FIVE GREAT SCENES FROM “MIDNIGHT IN PARIS”

Ok, I’ve never been what you would call a Woody Allen fan. That being said, I can’t express how much I enjoy “Midnight in Paris. It’s a movie that features some great laughs and the best performance from a usually annoying Owen Wilson. It’s a romance film but not in the traditional sense. The true love of the movie is the city and it’s magic. It’s the city that brings Gil Pender (Wilson) to realize some very important things about himself and his life. It’s the city that Gil’s in love with and it’s the city that helps him get on the right path in life.

Now I know that one reason I responded so strongly to this movie was because of my current trip to Paris. As I sit here soaking up all this glorious place has to offer, I understand what Allen in conveying in his film. Paris is a city like no other. It’s living and breathing. It’s a place filled with history, style, and beauty, all things that “Midnight in Paris” presents. So my opinion of the movie is most certainly influenced by my expectations of what I’m now experiencing here in Paris, France.

But let’s not get bogged down in just that. “Midnight in Paris” is also laugh out loud hilarious. The characters are fantastic and for my money it features some of Woody Allen’s best writing. Filmed at various locations here in Paris (some we have already visited), Allen places his characters right in the middle of this city both past and present day. The performances are top-notch and the feeling of nostalgia is impossible to deny. It’s a beautiful film that I just love talking about.

So, before we head off to a local cafe and take a stroll in the Latin Quarter, I thought I would share five great scenes from this movie I love. Now, last Sunday I did a Phenomenal 5 on Paris movie scenes and #2 was the gorgeous opening montage of “Midnight in Paris”. Since I’ve already used it I’ll leave it out here. But it is an amazing opening sequence that I have watched over and over. These scenes I have picked are just samples of what makes this movie so good. Great laughs, great characters, great performances, great city!

 #1 – GIL MEETS THE FITZGERALDS

One of my favorite scenes in “Midnight in Paris” is where Gil meets Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald (played brilliantly by Alison Pill and Tom Hiddleston). After getting lost in the streets of Paris, Gil is picked up by an antique car which whisks him away to 1920’s Paris. He arrives at a bar where a party is going on and bumps into the Fitzgeralds. Gil’s confusion mixed with amazing portrayals from Hiddleston and Pill make this a hysterical scene. And even though it’s completely preposterous, the environment, the music, and the performances make this strikingly believable. Hiddleston alone makes this scene with his chipper expressions and hilarious line deliveries. I love it.

#2 – DEBATE AT THE RODIN MUSEUM

We all know people like Paul (Michael Sheen) from “Midnight in Paris”. He’s one of those who thinks he’s a lot smarter than he actually is. He’s an old friend of Gil’s fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and she is enamored by his immense knowledge of Paris and it’s history even though most of his “knowledge” is flat-out wrong. A great example of this is the scene in the gardens at the Rodin Museum. Paul, flexing his pseudo-intellectual muscle, actually argues with the museum tour guide regarding Rodin’s past relationships. Paul is clearly wrong, but you know guys like this, they’ll never be convinced of it. Sheen’s delivery is hilarious and Rodin himself couldn’t have convinced this know-it-all otherwise. *(Yes, I know this photo isn’t from the Rodin Museum scene but it perfectly captures the Paul character).

#3 – A CHAT WITH HEMINGWAY

Corey Stoll’s portrayal of Earnest Hemingway was absolutely phenomenal. We’re introduced to him after Gil leaves the above mentioned party with the Fitzgeralds in search of more lively entertainment. They enter a bar where Hemingway is sitting alone in the corner. We just stand there alongside Gil and watch as a hilarious conversation takes place between Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. It’s clear that Zelda doesn’t like Earnest and she takes off. F. Scott soon follows leaving Gil to share a conversation about life and  writing with one of his literary idols. Stoll speaks like Hemingway wrote which adds an ever funnier element to their conversation. This is a key moment in the film that begins Gil’s new perspective on life. It’s also extremely funny.

