Metatalktail Hour: Memorable Moments April 22, 2022 6:02 PM   Subscribe

Happy weekend, MetaFilter! This week, I want to know the most memorable moment from a book, TV show, movie, song, or any media thing you've experienced! What was it? Why did it hit you so hard? Why do you keep remembering it? Was it awful? Was it amazing? TELL ME!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 6:02 PM (61 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

I tell people I hate puns. But, burned deep into my brain and unforgettable is the phrase from Ada, or Ardor: "If you don't remember, then I remember for you: the memory of you can pass, grammatically speaking at least, for your memory, and I am perfectly willing to grant for the sake of an ornate phrase that if, after your death, I and the world still endure, it is only because you recollect the world and me.” I don't know how it works in other languages, but it's brilliant in English.

Recent discussion of Kerouc here has reminded me of ". . . ruined dead buildings with signs reading "varnishing," already vanishing. . . and old dirty orange and black shit ships with dirt white infrastructures and warves of rusty junk." For years I misquoted it as "ruined shit ships with signs reading, "varnishing," already vanishing, amind wharves of rusty iron junk." Which I think is actually punchier, but also quite wrong.
posted by eotvos at 6:20 PM on April 22


Okay, maybe it's cliche for someone like me to trot this out but it affected me then and to a certain extent informed how I engage with my protective instincts:
As part of Mr. Lee's good neighbor policy, all Rat Things are programmed never to break the sound barrier in a populated area. But Fido's in too much of a hurry to worry about the good neighbor policy. Jack the sound barrier. Bring the noise.
posted by majick at 7:06 PM on April 22 [6 favorites]


I'm always a little puzzled when someone thinks something is cliche that I've never heard of. More so when it turns out to be from a book I've read and claim to like. Fascinating. Thanks.
posted by eotvos at 7:09 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


A few years ago I read the book Smoke, by Dan Vyleta. Here's a piece of the synopsis: In an alternate Victorian England those who are wicked are marked by the smoke that pours out of their bodies. The aristocracy are clean, proof of their virtue and right to rule, while the lower classes are drenched in sin and soot....

The aristocrats also have smoke that pours of out of their body but they can afford the secret stuff that prevents it from happening.

The "smoke" can make people very angry, as in, it's a anger-causing agent that, if unchecked, can lead to horrible acts of violence.

There is a segment when one of the aristocrats chooses to wear a gas mask so that they can inhale the smoke in order to become violent and crazy. This choice has haunted me since I read it. Who would do such a thing? Why? What kind of arrogance must they have? It's a key scene in the book that deliberately prompts these questions.
posted by ashbury at 7:41 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


...puzzled when someone thinks something is cliche...

I think what I was attempting to (awkwardly) get at is that a Very Online Gen X coastal man with deep tech roots and strong opinions on capitalist dystopia is perhaps not the most surprising of people to have blurted out a Snow Crash quote when the opportunity presented itself.
posted by majick at 7:53 PM on April 22 [7 favorites]


I had a few things come to mind when I read this.

One: one of the main characters in the Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy, in about the middle of the third book, changing shape from a tree (that he has spent months living as) back into a human, after having escaped a traumatic imprisonment. It's autumn, it's grey and rainy, and instead of rejoining the world and its titanic struggles, he's absolutely existentially exhausted and fucks off to the wilderness to not think about anything for awhile. The prose leans on descriptions of the quiet and peace of plants and rocks, in contrast to the constant struggles that await back in the rest of the world.

Two: the end of The Fountain, where the protagonist is being disintegrated by a star/supernova, at the end of hundreds or thousands of years of space travel, having finally reached their destination.

Three: this image from towards the end of Mass Effect 3, where the protagonist is in their last quiet moment gathered with friends before the final battle of a long, awful war that they know they will not return from.

...so there's clearly a specific kind of emotional scene that resonates with me.
posted by curious nu at 8:16 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


I was reminded of this again by the 40th anniversary of Laurie Anderson's Big Science album this week. I loved that album, but also her Mister Heartbreak, and in this case, every single time I hear its Blue Lagoon a huge wave of goosebumps sweeps over my body after its "Call me Ishmael" line, with smaller waves leading up to it as my mind/body anticipates what's coming. Not even sure why, but Every. Single. Time.
posted by ClingClang at 9:54 PM on April 22 [3 favorites]


From Titus Alone [1959], the last book in Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy:
Black Rose on the far side of the ring had seen the flash of Veil's knife. She knew he kept it whetted like a razor. She saw that the young man had no weapon, and gathering her strength together she cried out, 'Give him your knives... your knives! The beast will kill him.' As though the assemblage had come out of some nightmare or trance, a hundred hands slid into a hundred belts and then for a dozen seconds the air was alight with steel, the great place echoing with the clang of metal and stone. Weapons of all kinds lay scattered like stars across the floor. Some on dry ground, and some gleaming in the pools of water. But there was one, a long, slender weapon, half-way between a knife and a sword, which, because it hurtled past Titus's head and fell with a splash some distance from Veil, forced him immediately into action.

