' ' Cinema Romantico: My (2nd) Favorite Scene In The Rain

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My (2nd) Favorite Scene In The Rain

This post is for the second All-Wet Blog-A-Thon hosted by Andrew at Encore Entertainment. Make sure you check it out!

My (2nd) Favorite Movie Scene In The Rain doesn’t actually take the place in the rain. This may sound like a cheat but, I assure you, it isn’t. I’ll explain.

It is the memorial service for the dad of Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom). Once the speeches have been given, toasts made, tap dance routines performed, the reunited band fronted by Drew’s cousin Jesse (Paul Schneider) takes the stage. Drew, perhaps needing a little alone time, retreats from the room where he encounters his requisite Manic Pixie Dream Girl Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst). She has, as she has promised, brought him substantial instructions for a road trip on which he is about to embark. Thus, the time has come for the Protagonist and The Manic Pixie Dream Girl to part. And like any director/writer worth his DGA ID card, Cameron Crowe craves their goodbye to occur in the rain.

Now, at this point he simply could have moved them outside for no good reason and cued up a celestial deluge. But that would have been too obvious, too easy. Thus, he decided to make it an INDOOR rain. Bold. But how to do it? Well, he could have had some memorial-goer light up a cigar or he could have had Jesse’s rambunctious son Samson pull a fire alarm. But that would have been too obvious, too easy. Enter: the giant flaming bird.

Jesse’s band, Ruckus, who once (almost) opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Two of the original members”) chooses to play, of course, a Lynyrd Skynyrd song, “Free Bird”, and Jesse chooses to accentuate the performance with a giant model bird the stagehand will make “fly” above – “pull the pulley across slow and soulful.” But the stagehand is hapless and, thus, as it must, the flying bird veers too close to a stage light, is set ablaze and, in turn, sets the strung banner bearing Drew’s dad’s motto – “If it wasn’t this it would be something else” (as in, if wasn’t this it would be a giant flaming bird) – ablaze before, inevitably, the flying bird breaks free from its pulley and crashes into a table far below, sparking a subsequent blaze. Cue the sprinklers! The band keeps playing. A conga line breaks out. Drew’s sister (Judy Greer) raises his arms to the heavens in one of the most tried & true shots of cinematic rainfall. Claire uses her flight attendant skills to guide people to safety. And Drew and Claire get their unspoken goodbye from across the room……in the rain.

The eternally reviled “Elizabethtown”, a film I have exalted so much Crowe himself once wrote me a letter that simply said “Dude, calm down, even I know it’s not that good”, is often accused by its horde of naysayers as being contrived. Google “Elizabethtown Movie Contrived” and you receive 911,000 results. Uff-da! And fair enough, I say. To each his or her own. You might say this goodbye in the rain is contrived.

I say it’s thinking outside the box.


Andrew K. said...

This scene sounds AMAZING. Damn it, Nick. You've done. I swear, tomorrow I'm before work I'm going out and I'm finding a copy of this and I'm going to sit down and watch it. I owe it you, after all the blog space you've put into it, and I owe to Orlando Bloom who (goddamn it) deserves better than where he is right now.

Nick Prigge said...


Man, I hope you don't regret that decision. Because you might. I hope not. I really, really hope not. Just let me down easy if you do. That's all I ask.

Andrew K. said...

DVD has been bought, I don't when I have the time - but it sits there, and I'm excited...well, excited and scared.

Nick Prigge said...

Excited and scared is probably the right place to be. I wish you luck whenever you get to it. I honestly hope you enjoy it.