Spoilers — Memorable Moments

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Freedom .

Vicki Hinze and I have been talking about her upcoming book, Her Perfect Life, which is destined to be a movie. It’s about a female POW who returns home to her perfect life and finds it isn’t there anymore. I’ve been there with Vicki through the book’s conception, through its writing, and now through copyedits, and no matter how many times she tells me about a certain couple of scenes, I’ll still find myself tearing up. The book is just that powerful, and certain moments stick with me and won’t let go.

The same is true, I realize, in a myriad of other books, movies, and TV shows. Just little things that have a big impact on me, and—I suppose—show me for the romantic I am.

CAUTION – SPOILERS BELOW

Under a Tuscan Sun – An Italian woman tells Frances (Diane Lane) that she loved ladybugs as a girl but could never find them. Then she’d fall asleep in the grass and wake later, covered with ladybugs. She tells Frances, who’s obsessing over finding romance with a new man, to go work on her house—on her own life—and maybe she’ll wake covered in ladybugs, too. To me, it’s really special to discover someone interesting in your own back yard vs to hit the bars and night clubs to find someone, anyone. It’s like letting the Universe deliver someone personally because the Gods are so much better at picking out a partner for us than we are.

Titanic – Despite its cheesy dialogue, my absolute favorite moment is when Rose (Kate Winslet) is an old woman in the present and the audience sees her nightstand. She never had a photo of Jack (Leonardo di Caprio), but she has photos of herself doing all the things that made her feel alive, of all the things that made every moment “count.”

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Besides the fact that I like sword play—a lot—I loved the sense of honor and integrity in this movie. The two master warriors, played by Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh, are clearly in love with each other and deeply devoted, yet for them to express their feelings for the other and to act on them would a thing of great dishonor. And they care too deeply for the other to dishonor a soulmate. In real life, it really sucks, but in the movies, it’s incredibly romantic and beautiful.Flying By Night novel

Gattaca – Vincent (Ethan Hawke) is genetically inferior to his younger brother. With a defective heart and a supposedly weaker will, he still managed to outswim his athletically superior brother at a crucial moment in their history. How? Because he never saved anything for the swim back to shore. He gave it everything he had to get as far as he could.

Highlander – An oldie but a goodie. The moment that still brings tears is when the immortal and un-aging Highlander chooses to stay with his very mortal beloved. She grows old while he never changes, and when she dies an old woman, he buries her and mourns her, all the while looking just as good as the day she met him. Ah…wow. What woman wouldn’t love a guy like that?

Serenity – The idea of aerosolized anti-depressants (my interpretation) being pumped into the breathing air of a population to make them less aggressive and how they lost their will to do anything—work, breed, even stand up. Makes me want to open a window at work.

The Butterfly Effect – Though the protagonist can change the future by making tiny changes to milestone events in his life, the only way to make life good for the woman he loves is to take himself out of her life. His sacrifice isn’t in vain though…they’re obviously destined to find each other again.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Joss Whedon’s writing has yielded so many memorable scenes. My favorite episode is “The Body,” where Buffy’s mother dies and Whedon yanks on every possible emotion a person can feel in the aftermath of a close, personal death. But one of my favorite moments in the entire series is when Spike tells Buffy, not realizing it’s Buffy, that he nearly let the demi-god Glory kill him—and would have, too—rather than betray Buffy’s secrets. He may have been a flawed boy who’d done his share of evil, but his love for her was his redemption.

The Doomsday Book – Connie Willis’ dual-plotted time travel is still one of my favorite books, ever. I enjoyed the history, the mystery, and the futuristic touches, but what touched me most was the moment I realized, as a reader, that the dying priest had known who she was all along and had loved her from the moment he saw her.

War of the Worlds – When Tom Cruise’s character finally grows up, he does what he must to protect his daughter, including killing a man in cold blood. I’m not fond of Cruise as an actor, unless he’s playing burned out and emotionless scum like in “The Last Samurai,” but I liked the deepening of his character and the grittiness of that moment.

The Last of the Mohicans – Daniel Day Lewis’ character tells his lover to stay alive and he will find her. This isn’t a light and fluffy thing to say. It’s a promise tinged with the expectation of horrors to come but with the hope that they will be together again.

The Terminator – An all-time favorite movie of mine, but then, I love-love-love time travels and I don’t really care if there’s a paradox as long as the story is compelling. When Kyle Reese says to Sarah Connor that he came across time for her, my heart melts. It’s the same principle as in the old “Take on Me” music video by Ah-Ha where the guy struggles and bursts through the comic strip frame to be with the girl. It’s the quintessential romantic hero—the guy who breaks through unbreakable barriers to be with the woman he loves.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – I liked this episode but not as much as Raiders of the Lost Ark, yet there’s a moment that haunts me, in a good way. Indiana Jones takes a leap of faith. He looks across the chasm and knows he’ll fall, yet takes a step anyway and finds his feet firmly planted on a very real bridge that looked in an optical illusion like certain death.

I hope I can put as many memorable moments into my own books.