Peake was edging into dementia when he wrote Titus Alone and the book is dark and fragmented but this incident sides with the underdog in a violent and unpredictable world. Still goosebumples me years after I read it as a teenager in my own dark and unpredictable world.
posted by BobTheScientist at 11:58 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


preoccupied by an image of a screw unscrewing itself enough to try a bunch of drawings and write a story about a loose screw before realizing it is from a scene in close encounters of the third kind (and plenty of other movies, but fewer seen by early impressionable me), when all the playthings in about-to-be-abducted toddler barry's room come alive as the ships float in.

also a moment about 4:35/8:30 into moon, turn the tides gently, gently away when the bass (it appears to be measure 116 per ultimate-guitar tabs) does a simple descent in (almost) parallel thirds, wrapping up a very mellow abstract atmospheric period and launching a burst of straightforward rock, that is a crepuscular ray of sudden harmonic lucidity right in the middle of a maybe sometimes bewildering song.
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:14 AM on April 23


Lyrics tend to hit me for various reasons. But there are three songs - two by Tom Waits - have single lines in their lyrics that have always struck me not because of any emotional response but mainly because of their distinctive specificity. I've bolded the relevant lines below:

"Uncle Vernon, Uncle Vernon,
Independent as a hog on ice,
He's a big shot down there at the slaughterhouse
He plays accordion for Mr. Weiss...."
- Tom Waits, Cemetery Polka

"I had a man both strong and tall,
Moved his body like a cannonball,
Fare thee well, my honey, fare thee well...."
- Dink's Song (Fare Thee Well), traditional

"Now the rain's like gravel on an old tin roof
And the Burlington Northern pulling out of the world
Now a head full of bourbon and a dream in the straw
And a Gun Street girl was the cause of it all
A Gun Street girl was the cause of it all...."
- Tom Waits, Gun Street Girl

....To be honest, both the Tom Waits songs have other really specific and distinctive lines, but those are just the ones that hit me. Someone else might twig to "....and the tumor is as big as an egg!" in Cemetery Polka instead.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:26 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Seeing that big black and blue Rothko at LA County and realizing I could see all kinds of pictures in it, all kinds of stuff going on, that far far horizon. After that I went to museums and galleries differently, I don't need to "see everything", just sit with the pieces that grab me and think about them.
posted by winesong at 5:51 AM on April 23 [8 favorites]


Space Shuttle Columbia disaster - Wikipedia, my Space Camp shuttle mission suffered the same fate. Same with Space Shuttle Challenger disaster - Wikipedia, I stayed out "sick" to make sure I was watching, then I laughed. People didn't take kindly to that reaction. Wannabe test pilot then astronaut knew quite well the dangers of when shit goes wrong it really goes wrong. Bound to happen sometime.

Laurie Anderson's Home of the Brave (natch). OMG I'm in love, heartbroken when she married Lou Reed. It took all of my better thinking to not go and knock on Burroughs door, the old coot would probably shoot me. Toss Naked Lunch into the mix. Thank Sis. She also brought back Neuromancer which I put down, until I was sick one day and ended up reading the whole thing.

Too many films, knew too many cinema majors.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:08 AM on April 23


For me the one that felt like I was being electrocuted is in 1984 when it seems like things might be perfect and then it turns out that there was a speaker in the room and it crackled to life to respond to them as he says to Julia "we are the dead".... To which it responds and agrees "you are the dead"

I still get shivers.
posted by chasles at 7:38 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


I'll never forget the frisson of shock I felt at age 12, in 7th grade English, reading e e cummings' [in Just] silently to myself along with the rest of the class so we could discuss it:
[in Just]

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan whistles
far
and
wee
when I realized, because of my passion for Greek mythology, just Who the "little lame balloonman" must be, and then, because of my own recently begun Issues with things inflating, just what the balloons had to stand for.

I burst out laughing, and when I looked up, Miss Merkle, a petite and attractive brunette in her twenties said, in tones heavy with irony: "care to share the joke, Mr jamjam?" my face instantly started burning, and I said: "uh, No!! I don’t think that would be a good — I mean it just struck me as funny, is all!", and dropped my eyes back down to the page until my face cooled off, which took quite some time.
posted by jamjam at 7:53 AM on April 23 [7 favorites]


Y’all are much more highbrow than me despite my classical education.

For me, the No Man’s Land scene in Wonder Woman hit hard. I was in midlife crisis with a standing job offer to walk away from digital media. I watched that scene and it hit me, hard, how few superhero/epic moments I had seen in my life where a non-traumatized woman simply does what she wants to do by force, and he sidekick just - gets behind her. Anyways, then I quit my job to be the martial arts office lady to help train more girls in how to develop their physical skills in fighting. No, it’s not a great movie but it was a very significant moment for me.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:29 AM on April 23 [5 favorites]


Another one that comes to mind is a brief, passing scene is City of Angels where they discuss the experience of eating a pair. I'd recommend that if you haven't seen the film you should probably watch Wings of Desire twenty times before bothering with it. There is little recommend it except a sometimes interesting soundtrack. But that particular minute of dialogue has stuck in my mind since I saw it in the theater 24 years ago.
posted by eotvos at 9:08 AM on April 23


When I walked out of Gattaca I said it was great and I would never, ever, watch it again. I haven't.

