You have been weighed and found wanting. Really? Show me.
June 19, 2008 10:05 AM   Subscribe

You have been weighed and found wanting. Really? Show me. I need an example in popular culture or film.

I'm looking for an example in film of the concept of the whole of someone's life being weighed, and they are found insufficient. I'm not talking about a single bad act being exposed, but the whole of a life being exposed, and seen as "light" - or simply not enough.

I'd love to find something that can be illustrated in a single scene, not an entire film... any ideas?
posted by rubberfish to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Defending Your Life probably has something like this, although I haven't seen it in a while.
posted by sharkfu at 10:09 AM on June 19, 2008

Spoiler alert *** The final scene of Dogville isn't really about what happens during the film, but about the worthlessness of the whole place.
posted by YouRebelScum at 10:14 AM on June 19, 2008

How about the scene in Dogma where the two exiled angels invade a board room, tell what terrible things the toy company executives have been doing, and massacre them all except for the one woman who has led a blameless life?
posted by JanetLand at 10:14 AM on June 19, 2008

Or are you thinking more along the lines of Death of a Salesman -- I know there's a "bad act" exposure scene, but in a larger sense the play is about how Willy Loman has worked hard all his life but didn't quite get anywhere because he didn't really understand his world.
posted by JanetLand at 10:18 AM on June 19, 2008

I think you could say those Nazis were being "judged" by the Arc in the first "Indiana Jones."
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:33 AM on June 19, 2008

Hmmm... super geeky, but Q weighs the worth of humanity in the first and last episodes of Star Trek TNG and finds them wanting until Picard gives yet another rousing diplomatic speech.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:37 AM on June 19, 2008

Theres an episode of Red Dwarf called 'The Inquisitor' which is pretty much all about that.

Each character has to justify their existence (they each get their own scene) but the judgments are given all together in a different scene. Though there is a scene at the beginning where The Inquisitor visits someone at night while they're in bed and he delivers his 'judgment', that might do you - depending on exactly what you're looking for.
posted by missmagenta at 10:40 AM on June 19, 2008

The Final Judgement of Beavis.

St. Peter: When you were four, you mutilated an action figure in a most disturbing manner.
Beavis: Oh yeah, heh heh, that was cool.
St. Peter: No... that sucked. Then, when you were five, you and your friend Butt-Head passed out chocolate laxatives in your kindergarten class.
Beavis: Yeah, that was really cool.
St. Peter: No, Beavis, that also sucked.
Beavis: What do you know, asswipe?
St. Peter: I know everything, buttmunch.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:42 AM on June 19, 2008 [4 favorites]

I'm not sure how perfectly it matches your criteria, but that exact line is used at the end of A Knight's Tale. And you get to see a very young Heath Ledger.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:48 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Sesame Street film mentioned above ties it into the whole Egyptian mythology about it. It describes it on the IMDB page, but Big Bird basically needs to save an Egyptian prince's soul. Lots of stuff about weighing less than feathers and similar.

(That film made a huge impression on me)
posted by Gnatcho at 10:51 AM on June 19, 2008

There's always the last episode of Seinfeld.
posted by washburn at 11:06 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

There was an episode of Red Dwarf on this theme called The Inquisitor. From the wiki page:

Starbug is taken under control by a being called The Inquisitor and returned to Red Dwarf. The Inquisitor is a self-repairing simulant who survived until the end of time and, coming to the conclusion that there is no God and no afterlife, decided that the only point of life was to live a worthwhile life. He is on a journey through time, seeking out the worthless and erasing them from existence, allowing a different person to exist in their place — the person who would have been conceived.

The whole thing (but with commentary over the top) is on YouTube [1,2,3].
posted by tomcooke at 11:17 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Does a relatively popular book count? There's a scene that goes into the whole Egyptian mythology in Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Something about your soul being one one side of the balance, and a feather on the other side, to decide whether you get into the good afterlife spot.
posted by vytae at 11:20 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

The dream sequence in Papillon, where he is judged to have lived a wasted life.
posted by Gary at 11:26 AM on June 19, 2008

2nding Defending Your Life. This scene and the bit that follows, which unfortunately is not included, is what I was thinking of.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:31 AM on June 19, 2008

This is not what you want in a literal sense, but metaphorically: "The Maltese Falcon"
posted by grumblebee at 11:33 AM on June 19, 2008

Also, I think this is sort of what "Amadeus" is about. But -- again -- it's not spelled out in a literal way. And it's more about a man weighing himself than a man being weighed by an outside force.
posted by grumblebee at 11:35 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
posted by cosmic osmo at 11:36 AM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh! Oh! Oh! "Barry Lyndon" is a pretty good example. [SPOILER] Barry spends the entire movie trying to make something of himself, moving gradually from being a country bumpkin to lord of a great estate. But in the end, he loses everything. The movie even puts a value on him, as one of the final shots is of his wife writing him a check. Some low amount that's now his allowance. And the end title-card reads...

