Whelp. I knew this would happen. A few days ago, I did a post about the five best monologues in film history, and when I shared it to Twitter, I cautioned something like, “That feeling you get when you feel like you’re forgetting a favorite one.”
And I did!
I thought I had included it in my notes when doing research, but apparently I did not, and I forgot it. This one is also an unexpected choice, or would have been, if you had told me five years ago.
It’s the “King Kong” monologue from Denzel Washington playing Alonzo Harris in 2001’s Training Day.
The reason this selection would have surprised me five years ago is that Training Day is in that small category of films where the first time I watched it, I didn’t like it, and then years later (within the last year I believe), I re-watched it, and loved it.
Maybe I was too young when I first watched Training Day or maybe it was my longstanding dislike for whatever reason of Ethan Hawke, but that first viewing left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m a huge, huge Denzel fan (and this is the one he got an Oscar for!), but I still didn’t like it.
That re-watch, though. Loved it. Loved everything about it, and appreciated him winning the Oscar for this role, even though there’s a number of roles he should have won for in years prior. And part of loving it now is loving the “King Kong” speech.
What makes it so great is that this narcissistic, consumed-with-power character knows he’s been got, knows his time is up, but like the narcissistic power maniac he is, he has one last desperate gasp of defiance, and it’s played to perfection by Denzel. His words may say King Kong, but his eyes say scared. It’s great.
Check it out (warning: it’s rather profane):
Now, had I remembered this one at the time of compiling my list, I probably would swap out the Fight Club monologue for this one. Sorry, Brad.