We recently premiered the new single, Top Ten Movie Scenes by New York outfit, Slow Fiction. It seemed a good idea to prompt the band – all five of them – to each choose two of their own favourite movie scenes to add an interesting twist to the single and show off their own ‘top ten movie scenes’.
With no real criteria aside from naming the film and maybe a detail or two (year/producer/genre…) the idea was to simply write why it’s a personal favourite, be it humourous, sad, emotional, inspirational etc. We left the band to let it flow and here’s what they came up with:
Julia Vassallo (vocals)
The Secret Cinema (1966, dir. Paul Bartel):
Technically, this is a short film, clocking in at just thirty minutes, but it holds a very dear place in my heart. The premise of the film is rooted in voyeurism, wherein a woman named Jane’s life is being secretly filmed by a director who screens it in a theater for other people’s enjoyment. My favorite scene from this short is when Jane’s boyfriend, named Dick, breaks up with her in order to make the film of Jane’s life more entertaining. She says, “But Dick, I thought we were in love” to which he replies, “No Jane, you were in love.” I don’t know if it was the time in my life when I watched this, or if it is genuinely one of the top film scenes, but it resonates so strongly with me. I’d also like to urge everyone to stream the film, it’s on YouTube, and it is the predecessor of The Truman Show, but hardly gets the recognition it deserves.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, dir. Michel Gondry):
The scene I chose from this film is the “meet me in Montauk” house on the beach scene, where the protagonists Joel & Clem travel into a flashback of where they first met, before their memories were erased of each other. While the characters watch their first meeting, the house they are in begins to fill with seawater and slowly disintegrates. The metaphor of the memory dissolving like the water filling up in the house is so poignant to me. It also signifies that we choose to experience extremely painful and devastating moments because with the loss also comes love and joy. To me, this scene sums up the entire film’s theme: heartbreak is painful, loss is painful, but to forget someone & the relationship you had with them is worse than remembering.
Paul Knepple (guitar)
Toy Story (1995, dir. John Lasseter)
Buzz Lightyear jumping off the stairs because he thinks he can fly. “I Will Go Sailing No More” by Randy Newman playing in the background. Used to watch this movie all the time as a kid and cried every single time during this scene.
Control (2007, dir. Anton Corbijn):
This Joy Division/Ian Curtis biopic is probably my favorite music movie. The scene of their first TV performance where they perform “Transmission” on Tony Wilson’s show. Looks and sounds like you’re watching the actual band play. It’s a beautiful movie.
Ryan Duffin (bass)
Ex Machina (2014): The Dance Break
This might be the only scene we can choose from this film that won’t spoil the broader movie. It’s also an easy favorite. Ex Machina is a beautiful, thrilling meditation into the nature of consciousness, free will, the advance of artificial intelligence, and what it means to be human. In the middle of a deep dive into all these themes, without warning, we’re treated to 30 seconds of Oscar Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno tearing up the dance floor. It’s funny, completely out of pocket, and adds another sheen of creepiness to an already tense film. Watch this movie, and be sure to bring both a sense of curiosity and your dancing shoes.
Pig (2021): The Restaurant Scene
As a huge Nicolas Cage fan (non-ironically, promise!) I couldn’t complete this list without choosing something of his. In Pig, Cage’s beloved truffle pig is stolen from him, and he embarks on a quest to find it and get it back. Make no mistake: this is not a meme-filled revenge film à la 2018’s Mandy. It’s a journey into authenticity and loss, and one that’s best experienced knowing as little as possible beforehand. It’s also a career best for Cage. Among the most salient quotes from the entire movie is in this scene: “We don’t get a lot of things to really care about.”
Akiva Henig (drums)
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, dir. Joel & Ethan Coen):
The ending of this film (spoiler alert) consists of the titular character getting beat up outside a venue after playing a set. It is an expanded version of the scene that begins the film, bookending a story about a broke touring folk musician in the 1960s in a circular kind of way. After his set, Llewyn is told by the venue manager that there is someone outside that wants to talk to him. As he is leaving the venue, Bob Dylan is heard in the background playing the next set. Llewyn ends up getting beat up by this man outside, all the while a seemingly yet-to-be famous Bob Dylan is playing inside. This scene resonates with me as sometimes on tour it can feel like the whole world is against you. One can only hope they’re the Bob Dylan in the background.
Welcome To The Dollhouse (1995, dir. Todd Solondz):
The scene in which the protagonist, a middle-school aged girl named Dawn, watches her brother’s rock band practice in their garage has stuck with me for many years. Dawn is in love with Steve, a hot boy who agreed to be in her nerdy brother’s band in exchange for help with his math homework, and she sits atop a car hood in the driveway, singing along with lovestruck eyes as they play out of the open garage door. When they finish the song, Dawn’s brother tells Steve that he is singing a bit flat. They get in an argument and Steve storms out and quits the band. I think I enjoy this scene because everyone there has a different motivation for being there (Dawn’s brother wants Steve to be in his band so they can be cool, Steve wants help with his math homework, and Dawn is there because she has a crush on Steve), but none of them actually care about the music. It reminds me of some of my middle school music experiences and I feel also gets at a certain ironic truth that permeates all band dynamics.
Joe Skimmons (guitar)
Hereditary (2018 Dir. Ari Aster):
My favorite moment in this movie is the family dinner scene around halfway through. Amazing how one of the most chilling moments here is one without any supernatural / evil stuff going on. Toni Collete’s performance is so realistic and uncomfortable it makes me want to look away, like I am watching a private conversation I shouldn’t be seeing. The dialogue (“that face on your face!”) is that of someone so flustered and in pain that they can’t find the right words.
Get Back (2021 Dir. Peter Jackson):
The scene where Paul McCartney comes up with ‘Get Back’ is one of my favorites. This isn’t even one of my favorite Beatles songs or albums (Revolver) but I love the way this scene shows him dragging this song out of thin air while George and Ringo watch. It doesn’t seem effortless or easy and the idea didn’t even exist before he sat down but he wrestles with the idea until it’s fully formed. This really makes me wish we had 9 hours of every Beatles album being written and recorded (mostly Revolver).
Our thanks to the Slow Fiction folks for indulging us in this tie-in with the single release. Watch out for their self-titled EP which is set for release in February 2023.