The Best Amtrak Movie Scene ///

Amtrak is only in a few movies:
Trading Places
The Italian Job
Breaking All The Rules
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

The best Amtrak scene is in Trading Spaces

Trading places train scene

The scene takes place mostly in an Amtrak cafe car. And just as in any cafe car you’re served a smorgasbord of Americana:
– an African
– Catholic Priest
– European Coed
– Bumbling unintentionally racist white American
– Pets (ie the monkeys)
– Inept Amtrak employees
– Drunk passengers
And, just like Amtrak as a whole, the scene is a beautiful developing cluster chaos. It’s just perfect!!

John Henry ///

The Legend of John Henry [HQ]

John Henry was a mighty man. He was inspired, he worked so hard, and it killed him.

Where is the modern John Henry? Where is the song about the guy who did most things right, attended 2 years college on debt, but finds himself a diabetic Walmart Associate? Does it ends on his suicide, the second leading cause of death for Americans 25-34[1]?

Why is a Disney re-creation of a 19th century folktale more true than so much of what we call non-fiction?

High Noon @ the Rochester Depot ///

A balding black man sits alone with a large roller bag.

Two women approach. The younger comes up behind him and slaps hard the back of his head. He turns and says nothing.

“You’re a disgrace. You’re an embarrassment to the family.”

The older woman has a phone on speaker and she juts it into the conversation. It squawks something. He mumbles something.

“Where’d you even get the money. You steal it?” says the younger woman.

He stares at the ground.

“Uh-huh. Don’t think I’ll let you back you in. You do this now. Don’t think I can forgive this.”

The phone talks more. He mumbles something more. The older woman walks away. The younger begins to leave, then pauses to look on him.

He says nothing.

She looks at the floor. She looks at him, says “you don’t even have a job,” and walks away.

Forty minutes pass.

A young man comes. They embrace, a male hug, fists to the back. The young man gives him money. They talk, shake hands. And part.

Another hour passes. He boards a westbound train.

1943 Computers ///

Before computers came in boxes, they were human, usually female. Here, some computers compute the day’s schedule in the Information Room of Chicago’s Union Station.