I think I've only seen it once, but the Moonlighting Taming of the Shrew episode is stuck in my mind as my favorite Shew production. I have no idea if that would hold up on a re-watch. Maybe I'm best off just clinging to my fond memory.

Despite being a huge fan of the CRPG genre Legacy of the Ancients (C64) was one of only a handful such games I actually finished end to end, alone. The feeling of discovery and the unfolding of the ever-expanding world was beautifully paced, the graphics were gorgeous (for a non-demoscene production), and I came away from the experience feeling like I'd been taken on a wondrous journey.

One of the first full length novels I read was David R. Palmer's Emergence which lived at the intersection of post-apocalyptic survival, spunky can-do princess, and cold war existential fear stories. I think I was the protagonist's age when I read it, going through the very same feeling of being terrifyingly different, so it spoke to me deeply. Every week I went to the little bookstore down the street to see if another volume appeared. 35 years later (!) a few epilogue episodes appeared as an Analog serial and were a bit of a letdown if I'm being honest with myself.
posted by majick at 11:21 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid, I read a book about two unrelated boys who are kidnapped and held prisoner, I think for ransom. I don't remember the title. Just some book from the 70's that I assume went out of print and was forgotten long ago. They're kept in a room guarded by a ferocious Doberman. One of the boys starts saving bits of food and giving them to the dog and he gradually makes friends with it. Eventually they're able to pick a time when no one is around and simply walk away because the dog no longer has any desire to attack them. They cross the open area around the buildings where they were being held and by the time anyone notices they're gone, they're safe in the brush or woods, about to slip away unseen. But the boy who befriended the dog stops and looks back. He can't bear to leave the dog behind. So he calls him. The dog responds eagerly, joyfully. He gallops across the field, straight toward the boy - only to be shot mid-stride and killed in an instant by one of the bad guys.

I've always been a sucker for any emotional scene involving a dog. And this one! The boy calls the dog and in that instant he sees just how much the dog loves him and wants to be with him. And in the next instant, the dog dies. Because the boy called him. *sob*

I think the main focus of the book was supposed to be the relationship between the two boys. I think maybe one of them was black and the other was white and they disliked each other at first but eventually came to like and respect each other. And of course they ended up safe in the end. I'm not sure how they got away when the bad guys were so close and the boy's shout for the dog gave away their location. Maybe the police had tracked them down and were coincidentally coming to free them just as they were escaping. I've forgotten all that, but I will never forget the moment when that beautiful dog was gunned down in the midst of his joyous flight toward the boy who loved him.
posted by Redstart at 11:30 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]


There are so many to chose from, for which I should consider myself blessed (I'm not particularly religious, but that feels like the right word in this case). If I must chose one, then I will say "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap. I know it's a popular song, but it's a uniquely arranged one. The first time I head the song happen to coincide with the first time I saw snowfall, which was in my early 20s. I had seen light snow on the ground before, but nothing more than flurries. At the moment I was listening to the song for the first time (or at least one of the early listens), a snow storm started outside my apartment. I went onto the deck and listened to the song and watched the snow fall. I was to leave Virginia shortly thereafter, and so the song always fills me with a mix of joy and loss.
posted by johnxlibris at 11:56 AM on April 23 [1 favorite]


In the last episode of The Prisoner, Fall Out, there is music that plays after no's 2 and 48 have had their "trial", and after the speech of the presiding judge. He says, "Sir, we are all yours" and the music plays as McGoohan is walking to the podium to speak ( though they don't let him). That music made an undeniable impression on me at 17, and there are still days in my life where I am doing things and I wish it was playing in the background behind me.
posted by wittgenstein at 12:49 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert Heinlein): I read this book as a young teen. I was naive and sheltered enough from the world that all of the stuff that (I now know) was clearly problematic about it went right over my head at the time. But all these years later the one thing about it that has stuck in my head is the scene where a Fair Witness (a group of people who were trained to observe events impartially and report only and exactly what they see and hear, making no extrapolations or assumptions) is asked "What color is that house over there?" and they reply "It's white on this side." On this side! I think I literally said "Whoaaaaa..." to myself out loud. This concept of unconscious presumptions and projections was brand new to me as a young lad. That sort of attempt at precision and intellectual agnosticism may be what started me on the path of science, and it's something I do my best to remain aware of to this day.

George Carlin: Again, I was a teenager when I listened to his early albums. Of course he was irreverent and anti-establishment and goofy and all that, which I loved; but his comedy also helped me learn to listen and think about the actual words people used, as well as how they used them - sometimes for comedy, but more often for obfuscation.

Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Richard Bach): This book I read the summer before my sophomore year in college; it gave me a stunning sudden awareness of other philosophies beyond the white suburban middle-class Christianity I'd grown up in without realizing it as such - like a fish not knowing it's in water. One example out of many was the concept of the entirety of one's life existing all at once like a film reel; but the only way to actually experience ("live through") it was to watch it frame by frame in "real time". I was so taken by this...utterly different concept that I read the passage eagerly to my Methodist church youth group, as a fun mind-broadening exercise - only to look up at the end to see blank (willful?) incomprehension on the faces of my fellows. Or actually *former* fellows, as I instantly started thinking of them, realizing I no longer had anything in common, intellectually and socially speaking, with this group of people I'd known for years. I left the church for good that day without a second thought. (Nowadays I think the book's a bit simplistic and fanciful, but that doesn't change the initial effect it had on me)

The first Star Wars movie came out in the summer of 1977, I was 16 - a perfect age for it, really. It's hard to imagine now for those who weren't alive then how dramatically different it was from everything else at the time, how new and wondrous were these beings and planets and technology of that far-away galaxy, and how mind-blowing the graphics seemed. The entire audience cheered when (spoiler alert!) the death star blew up as the heroes zoomed away. I went back to the theater and watched it 6 times over the next few weeks. I enjoyed the next two movies as well, that were released 3 and 6 years after the first, but they didn't have the same astonishing newness that the first one did and I didn't feel the need to rewatch them multiple times. (I will not speak of the rest of the franchise...)
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:04 PM on April 23 [7 favorites]


@winesong, also Rothko for me, but in the Rothko room at the Phillips collection in DC.

The ending of La Haine has stayed with me for like 15 years.
posted by bxvr at 1:31 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


I was with family, visiting Bar Harbor. Went into a shop in, I think, Southwest Harbor, and they were playing Eva Cassidy's Songbirds album, Fields of Gold. It stopped me in my tracks, literally. Her voice is ethereal and pure.

I have an odd medical condition that isn't at all understood, not seriously impairing, but weird. Went to local docs, then went to Boston to see special specialists who were able to provide more answers. Afterwards, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts, lost myself in the Asian rooms, and wept with relief.
posted by theora55 at 2:10 PM on April 23 [5 favorites]


jamjam, I was today years old when I learned it was Pan.
posted by theora55 at 2:12 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


majick, I can tell you that Atomic Shakespeare, though perhaps being a touch more ham-fisted in its outlook and its pop culture references than we might be used to these days, and containing a passable (as in: you'll want to skip past it) singing effort by Bruce Willis, is still tolerably entertaining.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:22 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


My memory isn’t what it used to be; this used to be a lot of things. One scene that comes to mind, the precise wording of which has faded, is a dialogue from one of the Hitchhikers’ Guide books that included the line, “They care, we don’t. They win.” The world has seen a lot of extremism since Adams died and this whole exchange feels prescient to me.

These days what I latch onto is less permanent, more changeable. One that hit me hard recently was a scene from I think the second episode of Midnight Mass in which the disturbingly attractive charismatic new priest says: "That’s what it means to have faith: that in the darkness, in the worst of it, in the absence of light and hope, we sing." I haven’t been singing much, lately.
posted by eirias at 3:29 PM on April 23 [6 favorites]


You remind me of something else that really hit me hard, eirias, from one of Emily Dickinson's letters:
Mattie is almost
with you-
The first section
of Darkness is
the densest, Dear,
After that, Light
trembles in -
You asked would
I remain?
Irrevocably, Susan -

I know no
other way-
Ether looks
dispersive, but
try it with
a Lever -
Emily -
I have a five volume set of her letters, and they are, for me, the archetypal Great Work that Nobody Knows About, yet the sad irony is that I hardly know about them either, because they upset me too much when I try to read them.

But when I found that letter online (which is amazing in itself) I also found that it’s inspired a song: But The Light Trembles In.
posted by jamjam at 4:39 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Kill Six Billion Demons, the webcomic, has a vast number of incredible moments. But the most vivid one, for me, was the climax of the battle where the angel White Chain, in a solo duel in which she is gratuitously overmatched by Solomon David, who is one of the seven demiurges who together rule the universe.

She is crumpled on the ground, as Solomon winds up to use his time-stopping attack which he had previously used to effortlessly wipe out an arena full of challengers. Solomon starts to charge her in the frozen moment. Then her hand twitches in the stillness, and she impossibly gets up to meet the attack.

And it gets BETTER from there.

The whole tournament up till that point is pretty standard anime-style Over Nine Thousand stuff (although extremely enjoyably done), but the apotheosis at the end is transcendent.
posted by notoriety public at 5:51 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


I read Unicorn Jelly after it was completely finished rather than serially, which is good because I am spectacularly bad at keeping up on serial media. The whole thing is a series of progressively larger contexts. I wouldn't call them twists, really, but every so often the scope just... zooms out again. There are bits where the story drags but I read it fervently over the course of a few days and really enjoyed the way the universe just grew.

Maybe that's not so different from the way I enjoyed my favorite 8-bit RPG in 1987, now that I think about it.
posted by majick at 6:14 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Greg Ace hit some important ones for me. But there's an hour from seventh grade that I often think of. It was Mrs. Guilford's social studies class. That morning, she showed us a filmstrip (yes, this was long, long ago) about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The scenes of devastation, of the unlucky survivors, were awful, of course. The moment that hit me the most was a photo of a person's shadow burned onto a concrete wall by the effects of the atomic bomb. The person had been vaporized, but their shadow remained.