#4 – A NIGHT WALK WITH ADRIANA

After several trips back in time, Gil finds himself mesmerized by the beautiful Adriana (Marion Cotillard). He finally gets some meaningful time alone with her as they share a romantic walk on a beautiful Paris night. The cool 1920’s feel mixed with the beauty of the city of lights is the perfect setting for the movie’s most romantic scene. Woody Allen also uses Gil to once again speak of the allure of the city. It makes you question who he’s attracted to more, Adriana or the city? This is such a wonderful scene that moves which such grace, all as the equally beautiful “Parlez-moi d’amour” plays in the background. Call me a sap but this is a great scene.

#5 –  PARIS IN THE RAIN

The movie ends with Gil walking alone in the Paris night. He’s broken it off with Inez and has realized his desire for the past was misguided and that every era has their own problems. Unsure of everything, he bumps into Gabrielle (Lea Seydoux) again on the beautiful Pont Alexandre III bridge. The two strike up a conversation and Gil tells her that he will be staying in Paris. There is an obvious attraction between them which is only solidified when a small rain shower pops up. The two walk off together enjoying the rain and the city. While Gil thought he once again had no direction in his life, Paris takes him by the hand and sets his course. What a great way to end the movie.

Well, that’s all for now. I have fountains, paintings, a buttered baguette, and a cozy cafe in my immediate future. What did you think of “Midnight in Paris”. Hopefully you liked it as much as I did. Please fell free to share your thoughts on it. And until I hit the states again…au revior.

TOP 5 BEST MALE SUPPORTING PERFORMANCES of 2011

Top 5 Best Male Supporting Performances of 2011

As I’ve mentioned, I didn’t see 2011 as the best year for movies but we did end up with several fantastic films and some truly memorable and wonderful lead and supporting performances. I’ve presented my personal Top 10 Films of 2011 and now it’s time to look at the performers. Here are my top 5 supporting male performances. I’m sure there are some you will agree with and others you won’t. Take time to comment and share your own personal top 5.

#5 – Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris)

One of the reasons “Midnight in Paris” works so well is because of the incredible supporting work from its marvelous cast. Hiddleston instantly catches your attention from his first moments on screen and although he has a small role, it’s nonetheless brilliant. His line delivery, mannerisms, and period charm nail the character he portrays and he helped make a pretty unbelievable concept believable.

#4 – Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class)

Fassbender has garnered a lot of attention for his performances in 2011 but one that seems to go unnoticed is his amazing work in “X-Men: First Class”. He owns and commands every scene he’s in and I couldn’t get enough of him. He truly sells the Magneto character by showing the hard and calloused side while maintaining a sad and emotional perspective as well. It’s a seasoned and polished performance that deserves to be recognized.

#3 – Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris)

Remember when I said that a key reason “Midnight in Paris” works is because of it’s fantastic supporting cast? Here’s another example. Stoll’s Hemmingway is brash and crude but he’s also suave and at times hilarious. Stoll’s performance is a perfect match for the material and he steals several scenes. In a movie that requires a belief in the spectacular, it’s performances like Stoll’s that made be buy into it.

#2 – Brad Pitt (The Tree of Life)

Some may consider Pitt’s performance as a lead role but I see him more as strong supporting backbone to an incredibly moving story. Pitt has been known for his more exaggerated performances but this is totally different. Here he plays a believable and relatable father let down by life and facing the pressure of raising his family. It’s a near perfect performance that’s measured and grounded. It was a good year for Pitt and his work in “Moneyball” is getting all the praise. But I found his work in “The Tree of Life” to be the best of his career.

#1 Nick Nolte (Warrior)

One the most pleasant surprises of the year was Nick Nolte’s performance in “Warrior”. Some of the most gripping scenes of 2011 featured Nolte’s portrayal of a broken father who is rebuilding his life but still facing the consequences of his failures. Nolte helps get to the core of what makes “Warrior” such a powerful picture. It’s much more than the MMA backdrop might suggest, and it’s Nolte who drives this moving drama.

Agree or disagree. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know.