Lots of terrible movies have one or two moments of interest that almost make them watchable. Then sometimes we get a bad film with one single scene that is so spectacular and creative it tricks people into thinking the whole movie is incredible when, of course it isn’t. I’m referring to just one scene, one little moment of pure excellence that nothing can match up to, not even the rest of the film itself. Thanks to YouTube, you can just watch these great moments from bad movies everyone recommends.
Scanners (1981) – Exploding Heads
“Ah man you have to watch Scanners. It’s about this guy with dangerous mind powers who can make people’s heads explode.” David Cronenberg is undoubtedly a genius and the above description is technically accurate but Scanners is an uncomfortably dull movie. It does not deliver as a horror, a science fiction or indeed a thriller. If it weren’t for the following ninety seconds, nobody would talk about this movie.
Monty Python’s Meaning of Life (1983) – Every Sperm is Sacred
“What do you mean you don’t like that movie? What about Every Sperm is Sacred?” Yes. That’s what everyone says? Why is that? Could it be that the whole film is a mess with only one funny sequence? Maybe it’s the fact that I think it’s badly structured with laboured jokes and does not even come close to their previous two masterpieces (even the Pythons think so themselves) But yes, I will admit that the great song and dance sequence about antiquated Catholic teachings regarding sex is indeed hilarious. (YouTube does not have the full entire sequence for some reason. The only one I could find has Spanish subtitles and still doesn’t have the hilarious epilogue)
Heat (1995) – Shootout
You know what I hear a lot? “Heat is a great movie. It’s got the most awesome shootout ever filmed.” Uh huh and what else is great about it? It sure isn’t the other two and a half hours of no action, Al Pacino’s constant yelling, Robert DeNiro’s smugness, Michael Mann’s wankerish celebration of masculinity and Val Kilmer trying to act. Anyone who recommends this movie is wrong. The only thing good about it is the spectacular shootout between the cops and robbers. It’s the reason YouTube exists. There. I’ve just saved you two and a half hours.
Saving Private Ryan (1998) – Omaha Beach
Just like Full Metal Jacket, nobody cares about what happens after the incredible first act of Saving Private Ryan. This one scene does not quite set the tone for the rest of the movie. Horrific realism and the repulsive nature of humanity are eschewed in favor of clichéd characters and cheesy emotional manipulation. This movie was perfect for the new DVD format as you could just watch the first scene over and over without rewinding. Now you can watch the whole clip (albeit in several parts) online.
SPL: Sha Po Lang (2005) – Donnie Yen vs Wu Jing
You may not have heard of this movie but I fell like I should at least warn you about it. If you liked Donnie Yen in Star Wars: Rogue One you will no doubt be looking through his filmography and will see SPL (called Kill Zone in the West) You’ll see how it was number one in the Hong Kong box office and won best action choreography at the Hong Kong Film Awards. The reason it won is because of this fight. The greatest fight Donnie Yen ever filmed. Unfortunately, the movie itself does not live up to it. The rest of the fights (not that there are many) aren’t nearly as beautiful and the whole thing is far too melodramatic for its own good. Donnie Yen is poetry in motion so by all means enjoy the fight on YouTube. But don’t let it lead you into thinking the rest of SPL matches up. It doesn’t.
La La Land (2016)
“This movie is bringing back the musical. It’s a celebration and reinvention of that wonderful era of cinema”. That’s what the hype told everyone and this dazzling first scene certainly lives up to it. The rest of the musical numbers are forgettable at best and self-satisfied pap at worst. It’s best to think of this clip as just a lovely music video and forget there’s a movie attached.