40. Grave Reveal
Scene: (Spoiler for Rudderless) After spending much of the film mourning his son’s death Sam finally makes a trip to his grave. In a stunning turn of events graffiti on the grave reveals the shocking realization that his son was not a victim but a perpetrator of horrific acts.
Why it made the list: I am not the type of person who gets impressed by plot twists as they often are used just for shock value. Still, this moment really worked for me. It added an unexpected dramatic layer to everything that came before. Much of the story had been cliché up until this point, and I loved how everything about what we knew changed with one quick image.
Movie: The Lego Movie
Scene: After many, many attempts 1980’s Spaceman finally gets his chance to build a spaceship.
Why it made the list: No scene may better embody the fun The Lego Movie gave the world than this one. The ultimate burst of joy as the 80’s Spaceman finally got the chance he was waiting for, and of course he did not disappoint.
38. The Society of the Crossed Keys
Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Scene: Stranded after a prison escape Gustav calls upon the help of The Society of Crossed Keys.
Why it made the list: No one can tell a story within a story better than Wes Anderson. You could take this scene break it away and it would still work quite well on its own. Anderson takes something that could easily be trivial and makes standout.
37. Hostage Performance
Movie: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Scene: After giving information on the Hostage Situation Alan Partridge realizes his jokes are landing remarkably well, which leads him to take this moment and stretch it even further.
Why it made the list: I love those scenes you can give someone as an example of everything you need to know about a specific character. That is the case here. We see how egotistical Alan Partridge is when he takes advantage of a dangerous situation to score some cheap laughs.
36. “I remember”
Scene: After her brain power increases Lucy calls her mother in the midst of surgery. She reveals her new found powers have given her the chance to remember…to remember everything.
Why it made the list: No line this year made my head shake harder than, “I remember what your breast milk tastes like”. I was not expected to hear anything quite like that in any movie let alone something like Lucy. The reason the scene works despite some hooky dialog is because of Scarlett Johansson. She makes the words believable no matter how ridiculous they sound.
35. Love and Dog Fights
Scene: After hitting his boiling point Joe returns to the brothel with his trusty dog. While his dog takes care of the dog that has been annoying him he helps himself to some pleasure.
Why it made the list: The metaphorical ramifications of scene are obvious but effective. This was when Joe finally hit his boiling point. The juxtaposition of Joe ‘enjoying’ his time with a lady of the night while his pet dog is brutally attacking the guard dog of the house was fun to witness.
34. Domestic Abuse
Scene: (Spoiler for Boyhood) Mason opens his garage to find his mother sprawled on the ground with his Stepfather standing above her. This leads to a hostile dinner where issues only escalate.
Why it made the list: The sudden image of Patricia Arquette lying helplessly on the ground is stomach turning. It was not surprising that story finally entered that territory, but just how abrupt we stumble upon it made it such a standout.
33. Love in Death
Movie: Gone Girl
Scene: (Spoiler for Gone Girl) Amy Dune’s elaborate plan enters a new level of crazy when she seduces and gruesomely kills Desi Collings.
Why it made the list: David Fincher can make the grotesque look oddly beautiful. Watching Amy Dune slit a man’s throat was like watching the ballet version of a serial killing. The musical builds to the perfect crescendo as the characters strike their predetermined positions. It ends swiftly in one fluid motion leaving you stunned as you try to contemplate what you just saw.
Scene: (Spoiler for Enemy) In the final moments of Enemy Anthony opens his bathroom door to reveal a rather unexpected surprise, a giant spider that recoils in fear at his presence.
Why it made the list: As I mentioned previously I am not the biggest fan of shock or twist endings. Mostly because a lot of times good storytelling is sacrificed for shock value. That wasn’t the case for Enemy. It is one of the moments that hits so abruptly it takes some time to fully comprehend. In a movie chalk full of metaphors it saved its best for last.
Movie: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Scene: As the two opposing armies enter into battle the massive Alpha dragons square off in deadly combat.
Why it made the list: How to Train Your Dragon 2 did a fantastic job creating a relatable scale of its world. These Alpha dragons were remarkable to behold, like giant mountains that can walk and breathe ice. So of course when they actually combat one another it is a site to behold. Plus in this sequence it became evident that How to Train Your Dragon 2 would not shy away from tragedy.