The school was unusually quiet that day, increasingly so as more of our grade went into that room and saw those pictures.
posted by bryon at 7:01 PM on April 23


When Snowden opened up in Catch-22 (the movie). In the book, when the Soldier in White came back:
...they all trooped out to see a lousy Hollywood extravaganza in Technicolor, and when they trooped exuberantly back the soldier in white was there, and Dunbar screamed and went to pieces.

"He's back!" Dunbar screamed. "He's back! He's back!"

Yossarian froze in his tracks, paralyzed as much by the eerie shrillness in Dunbar's voice as by the familiar, white, morbid sight of the soldier in white covered from head to toe in plaster and gauze. A strange, quavering, involuntary noise came bubbling from Yossarian's throat.

"He's back!" Dunbar screamed again.

"He's back!" a patient delirious with fever echoed in automatic terror.

All at once the ward erupted in bedlam. Mobs of sick and injured men began ranting incoherently and running and jumping in the aisle as though the building were on fire. A patient with one foot and one crutch was hopping back and forth swiftly crying, "What is it? What is it? Are we burning? Are we burning?"

"He's back!" someone shouted at him. Didn't you hear him? He's back! He's back!"

"Who's back?" shouted someone. "Who is it?"

"What does it mean? What should we do?"

"Are we on fire?"

"Get up and run, damn it! Everybody get up and run!"
PS wittgenstein, it's "September Ballad."
posted by Rash at 8:49 PM on April 23


Too many to list, right? This is just memory, isn't it?

Anyway, while I don't put the game on a pedestal, Disco Elysium had a way of hitting emotional crescendos that I've experienced in few games. There are other games with really good writing (e.g. most stuff by Obisidian Entertainment), but, Disco Elysium does this very writerly thing of gently pushing along multiple, sometimes seemingly unrelated threads, and then having them coalesce at surprising moments. This is of course just an element of good writing, but it's something that's rarely done effectively in the medium of video games.

ANYWAY, there are three particularly stand out moments in the game that I'll probably never forget (if you haven't played and don't want to be spoiled, please stop reading now). In DE you're playing an amnesiac alcoholic cop, who, while also trying to solve a murder, is trying to piece together the aftermath of an epic bender that seems to have destroyed his memory.

So firstly, you've lost all the symbolic parts of being a cop - your badge, your gun, and your car - and you spend much of the game trying to find them again. There's also a bridge in the town that you cannot cross, but was destroyed in some kind of motor vehicle accident. Once you finally cross the bridge and track down the destroyed vehicle, you of course realize it's your cop car... and the way the realization his the main character is extremely funny and poignant. It starts with a "... no... No.... NOOOOO...." type of thing, and turns into sitting on a swing and commiserating with your partner, waiting for the snow to melt so you can access your car and search for more of your belongings.

Secondly, there's a side story where you can essentially help a bunch of kids turn a former church into a dance club (also there's a strange hacker lady and a spider person living there). It's mostly plaid for laughs, but if you play everything right, you can start dancing to the music so transcendentally, that it drags everyone (most importantly, your reluctant partner) to the dance floor, until you pass out and commune with the spirit of the city.

Finally, the resolution of the whodunit is very anti-climactic (my favourite kind of climax, really). Oh, and also throughout the game you've been helping some cryptozoologists track down a large, absurd, and presumably non-existent insect. At the end, once little has been solved or learned, this mythical insect shows up in a sort of Deus Ex Machina (which in and of itself is pretty inconsequential, although your wonderful partner can take a photo), and you proceed to have a long, meandering, telepathic conversation about humanity and reality.

Anyway, sorry about the length here. It was fun revisiting some of these memories.
posted by Alex404 at 10:59 PM on April 23


The last scene in Grapes of Wrath where Rose of Sharon, having lost her own child, breastfeeds the dying man.

I was a girl around 16 when I read it in a bus-stop, so it was before 1980 and I was thrown from the known world into a world where this one act contained more humanity than I could ever have imagined. She crossed a social boundary in such an extreme way, and for such extreme good purpose. Her act was shocking and astounding and I wasn't sure what to make of it as I was all-but-a-street-kid and I had no one to talk about it with. I feel like I grew up quite a bit that day.
posted by Thella at 11:41 PM on April 23 [6 favorites]


Thanks, Rash, but thanks to you, I now know that the music I'm talking about is apparently called Rag March (though I like September Ballad as well...)
posted by wittgenstein at 3:27 AM on April 24


The first movie I remember seeing was Wizards Trailer (1977) - YouTube. My oldest sister sneaked me in when I was 7 years old. Movies were sorta forbidden at that time (long story).
There's this Ralph Bakshis Wizards - Religion Scene - YouTube which was the most sacrilegious thing I'd ever seen, and then Avatar vs. Black Wolf - YouTube.
Evidently somewhere in there is Mark Hamill's first VA gig. Bonus: 1977 Ralph Bakshi - "Wizards" (visual highlights) - YouTube.

