Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Great (film) Debates vol. 7

We've already asked about the saddest moment in films, so let's cheer everyone up by asking the opposite:

What is the happiest moment in films?



Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Happiest Moment in film - I guess the ending to It's a Wonderful Life. Runner up? The song "Happy Talk" in South Pacific.

Panelist: T-Rav

I have a couple of personal "happiest moments," but by a very small margin (the runner-up would be the ending of Schindler's List), I'm going with LOTR: The Return of the King, when Gandalf and Pippin are in the besieged city of Minas Tirith, preparing to face the attacking orcs one last time. Pippin tells Gandalf, "I didn't think it would end like this," and Gandalf replies by telling him what death is like. I paraphrase: "The silver rain curtain parts, and you see...white shores--and beyond, a green forest... No, it's not bad at all." As someone who believes in the afterlife, I find those to be incredibly uplifting and optimistic words, and a great promise for those on the side of good. An odd kind of "happy," yes, but this does it for me.

Panelist: AndrewPrice

This was surprisingly difficult. Sad is easy, happy seems harder. My first thought was that if Spock dying was the saddest moment, then his being reborn should be the happiest?! But it's not. . . it's a dud. Then it hit me, the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice is one of the best (if not the best) romantic films of all time. Not only do Darcy and Elisabeth finally get together, but they've both become better people to get there. What can be more happy than that?

Panelist: ScottDS

It's been a while but the first thing that came to mind was the ending of The Shawshank Redemption. Somewhere on the DVD, the filmmakers mention that there are so few modern day films about male friendships. For the sake of argument, I am not including the recent spate of mostly idiotic "bromance" movies.


Comments? Thoughts? What would you choose and why?

43 comments:

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Happy or joyful??? Hmmmm...

The closing "Ode to Joy" scene in Immortal Beloved ranks right up there.

Nemo/Marlin reunion in Finding Nemo of course

When Red walks up the beach towards Andy's boat in Shawshank Redemption

Every single second of My Man Godfrey makes me happy

BevfromNYC said...

When Rudy is carried off the field!

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Joyful is probably the better word.

It's funny because I really did find this to be a difficult question. There were a lot of nice scenes and most films have happy endings, but few really stuck with me as incredibly happy (joyous) moments, i.e. the kind that just make you feel incredibly happy. There are a lot of sad scenes with that kind of power, but not nearly as many happy scenes.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Good call! One of the areas where I did think of a lot of happy scenes was sports films. They have a very solid formula with the whole underdog triumphs theme. And I think Rudy is probably one of the strongest in that regard.

AndrewPrice said...

As usual, good choices everyone and I find it interesting that we all picked very different scenes again -- different kinds of films, different kind of happy.

Ed said...

For me, "Field of Dreams" has both the saddest and the happiest moment when he gets to meet his father.

Mike Kriskey said...

The Cutters winning the Little Indy in Breaking Away, or the Death Star blowing up at the end of Star Wars.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, That's a very emotional film and I agree with you -- both a very sad and a very happy moment!

AndrewPrice said...

Mike, Great call! I hadn't thought about that at all (Death Star) but you're right, that's an incredibly happy/joyous moment. I think Lucas does a great job of bringing a lot of good things together at that point -- the return of Han Solo, Luke living up to his potential, and the defeat of the Empire. That's a lot of good things all coming to a point!

LawHawkRFD said...

When Little Toot redeems himself by saving the big liner and is welcomed back into the harbor by all the other tugboats and ships. Now how's that for a moment from a Disney cartoon which at least two generations of our readers have probably never seen or even heard of? "Little Toot was just a tug. Just a happy little tug. Though he tried to be good, he never could behave."

Close second, when Dumbo becomes the star of the circus and is reunited with his mother.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Yep, I've never heard of Little Toot! Dumbo I know. Dumbo is another very sad movie too. Maybe you need a lot of sadness to get a lot of happiness?

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - You are right. Sports movies have that joy just built in. That's because sports in general have that kind of joy too. Look at any college game and the stands are people going cracy with unbridled joy when their team scores. And when one team makes that winning score in the last possible second, it's just crazy joy.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That's an interesting point. Sports really do bring out an incredible amount of happiness (or frustration if you're a fan of the wrong teams). I wonder what it is about sports that brings that out?

BevfromNYC said...

"Maybe you need a lot of sadness to get a lot of happiness?"

Yes, actually.

Outlaw13 said...

In "Miracle" where the USA beats the USSR in hockey. "Do you believe in miricles?"

The happiest moment was never filmed. Seeing both Westly Crusher and Jar Jar Binks being blown up, crushed, eviserated by a Darth Maul, Worf double team.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, So perhaps we've discovered another key to movie making? Interesting.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Stan and Tennessee are the only ones I would expect to remember Little Toot. It's only nine minutes long, and I first saw it on The Wonderful World of Disney back in the 50s. It was included in a VHS collection some years back, but I don't know if it's gone to DVD yet. I hope it does, because I'll snatch it up for the grandkids (and myself). The adult male voices were done by Disney regulars, but the voices of all the main young tugs, including Little Toot, were done by the Andrews sisters. It came out in 1954.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, LOL! Bravo!! I totally agree 100%! Those would have been great film moments. :-)

I still vividly recall watching the Miracle on Ice live and that was an incredible moment. I don't think there's been anything like that moment in sports.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Yeah, I've never seen it. I know Steamboat Willy, but that's been about it.

