duel of the fates

Five Spectacular Scenes From Films That Were Overall Duds

Five Spectacular Scenes From Films That Were Overall Duds
How such funny scenes, or cool action sequences, end up in boring movies is beyond baffling.
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We've all been there, sitting in the theater, squirming in our seats, thinking "oh lord when is this over" as we check the time. But then there's suddenly a scene that makes you reconsider.

Should I stay and watch until the end? Walk out? Is this getting better now?

Alas, it's hard for a single scene in an otherwise boring film to sway your opinion, but those moments can't be forgotten. Here are some memorable scenes, from movies new and old, that stood out among each film's otherwise uneventful series of events.

'Ghost Ship' (2002)

It's borderline criminal to start a horror film with an all-time opening scene, one that stands among the best kill sequences ever filmed. Then, the rest of the story is just dog water, loses steam and not worth your time. Gabriel Byrne and Julianna Margulies are just too talented to be in this wreck, but my goodness, is this intro gnarly, brilliant and very disturbing or what?

'The International' (2009)

This movie is a waste of Clive Owen's time; it's unmemorable and run-of-the-mill. Nobody except for cinephiles like myself remember it. But, the only reason this film is stuck in the back of my head is because of one masterful action sequence — set in New York's Guggenheim Museum.

An intense shootout, with plenty of surprises and very cool camera work, the entire scene plays out as you slowly wind up the museum's spiral layout; it's artwork and moving images spinning in the background. It's literally the only part of the movie worth watching. I love when you can follow the action because the editing doesn't make things too shaky.

'Saltburn' (2023)

Emerald Fennell won a well deserved Oscar for writing "Promising Young Woman," but her sophomore effort behind the camera wasn't as successful. However, it did get a lot of people talking and a lot of eyeballs popping.

The film overall didn't really resonate with folks, things became painfully obvious as time passed and the characters weren't compelling enough. The big reveal fell completely flat, was groan inducing and the story could've benefited from another twist; anything else would've worked. The scene that's imprinted in everyone's brains came all the way at the end, when Barry Keoghan danced around a royal manor naked to a catchy pop song.

'Mission to Mars' (2000)

Having seen this in the theater as a kid, I recall being unimpressed. Brian De Palma truly had a dud on his hands with this one, but I will give him a tremendous amount of credit for including enough cool shots and a talented cast throughout the movie so that the ending — its best part — landed.

It ends in a beautiful crescendo, reliving the entire astronaut's journey, with a beautiful score. Gary Sinise gets to meet the aliens; the whole thing is just overwhelming and otherworldly. If only the rest of the movie had this kind of magic.

'Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls' (1995)

You can love Jim Carrey and Ace Ventura, and still think this hastily produced follow-up comedy hasn't aged well (and is racist in retrospect). While the first movie had its own set of issues, this one has very little that'll still make you laugh, or draw a chuckle in this day and age.

But, the rhino birthing scene is comedy gold.

An extremely juvenile joke stretched to its absolute limit, this is why you pay the price of the movie ticket — to see Jim on the big screen. Seeing this poor family realize the robot rhino is giving birth to a naked Ace Ventura, the horror on their faces, it's peak Carrey comedy. The rest of the movie? You can take it, I'm good, I just need to see this whenever I need to laugh.

What about other films, what does the internet think about flop films with one good scene?

After scouring the internet, and going through peoples’ comments, here are what film buffs have said.

  • People love the opening scene of Luc Besson's "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," which was one of the most mentioned scenes.

  • The opening montage of Wolverine and Sabertooth fighting in wars from the god-awful "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," and the highway fight scene from "The Matrix Reloaded” were both bright moments in otherwise dim films.

  • A few comments suggested the first person moment in "Doom" was fun, but I wouldn't go that far.

  • I hate "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" with a passion. It's the worst piece in the Peter Parker universe, but there were defenders for the Gwen Stacy death scene. I don't see it, personally, that whole movie is a disaster from start to finish.

  • The main attack in Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor" was another very popular pick; I'm not a fan of how he shoots or edits action, and this whole movie just reeks of turning a tragedy into a summer blockbuster after Bay saw "Saving Private Ryan," and thought he could do better.

  • Rounding off the discourse was the three-man lightsaber flight from “The Phantom Menace” — featured on almost every other list about good scenes from bad movies. With John Williams’s "Duel of the Fates" playing throughout, which is perfect, the scene is a wasted opportunity on many levels. It’s a super choreographed and trite action scene with no stakes (Darth Maul dying gets retconned soon!). It wastes a cool design for the Dathomirian Zabraks, and I wish we could reclassify this as a bad scene, from a bad movie.


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