Book wise, Use of Weapons - Wikipedia. Did not see that coming.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:24 AM on April 24


There are various categories of things that tend to stick with me:

- the moment of choice, a make-or-break decision, especially if there really is no good option - I love this in novels, when everything is set up to make the reader see what the wrong choice is,how horrible, soul-destroying, worst-case the fall-out will likely be, but you're so successfully immersed in a character's mind, that in the moment of choice you can see why they would make the bad choice, you almost want them to, because the urgency of their need is so palpable: in Infinite Jest, when Gately needs to decide whether to take the pain killers, in Daniel Deronda, when Gwendolyn needs to decide whether to marry the horrible rich man, in Middlemarch, when Bulstrode could save his blackmailer's life, or you know, just don't do that... (George Eliot is so good at this).

- the moment of carthasis, of vindication, of poetic justice; in Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts gets snubbed by the snobby shopgirl and then returns, triumphant, with her patron's credit card, in Master and Margarita, when Margarita agrees to be the hostess for Satan's spring ball, so he will grant her a wish, because she wants to save her lover from the lunatic asylum, but when the time comes, she wishes instead for the salvation of a woman she met at the ball - a servant girl who had been raped and impregnated, and had killed her baby in her despair, and it's so obviously the correct choice that even Satan says, okay, that one's on me, you get another wish.

- the moment of clarity, when you see the patterns behind the cotton wool of existence; in To the Lighthouse, when Lucy finds her vision for the painting, in The Dead, when Gabriel watches the snow fall, Percival pondering three drops of blood in the snow.

- a particularly evocative turn of phrase, Hilary Mantel, when she has her French revolutionaries say "Liberty wants to be fucked on a bed of corpses", but mostly lines from poems: a thing of beauty is a joy forever, what will remain of us is love, till mermaids wake us and we drown.

- a particulaly evocative image; in The Man Without Qualities, a description of a Palais, ending on a view through the port to the stress, pedestrians floating by like goldfish.
posted by sohalt at 7:44 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


In case anyone is following all of this Prisoner music stuff, here is Rag March.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:51 AM on April 24


zengargoyle: Book wise, Use of Weapons - Wikipedia. Did not see that coming.
I feel like it was telegraphed throughout the book but was also a puzzle of Iain {,M.} Banks' type of horrorstory reveal.

And I say this as someone who read and re-read American Gods because I plain forgot its prestige and eventual reveal. And who guessed at Lost's conceit after season two and forgot about it until friends were discussing the finale.
posted by k3ninho at 10:17 AM on April 24


here is Rag March

The sound of the piano and the horn arrangement remind me very much of early Chicago. So I guess that's what I'll be listening to today.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:34 AM on April 24


In the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy ... whew, there's a lot going on. So many memorable moments. To make three books of a long story short, it's about a medieval girl who falls in love with a charismatic failson knight and manages to marry him, then the entire lifetime of consequences that result from that.

After years of bearing the logistic and economic burdens of their marriage, as well as seven sons, Kristin is exhausted. Her husband Erlend complains that she is always scolding him, and she screams: "You're supposed to be my lord!"

This is a big book among trad Caths, and I wouldn't judge it harshly for that. It does an amazing job of taking you inside a medieval mindset, or at least as good a one as could be made in the 20th century. Kristin is upset because she trusted her whole self and worked her fingers to the bone for a man -- and indeed a system -- that she was supposed to be able to trust with that labor, and she couldn't. Love wasn't enough; faith wasn't enough; work wasn't enough. That's a pretty universal lesson. (Especially since after getting this earful from Kristin, Erlend stormed out of the house and started sleeping with another woman.)
posted by Countess Elena at 11:24 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


When I was reading Shogun as a teenager and [the female character's name I can't remember] gets killed. I literally threw down the book and haven't finished it for almost 40 years.

I guess that's not memorable in the sense that I think about it all the time, but every time someone mentions how books, movies, any fiction really can affect people, that's the first thing I remember.
posted by ctmf at 1:14 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I often think about the moment in the film The Hours when you think you're watching a film of three wholly separate vignettes and then there's a connection revealed between the 1951 and 2001 sections and it took my breath away. I absolutely did not see it coming. I don't really want to say any more and spoil it, but the first instance of connection is so beautifully done.
posted by crossoverman at 4:12 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


"And I fired four more times at a lifeless body and the bullets sank without leaving a mark. And it was like giving four sharp knocks at the door of unhappiness."

Camus, The Stranger
posted by Oyéah at 8:32 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


The music cue from The Prisoner that I was obsessed with was Chasse à Courre by Paul Bonneau, specifically as it was featured in The Girl Who Was Death. Interestingly, perhaps because it came from Chappell, most of the library cues in The Prisoner seem to be by French composers. Another bit of French library music I grew up with was Accroche-toi, Caroline!, the title music from Vision On. The most famous piece of music in Vision On (and I think it's a wonderful irony that a programme that introduced so much music was one intended for hearing-impaired children) is Left Bank Two, which accompanied the gallery of viewers' pictures. The successor to Vision On, Take Hart, had a similar section, and it's the music from that that forms another of my fascinations - Marguerite by Bob Morgan. It was part of the tape that accompanied the Channel Four test card during the early 80s, and I videotaped several mornings'-worth of test card so I could transfer it to cassette.

