Finally, something in The Guardian I agree with

The film that makes me cry: Babe

First time I saw that final scene, “that’ll do pig, that’ll do”, I’m afraid I did too. Not because it’s sad but at the sheer gloriousness of the line and the scene.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m in touch with my inner piglet, hurrah!

26 thoughts on “Finally, something in The Guardian I agree with”

  1. The bit where they raise the curtain behind Jean Hagan to reveal Debbie Reynolds had been doing the singing…

    Every time.

  2. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke (not) in spain – “Mmmm… I’ve a soft spot for pigs, as well. Particularly shooting them.”

    I have a soft spot for them too. Mostly when they are roasted.

    Will James Cromwell ever get such a good role again? I expect it was a career highlight as the only other good thing he did was the corrupt police captain in LA Confidential.

    That, in turn, was probably driven by the fact it was not a mainstream Hollywood film. The Australians made it and I would guess they got as famous an actor as they could afford. Which wasn’t very famous.

    Still, it played the Disney formula very well. I am not sure it is sensible to anthropomorphise animals quite so much. No doubt it drives any number of teenage girls into PETA supporters. I doubt the over-all impact has been positive for society.

  3. Never much liked the film as a kid — for some reason I dislike pigs except when presented to me in Ham form — but I can never shake the image of the farmer as his character in LA Confidential — where he was playing one of cinemas all time bastards. They should do a crossover.

    Anyway, crying at films is for women and Italians. The only acceptable exception is the end of The Wild Bunch where they all get slaughtered by the Mexicans and even then only one tear of manly appreciation is permitted.

  4. So Much for Subtlety

    Dan – “but I can never shake the image of the farmer as his character in LA Confidential — where he was playing one of cinemas all time bastards. They should do a crossover.”

    Captain Dudley Smith: I admire you as a shepherd pig, particularly your adherence to violence as a necessary adjunct to the job

    Babe: I’d like to see you again.
    Lynn Bracken: Are you asking me for a date, or an appointment?
    Babe: …I don’t know.
    Lynn Bracken: Well, if you’re asking me for a date, I should know your first name.
    Babe: [embarrassed] Forget I asked. It was a mistake.

    Ed Exley: All I ever wanted was to measure up to my father.
    Babe: Now’s your chance. He died in the line of duty, didn’t he?

    (Actually that does sound funny in Babe’s voice)

  5. Dan – “Anyway, crying at films is for women and Italians”

    Thank you.

    My wife and I watched “Up” when it came out a few years ago. Near the start of the film there’s this montage of married life where the young man and young woman get wedded, and have fun, try to have babies, grow old together, and eventually the old woman dies and her husband is left sad and alone, holding a balloon.

    My wife was bawling like a baby!

    I just had something in my eye, damn it.

  6. “Thank you.”

    Yeah, that was one of your gags I believe!

    @ SMFS – God, might have to re-watch LA Confidential now — the scene of Exley and Crowes character dangling the mayor out of the window (after Big Russ had worked him over) was fucking ace. Or Crowe twatting Exley in the archive room after he finds out he shagged Kimmy B. Violence is really a key feature of good cinema.

    The only “something in eye” moments for me was 1) the scene in Schindlers List where Neeson says goodbye to the Jews outside the factory and 2) a great Japanese film called “Nobody Knows” about some kids left to fend for themselves after their flake of a mother ditches them.

  7. Dan – I can’t bear to watch Schindler’s List again.

    When Jimmy Stewart was a bomber pilot stationed in England during WW2, he and his mates went to the pictures one day and he realised the film they were about to see was one he had a small role in. So he legged it, 10 miles on foot back to barracks.

    Schindler’s List gives me that feeling.

    OTOH, I could watch RoboCop every day of the week even though it’s a lot more violent.

    I have trouble with dust in my eye when they surprise the General by getting his old troops together in “White Christmas”.

  8. So Much for Subtlety

    Clarissa – “They dangled the DA, not the mayor, out of the office window.”

