Part I: Iconic Scenes That Say Plenty with Few Words
The Copacabana Scene in 'Goodfellas' and 'The Lost in Translation' Finale
First in series of famous scenes in which the visuals say it all...
'Goodfellas', Copacabana Long Shot
There may be too much dialogue here to qualify, but the words are pretty incidental and the visuals really make the point…
We all know the feeling. Going on a first date, you want to hit a home run. Goodfellas set in the 1960s, Henry Hill surely wasn’t the first to try to win over a girl by taking Karen to the Copacabana.
Pull up in the subway, Get in line? Not quite…
Let the exposition begin and Henry drops his first twenty. “He watches the car, it’s a lot easier than parking it,” Henry deflects.
The real world redirection underway, bypassing the line and having unfettered access has Karen all a sway. The human touch does a number on our pitter patter too.
Yes, Henry is respected and they love the Jacksons. But his easy way says that just because he's above the rank and file, the so called Union Delegate doesn’t put himself above it all.
What women isn’t looking for that and who knew passing through the bowels of a kitchen could be so romantic. The Copacabana, Henry's a friggin fixture inside the nerve center of the premiere night spot in the world.
“And then he kissed me.” The way Karen looks at him and follows his lead has all of us heading for home as the iconic song resonates innocence and hope.
The front row seat and flowing table cloth is just icing on the cake and the reality Karen easily deduces cannot compete with all the scene conveys. The love Henry wants to pursue is certainly true. But no matter the obvious drawbacks, Henry will take her places she could never dream and the ride will be with someone who will take care of her core needs. To be respected, loved and adored.
Where do we sign up?
'Lost in Translation'
While it’s not entirely clear what the last scene in Lost in Translation says, we have a pretty good idea and see the end just the same. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are clearly lost and trying to find themselves in a land that makes little sense is no help.
Years of putting his career first have made the funny man a stranger to his family, and yet another trip, has made him fully realize the distance. But bridging the gap is no easy journey—especially when his wife has become a complicit partner.
Scarlett has no easy ride either. Floundering with her Ivy League Education, she has pinned her hopes on a man who probably does Murray one better. He's happy to leave his wife as an ornament piece, while business allows him to upgrade his sexual/social life at every opportunity.
So the shared loneliness begins the duo’s translation but isn’t completed until the final scene. Experience in tow, the elder realizes the closure needed.
As such, Murray plays the dutiful father figure, and touching her hair in embrace, creates enough pause to somehow ease her pain. So of course, like any father, her gasp tells her that he has just the right words—even if we aren’t privy.
16 years later, full disclosure would be nice, but do we really need the words. The look on her face, crack her voice and the tears doing best to dry up says it all. Bill Murray has given her a way forward and his departing smile means he’s found a way for her to kick off her journey with a wink and a smile.
Still, he knows it won’t be that easy and doesn’t reveal his hand until taking refuge in the limo. But helping her heal has now begun his journey and maybe maintaining a watchful eye keeps him on the path.
After all, he is ready to eat up any scum around her, according the lyrics. No matter, we then rise above the distant land with Murray and fade to black as the melody soars.
Yes, there’s hope for us all.
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