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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Objectification

Posted by: Jambo / 8:33 AM

[Hammer's update: As suggested in comments, I'm going to put up a new poll on the right to pick a winner. I'll ask Jambo to narrow the list to 10 or 15, then get the poll ready for voting.]

I try to start these movie discussions all the time and rarely do they get very far but I just refuse to give up. They tend to work well with a group of friends over dinner but fall flat on the internet or in email but here we go again, and this time I think I have come up with something ahead of the AFI--great film objects. Yes, there have been lists of great scenes, great lines, great love scenes and of course great movies. But no one has ever come up with a list of great film objects, inanimate things that are iconic or maybe just plain cool. Here is my short list to get things started, I hope folks will add to it in the comments:

1. Charles Foster Kane's sled

2. The bone tossed in the air at the start of 2001

3. a light saber

4. Dirk Diggler's, er, well, you know

5. Odd Job's hat in Goldfinger

6. Austin Powers' Swedish made, er, ah, you know that one too

I can think of a half dozen more off the top of my head but don't want to ruin the fun for anyone else. Assuming of course that anyone other than me thinks this is fun. To add to the excitement, the best comment will also win an official 3WN t-shirt. We do have some sort of shirt or something, don't we Hammer?

31 Comments:

The wicked witch's striped socks

Baby Jane's rat dinner

Maria's hills; the Captain's whistle

"Is it safe?"'s dental equipment

The man-eating plant

Hughes' airplane crashing in Beverly Hills

Smith's chapel (Amen!)

Ralphie's Dad's leg lamp; his brother's snowsuit

Tootsie's make-up and clothes

Fosse's tophats and canes

Richard Pryor's match

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:03 AM  

The leg lamp! I love it! I'd have gone for the slippers over the socks, myself, but to each his own. And I'll admit to not knowing the chapel, tho I'm sure someone will fill me in shortly. None of these were among the additional ones I was thinking of but they're all good and that's just what I was hoping for.

By Blogger Jambo, at 12:22 AM  

The "letters of transit" in Casablanca.

By Anonymous theRealRepublican, at 6:02 AM  

McQueen's baseball in the cooler

The former head of a parking meter (or the mirrored sunglasses from the same film)

Harry Potter's glasses

The rose tattoo

The steps in Rocky

A horse's head

Astaire's lamppost

A bowler, mascara or a glass of milk from Clockwork orange

ummm, the Maltese Falcon

By Blogger mfox, at 7:07 AM  

Jambo, how could you forget: The One Ring

By Anonymous Jerjo of Adderall, at 7:46 AM  

I can't believe I don't see the One Ring? But perhaps it doesn't count because it's a character in itself. I would add some other things from LotR as well:

The light of Eärendil

Sting

Frodo's Mithril shirt

Gandalf's staff

Aragorn's sword - Narsil reforged as Andúril

The palantir - seeing stone

So many good ones...

And how about that intro clock scene in the first Back to the Future? Or am I making up a memory?

And the treasures from To Kill a Mockingbird - the pocket watch, pen knife, little soap dolls. Such an amazing movie! Such precious little treasures, whether broken or not.

By Anonymous SuzyTall, at 8:10 AM  

Inigo's sword (The Princess Bride)

The remains of the Statute of Liberty (Planet of the Apes)

Charlie Chaplin's hat and cane

Indiana Jones's hat, whip, and idol

Kevin Costner's voiceovers in Dances with Wolves. Hard to be less animated than that...

By Blogger Hammer, at 8:18 AM  

The Flux Capacitor from Back to the Future

By Anonymous Monostereo, at 8:30 AM  

The barrels in Jaws. They kept the shark in the movie when it wasn't.

The glowing glass of milk in Suspicion. Hitchcock knew creepy.

Mt. Rushmore in North by Northwest.

The bridge in The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Zuzu's petals in It's a Wonderful Life.

The briefcase in Pulp Fiction. What was in it?

The three-piece suit in Saturday Night Fever.

The amp that goes to 11 in This Is Spinal Tap.

Peter Sellers in Being There.

By Blogger Joseph, at 8:51 AM  

The rock hammer in "Shawshank Redemption"

The Millenium Falcon in "Star Wars"

The gold medalion in "Chariots of Fire"

The garage door opener in "Singles"

The matchbook cover from "LA Confidential"

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:04 AM  

Is "Being There" available on DVD? I need to see that movie but never see it in the video stores.

A few More:

Mash Potato Mountain--Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Bald Grizzly Bear--The Great Outdoors

Swimming Pool--The Graduate

The Rug--The Big Lebowski

The Wood Chipper--Fargo

By Anonymous Juan Monostereo, at 10:08 AM  

I guess a bear isn't inanimate--sorry.

By Anonymous monostereo, at 10:10 AM  

I also can't believe I forgot the ring. But even worse, I can't believe I missed the barrels in Jaws! The night scene where they pop up beside the boat is classic. The letters of transit, the baseball, and the horse head are all great ones I never would have thought of.

