3x3: favorite elevator scenes


#1

We discuss our favorite elevator scenes in movies at the 50-minute mark of the Qt3 Movie Podcast of A Good Day to Die Hard.

Dingus
3. RocknRolla
2. Three Days of the Condor

  1. Drive

Kelly Wand
3. Die Hard
2. Speed One

  1. Dark Star

Tom Chick
3. Being There
2. Aliens

  1. Drive

Listener picks to follow.


Blade Runner 2!?
#2

Our listener submissions for the elevator 3x3:

Paul Weimer
3. Total Recall
2. Spiderman 2

  1. Inception

Fredbo
3. Die Hard
2. North by Northwest

  1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

James Sherer
3. Being John Malkovich
2. The Secret of My Success

  1. The Cabin in the Woods

Trevor Carr
3. The Spy Who Loved Me
2. Star Wars: A New Hope

  1. Aliens

Orsson
3. Skyfall
2. Nick of Time

  1. True Lies

Sören Höglund
3. The Eye
2. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

  1. Drive

Jeff Sweet
3. The Silence of the Lambs
2. Drive

  1. The Cabin in the Woods

Tyler
3. The Blues Brothers
2. Speed

  1. Drive

Sinnick
3. The Hudsucker Proxy
2. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

  1. The Untouchables

[Podcaster’s note: Hat tip to Orsson for doing a themed list (you’ll have to listen to catch the theme if you can’t figure it out, unless he chooses to lay it out here). Also, a few of our listeners included more than three choices. Totally cool with us. We read them all on the podcast, but we’ll only post your top three here, so be sure to number them. Send as many as you want to [email protected]; the extras are easter eggs for those who listen! Finally, thanks for all the kind words about the podcast in your emails. We really appreciate it.]


#3

Nobody went for that weirdly out of place scene in Earthquake with the cheesy fake blood splatter on the camera?


#4

No Blues Brothers?


#5

This week’s topic got two points rattling through my head.

  1. I love a good elevator scene. For the reasons listed during the podcast, there’s nothing like the claustrophobic environment, set time limit, force meetings with strangers, and just overall weird nature of the instrument (you step in a small closet, the doors close, and when the doors open you’re suddenly somewhere else) can create a lot of great cinematic moments. Even mediocre movies can use the creepy nature for their benefit. One of the Final Destination movies actually has a frightening kill in an elevator in an otherwise terrible flick.
  2. I am terrible, just TERRIBLE, at remembering good elevator scenes. Not counting the Die Hard series, I could only think up elevator scenes that I hate (I’m glad no one picked Devil) until the last couple hours.

The Matrix- Uhh, it’s pretty when the elevator door is blown out by an explosion.
The Hot Rock- Back in the 1970s, even the light-hearted capers had Robert Redford and Zero Mostel doing awesome stuff. To get the location of the titular jewel out of grandioloquent shyster Zero Mostel, they throw his son and who was up to that moment fellow conspirator down an elevator shaft. Completely shocking and disturbing at the moment in what is after all, a light-hearted caper film. Only for us to find out they faked it and the guy was actually tied to a wire.
Big Trouble in Little China- The elevator is a great place for something completely unbelievable to happen. Like I mentioned, there’s something magical about it. In BTiLC, Jack Burton and Wang are in an elevator that starts flooding. Having to swim out of an elevator is probably the best exit from an elevator in a movie. Actually a couple of great elevator scenes in BTiLC, besides the one Tom mentions there is also one where Kim Cattrall says, “Are we going up or down? I can’t tell if we’re going up or down.” Which is a great elevator line even though it sort of gets lost in the fact all lines in Big Trouble are great.

I heartily recommend Dick Maas The Shaft mentioned in the podcast to all bad movie aficionados. Every 5 minutes of it will give you 20 minutes of discussion about the absolutely insane thing you just witness. What can you say about a movie who’s protagonist is an elevator repairman who collects juke boxes and is a Gulf War vet? Also, they give at least 5 separate reasons why the elevator is murdering people including a malicious dolphin brain controlling the elevator.


#6

This week’s topic got two points rattling through my head.

  1. I love a good elevator scene. For the reasons listed during the podcast, there’s nothing like the claustrophobic environment, set time limit, force meetings with strangers, and just overall weird nature of the instrument (you step in a small closet, the doors close, and when the doors open you’re suddenly somewhere else) can create a lot of great cinematic moments. Even mediocre movies can use the creepy nature for their benefit. One of the Final Destination movies actually has a frightening kill in an elevator in an otherwise terrible flick.
  2. I am terrible, just TERRIBLE, at remembering good elevator scenes. Not counting the Die Hard series, I could only think up elevator scenes that I hate (I’m glad no one picked Devil) until the last couple hours.

