things in a whole new direction for the Cody family. Confronted by the cops in the parking lot and asked about Pope, Barry responds comically and is shot in cold blood for his troubles.

In a film full of devastating scenes, the toughest one to bear has to be when Uxbal discovers that the cheap heaters he bought for the illegal workers pumped out poisonous air and suffocated all of them to death.

Blue Valentine
The song-and-dance show that also serves as the setup for the film’s trailer is also the film’s strongest and most intoxicating scene, showing a new couple completely sucked into their romance in an absolutely authentic way.

District 13: Ultimatum
While a case could certainly be made for Damien fighting with a painting as a weapon or him and Leito driving a car out a window, the most awesome scene in the film featured Tao fending off enemies with nothing but a hairpiece, and making sure to pop in headphones first so that she’d have the right music to gear her up for the fight.

As the son strums along with the melody, the eldest, joined at first by the youngest, performs an exuberant, overly-energetic set of dance moves taken from “Flashdance” in her ultimate expression of herself, paired with entirely inappropriate accompaniment, tiring herself out and being chastised by her mother in the middle of her ferociously enthusiastic performance.

Down Terrace
This quiet, sedated film snuck up expectedly as Bill and Valda took the ultimate revenge on Bill’s parents, teaming up to take them both out in rather brutal manners. It’s hard to decide which murder is more violent, though the image of a blood-soaked Valda is particularly startling.

The Eclipse
After terrifying encounters with his near-dead father-in-law, Michael finally wakes up to see his dead wife sitting in front of him. Instead of being scary, it’s a beautiful and understated confrontation that helps to provide him with such much-needed closure.

Four Lions
Barry’s debate and Omar shooting a rocket launcher in the wrong direction were funny, but nothing was quite as hilariously brilliant as Waj and Mahmood shaking their heads back and forth in order to ensure that they would come out blurry if video cameras were capturing them.

Handsome Harry
A film full of powerful reunions between strong-willed, aging men had to lead to the meeting that Harry had been awaiting throughout his long journey, as a hurt but forgiving David tells him what really happened over a meticulously-prepared candlelight dinner.

For a man who puts far too much effort and acting into all of his charades, none was more perfectly executed than the hilarious shot of Alex running to catch the dastardly thief who had taken Juliette’s car.

I Am Love
Plenty of beautiful cinematography and art direction can’t beat the marvelous and subtle facial expressions of Tilda Swinton, who one-ups her entire film in one glorious scene where a bite of her forbidden fruit’s food excites her senses and seemingly transforms her world.

A whole bunch of cool scenes are topped by Arthur’s mid-air, sideways fight as his dream world is affected by the level right on top of him and he’s forced to fend off attackers and come up with a clever way to ensure that everyone else makes the kick.

A clever and inventive cast of characters succeeds most impressively in their elaborately-crafted deception for the two moguls who messed with Bazil’s life, tricking them into thinking that they were being threatened by terrorists in the Middle East and forcing them to confess their sins.

Of Gods and Men
In the ultimate show of faith, the monks gather together and sing as loudly and passionately as they can as they hear helicopters flying overhead and fear for their livelihood and their lives.

The Social Network
Long before some of the film’s most memorable lines are heard, the film opens with a magnificent interaction between Mark and Erica, as the former insults her status and her intelligence and is taken down equally scathingly by the wronged party.

That's all for now for the 4th Annual AFT Awards. Come back after the Oscars for the top 25 films of the year.

1 comment:

Greg Boyd said...

Good choice on "Animal Kingdom". That scene was utterly shocking and powerful.

I would have included the "prison break" sequence from "Toy Story 3", personally. Of course, I haven't seen a lot of the movies on your list. Other good ones were the dinner scene in "The Kids Are All Right" and the chilling bone sawing sequence towards the end of "Winter's Bone".