By Blogger Jambo, at 10:20 AM  

HAL in 2001 (although admittedly the computer showed more life and emotion than the crewmembers, both frozen and unfrozen)

The African Queen in The African Queen

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:25 AM  

The Marauder's Map in the third HP film.

The bowl of eggs in Cool Hand Luke.

Photo booth in Amelie

The missing coin in Pirates of the Caribbean.

By Anonymous Jerjo of Adderall, at 11:54 AM  

Thought of some more.

The T-bird in American Graffiti.

The garden in Rear Window.

The key in Dial M for Murder

The stones on the grave of Schindler. I wept like a schoolgirl, without even knowing about the tradition. I'm tearing up now, just thinking about it.

And by the way, it's Charles Foster Kane.

By Blogger Joseph, at 12:10 PM  

I'd say the traveling gnome in Amelie is a better pick than the phone booth.

By Blogger Hammer, at 12:29 PM  

Crap, of course it is Charles! I must have been thinking John Foster Dullas, which is embarrassing in itself. The t-bird was one I had thought of but left for others.

By Blogger Jambo, at 1:01 PM  

I actually felt so bad about the Kane thing that I went and fixed the original post.

By Blogger Jambo, at 2:45 PM  

We forgot a few biggies:

Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum

Jason's hockey mask

Is Travis Bickle's mohawk inanimate? What if I pair it with his army jacket?

Jambo has a few as well but I won't spoil it. By the way, the parking meter head is from Cool Hand Luke -- that's what he was in prison for.

By Blogger mfox, at 10:37 PM  

The horse's head? Creepy! Almost as bad as the underground coffin in Kill Bill

The phone in Sorry, Wrong Number

Poseidon Adventure's piano crashing

The chains around their necks in Amistad; JQ Adams' plants

Peter Sellers in Being There? Too funny! He WAS like an object!

Astaire's lamppost made me think of Gene Kelly's in Singing in the Rain-pure joy!

Gene Hackman's wig in The Birdcage

I think Smith's chapel in Lilies of the Field is actually Schmidt's

The snow falling in White Christmas

The Dutch girl's teeth in Miracle on 34th

The labor bed in The Cardinal

The plank the little girl had to cross in Final Voyage

The running videocamera in Capturing the Friedmans

Bob Incredible's tiny car; Edna's super-outfits

Franks and beans

Elvis' jailhouse

The crowds following Ali in When We Were Kings

By Anonymous schneid, at 12:37 AM  

The dead parrot

Clint Eastwood's town painted red

HAL

Dr. Strangelove's bomb

Bond's Aston Martin

Dundee's knife

Malkovich's door

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:11 PM  

Wilson the volleyball

By Blogger Hammer, at 7:55 AM  

Hey, Hammer, how about a poll to pick the best ones? I don't know how you're gonna pick the finalists, though. I nominate Kane's sled, the letters of transit, the horse's head, and Strangelove's bomb. False modesty prevents me from including several of the more brilliant ideas from my own posts.

And Jambo -- let's hear the rest of your list.

By Blogger Joseph, at 8:17 AM  

Here ya go, as promised, the rest of my list:

the ruby slippers
queen of diamonds in The Manchurian Candidate
paper animals in Blade Runner
Coke bottle from The Gods Must be Crazy
the rope in Rope
any MuGuffin
statute of Jesus in the opening of La Dolce Vita
Jack Nicholson's nose bandage
the yellow submarine
what ever the hell was in the trunk in Repo Man
the ear in Blue Velvet
the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg
and of course Team Zissou's red hats and Speedos

I think I'll wait a little while for any stragglers to post their suggestions and then pick the top 15 or so.

By Blogger Jambo, at 10:37 AM  

Oh, and there were two on my list that other people picked; the white t-bird in American Graffiti and the bomb at the end of Dr. Strangelove. I also tought about The Big Board as well.

By Blogger Jambo, at 12:20 PM  

One more:

the wire coat hanger from Mommie Dearest.

By Blogger mfox, at 4:19 PM  

Lists of film objects come up in discussions of "MacGuffins."

A plot device that motivates the characters and advance the story is known as a MacGuffin.

Usually, a MacGuffin is an object (Ruby Slippers; The Ring; Maltese Falcon, etc.)

By Blogger Doubting Castle, at 5:09 PM  

Interesting, E.T. I did not know MacGuffin was a word in such wide circulation. I had heard Hitchcock use the term and knew he had invented it but I did not know it was used outside the context of his own films. I thought that it only referred to objects unknown to the characters in the film. Ya learn something new every day. And in looking at the list you mentioned I was pleased to see it included the Repo Man trunk. Ruby slippers, letters of transit, the Pulp Fiction briefcase and the Maltese Falcon are also there.

By Blogger Jambo, at 6:08 PM  

Yes! The Coke bottle! That's a great one. I also had considered Nicholson's nose bandage, or Polanski's knife, just for the impact that scene has. One of the top wince-inducing moments I've ever seen. Nowadays, they'd probably film it from the opposite side, which wouldn't be nearly as memorable.

By Blogger Joseph, at 8:46 AM  

Gas in Blue Velvet
Fire in Quest for fire
Shute in Vision Quest

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:43 PM  

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