The Matrix- Uhh, it’s pretty when the elevator door is blown out by an explosion.
The Hot Rock- Back in the 1970s, even the light-hearted capers had Robert Redford and Zero Mostel doing awesome stuff. To get the location of the titular jewel out of grandioloquent shyster Zero Mostel, they throw his son and who was up to that moment fellow conspirator down an elevator shaft. Completely shocking and disturbing at the moment in what is after all, a light-hearted caper film. Only for us to find out they faked it and the guy was actually tied to a wire.
Big Trouble in Little China- The elevator is a great place for something completely unbelievable to happen. Like I mentioned, there’s something magical about it. In BTiLC, Jack Burton and Wang are in an elevator that starts flooding. Having to swim out of an elevator is probably the best exit from an elevator in a movie. Actually a couple of great elevator scenes in BTiLC, besides the one Tom mentions there is also one where Kim Cattrall says, “Are we going up or down? I can’t tell if we’re going up or down.” Which is a great elevator line even though it sort of gets lost in the fact all lines in Big Trouble are great.

I heartily recommend Dick Maas The Shaft mentioned in the podcast to all bad movie aficionados. Every 5 minutes of it will give you 20 minutes of discussion about the absolutely insane thing you just witness. What can you say about a movie who’s protagonist is an elevator repairman who collects juke boxes and is a Gulf War vet? Also, they give at least 5 separate reasons why the elevator is murdering people including a malicious dolphin brain controlling the elevator.


#7

Only if you don’t listen to the podcast!

-Tom

#8

Only if you don’t listen to the podcast.

-Tom

#9

Only if you don’t read the listener submissions or listen to the podcast.

-Tom

#10

This week’s topic got two points rattling through my head.

  1. I love a good elevator scene. For the reasons listed during the podcast, there’s nothing like the claustrophobic environment, set time limit, force meetings with strangers, and just overall weird nature of the instrument (you step in a small closet, the doors close, and when the doors open you’re suddenly somewhere else) can create a lot of great cinematic moments. Even mediocre movies can use the creepy nature for their benefit. One of the Final Destination movies actually has a frightening kill in an elevator in an otherwise terrible flick.
  2. I am terrible, just TERRIBLE, at remembering good elevator scenes. Not counting the Die Hard series, I could only think up elevator scenes that I hate (I’m glad no one picked Devil) until the last couple hours.

The Matrix- Uhh, it’s pretty when the elevator door is blown out by an explosion.
The Hot Rock- Back in the 1970s, even the light-hearted capers had Robert Redford and Zero Mostel doing awesome stuff. To get the location of the titular jewel out of grandioloquent shyster Zero Mostel, they throw his son and who was up to that moment fellow conspirator down an elevator shaft. Completely shocking and disturbing at the moment in what is after all, a light-hearted caper film. Only for us to find out they faked it and the guy was actually tied to a wire.
Big Trouble in Little China- The elevator is a great place for something completely unbelievable to happen. Like I mentioned, there’s something magical about it. In BTiLC, Jack Burton and Wang are in an elevator that starts flooding. Having to swim out of an elevator is probably the best exit from an elevator in a movie. Actually a couple of great elevator scenes in BTiLC, besides the one Tom mentions there is also one where Kim Cattrall says, “Are we going up or down? I can’t tell if we’re going up or down.” Which is a great elevator line even though it sort of gets lost in the fact all lines in Big Trouble are great.

I heartily recommend Dick Maas The Shaft mentioned in the podcast to all bad movie aficionados. Every 5 minutes of it will give you 20 minutes of discussion about the absolutely insane thing you just witness. What can you say about a movie who’s protagonist is an elevator repairman who collects juke boxes and is a Gulf War vet? Also, they give at least 5 separate reasons why the elevator is murdering people including a malicious dolphin brain controlling the elevator.


#11

This week’s topic got two points rattling through my head.

  1. I love a good elevator scene. For the reasons listed during the podcast, there’s nothing like the claustrophobic environment, set time limit, force meetings with strangers, and just overall weird nature of the instrument (you step in a small closet, the doors close, and when the doors open you’re suddenly somewhere else) can create a lot of great cinematic moments. Even mediocre movies can use the creepy nature for their benefit. One of the Final Destination movies actually has a frightening kill in an elevator in an otherwise terrible flick.
  2. I am terrible, just TERRIBLE, at remembering good elevator scenes. Not counting the Die Hard series, I could only think up elevator scenes that I hate (I’m glad no one picked Devil) until the last couple hours.

