American diner robbery, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny style. A wall of ticking clocks. The gentle tap tap of prison shoes en route to freedom.
I miss the smell of the cinema. Of worn seats and popcorn. I miss the beam of light that cuts effortlessly through the anticipation of a packed auditorium. The onomatopoeic ‘rack’ of the curtain as it’s pulled back and the screen slowly takes form as it’s filled with motion pictures. The first few minutes of a film are a special time. You get a feel for what’s to follow. How I wish I was old enough to appreciate Pulp Fiction in all it’s glory all those years ago when it debuted in 1994. But alas, I was only two years old.
The idea for ‘Opening Scene Opinions’ spawned whilst watching Pulp Fiction. When Pumpkin yells “Everybody be cool this is a robbery!” and the sound of Miserlou kicks in the biggest smile stretches across my face. What I want to do is bring you short reviews of the opening sequence or scene from a film that captures the essence of the remaining 90-120 minutes. For example, the clock scene in Back to the Future, the opening getaway scene of Drive. As well as countless others including Shutter Island and The Blues Brothers. The best opening scenes are the ones that threaten to eclipse the remainder of the film. Some standalone, on their own strength distancing themselves from the film, as burgeoning icons of cinema. But they all play a vital part solidfying their place in movie fandom, encouraging lists and exciting fans about the next project. Since watching Hard Eight a while back the opening coffee and cigarette scene has stuck with me for a while. The big names of Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Sam Mendes, Steven Spielberg all have the quality to produce unerring repeat performances. But this feature concerns all opening scenes, from the iconic to the obscure, each possesses the power to cause a stir, enliven goosebumps, make us laugh and makes us smile.
Features similar to this have come on other sites before, usually consisting of a list similar to, ‘Top 10 Opening Scenes’. But this doesn’t do it for me. Just open a Google search with ‘opening scenes’ and the page is awash with ‘Top 10 Movie Opening Scenes’ ranging through genres, historic milestones of cinema, some venturing as high as 50, others a modest 20 but I’m not sure what it gains if everyone can guess at least half of the list before you open it.
Opening scenes can have such a strong influence on a film. They set the tone and they usually set the bar high. The second scene in Saving Private Ryan is more memorable than its first, largely because of its highly realistic portrayal of the D-Day landings but the emotional opening scene raised the bar to that level.
‘Opening Scene Opinions’ may just be the perfect fit for my gradual blogging resurgence and hopefully you guys will enjoy reading them.