3x3: favorite moments of compassion

Showing compassion often gets characters into trouble in movies, but not always. We discuss our favorite moments of compassion in movies at the 48-minute mark of the Qt3 Movie Podcast of Furious 6.

Kelly Wand
3. Goon
2. Babe

  1. Silent Running

Tom Chick
3. 28 Weeks Later
2. 21 Grams

  1. Upstream Color

3. Fail-Safe
2. Moon

  1. The Tree of Life

Now yours. What are your favorite moments when a character shows compassion, for good or for ill, in movies. Give us details! As usual we have some great listener submissions, and we encourage you to listen to the podcast for those as well as for the specifics on our picks. Also, hey, why not send us some of your own for the next topic? Email your picks to [email protected] and we will read them on the show. Actually, if you do it this week, you’ll get to hear Kelly Wand read your name on the air. Priceless.

Does “on the air” even mean anything anymore as a saying? Oh well, you know what I mean.

I loved that scene in that monster movie where the guy totally didn’t kill his buddy and/or girlfriend after they got turned and it turns out that yeah he really shouldn’t have not done that.

Unforgiven - “Give him a drink of water, goddammit! We ain’t gonna shoot!”
I’m always terrible at these, since I have very bad movie-memory, so I usually can only come up with a single entry that springs to mind unbidden when I hear the topic. To be honest, I’m a little fuzzy on the details of the movie (I was pretty young when I watched it, probably just after it came out.) But this scene barely even registers as being part of a single movie and is just emblematic of Westerns in general - I remembered the scene immediately, but had to think hard to remember just what the context was. In stories about the old west, water and the lack thereof is such a looming omnipresent part of the atmosphere. And as a deliberately iconic western, Unforgiven had to have an element of that in it. You can be a low down dirty son of a bitch, but even you don’t deserve to die thirsty.

I haven’t listened to the podcast, so this may well be a repeat, but my favorite occurs at the end of The Cabin in the Woods when Dana refuses to shoot Marty, thus dooming the entire world to destruction at the hands of the Ancient Ones.

Great pick, Wheeljack. That scene brings to mind to awesome sense of frontier compassion when Jeremy Renner’s character gets shot in Assassination of Jesse James (a.k.a. one of the movies that belongs on every 3x3). As he’s sprawled on the floor dying, the James sister Mary says to him something like “Well, I’d give you a drink of water, Hite, but you’d probably just choke on it”.

Spoiler? But I guess that’s gonna happen in a 3x3…


Yeah, total spoiler, but it’s been long enough since it was in theaters I didn’t think it would matter.

I might be confusing compassion and forgiveness, but the first thing I thought of was “Bad Lieutenant”

He was a very bad lieutenant

After spending the entire movie not really trying to catch the criminals, Harvey Keitel somehow catches up to them anyway – then forgives them, and lets them go. He is a very bad lieutenant.

Well, it may be spoiler, but she didn’t really choose to not shoot Marty. Marty actually chose to not warn her and she got “interrupted”. The real act of compassion that came to my mind was Marty sharing his joint with Dana at the end.

This is going to sound weird, but in Jaws when Hooper brings the wine and the Chief just pours and drinks. Even as a kid I realized, from Hooper’s reaction, that he wasn’t doing it right, pouring the wine that way. But Hooper is cool enough to let it slide cause man, the Chief had a hell of a day.

Does the pool scene in Let the Right One In count?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest - Chief helps McMurphy escape. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiOzfyliNzE]

Miller’s Crossing … look in your heart!

I really considered that for a time, and I love that you brought it up. I kept going back and forth on it. Is Tom actually being compassionate? Or is he holding back because of what Verna will do to him when she finds out? Which is what I first thought before I realized, yeah, he loves Leo most of all.

So sparing Bernie is really just part of his overarching scheme to protect Leo, isn’t it? And so doesn’t truly qualify as compassionate.

Still, I’m willing for you to talk me out of this.

God I love this movie.


“What heart?”

You’re probably right, it’s less compassion than it is uncertainty about what the fallout will be. And even if it is compassion, Tom certainly makes up for it later.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - holds fingers to lips Ssshh…

(And then a little scene involving a big guy, a scrawny guy, a gun and a glass table.)

  1. Schindler’s List - Ralph Fiennes forgives himself for briefly flirting with morality or, as he probably saw it, weakness. “I pardon you.”

  2. The Iron Giant - “You stay here. No following.” For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Robot Son, that whoever lived in the town of Rockwell shall not perish by atomic fire but have a few more decades of life.

  3. Sixteen Candles - Molly Ringwald lends Anthony Michael Hall her panties. Why would she do such a thing, the '80s equivalent of sexting? Compassion for the Geek, I guess.

  1. Peewee finally getting laid in Porky’s

I’ll talk you out of it. Tom saw more angles than anyone in the movie, so if he was being cold he would have whacked Bernie (eliminating a lot of problems that he would forsee) and just lied to Verna. But Tom wasn’t a killer. He didn’t see himself that way, he saw himself as the thinker, the consigliere that let the lesser mobsters do the dirty work. He probably had never killed anyone up to that time, so he let Bernie go thinking that he could work around it.

Later on, after everything that cascades from letting Bernie live and Bernie’s direct fucking-with and insult to Tom, he’s well over that hump, that pride in being the smart guy. He kills Bernie the same way a guy who lost his shirt walks past the 3-card Monte game the next time he sees it.

I did not think that was the implication of that at all. I think that Goeth there actually is questioning whether he can pardon himself, and the monster that he is. Much like the scene in the basement with his Jewish servant, he has “human” moments where he realizes the monstrosity of what he is and what he represents, but then loses that humanity again, like tears in the rain, and returns to being a monster.