    I would totally pay to see Babe do that.

  9. A couple of the scenes from the Toy Stories had me welling up, IIRC the montage in No. 2 where the cowgirl doll recounts her life of being loved and abandoned, and in No.3 the look on Woody’s horse’s face when he’s being left behind*. My wife wandered in for the former and it had her crying in under a minute. The guys who write this stuff know what they’re doing.

    *Although that happened on my mobilisation flight to Nigeria, when I had just said goodbye to my wife for 3 months plus. Or maybe I was just crying because I was mobilising to Nigeria.

  10. bloke (not) in spain

    What’s with the tears thing? These are actors (although sometimes they’re graphics). The camera stops rolling, they go back to discussing a good restaurant for lunch.

    (Maybe that’s why i can’t watch films.)

  11. The camera stops rolling, they go back to discussing a good restaurant for lunch.

    I’ve tried that approach with horror films. Doesn’t work. If it did, cinema would never have caught on.

  12. Tim Newman – My theory is: Pixar are bastards.

    They love sneaking in emotions to try and catch you off guard and make you blubber like Nick Clegg in an onion chopping factory.

    Iron Giant, an animated film directed by Pixar collaborator Brad Bird, was similarly exploitative.

    It’s about a giant space robot who comes to Earth with a simple dream – a dream to exterminate all human life.

    But he gets knocked on the head and befriended by a precocious young boy, so he decides to be a goodie. The boy reads comic books to him and encourages the mechanical monster to emulate the heroism of Superman.

    Sadly, the bigoted, reactionary US military don’t look fondly on skyscraper-sized sentient alien killing machines roaming their turf, so they decide to nuke the Iron Giant and the entire town he’s hiding out in.

    To save the town from God’s lightbulb, Giant flies high up into the air in a kamikaze effort to stop the missile from obliterating the humans below.

    As he closes in on the nuke, the big gurning robot smiles, closes his eyes, and rumbles “Super…man!”

    Absolute bastards.

  13. “I can’t bear to watch Schindler’s List again.”

    S’weird but I thought the end sequence when you see the footage of the survivors putting stones on Schindlers tomb was brilliantly done.

    But when Spielberg did Private Ryan he also tried a wrap-around modern ending with the old boy getting all teary at the cemetery and it was a monumental misfire, shitting up what was otherwise a very decent flick.

    I’ve not seen hardly any of these Pixars — partly because I’m a massive snob, partly because the BRIGHT COLOURS and squeaky voices do my head in. They must know their onions if they can make a bunch of incorrigible right-winders teary eyed though!

  14. The Other Bloke in Italy

    I cannot remember which lifetime it was but long, long ago I took a tough but beautiful girlfriend to Zefirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

    The audience was full of students from the English Lit Department, mainly girls of course.

    In the final scenes, you could feel the tension building, then a loud sniff from the back of the auditorium released a flood of sobbing over poor Juliet’s end.

    I virtually had to carry the T but B girlfriend out into the street.

  15. Tim Newman:

    I think that the Toy Story trilogy is amongst the finest pieces of cinema ever made. Funny, warm, emotional without being sentimental, clever and visually spectacular.

    If any of them are on TV then I can’t help but sit down and watch them all again.

  16. Dan – the end sequence when you see the footage of the survivors putting stones on Schindlers tomb was brilliantly done.

    It would have been so easy to make that scene mawkish, but it was understated, simple, and genuinely emotional without feeling manipulative.

    Saving Private Ryan front-loaded its best bits. After the Normandy landing it was all downhill.

    JuliaM – The end of ‘Born Free’. Every time. I’m welling up now just typing it!

    It’s the sort of film that makes a grown man want to hug his cat.

  17. If any of them are on TV then I can’t help but sit down and watch them all again.

    Yes, I’ve found that. I quite agree, they are brilliant.

