Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Angels in America

Well, Nathaniel Rogers has selected one of the hardest films to pick a solitary shot from (at least from when I have been able to participate). Mike Nichols' Angels in America is not just large in scope, but it's also just a huge piece of art to select one image from. It's so beautiful and otherwordly and realistic and strange all at once. 

It also doesn't hurt that Nicols' has such great actors assembled, so it's tempting to choose a shot featuring Meryl Streep or Emma Thompson with her wings wide open (that orgasm scene is pretty nifty, if you ask me). I almost selected the image of Emma as the nurse with the halo of light over her head, but I thought it would be too on the nose. 

My favorite shot is kind of fleeting, and it comes from one of the favorite scenes in the entire opus. It goes back and forth from Prior and Louis to Joe and Harper. The scenes feel like they could lay on top of each other, because they are so similar. Louis and Joe announce to their partners that they are leaving them, and the drama unfolds. This is easily a favorite among college students who discover Angels during their first semester acting classes (I did the Joe/Harper dialogue my freshman year).

Prior is in his hospital bed when Louis tells him that Prior's AIDS diagnosis is too much for him to handle, and Prior demands to be left alone. Louis finally leaves when Prior starts screaming at the top of his lungs. His lips are chapped, he's weak, and his heartbreak literally fills the screen when Loius makes his exit. There are a lot of films that feature abandonment as a major theme, but this very brief shot lets us see the bastard slinking off through the hospital room doorway. Prior is left with his acid tongue and his grief, crappy hospital gruel and all. It's the beginning of a very surreal journey for him.

Hit Me with Your Best Shot is currently in its 6th season over at The Film Experience. If you'd like to check out all the past submissions you can do so here!


  1. UGH those two dual back-and-forth scenes (there's also one in Part Two) just SLAY me every time. Kushner is such a genius with words, and this cast, combined with Nichols's shooting and editing of the scenes, just makes the dialogue sing.

    I also love the shot of Louis at the end of the first hospital scene, out of focus at the end of the hallway.

  2. Isn't it horrible? It just destroys me every time I see it.