Monday, 26 March 2012

This Is Reality, Greg!

As might be obvious, I really really like films. I am obsessive about films, actually. Most of my time is spent thinking about films, and today I want to write about my favourite scene in cinematic history...
E.T is a great film. Perhaps the greatest film? Spielberg's most perfect cinema achievement, and that's saying something. Can any other film be quite so heartbreaking then funny in a span of a few seconds? It's one of those films that I have to sit down and watch whenever it is showing on telly, it's a film that has been a crucial part of my life ever since I was a baby and yet I feel like I come away with something new each viewing. I don't think any other film perfectly encapsulates everything I love about kid's movies from the 80s more than E.T. Children's films in the 80s had such a reckless enthusiasm. They were nearly always about kids having fun. I love 80s films because one kid will at least once, say "shit". They were about normal kids from normal backgrounds who get into crazy situations. 

My favourite scene from a film (ever!) is the bike chase scene at the end of E.T. So many times I've tried to articulate what that scene means for me but I've never been able to find the right words. Everything about the scene culminates into a perfect seven minute thrill ride. It is an absolute travesty that Speilberg allowed the scene to be altered in any way, but sadly the guns the cops were holding in the original were super-imposed out not to offend children's delicate sensibilities, or something. Luckily, Steven has said when the film gets a blu-ray release he's going to present it in its original form. Thanks Steve! Let's take a look at the scene from this shoddy youtube video:
Are you crying? Because it gets me every time! I'm not the kind of weirdo who bursts into tears because something is so beautiful, but everything about this scene is so perfect that I just can't help it! Firstly, the choreography for the bike bit is INSANE. Whoever came up with the idea of having a bunch of kids riding their ordinary bikes through suburbia needs an award, because it is just effortlessly cool. The grown-ups in their police cars or stumbling on foot don't stand a chance versus the bikes that are dodging and weaving and RIDING OVER COP CARS, HELLO. AND THEY'RE NOT WEARING HELMETS. There is something so satisfying in seeing the direction for this chase, and the way they all come to a halt at the end side by side is just an incredible touch.
I also want to talk about the clothes. You look at something like Pretty in Pink and wonder whoever decided Molly Ringwald looked good in that prom dress, but the wardrobe for these kids is so crazy cool and still to this day looks amazingly badass. Elliot's red hoodie is iconic! The balaclava, the jeans and hi-tops, the huge headphones, the sunglasses, the flatcap, it never seems out of place, you know what I mean? I still want a red hoodie, I still want to tuck my jeans into my trainers. I think what I like is how ordinary it is, and it doesn't look completely 1980s.

The dialogue flows so naturally and is so funny, I will never get tired of Elliot yelling at Michael in the van. I wonder how much of the dialogue was improvised? "This is reality, Greg" is such an excellent line and I think it really shows Spielberg's tongue in cheek side that I love so much.

Lastly the range of emotions you experience throughout this scene is unreal. The music for one, gets me so pumped. When the bikes take off and the music changes my breath catches in my chest. The repeat of flying across the moon (with the sun!) is such a genius way to show how far Elliot has come. For the whole film he's been shit on by his brother and his friends, and now here he is leading them. GOSH. It's just too much! TOO MUCH AMAZING FOR MY BRAIN TO TAKE. I MEAN, THEY'RE ABOUT TO GET SHOT AND THEN THEY START FLYING. THEY'RE FUCKING FLYING THROUGH THE GODDAMN AIR. Also, Can we take a minute to fully appreciate John Williams' score here?

I think that's all I have to say. This post got a bit text heavy and I find it so hard to explain why I like things, I wish I could switch a button in my brain that will make me fantastically articulate. Perhaps they will make one in the future. ANYWAYZ, do you have a favourite scene? I'd love to hear what yours is!


  1. totally crying! I can't even cope with ET, it makes me BAWL from start to finish. I went on the ET ride at Universal Studios when I was 8 and cried with utter joy all the way round. You get to go to ET's planet ON A BIKE and there's millions of ET's playing light up flower bongos with twinkly sticks and smiling and waving and ET's there too at the end. WAHHHH!

  2. Insults2Injury26/3/12 20:35

    I wish we could make it official, that this is the best moment in cinema history, cos it really is.

  3. I love ET. Like, really love. Have always loved. Thanks for the reminder! I need to have a good free day, curled up on the couch with a hanky, a blanket, and ET on the TV.


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