The Matrix- Uhh, it’s pretty when the elevator door is blown out by an explosion.
The Hot Rock- Back in the 1970s, even the light-hearted capers had Robert Redford and Zero Mostel doing awesome stuff. To get the location of the titular jewel out of grandioloquent shyster Zero Mostel, they throw his son and who was up to that moment fellow conspirator down an elevator shaft. Completely shocking and disturbing at the moment in what is after all, a light-hearted caper film. Only for us to find out they faked it and the guy was actually tied to a wire.
Big Trouble in Little China- The elevator is a great place for something completely unbelievable to happen. Like I mentioned, there’s something magical about it. In BTiLC, Jack Burton and Wang are in an elevator that starts flooding. Having to swim out of an elevator is probably the best exit from an elevator in a movie. Actually a couple of great elevator scenes in BTiLC, besides the one Tom mentions there is also one where Kim Cattrall says, “Are we going up or down? I can’t tell if we’re going up or down.” Which is a great elevator line even though it sort of gets lost in the fact all lines in Big Trouble are great.

I heartily recommend Dick Maas The Shaft mentioned in the podcast to all bad movie aficionados. Every 5 minutes of it will give you 20 minutes of discussion about the absolutely insane thing you just witness. What can you say about a movie who’s protagonist is an elevator repairman who collects juke boxes and is a Gulf War vet? Also, they give at least 5 separate reasons why the elevator is murdering people including a malicious dolphin brain controlling the elevator.


#12

I think the 3x3 turned into a 4x4 when the forum got upgraded!

I’ve always been a fan of the elevator scene in Ocean’s 11, especially since it’s the most thrilling part of the heist.

Depending on what we count as elevators, Cabin in the Woods provides an excellent tour of things to come when the elevator hits the lobby.

But the elevator scene in The Secret in Their Eyes takes the cake for me. So much tension!


#13

Die Hard With a Vengeance - I love the set up for this scene. McClane, looking beat up and disheveled, gets into an elevator with what we know to be a bunch of Simon Gruber’s thugs. Just before he steps in, the leader of the group uses the word “lift” and unknowingly blows his cover as an American security guard. Additionally, McClane notices that one of the disguised terrorists happens to be wearing the police badge of his buddy; a plot point given to the audience way back in the beginning of the movie! We know something awesome is going to go down in the elevator and we get a few seconds of build up before McClane goes nuts.


#14
  1. Dressed to Kill

  2. The Silence of the Lambs

  3. The Departed


#15
  1. The surprising death in Infernal Affairs/ The Departed

  2. Guy Pearce earns the nickname Shotgun Ed in L.A. Confidential

  3. Kobayashi the Postlethwaitian lawyer gets shanghaied by The Usual Suspects

Honorable Mentions: The Overlook Hotel finds out it’s not pregnant in The Shining, John Malkovich tries to keep away from Clint Eastwood in In The Line Of Fire at that famous L.A. Hotel, and Arnie and Linda Hamilton flee the mental hospital in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

I don’t know why these are all violent scenes in the elevator. I can’t think of any peaceful elevator scenes except maybe that episode of Night Court where Markie Post gives birth. There’s even simulated violence in the cell-phone gunfight as Robin Williams waits for the elevator in Hook. There’s just something about elevators that makes people want to kill.


#16

Caught!


#17

My favorite Big Trouble in Little China elevator scene is the one where they take the magic Chinese potion to prep for the impending showdown. They’re all just smiling and starting to feel good as the elevator descends.


#18

I’m guessing these were already mentioned in the podcast I also didn’t listen to :P

Liar Liar - The quick plaintive glance Jim Carrey gives the brunette as he’s making the sucking face just before she belts him is the little nugget of icing on that scene.

True Romance - Bronson Pinchot saves the moment by completely folding. The cops pointlessly screaming at him from their hideout is great.


#19
  1. Willy Wonka? Because it flew
  2. Untouchables Didn’t the little accountant guy get blasted away in one?
  3. Mission Impossible Estevez gets killed riding on top of one. Always thought it was strange.

*oops, my brain is a little fried today, I, for whatever reason, wasn’t thinking favorite scenes. My favorite scenes have already been mentioned although the elevator scene in Willy Wonka is a top favorite, so I guess that one counts. My other favorites have already been mentioned.


#20

Hey, there are plenty of peaceful elevator scenes, mentioned on the podcast and in this thread! Being There, Big Trouble in Little China, North by Northwest, Being John Malkovich, Blues Brothers, and Hudsucker Proxy, for instance. Which reminds me of another great elevator scene in Barton Fink with the elevator operator, one of the distinct fixtures of the Hotel Earle.

Barton Fink: Have you read the Bible, Pete?
Pete, the Elevator Operation: The Holy Bible?
Barton Fink: Yeah.
Pete, the Elevator Operator: Yeah, I think so. Anyway, I’ve heard of it.

I love that scene.

I like that you brought up the violence is elevators, though. I think it has to do with how elevators break the rules about personal space, about how you behave, and about how you just have to stand there and wait. It’s not like a subway or bus where you can sit down and read. Elevators are basically social pressure cookers.

-Tom

EDIT: Here’s the Barton Fink scene in Italian!