When I was a very small child I used to watch the Test Card (someone's compiled a selection to accompany Test Card F here) because there was literally nothing else on (unless one was lucky and they showed a Trade Test Transmission, which is a whole other kettle of stuff - I was telling a friend only few weeks ago that such a film led to my being wholly familiar with the word and concept of epoxy resin at the age of four, unusual in the late 1960s). My folk music is TV themes and library music. Not just me - there's a whole generation of people obsessed with it.
posted by Grangousier at 3:50 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


(Of course the thing with music and Vision On isn't irony - the whole programme was intended to be primarily visual, so obviously they'd needed something to accompany the visuals, uneasy silence being as unpopular with children's TV executives in the 1960s as it is today.)
posted by Grangousier at 3:53 AM on April 25


My all-time favorite movies are the Before Trilogy, and a lot of different moments stay with me, but two that I've thought about a lot both have to do with characters looking at or away from each other. The more famous one is in Before Sunrise--the listening booth scene where Jesse and Celine are in a small space, starting to fall for each other, each one stealing glances at the other, both trying to avoid making eye contact, and both clearly aware that that's exactly what's going on. There's so much happening in a scene with no dialogue at all. It's really an extraordinary moment.

The other moment is from the opening of the third movie, Before Midnight, when Jesse is at the airport with his son Hank, around 12 years old. Hank is flying back to his mother, and the father and son have a frank and intimate conversation about Jesse's relationship with his ex-wife. When it's Hank's turn to go through the security checkpoint, they say goodbye and he makes he way through. Jesse's eyes follow him, watching him for a long as possible, and continuing to watch for a few seconds after Hank has turned the corner and disappeared from sight. But once he's said good-bye and passed through the metal detectors, Hank never looks back at his dad--he's focused on what's up ahead. As the dad of a boy about that age, that scene stabs me in the heart every time I watch it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:29 AM on April 25


One that really sticks with me is Steinbeck writing about seeing an old friend in his hometown in Travels With Charlie:

"What I am about to tell you must be the experience of very many in this nation where so many wander and come back. I called on old and valued friends. I thought their hair had receded a little more than mine. The greetings were enthusiastic. The memories flooded up. Old crimes and old triumphs were brought out and dusted. And suddenly my attention wandered, and looking at my ancient friend, I saw that his wandered also. And it was true what I had said to Johnny Garcia - I was the ghost. My town had grown and changed and my friend along with it. Now returning, as changed to my friend as my town was to me, I distorted his picture, muddied his memory. When I went away I had died, and so became fixed and unchangeable. My return caused only confusion and uneasiness. Although they could not say it, my oId friends wanted me gone so that I could take my proper place in the pattern of remembrance - and I wanted to go for the same reason. Tom Wolfe was right. You can't go home again because home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory."

I re-read this recently after a fun but also strangely lonely reunion with college buddies. When we are parted from our old friends, we take their snapshot and frame it in our brains. And they remain static there until we see them next. We assume that we will find them as we had left them, and they assume the same of us, so when the true people show up it's a sort of odd reunion. We expect that we'll be able to see our old friends but they are gone. Because we are not the same people that we were 10+ years ago (and thank god for that), and neither are they. But that old version of our friends is the one that we most intimately know, and that old version of ourselves is the one that they know. We deprive one another of really knowing the evolved people we have become, and instead what we see of one another is filtered through that lens.
posted by AgentRocket at 9:17 AM on April 25 [7 favorites]


the moment when that beautiful dog was gunned down

When I was a kid I had a policy of refusing to read any book that involved young children and a prominent animal, because the animal was always going to die.
posted by aramaic at 10:03 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


When René Auberjonois had that guest spot on The Good Wife. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but when it happened I shouted out loud and almost threw something at the TV. I still think it might be one of the best jokes I’ve ever heard.
posted by janepanic at 10:20 AM on April 25


I think about the speech scene in Whale Rider a couple times a year. I was the kind of person who never had strong emotional reactions to films back then (2002), and it hit me like a truck. Just this young girl trying to make her family and community proud and pouring herself out on this little stage. I found it totally overwhelming.

Since then I've grown up a bunch, had kids, and now I cry at the drop of a hat.
posted by that's candlepin at 12:31 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I'm an aging GenX indie rock nerd and my favorite part of any song is by Memphis lo-fi heroes The Grifters on their song "Return to Cinder". It's a good song in any case, but there is a part at 3:15 where the song transitions from a strumming acoustic guitar and organ thing with warbly singing to a crashing, operatic outro with pounding cymbals and drums, guitars weaving in and out, an organ playing a half-step off, and a positively sweeping, symphonic-sounding bass riff.

