8 Movie Scenes that Shaped my Life

poppinsMary Poppins – 1964

Jane and Michael Banks leave their house with Bert and Mary. Michael slithers around the column in the front of their house.  That image is the genesis of my fascination with the intersection of architecture and play. It was directly responsible for my Master of Architecture thesis, Architecture that Affords Play.


oliverOliver! – 1968

Oliver stands on Mr. Brownlow’s porch and sings the refrain “who will buy this magical moment.” The vulnerable boy who finds a moment of peace is the image I conjure whenever I feel down.



cowboyMidnight Cowboy – 1969

Brenda Vaccaro taunts John Voigt when the hustler fails to deliver in bed and goads him into a sexual frenzy. The scene was my first awareness of human sexuality’s range and complexity.


CabaretCabaret – 1972

Liza Minnelli returns from the abortion doctor without her beloved fur coat. I realized how unsatisfying material objects are for our well being, yet how handy they can be in a fix.



gandhiGandi – 1982

The opening and closing shots of the film are Gandhi’s assassination.  The scenes reveal a truth of human nature – even a film about the twentieth century’s greatest pacifist depends on violence to sell. Was it necessary to show it twice?

heartPlaces in the Heart – 1984

The closing scene of family passing the communion plate in church moves from Sally Field to her family, and on to other characters, no longer alive. The scene is the most beautiful representation of life’s continuity.

fidelityHigh Fidelity – 2000

Rob (John Cusack) is connected and alive at the first concert he’s produced. Laura (Iben Hajele) says he’s finally participating in life, not just watching it. It doesn’t matter whether what we what we make in life is brings fortune or fame, it only matters that we are invested enough to create it.

lightsKeep the Lights On – 2012

Erik chases his crack-addicted lover Paul to a hotel suite. Paul calls Eric into the bedroom to hold his hand while a male prostitute penetrates him. The scene is incomprehensible at any rational level, which makes it a powerful statement to the extremes we will endure for love.


About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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