Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A 2012 Scene To Go Home With You

I always take time out to write an essay regarding my single favorite scene in a film from the past year. Ordinarily that essay is limited to simply the scene and, by extension, the movie itself. This year it exploded into a treatise on the scene and the movie, sure, but also on "Rocky", relationships and Bruce Springsteen. I hope you do not mind. I think you will see it all ties in. 

In feverishly reading Peter Ames Carlin’s aptly named Springsteen biography, “Bruce”, upon receiving it as a Christmas gift, one of the numerous bits of information that most caught my fancy involved the revelation that a Bruce ex-girlfriend named Diane Lozito provided the inspiration for “Rosalita”, my favorite Bruce song, among others. (As I have noted before, I have two dozen favorite Bruce songs but "Rosalita" is my FAVORITE Bruce song.) What most struck me about Ms. Lozito was the descriptions applied to her. Clarence Clemons: "Diane was such a ball of fire! She didn't take any shit from him, but she loved him and stayed with him." Bruce: "Oh, yeah. She was a real scrapper." A friend of both and former (brief) roommate of Lozito's: "I could only live with her for two weeks! She (was) crazy!" (No offense to Patti - honestly - but Diane is my new favorite Bruce girl.)

Bruce & Diane
Throughout "Silver Linings Playbook", David O. Russell's Philly cheesesteak screwball comedy, Bradley Cooper's protagonist Pat Solitano Jr., just released from a mental hospital, goes jogging in the streets in a sweatsuit and a garbage bag to speed up his sweating. Considering the setting, the jogging, the significant sports subplot, there are serious and sorta twisted echoes of "Rocky" throughout, though Pat is very much his own version of the Italian Stallion. Rocky Balboa boxed but he was a gentle soul, so much so that in his day job as a mob enforcer he could not bring himself to beat up the guy he is sent specifically to beat up. This is why Talia Shire (or: Adrian), so fragile she was always on the verge of being broken like Rocky's nose, was his perfect compliment, the perfect girl to be in the foxhole with him.

Seemingly every time Pat goes for a run, The Manic Depressive Dream Girl, the sister of his wife's friend, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), roars out of the alley beside her house in her own running attire and chases him down. This makes for several endearing, telling shots of Pat and Tiffany running single file, her trying to keep up with him, symbolizing the way in which Pat's bi-polar and fast-forward mind is always trying to outrun what is best for him. And Tiffany, despite her own wrenching instability, is what's best for him.

Pat & Tiffany
The best scene - maybe even better to call it a moment - is down time in the midst of one of these cat & mouse runs which finds Pat, as the film often finds him, shunning the untraditional advances of Tiffany by referencing his wife whose arms he still thinks he can wind up in despite the restraining order she has taken out against him. In his own weird way of showing he's the boss of himself, Pat hocks up a loogie and spits it out on the sidewalk right in front of Tiffany. Tiffany, without missing a beat, hocks up a loogie of her own and spits it out on the sidewalk right in front of Pat.

Of course, when I read about Bruce Springsteen & Diane Lozito, I instantly thought of Pat & Tiffany. Tiffany is crazy, a real scrapper, a ball of fire. She doesn't take any shit from Pat, but she loves him and she wants to be with him - which she indicates simultaneously with that loogie. It's their own spin on give and take (bullheaded and more bullheaded, crazy and crazier).

It's when we know they belong in the foxhole together.

3 comments:

Vancetastic said...

I did, indeed, see how it all ties in.

Nice idea for a post, and nice moment to choose. Nice. Nice. Once more for good measure: Nice.

Still your favorite of the year? And if you don't want to reveal that yet, when do you plan to post your top ten? Mine's going up next Thursday.

Nick Prigge said...

Give it away and spoil the suspense?! Never!

But yes. Yes, it is still my favorite. Though I will say a movie did end flying in from nowhere and very nearly usurping it. I really had to give it some thought. My list will be up next week, probably Monday. I wanted to wait to see "ZDR" before I officially made it even though a couple days time probably isn't enough to fairly process it.

Yours always goes up on Oscar nom day, right? I remember reading that post last week or whenever it was. The nom day just feels too sudden, too early in the year.

Vancetastic said...

It definitely feels too early this year, because it was moved up by nearly two weeks. But that's probably a good thing, because right on schedule, I'm already burning out. It's surprising how watching 30 films from the year 2012 in the month of December alone can do that to a person.