I was supposed to see something tonight, but everything seemed to suck and I wasn’t in the mood. Instead I am going to publish something I have been working on, my list of the best and worst Kurt Russell movies.
I got this idea while working on my the Thing review, and have been thinking about it. Kurt Russell has had quite the film career, and seems to waver between loser and super tough action guy. Personally I’m drawn to the action guy, but they are all good (or bad). Here we go with the best:
10. Stargate-not many people besides me remember that Kurt Russell was the original Col. Jack O’Niel. While this movie was kind of crap, it earns it’s slot on my list (albeit at the bottom) for spawning one of the greatest sci fi TV shows ever.
9. Dark Blue-Kurt plays a sort of corrupt but really dedicated cop who pushes things a little too far but then starts to question himself. I liked this one as it was a real arc for Kurt’s character, and did not have a pat happy ending. Also, Ving Rhames always makes me happy when I see him in a movie, and honestly he is a guy who has worked hard to not get typecast.
8. Escape from LA-OK, yes this was just a remake of Escape from NY, but any movie featuring a one eyed Snake Plisskin gets props in my book. Also, I was living in LA when this came out, and it was fun to see the parts of town I was hanging out in as a post-apocalyptic wasteland. This movie, as cheesy as it was, it did feature one of the best gun fights of all time, which ended with Snake uttering the word “Draw”.
7. Backdraft-odds are this movie should be ranked higher, as it was really well done and I like firefighters. Just not enough sci fi for me. However, in addition to being a great story, the pyro special effects were amazing, back in the day of no CGI. Ron Howard is an amazing director.
6. Soldier-I love this movie. I own it on DVD and watch it about once a year. I can’t even tell you why. It’s kind of dopey and super camp. I think I just like the idea of super soldiers trained from birth. Also, for a guy who is supposed to show no emotion Kurt manages to give you some pretty cool feelings from his performance.
5. Grindhouse-Death Proof-yes, while there are any number of issues you can have with Grindhouse, everyone will admit the best part (or least bad part) is Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike. I guess he just inhabits that role very well.
4. Tombstone-Another Kurt Russell I am good to watch about once a year. While it is weird to see Kurt, who normally plays an outlaw, play lawman Wyatt Earp, he really plays the part well. Of course, it was Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday who made the movie pop. The strange thing is I don’t think I ever really considered him as a serious actor until that role. Plus, this movie gets the award for the best Kurt Russell mustache of all time.
3. The Thing-weird shapechanging alien escapes the dreaded Norwegians and tears ass through an American antarctic research base. Kurt plays a helicopter pilot with the unlikely name of R.J. MacReady and kicks ass. I will take a serious look at any John Carpenter movie, and this one is a great example of why. Also, I love the creepy, ambiguous ending.
2. Escape from NY-the movie that introduced us to Snake Plisskin and the mission to rescue the President from the slums of Manhattan. Snake is such a good character and such an all around bad ass that you can’t help but love this movie. Also, it inspired a pizza place in San Francisco called Escape from New York Pizza, which does a decent NY style pizza. If you find yourself on Haight stop by and get a slice. If nothing else, the attitude of the kids behind the counter is hilarious.
1. Big Trouble in Little China-sigh. Words cannot accurately describe how much and in what ways I love this film. Action with an awesome sense of humor, this is another phenomenal John Carpenter movie. Kurt plays Jack Burton, an over the top truck driver who gets embroiled in a supernatural war between Chinese spiritual factions in Little China of San Francisco. Not only does he manage to pull the witty everyman off to a t, but he does it without resorting to being some kind of super powered action guy. Mostly he gets lucky, and is hilarious while doing it. If you haven’t seen it jump on board the cool boat with your Captain Dave. (Pork Chop Express image courtesy of the movie t shirt category). I would also like to add that this movie has some of my all time favorite quotes. Here are a few that stick with me in particular:
Jack Burton: “That is not water.”
Egg Shen: “It’s black blood of the earth.”
Jack: “Do you mean oil?”
Egg: “I mean black blood of the earth.”
Lo Pan: “Shut up, Mr. Burton! You were not brought upon this earth to get it!”
Of course, the funny thing about the career of Kurt Russell is he seems destined to do some god awful movies too. You can’t even say there is a progression, as in he did crappy movies when he was just starting out but now does only great ones. Six months after doing something awesome he comes out with a movie that makes you wish humans had never developed the sense of sight. Here, in my opinion, are the five worst movies he has ever done.
5. Posiedon- as a general rule I would say never get involved with anyone named Wolfgang, as in Wolfgang Peterson, the director of this 2006 bomb. For some reason they always sound creepy. It got a well deserved Golden Raspberry for Worst Remake. At the time it had really great CGI, and made a good amount of money, so I guess it’s not fair to call it a bomb. Culturally awful, however. Bad Titanic.
4. Tequila Sunrise-If you like complicated, labyrinthine plots that leave you wondering what the hell is going on, than maybe this isn’t the 4th worst film Kurt has done. On the other hand, if you like your stories to make some semblance of sense, than you should be with me on this. I think the best way to describe this plot is to take a love triangle and add about 14 more sides. Don’t try to follow the plot too closely or you will strain your brain.
3. Captain Ron-to give Kurt his due, I place more blame for the suckage of this family comedy in the lap of Martin Short. Of course, I have never found him charming or funny. Remember that anti-drunk driving commercial from the 70′s that was a kid playing with a toy car and the catch phrase was “a car is not a toy”? That’s how I see this movie. Kurt plays a great comedic action hero, but really should stay away from the actual comedies. It’s rare that you watch a movie and spend most of it hoping the boat sinks and all the characters die, but that is pretty much what I was hoping for.
2. 3000 Miles to Graceland-this movie, in addition to truly sucking, was a bitter disappointment for me. I am an Elvis fan, and when I heard it was about Elvis impersonators robbing a casino I thought it would be great. It also featured Courtney Cox, whom I have always had the hots for. However, the screenplay, acting, dialog, and action all really sucked. The movie really started to Hoover when 2/3rds of the way to freedom Ice T shows up as another action character for some of the dumbest sequences in cinema history. What he is doing in a movie about Elvis impersonators I don’t know, but he was so out of place what little credibility the movie still had at that point fell apart like a sand castle in front of a tsunami. I would also like to point out that this movie was one of the extremely rare times I got sick of violence. To say I have a high tolerance for violence in film or video games is a bit of an understatement, but this movie managed to fill my tank and spill all over the ground. I don’t know if it was the continuous violence that did it, or just the ridiculous nature of the violence, but after watching it I wanted to go home and watch Smurfs or something.
1. Tango and Cash-ironically, I had blocked this movie from my memory and it wasn’t even on my list when I started composing it, but while checking Kurt’s filmography came across it and the awfulness rushed back into my frontal cortex like a repressed memory of childhood molestation. Sly Stallone and Kurt play cops Tango and Cash, who are trying to nail crime lord Jack Palance in a terribly convoluted plot that looked, acted, and smelled like a garden maze made of excrement. The final action sequence with the off road vehicles didn’t so much as require me to suspend my disbelief as murder it and dump it in a quarry. There was also a really dumb prison break sequence, which is ironic given that the movie Sylvester had done before this one was Lock Up, a halfway decent prison break movie. It also featured Kurt Russell in drag in a scene that will make you want to drink a Drano martini. During the course of the film Kurt and Sylvester seemed to have entered a contest to see who could chew the most scenery, and by the end of the film the audience lost.
That’s my list. Thanks for reading, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. I think I am going to see the new Johnny English film later tonight, which I expect to kind of suck. Should be fun to review. Anyway, talk to you later.