Thursday Movie Picks: Verbal Altercations

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is for all those times when a regular conversation just doesn't cut it. Sometimes we just need to shout and yell and say stupid things and freak people out to get our points across. We're talking about verbal altercations. There's no shortage of these, so I picked three very powerful fights and one bonus fight that always makes me laugh.

1) The Godfather Part II

Michael and Kay's fight at the end of this film is the final nail in Michael's "family man" coffin so to speak. He can become Vito on the business end, but he can't keep his family together. Pacino looked like he was about to explode during this scene.

2) Take Shelter

"There's a storm coming and none of you are prepared!" This is what Michael Shannon's Curtis chooses to yell at a club full of people after he's had just about enough of everyone assuming he's crazy for thinking a massive storm is coming. This should've been Shannon's Oscar clip, but it went completely unnoticed by the Academy.

3) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

This movie is essentially one long fight but as the altercations keep getting worse, the film gets better. The actors are just tremendous in this. 

BONUS: Step Brothers

There's a scene where Brennan (Will Ferrell) and Robert (Richard Jenkins) are yelling at each other on opposite ends of a staircase and Brennan calls Richard a "geriatric fuck" and I lose it every time. I don't know why that particular insult is so funny to me but I love it. 


  1. Great choices!

    I'm more of an admirer of the skill of the Godfather movies than an ardent fan but you can't deny either the quality of the first two or the excellence of the acting from all. That's a great scene.

    I stumbled across Take Shelter by chance and didn't expect much but it was a WOW. Michael Shannon is simply tremendous in it.

    As with the Godfather films I'm not a super fan of Virginia Woolf but have to admit that Liz and Dick tear the joint up and she earned that Oscar. It's an unpleasant film but very vivid.

    Step Brothers is the only one I haven't seen.

    I decided the easiest way to zero in on a set of verbal altercations was to do a theme within the theme using one performer. I turned to a master of the verbal tongue lashing-Miss Bette Davis! She was Oscar nominated for all three of these pictures.

    The Little Foxes (1941)-At the turn of the 20th century in the deep South the Hubbard brothers and their sister Regina Giddins (Bette Davis) are rapacious jackals whose love of money overrides all things. The brothers steal bonds from Regina’s husband Horace, a good man who abhors their avarice, behind his back for a business deal he refused. When Horace and Regina discover her brothers plan to replace the value of what was taken and keep any profits for themselves Regina wants them arrested and all the profits. But the gravely ill Horace tells her he intends to let them do as they planned as a payback to her for all her meanness through the years of their marriage. It does not go well. They tear into each other, she telling him he resents her because he knows he’s dying and begrudges her having what she wants after he’s gone, he telling her he sees her and her family for the succubi they are. She turns to him and with deadly malice and says “I hope you die…I hope you die soon…I’ll be WAITing for you to die.”

    The Star (1952)-Margaret Elliott (Bette) was once a big Oscar winning movie star but now she’s fallen on hard times and is working as a sales clerk in a department store. Recognized by two customers who disparage her behind her back Margaret confronts them in an epic takedown “Take a good look ladies so there’s no doubt! It IS Margaret Elliott and it IS a disgrace! Margaret Elliott waiting on a couple of old bags like you.” One of them tells her they’ll call the manager. “Call the manager” Margaret says “Call the president….call the fire department! I won’t be here. I’m going back where I belong! I AM Margaret Elliott and I intend to STAY Margaret Elliott!”

    Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)-Jane Hudson (Bette) and her sister Blanche (Joan Crawford) were once great stars. Jane as a child in vaudeville and Blanche later in films by which point Jane had become a troublesome drunken has-been. It all comes crashing down when Blanche is crippled in a mysterious accident and now the sisters, estranged and bitter reside in Blanche’s fading mansion locked in a miserable existence. Almost their every conversation is a verbal conflict but as Jane’s grip on reality becomes ever more tenuous things escalate and when Blanche tells her she wouldn’t be able to do the awful things she does if Blanche wasn’t in a wheelchair Jane screams “But ya are Blanche! Ya are in that chair!”

    1. I love Whatever Happened to Baby Jane! I have a few Betty Davis films saved on my 2021 Blind Spot list that's currently a WIP. I need to see more of her films.

    2. More Bette Davis is always worthwhile! The Little Foxes is an essential in her canon along with Dark Victory, Now, Voyager and Jezebel (I'm guessing you've already seen All About Eve as well as Baby Jane).

      The Star is a decent film but not one of her top flicks. It does have an interesting back story though.

      The married couple who wrote the script had been long time friends of Joan Crawford and she was apparently the basis for Margaret Elliott. That fact and another incident lead to the end of that friendship right around when the film was made. That other incident was that Crawford retaliated when the Eunsons (the authors) sent their 17-year-old daughter Joan Evans (who had been named after Crawford) to the actress in the hope that Crawford would talk her out of marrying a man they disapproved of. Instead, Joan arranged the wedding, held it in her house, and called the Eunsons afterward to tell them about it. Thereby cutting them out of own daughter's wedding!

      Even at this point there was friction between Bette Davis and Crawford so when Bette was offered the lead in the film she jumped at the chance.

    3. The level of petty between Joan and Bette is almost admirable at this point.

      Now, Voyager and Dark Victory are on my list!

  2. I wasn’t a fan of Step Brothers but that altercation was kinda funny. I completely forgot about that scene in The Godfather II.

  3. I don't know why bu the whole Godfather series is meh to me. Step Brothers is funny and that scene is hilarious.I have not seen Take Shelter but I now need to look it up. Virginia Wolf is a good film but an unpleasant one. Liz and Dick do chew up the scenery in a great way

    1. Take Shelter is SO GOOD! I think you'll like it.

      I'm meh on The Godfather Part III but I loved the other two.

  4. I still haven't seen Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as that does remain in my never-ending watch list of films.

    1. It's so good, definitely worth the wait once you get to it.

  5. Can I just say I'm thrilled ANY time "Take Shelter" is mentioned. It's such a superb film and quite underrated IMO.

    1. YES! How it got zero Oscar nominations is beyond me.

  6. I think I've seen Godfather 2 but can't remember...but Pacino usually does angry scary. And I want to see Take Shelter...I've heard it is good.

  7. Take Shelter is such a good pick! I haven't seen the other two... whoops. :D


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