  18. Saving Private Ryan front-loaded its best bits. After the Normandy landing it was all downhill.

    Thank you! Finally, somebody who agrees with me. I thought Tom Hanks’ character was a joke: he was a veteran Captain who had so little control over his own men that at one point they are pointing guns at each others’ heads. And his hand shakes uncontrollably. Yet he was *hand picked* to lead the behind-the-lines rescue attempt. And this veteran squad of men argue about what to do with a prisoner. As if this was the first time they’d come across this situation, or the first time anyone had even discussed what to do in the event, or as if there were no NCOs or Tom bloody Hanks to make the call without a fuss. And that line “I was a teacher…” to make the guys stop pointing guns at each other. Retch. Of course he was a teacher…I could have guessed that a month before. He was never going to be an accountant, was he? Mark Steyn summed it up well:

    The reductio ad absurdum of this approach, you’ll recall, is that Tom Hanks pep talk to his men about how, in years to come when they look back on the war, they’ll see that “maybe saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we managed to pull out of this whole godawful mess”. Good to know defeating the Third Reich wasn’t a complete waste of time then. Spielberg’s limitation as a film-maker is his inability to overcome this ludicrous boomer narcissism. He’s utterly incapable of understanding that there are tides in the affairs of men when your levels of self-esteem are less important than just getting on with it. He’s lost the big picture — there’s just you and your feelings and even in the midst of a critical national mission you can sit around obsessing about your self-doubt as if it’s some gabby chick flick.

  19. As I meant to say, Saving Private Ryan was saved by the opening Normandy landings scene, which was superb. Sadly, it enabled people to claim it is a very realistic film because lots of veterans said that the opening scenes were realistic. I never heard one comment on the believability of Hanks’ character.

  20. Not a teary thing, but I can’t stand the interminable repeats of the Great Escape – I find that unbearably sad.

    To a teenage boy watching it the first time it’s gripping. If I watch a snippet now, I’m impressed by how well the dramatic qualities of the film have weathered.

    When you know exactly what is going to happen to the characters, the tension in the pit of your stomach is there, and you can’t help rooting for them all, but the suspense is replaced by a sense of impending doom while the jaunty music and moments of optimism develop a sickening air of hubris. For a grown-up who has developed an inkling of the eternal reality of death, and an appreciation of the film’s kernel of historical truth – that a bunch of flesh-and-blood, heroically resourceful and determined men undertook an act of depressingly low risk-reward ratio that ended in a senseless slaughter – I just couldn’t sit through the whole thing.

    The film-makers are evil, but not Pixar-evil. It’s a different quality of evil. I accept that film-makers are going to attempt to manipulate me emotionally – it’s at least half the point of the art – but it’s a curious effect whereby their effect to turn it into a glorious box office romp, renders it a more jarring tragedy on subsequent viewing. I suspect I wouldn’t feel so strongly if it weren’t for the real-life Fifty; not only because purely fictional characters are much harder to care about, but because I feel a lingering distaste at the conversion of their supreme act of sacrifice into a commercially-successful work of entertainment. There’s certainly something sad about your lasting public memorial being a piece of semi-fiction.

  21. Dan- also a Peckinpah film.
    Cross of Iron- friendly fire scene crossing back to German lines.
    He had a knack for un-manning those who see his manly films.

  22. bloke (not) in spain

    Trouble with Saving Private Ryan was, for the Yanks parts at any rate, it was played as a war film with all the usual assumptions. In reality, the action’s happening in the first few days of Normandy & the GI’s are dressed up civilians, finding out for the very first time what a war’s like. The Dirty Dozen attitudes tend to come a bit later (I’d imagine)
    The Normandy episodes of Band of Brothers seem more realistic as in those & the rest of the series, you watch experience moulding the characters.

  23. The best movie about death in World War II is The Cranes Are Flying.

    And as for movies that bring a tear to my eye, the wedding between Harold Russell and Cathy O’Donnell at the end of The Best Years of Our Lives.

    I also get tears of laughter from the funeral at the end of the Lana Turner version of Imitation of Life.

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