Last Friday (July 19th) marked my 42nd birthday. Yep, I’m that old but I feel blessed beyond measure. So considering that, I thought I would incorporate birthdays into this week’s Phenomenal 5. Today I’m looking at birthday parties. Now these aren’t meant to be the best parties but truly memorable ones from motion picture history. So many parties came to mind and I left out a few that I truly loved for the sake of a more fun and diverse list. So considering that, I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there is no doubting that these five movie birthday party scenes are absolutely phenomenal.
#5 – “IRON MAN” 2
Nobody can throw a party like Tony Stark. But when your a stubborn, egotistical, self-destructive, billionaire playboy that’s not always a good thing. In this scene Stark’s drunkenness, self-loathing, and personal pity party alienates practically everyone close to him. His overt flirting with a sultry Scarlet Johansson pushes Pepper away and his carelessness with his Iron Man weaponry leads to an armored throwdown between Iron Man and War Machine (manned by Stark’s best friend). The biggest victims are Tony’s pride and his expensive mansion in this fantastic sequence.
#4 – “SIGNS”
It may be easy for some people to forget M. Night Shyamalan’s 2002 horror thriller “Signs”. For me this has always been one of the director’s best and I like nearly everything about it. Nestled inside the film is a birthday party scene that’s easy to miss. But I had to include it because its one of my favorite scenes in the movie. A very nervous Joaquin Phoenix sits in a closet anxiously watching TV for any bit of news on a possible alien invasion. For him it comes in the form of amateur footage taken at a 7-year old’s birthday party in Brazil. It’s a pretty tense scene laced with a touch of humor from Phoenix. And I’ll always remember the newscasters opening comment: “What you’re about to see may disturb you.”
#3 – “THE BIRDS”
There are a number of signature scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. In fact, this film has already been on one Phenomenal 5 list of movie gas station scenes. Well one of its great moments takes place during an outdoor birthday party. Kids are everywhere doing what kids do at birthday parties. There is cake, balloons, laughter, and fun games There is also a horde of menacing gulls that quickly make their presence known. They swoop down and crash the party in their own unique way. They really make a mess of things and lets just say it’s one birthday party that those kids will never forget.
#2 – “THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING”
Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was an amazing motion picture accomplishment. From the sheer cinematic scope of the film to the incredibly realized vision of author J.R.R. Tolkien. It garnered well deserved accolades and its a fantasy spectacle unmatched by any other. And to think it all started with a birthday party. Bilbo Baggins wasn’t that excited for his party and he had a pretty big surprise for everyone. But that didn’t completely dampen everything. We still got our first introduction to the hobbits and Gandolf leading into an adventure that is hard to beat.
#1 – “SIXTEEN CANDLES”
Not every party has to be a big, loud, crowded bash. Such is the case with the 80’s teen comedy (and for me one of the funniest movies of all time) “Sixteen Candles”. Samantha (Molly Ringwald) wakes up to what should be one the best days of her life – her 16th birthday. Instead she finds her big day lost in the chaos of her big sister’s upcoming wedding. Through this film Sam weaves through one disappointment and annoyance after another. But all ends well with a small birthday cake shared with the boy of her dreams. This small birthday scene at the end of the film is the perfect conclusion to a truly great comedy.
So now you’ve heard my choices, what are yours? I’d love to hear what you would have included. Please take time to share your thoughts below.