"It was in the reign of George III
that the above-named personages
lived and quarreled; good or bad,
handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they
are all equal now."
posted by grumblebee at 11:39 AM on June 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'd say the Jason Robards character in Magnolia is weighed and found wanting just before his death.
posted by mattbucher at 11:45 AM on June 19, 2008

God forbid you should sit through the whole movie, but the end of the Quick and the Dead?
(Maybe not what you're looking for; but I couldn't sleep and Sharon Stone looks hawt in cowboy gear.)
In the final showdown gunfight duel, shots are exchanged between the good guy and the cruel and heartless villain. It's not clear who got who - until the villain looks down at his shadow and sees a sunbeam coming through the bullet hole where his heart should be. Then he keels over dead.
Get it? Heartless?
posted by bartleby at 11:52 AM on June 19, 2008

Office Space's courtroom scene:
[Scene Peter's room. He dreams that they're in court, with Rob as their

And now the sentence for these heinous crimes committed against Initech. I hereby sentence you, Michael Bolton and Samir a term of no less than four years in federal

Peter Gibbons, you've led a trite and meaningless life. And you're a very bad person.

The judge bangs the gavel and Peter wakes up.

posted by ewiar at 11:59 AM on June 19, 2008

How about On The Waterfront? You get the bonus of them actually talking about physical weight:

Charlie: Look, kid, I… How much you weigh, son? When you weighed 168 pounds,you were beautiful. You could have been another Billy Conn. And that skunk we got you for a manager. He brought you along too fast.

Terry: It wasn’t him, Charlie, it was you. Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and said, ‘Kid, this ain’t your night, we’re going for the price on Wilson.’ You remember that? ‘This ain’t your night.’ My night--I could have taken Wilson apart. So what happens he gets the title shot out doors in a ballpark. And what do I get? A one way ticket to palookaville. You was my brother, Charlie. You should have looked out for me a little bit. You should have taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn’t have them dives for the short end money.

Charlie: Well, I had some bets down for ya. You saw some money.

Terry: You don’t understand! I could have had class, I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody. Instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charlie…

posted by k8lin at 12:16 PM on June 19, 2008

There are several film version of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya," including (my favorites) "Country Life" and "Vanya on 42nd Street."

In the play, the title character says,

Oh, yes. I had an illuminating personality, which
illuminated no one. [A pause] I had an illuminating personality!
You couldn't say anything more biting. I am forty-seven years
old. Until last year I endeavoured, as you do now, to blind my
eyes by your pedantry to the truths of life. But now--Oh, if you
only knew! If you knew how I lie awake at night, heartsick and
angry, to think how stupidly I have wasted my time when I might
have been winning from life everything which my old age now
forbids. ... My life has been a failure. I am clever and brave and
strong. If I had lived a normal life I might have become another
Schopenhauer or Dostoieffski.

In then end, his niece Sonya "consoles" him by saying...

What can we do? We must live our lives. [A pause] Yes, we
shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live through the long
procession of days before us, and through the long evenings; we
shall patiently bear the trials that fate imposes on us; we shall
work for others without rest, both now and when we are old; and
when our last hour comes we shall meet it humbly, and there,
beyond the grave, we shall say that we have suffered and wept,
that our life was bitter, and God will have pity on us.
posted by grumblebee at 12:48 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking of a scene from "About a boy". Hugh Grant's character has just met Rachel Weisz's character and things are going well. Until she asks what he does for a living. His voice over reveals that he knows she'll lose interest as soon as she finds out what a layabout he is, and for the first time he regrets not doing more with his life. And sure enough, as soon as he tells her that he does "nothing" for a living, her smile freezes and she ends the conversation as quickly as possible.
posted by saffry at 2:20 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

How about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beureguarde, and Mike Teavee are all judged and found wanting.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:49 PM on June 19, 2008

Seconding missmagenta's Red Dwarf suggesting. It's short, and leaves no room for misinterpretation. Also, it's totally hilarious.
posted by joshers13 at 4:28 PM on June 21, 2008

"Defending your Life" with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep.
posted by Jezebella at 2:13 PM on June 22, 2008

« Older Travel - Make 'em learn without realizing it!   |   Can frequent periods of low blood sugar be a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.