Great Scenes: Alec Baldwin’s motivational speech in Glengarry Glen Ross

glengarryglenrossI’m an Alec Baldwin fan from way back. Forget all you Johnny-come-latelys who are jazzed by his performances on 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live. I’m talking She’s Having a Baby and Working Girl. I’m talking The Hunt for Red October.

And then, 1990’s Miami Blues launched him into the pantheon. His performance in that wonderful film remains one of my favorite by anybody ever.

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Great Scenes: Final memories erased in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

If I were asked to name my favorite movie of all time, I’d have a lot of candidates from which to pick.

I might go with pop crime masterpiece Goodfellas, which was my reflex answer to that question for years. Or with the pinnacle of romantic comedies, Moonstruck. I might look to one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, Woody Allen, and choose Annie Hall or Hannah and Her Sisters. Or I might go with another of them, and choose Steven Spielberg’s throwback adventure masterpiece Raiders of the Lost Ark. Wes Anderson has crafted two films that could easily fill the slot, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums.

Depending on my mood, and how recently I’d seen the films, any one of those movies could be my favorite ever.

But deep down, when I really search myself for the answer, I keep coming back to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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Great Scenes: Nigel shows off his guitars in This is Spinal Tap

After the firestorm of discussion about another Rob Reiner film, I’m returning to his catalog for the next installment in my ‘Great Scenes’ series.

Pound for pound, This is Spinal Tap is probably the funniest movie I have ever seen. The laughs are constant, and they come in all different forms — one-liners, sight gags, absurb situations and simply the hilarious behavior of the airheaded metal-rock has-beens in their natural habitat. I can quote this movie line-for-line, start to finish.

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Great Scenes: Opening credits of Juno

I have a theory that just about every movie with kickass opening credits winds up being kickass overall.

On the flip side, if a movie starts with that same tired helicopter shot of a big city skyline set to a rousing pop song, you’re probably not in for anything special.

Certainly there are exceptions to both of those generalizations, but they’re few and far between.

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Great Scenes: Loretta and Ronny’s walk in Moonstruck

If I had to come up with a list of my all-time top ten movies, I think I can safely say Moonstruck would be on it. Movies come and go and grow and recede in my estimation, but this one has never felt less than perfect.

I’ve never seen The Last Emperor, which won the Best Picture Oscar over Moonstruck in 1988, but is there any chance it lives on in people’s hearts and minds two decades later the way this film does? No way.

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