I’m on holiday in Wales at the moment, and whilst I’d like to do my Top 5 Welsh movies or Movies Set In Wales, I’m afraid I couldn’t come up with very many for either category. Instead I thought I’d try and be funny and do my Top 5 Movie Whales, but I’ve only seen four films with whales in (4. Pinocchio, 3. Finding Nemo, 2. Free Willy, 1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) and I haven’t seen any others (including Moby Dick, Whale Rider, Big Miracle and Star Trek VI: The Voyage Home). So instead I’ve decided to focus on Wales’ biggest export, rain, and I’m celebrating those scenes made all the better because of a downpour. I’ve chosen not to include any John Cusack films on the list purely because he gets caught in the rain in every damn one of them, so if I ever get stuck for a list in the future, Top 5 John Cusack In The Rain Scenes may well crop up.
A romantic scene in which the rain serves a purpose – it helps symbolise Kirsten Dunst’s soaked MJ as being weak and in need of rescue from the thugs mugging her – has become one of the most memorable scenes from the Spiderman movies. Yes, Dunst’s nose seems to be having some difficulty navigating it’s way around Tobery Maguire’s chin as she kisses him in an upside-down position, but it’s still undeniably romantic, as rain drops flows down his face and then onto hers. Wow, I wrote all that without mentioning Dunst’s nipples.
4. Raising Arizona
From deep in a muddy field a screaming, muck-covered John Goodman emerges, wailing and hollering as he claws his way from the wet brown goop, dragging William Forsythe with him as the two successfully escape from prison. This scene from the Coen brothers has no dialogue except the eardrum popping yelling of the two fleeing convicts, their screams all but drowned out by the torrential downpour relentlessly beating down upon them.
3. Jurassic Park
Yep, I’ve managed to get Jurassic Park on another Top 5 list. It’s possibly the most memorable scene in a film with nothing but them, as the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex attacks the cars containing Grant, Gennaro, Malcolm and the kids amidst the storm Nedry is using as cover to escape the island. The effects are so good that, even though it was made almost 20 years ago, you can’t tell when the rain is bouncing off a dinosaur that isn’t really there. It’s all about the ripples in the puddles, the Rex striding out of it’s paddock and letting out that nightmare inducing roar. Nedry’s problematic encounter with a dilophosaurus was also a contender, but lost out because it has neither a T-Rex nor Jeff Goldblum in it.
2. The Shawshank Redemption
Spoiler, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) escapes from Shawshank Prison. Is that really a spoiler any more? The DVD I have has a picture of this scene on the cover, and I’ve seen a DVD menu screen where Dufresne climbing from the sewer pipe is one of the scenes it scrolls through. Don’t you hate that? The DVD title menu for Open Range has one of the best bits as the opening moment (Robert Duvall with a shotgun, that’s all I’m gonna say). Anyway, I’m guessing that after twenty years of wrongful imprisonment, Dufresne didn’t care one jot that it was pissing it down when he escaped. Hell, I bet that rain felt like the sweetest thing in the world.
A nontraditional choice this, but the finale’s amphibian shower is so out of the blue that its always been a particular favourite of mine. You have to feel sorry for William H. Macy’s former quiz champ Donnie Smith, who takes a falling frog square in the face as he’s climbing up a ladder, and probably ends up missing a few teeth thanks to the solid tarmac he plummets towards. It’s this scene that ties Paul Thomas Anderson’s multi-stranded drama together, leaving the many varied characters stuck in assorted situations with one another, within which they can find resolution, or not. It’s so wonderfully random, yet plausible thanks to the opening narrative, and leaves you in a state of “Wait, what’s happening?” shock.
Bambi– April showers
Forrest Gump – Types of rain
Road to Perdition – Rooney’s demise
The Matrix Revolutions – Neo Vs. Smith
Antz – Trapped in a raindrop
Se7en/Hard Rain/Blade Runner/Glengarry Glen Ross/Unforgiven/Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs – The whole film
Singin’ in the Rain – It’s probably an offence for me to write a film blog yet I’ve never seen this film (it’s on the List, I’ll get to it don’t worry), but I’m sure once I do there’ll be a scene I currently know nothing about that thoroughly deserves a position on this list.
And the worst…
Four Weddings and a Funeral & The Notebook
For the first time ever we have a tie for the worst place. One is a film I enjoy, the other a film I detest (you can probably work out which is which). For many years screenwriters have been under the impression that rain automatically makes a scene more romantic, so much so that a couple having an argument culminating in a kiss during a storm has become a cliche. If I was outside having an argument whilst it was raining, I’m pretty sure I’d say something along the lines of “Hold on, let’s find some shelter” before carrying on. Many films are guilty of it,
some of which I avidly like (Chasing Amy), but none do it worse than these two. Four Weddings deserves to be here purely for the line “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed,” a line so cringeworthy it all but ruins the entirely wonderful script before it. When Andie MacDowell’s Carrie simpers the line to Hugh Grant’s Charles I want to drown her even more than I normally do. And I’ve been waiting for the chance to put The Notebook in the worst position on any list for a while now, so I jumped at the chance for this one. When Ryan Gosling’s Noah and Rachel McAdams’ Allie get caught in the rain whilst out on a boat, they find it so funny, because isn’t it hilarious when it starts raining? It’s enough to split your sides! I thought for a while that they were going to justifiably have a tiff in the rain, as when you’re out on a lake there’s not really anywhere you can go for cover, but it’s not until they’re back on dock, with Annie scampering off to find some shelter, that she turns around to confront Noah as to why he never wrote her any letters. I don’t care if you’ve been repressing the feelings of love for seven years, wait until you’re bloody inside before having this discussion. It’s quite clearly a case of the director or writer wanting to get the typical kiss-in-the-rain shot.