Favorite Moments: Futureman’s Bright Idea

We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.

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The video:

Why it’s great:

We’ve all experienced a moment where our best-laid plans fail spectacularly. At the time, there’s nothing funny or amusing about it, as we’re usually too blinded by embarrassment, shame, and grief. But as Futureman’s video shows, there’s great comedy to be found in gearing up for something that will look amazing… only to fail so spectacularly that all you can do is either laugh or sit there in stunned silence.

Favorite Moments: It’s a Giraffe!

We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.

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The video:

Why it’s great:

It takes one of the greatest film moments of the 1990’s and gives Alan Grant the voice of Patrick Starfish. That’s all you need to know.

Okay, maybe a more detailed explanation is in order. I adore how taking the audio from an episode of Spongebob Squarepants changes the mood and feel of such an emotional scene by making it comedic. It’s probably a cosmic law that adding circus music to anything makes it funnier, no matter how dramatic, heartwarming, or awe-inspiring it is, a law I’d love to explore and see if it’s true or not. But until then, I’ll continue chuckling at Dr. Grant acting like an over-excited starfish.

Favorite Moments: Soaking Vengeance

We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.

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The Video

Why it’s great

Ah, the Noir film: A genre unafraid to portray the dark, seedy underbelly of humanity, a genre where hope dies in the drains, bloated and soaked with the rain of an uncaring sky… which means it’s a good idea to have an umbrella in hand.

Though it’s astonishingly short (5 seconds), ‘Soaking Vengeance’ features my favorite type of comedy: Fish out of water. In this case, it’s the hard-boiled guy heading out into the darkened night with a scowl on his face, and a bright, blue umbrella in hand. The contrasts between the dark tone, the childish umbrella, and the dramatic music makes a strong case for two storytelling points:

*Any dramatic character becomes hilarious when wielding something made for a child.

*The Noir genre can be a gold mine for parody, especially if their tough guys stay tough, no matter how ridiculous things get around them.

Favorite Moments: ‘Let’s do this!’

We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.

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The Video

‘Super Best Sisters Play – Shadow the Hedgehog’ (skip to 6:57)

Why it’s Great

Ah, the good old fashioned showdown: the protagonist/s and antagonist/s all gather together for one, last, decisive fight to see which side will be victorious. It’s a no-holds-barred beatdown, where no quarter is given, and none is expected. It will be bloody. It will be vicious. It will be cruel.

Unless it isn’t.

In this animated playthrough of ‘Shadow the Hedgehog’, we get a showdown between cute cartoon characters in prison, with their respective tough guy leaders readying for a fight, finally ending with two sides readying to unleash the pain… and then Shadow and his arch-nemesis just stand around for a few seconds before bouncing off each other in the most anti-climactic way possible, followed by almost everyone bouncing around as bright, colorful balls instead of stabbing each other as we expected.

What’s so effective about this scene is how the buildup is used for comedic effect: it makes the viewer  think they’re going to get an awesome fight, only to have it dissolve into a wimp battle that couldn’t be sillier if it tried. Comedy gold.

Favorite Moments: Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, best friends forever!

We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.

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The video

‘Horror Friends Forever’

The Scene

Why it’s Great

Ask most people what would happen if two famous horror icons met, and most would probably say that they’d fight. This isn’t surprising, as watching two famous characters from different franchises fight each other is always going to be a treat. A quick Youtube search of Michel Myers and Jason Voorhees comes up with dozens, if not hundreds of videos of the two fighting it out in both live action, video games, and animation.

But while there’s an undeniable satisfaction in seeing two famous characters duking it out, we rarely get to see the opposite: Having them become best friends and going on adventures together. Robot Chicken’s video has them doing exactly that, and it’s a hoot.

What I like about this video – aside from the subversion of these two famous characters becoming friends instead of killing each other – is how it pokes fun of the standard ‘two people form a happy relationship and have lots of fun’ montage we see in films and TV shows: We get to see two bloodthirsty sociopaths happily cutting down people left and right to bright colors, relentlessly cheerful music, and even making best friend bracelets. It’s a classic example of contrasts: dark subject matter and bright and cheerful ambience. That, and it’s just fun to see these two having so much fun together, doing what they love.

Favorite Moments: Aim the drill at the ground and turn it on!

We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.

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The Movie

‘Armageddon’

The Scene

Ben Affleck points out some errors in logic.

Why it’s great

With most science fiction and fantasy films, it’s expected that we’ll have to suspend logic to some degree so the plot can move along. Oil drillers going into outer space to drill holes in a meteor so bombs can blow it up from the inside? Sure, I can go with that. But as Mr. Affleck observes, that may not have been the best solution.

The brilliance of Mr. Affleck’s observation is that sometimes going for the simplest solution in a story is often the best. I don’t know how complicated drilling is, but it probably would be easier to train astronauts to operate drilling equipment instead of training drillers to become astronauts. Of course, that would remove much of the movie’s charm of blue-collar underdogs heading out to save the Earth, and make for a less-exciting second half where we see trained astronauts calmly and professionally drilling to the designated depth, depositing the bomb, and blowing up the meteor with plenty of time to spare.

As stated before, suspending logic happens in every story to some degree, and is expected by audiences. After all, if a mundane solution were applied to every problem in fiction, our stories would be really short and much less exciting, AKA, the Doylist solution; if the Fellowship of the Ring did fly the One Ring to Mt. Doom with the help of the eagles, for example, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ would be a much shorter story. But every now and then, why not try doing the simplest solution in your own fiction? You just might throw the audience off guard and thus get their attention and make them wonder what else you’ll do.

Favorite Moments: The Ringtone of Doom

We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.

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The Movie

‘Jurassic Park 3’

The Scene

Alan Grant and Erik have a heartwarming, conflict-free reunion with Erik’s parents and Alan’s protege, Billy.

Why it’s great

While ‘Jurassic Park 3’ is considered an okay movie by most Jurassic Park fans, it does feature one brilliant scene: The spinosaurus sneaking up on Alan Grant and the other reunited survivors, and announcing its presence via the ringtone of Mr. Kirby’s cell phone inside its stomach.

To me, this scene is great because it has several layers to it:

1. The reunion between Erik and his parents, who have been seperated for over two months.

2. The realization that Mr. Kirby doesn’t have his cell phone, leading us, the viewer, to try and remember where it is, as the last time we saw it was far earlier in the film, giving us enough time to gradually forget about it.

3. The sinking, ‘Uh oh’ feeling when we realize exactly where it is.

4. The revelation of the spinosaurus, and then realizing that it’s been watching the group in silence.

5. The idea that the spinosaurus was purposefully waiting to attack after everyone noticed it, which implies an intelligence dinosaurs don’t normally have, and even a dark sense of humor.

Is it a cheat to have the spinosaurus, the Kirbys, and Grant/Erik to be wandering all in the exact same area at a specific time when the phone jingles? Yes, but this is a time where such a far-fetched coincidence works, because it leads to a great scene that combines a heartwarming moment, humor, and then dread/terror all in a little over a minute, and manages to make a silly cell-phone jingle one of the most terrifying sounds in the world.

So, what can we take from this scene? It’s okay to occasionally have an impossible coincidence if it leads to a great scene, and making a corny sound effect herald the arrival of death and doom is a great way to have both terror and comedy coexist at once.