I'm not sure who in the year 20 and 22 might still be casting around for more mid-90s lo-fi music, who is out there saying, "Yes, I have Pavement and GbV and Archers of Loaf, but could there be some I missed?" but if you even know what those words mean in that order, you should check it out.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:57 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I don't think anything I've ever encountered, in real life or in any medium, ever made me laugh as hard—I mean, like, the laughter that carries that dark undertone of "am I gonna need to be hospitalized shortly?"—as Alphonse the puppet from the Gabbo episode of The Simpsons.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:24 PM on April 25


These two brief scenes from Mare of Easttown are among the most hilarious I've ever seen in a TV show. All you need to know in order to enjoy it is that Mare and her mother Helen, who have a cat and dog relationship, are at a funeral reception for their late neighbour, a crabby woman named Betty.
posted by orange swan at 3:58 PM on April 25


I'm not going to add much detail for risk of spoiling an amazing movie that everyone should go see, but the "SUPERMAN" line at the end of The Iron Giant always gets me pretty choked up.
posted by Aleyn at 4:40 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Back in the mid-70s, when I was four or five, there was a theatrical re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, originally released in 1968, the year before I was born. As my family tells it, I spent its 2-hour, 19-minute running time eyes wide, mouth agape. Afterward, my dad, belting out the sounds of Also sprach Zarathustra, would hold me aloft in the living room beanbag chair, the Star Child. Not long after, the very first job I ever wanted, when kids normally are saying things like policeman or doctor, was outer space moving van driver, specifically helping families into orbit; I'd draw myself in the cab of a moving van, rockets in the wheel wells.
posted by bixfrankonis at 7:13 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


I was paging through an art book and saw pictures of pieces by Kandinsky. Odd little blobs and lines. But something about them made me say "Oh!" internally. Abstract art had never spoken to me before, but then it did.

Years later I got to see his pieces at the Guggenheim. It was the same, just bigger. Just a weird and joyful electric connection.
posted by emjaybee at 5:37 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall (I know it was in the tv version, and I think it was in the book: "It's just people".
posted by sundrop at 6:27 AM on April 27


I was lucky enough to make a pilgrimage to Rome in my forties. I had fallen in love with the Pantheon since I was in college, and I was genuinely afraid to see it since I wanted a liminal high from experiencing it first hand, but I was worried it was overrun with mediation like the Vatican.

I made my way toward the temple first thing in the morning, to miss the tourist crush. I am walking down deserted, wet pavements, I can't see very far ahead of me because the buildings are so tall. Lots of cafes and bars, with that early morning mix of stale alcohol and cleansers permeating the air. Echoing off the walls, I hear:

Mama, take this badge from me
I can't use it anymore
It's getting too dark to see
Feels like I'm knocking on heaven's door.

I got to the end of the corridor and there it was. The Pantheon did not disappoint. I was lucky enough to be there on an overcast day, and it began to rain through the oculus. The rain glittered in the light, and soaked the marble mosaic floor, disappearing through the drain. Attendants cordoned off the oculus with velvet ropes.

Mama put my guns in the ground
I can't shoot them anymore
That cold black cloud is comin' down
Feels like I'm knocking on heaven's door.

Reader, I was liminally high.
posted by effluvia at 11:20 AM on April 27 [2 favorites]

When René Auberjonois had that guest spot on The Good Wife.

I have no idea what The Good Wife is, but I'm going to find out.
posted by eotvos at 11:59 AM on April 27


There is a very low budget Ben Wheatley film, A Field in England, which is set around the time of the English Civil War. A few deserters wander off in search of an alehouse, but then get waylaid by ... [redacted] ... and things go a bit wrong. Very wrong.

At one point, one of the characters is "invited" into a tent, while the others are held under guard outside. There's various interpretations of what happens in the tent (I'm in the group that thinks it's a bit of Scrying). To the sound of Chernobyl by Blanc Mass, the character emerges. Anyway... long version (lower quality) and short version (higher quality). Enjoy!
posted by Wordshore at 6:46 AM on May 19


The Lehman Brothers FPP just now reminded me of a moment from The Big Short that especially struck me (after several years of being a secretary in NYC finance firms). One of the subplots concerns a pair of young dudes, Charlie and Jamie, who are running a hedge fund company out of one of their basements or something, and have been looking for an "in" into one of the bigger companies. They catch word of the impending recession and figure out a way to invest accordingly, and score a meeting at Lehman Brothers' office in New York - ironically scheduled for the very day that Lehman would eventually close up. They turn up in suits, bright-eyed and fresh-faced, only to see a parade of people trooping out with their boxes full of stuff. They still try to go in, and the security staff - who are packing up themselves because they've been laid off too - just lets them in because "fuck it".

And so they find themselves finally looking around a real-life New York City securities trading floor, but one that's been ransacked and trashed from everyone hastily packing. They look around the empty trashed room, a little awestruck but also a little uneasy. And then they have an exchange I will never forget:

Charlie: This isn't how I pictured it.
Jamie: What'd you think we'd find?
Charlie: ...Grownups.

---

I also finally recently saw Scorcese's film Silence, and that's really sticking with me, especially the ending - but to explain why I'd have to spoil the whole thing in ways I really would rather not, so I'll just say whew, yeah, final scenes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:07 PM on May 19


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