T-Rav said...

Outlaw, I don't know who Westly Crusher is, but with respect to Jar Jar, I am in total agreement. :-)

Actually, Floyd's reference of the Nemo/Marlin reunion in Finding Nemo is pretty high up there for me as well.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, You don't know young Wesley? You don't know who saved the nwe Enterprise week after week while spitting out inane dialog? Lucky you.

BevfromNYC said...

T-Rav - Even I know who Wesley Crusher is! You need to the leave the kittens alone for a while and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation! Seriously, your education has been sadly lacking. It saddens me that you know Jar Jar Binks and not Wesley...

[Okay, full disclosure that will likely make all of you think less of me...{{{long sigh}}}...I found Jar Jar entertaining. There, I said it. Say what you must....]

ScyFyterry said...

I agree with Bev, I think sports films are some of the most happy. I also like "The Wizard of Oz" although I can't say it is deeply, emotionally happy.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

It's a weepy happy moment but the last scene in City Lights is probably the greatest scene of joy/gratitude ever filmed.

And even though may don't like the film... the scene where Forrest Gump beats down the damn dirty hippy who slaps Jenny is pretty high on the "happy meter".

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, We'll do our best to forget your non-hate of Mr. Binks.

// sigh

AndrewPrice said...

ScyFyTerry, Wizard of Oz is definitely an "up" film, but I agree that it's not very emotionally happy.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Any scene that involves a hippy getting beaten up is a happy scene if you ask me! :-)

Random Hippie said...

Hey, Turbo-dude. That just ain't groovy, man...Peace.

ScottDS said...

The Shawshank Redemption was the first thing that came to mind but I did have to make an effort not to get "happiest" and "funniest" confused. A funny scene that makes me laugh isn't always a happy scene, and vice versa.

A few others come to mind... Forrest Gump and Jenny's wedding when Lt. Dan shows up ("Magic legs!"), more or less the entirety of Joe vs. the Volcano (as previously stated, that film means a lot to me), the last scene in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and it's been a while but I remember smiling ear to ear the first time I saw Swingers.

AndrewPrice said...

Who knew Commentarama had random hippie readers??

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's a good point, there is a big difference between funny and happy. Some of the best humor takes place right in the middle of the most depressing scenes.

T-Rav said...

Bev, the kittens and I called a truce long enough to confer on this matter, and we unanimously decided that you have, with that statement, lost all credibility regarding the Star Wars movies, and probably the entire sci-fi genre as well. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Nice! Way to break it to Bev gently.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Wizard of Oz...

you mean returning to Dust Bowl Kansas under the incompetent fiscal policy of FDR isn't happy?

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Yeah, apparently going from happy, weird and wonderful Oz to broke and dry Kansas isn't enough to make me happy. ;-)

Tennessee Jed said...

just got back from South Jersey on one of my insurance fat cat golf tournaments. 11 hours on the road. seems I have been missing a lot of the debate series. Too tired to comment much tonight. Hope commentaramians had a good week. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed! Welcome back. I hope you won your tournament! :-)

rlaWTX said...

ahhh, Wesley wasn't that bad... in the beginning...

(do you watch Eureka on SyFy? Wil Wheaton is on there - he's a fun one to hate... he also showed up as himself on Big Bang)

as for happiest moments - that is surprisingly hard...
The end of Philadelphia Story when Tracy is giving her apologies for the wedding and CK tells her what to say... HAPPY!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I think they misused him as the show went on. They kept setting up the episodes so he could save the ship and that rubbed a LOT of people wrong.

I do watch Eureka and I've seen him. It's weird because it's hard to think of him as grown up.

This was a difficult question, wasn't it? It seemed pretty simple when we came up with it, but it wasn't once you put your mind to it. I wonder what that means about people or about films?

Koshcat said...

Little late to the show. Very difficult topic. If the show is enjoyable (light, funny) it might be hard to pull out a most joyful part. Like you said, may films have a happy ending but did I walk out joyful? For me, sometimes they are small ones, such as when Bruce Willis' character in Die Hard punches the irritating reporter. Others are bigger.

I agree with Finding Nemo when they find Nemo and the ending of Its a Wonderful Life still makes be teary. It probably does take a real downer portion of a movie to allow the uplift to work. But, you have to have good writing to care enough about the person to be happy for him/her. This is where most movies fail.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Late is fine. People come back to these for a couple days.

This is a surprisingly difficult topic. And I agree with your diagnosis -- it's all in the writing. I also think it probably does take some sadness to get real joy out of a film rather than just a "feel-good" sense from the film. Interesting.

rlaWTX said...

maybe the end of Princess Bride...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I thought about that, but it still doesn't bring out massive amounts of joy. This is a real poser!

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