For those who are not familiar with the concept of F*@% Yeah, I invite you to turn your attention here. It’s a simple enough idea: a F*@% Yeah moment is something in a work of art that stuns you with its total coolness and wrenches the phrase “F*@% Yeah!” (or its equivelant) from your lips. Previously we’ve just discussed F*@% Yeah through the lens of the comic book, and we shall do so again, but for now let’s discuss the phenomenon as experienced through the magic of film.
Please note that this is not a comprehensive list – I’ve left out some of the more obvious F*@% Yeah moments that might immediately spring to mind, like the sword vs gun scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, for example. Everybody knows that one. Hopefully I’ll have picked some of the lesser known F*@% Yeah moments, but we’ll start with what I would hope any geek would agree with.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
I’m going to just lay this on the table, and you may mock me if you will: The Wrath of Khan is one of my favorite movies. Ever. It kicks ass on so many levels. Even my wife likes it. This was one of the most transformative movie experiences in Young Dave’s life – I was so excited when I first saw it that I skipped school and saw it again the next day. My love for this flawed masterpiece knows no bounds. It’s got everything you want in a movie – revenge, sacrifice, friendship, cunning ploys, space battles, mind controlling ear worms, massive reversals of fortune, and valor. Lots of valor. This movie has like, FIVE F*@% Yeah moments, but I’ll just pick one:
The famous communicator scene between the revenge crazed Khan (Ricardo Montalban) and his quarry Captain Kirk (The Shatner) needs no introduction, but introduce it I will. The madman Khan thinks he has won: he’s hijacked the all-powerful Genesis torpedo and stranded Kirk and company inside a presumably lifeless planetoid –Kirk tries to goad Khan into beaming down and facing him, but to no avail.
Khan says, “I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her: marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet, buried alive. Buried aliiiive…”
All of Kirk’s frustration and rage bubbles up in the greatest scenery-chewing moment in The Shatner’s fabled career, as he screams into the communicator: “Khaaan!” His cry seemingly echoes through the planetoid and out into space while gooesebumps crawl up your arms.
Man, I loved that. It’s so operatic, so epic, so… so right.
My Favorite Year (1982)
A light comedy starring Peter O’Toole and that guy from Perfect Strangers, My Favorite Year is about a young production assistant named Benjy Stone who works on a comedy show loosely based on Sid Caeser’s Your Show of Shows, tasked with babysitting a drunken cinema idol (O’Toole) and making sure that he shows up for rehearsals and the show on time and sober. Set during the age of live television, My Favorite Year is a valentine to a bygone era, full of sweet humor and anchored by a fantastic performance by O’Toole as the aging lothario Alan Swann, who is clearly based on Errol Flynn.
SPOILER ALERT! I may ruin the end of the movie for you, so beware.
The climax comes on the night of the live show, when a bunch of mob thugs visit King Kaiser (Joeseph Bologna), the show’s hot-tempered star, to punish him for mocking their boss on TV. Simultaneously, Swann realizes that the show is - gasp! – actually live, and he freaks out five minutes before curtain and heads for his limo and a stiff drink. Benjy gets in a furious argument with his idol, and all seems lost. The curtain raises on Kaiser getting worked over by the thugs -
- and then the spotlights and cameras swivel up to the balcony. Alan Swann, in musketeer garb for a sketch, swings down over the audience and comes to Kaiser’s rescue, thrashing the thugs. The audience thinks it’s all part of the show and gives Swann a thunderous standing ovation.
The movie ends on that scene, that last moment of glory for a fading star.
I swear, I’m getting misty just typing this. My Favourite Year rules, and it’s due in no small part to O’Toole’s spot-on Oscar-nominated performance and this triumphant, wonderful ending.
Willem DaFoe, can I get a F*@% Yeah?
Let's do more tomorrow!