STARGATE (Unrated Extended Cut, 1994)Compared with Roland Emmerich's most recent world-ending spectacles ("2012," "Anonymous," etc.) this one feels almost quaint and introspective by comparison. I'll take the visible wires in the flying alien crafts and cast-of-thousands desert scenes (which shine on Blu-ray) over slick CGI mammoths or killer cold waves any time as long as the popcorn adventure remains anchored on human foils like James Spader's quirky scientist and Kurt Russell's no-nonsense military man. Russell's cast-against-type Col. O'Neil (way darker and heroic than R.D. Anderson's cartoony take on the role in the TV series) is basically a conflicted straight-man military asshole, but that's a nice counter-balance to Spader's (and Emmerich/Devlin's scripted) wacky summer blockbuster schtick. And holy crap, I never realized that was French Stewart as comic relief military guy and a pre-"Amistad" Djimon Hounsou as one of Ra's staff-shooting henchmen.
Sky High / Big Trouble In Little ChinaUh...just see these movies. In honor of BTILC, I'm going "double or nothin' Jack".Sky High. KURT. RUSSELL. GETS. IT. He knows what's up, and he is KILLIN' IT. (excuse the uppercasing and staccato punctuation, KR just has that effect on me.) BTILC. I saw this movie WAY TOO early in my life. (Spoiler? Body count, as confirmed by IMDB, is 46) K-Russ is the man! I'll end with this...Chris Farley: Do you remember that time in Sky High, when you opened the drawer of phones, and kept breaking them?K-Russ: yupChris Farley: Were you really doing that?K-Russ: Well, they were props, but, yes. Chris Farley: THAT'S AWESOME!!!
I love Sky High. It was one of those movies that I had NO interest in seeing (I think the marketing was kind of terrible, if memory serves), then went in to see it with Erika on a whim because the timing worked out or something. It's GREAT, and K-Russ (nice naming) kicks dick.
I bought both the BD's of "Sky High" and "Stargate: 15th Anniversary Edition" recently, so I knew one of the two would be my Russell flick for the month-long fest. I literally flipped a coint to decide which one to see and "Stargate" won. :-(
It's a win/win.
Tequila Sunrise (1988)I had watched this on TV Guide Network about a month ago and I actually really enjoyed it. In the movie, Russell plays a Miami cop with Mel Gibson as his drug dealing friend and Michelle Pfeiffer as the object of their affections. Also has Raul Julia and J.T. Walsh in supporting roles. Was written and directed by Robert Towne (Oscar winner for "Chinatown") and I considered the film to be the one of the most underrated pics from the three leads, yet I actually had a blast seeing it for the first time.
Vanilla Sky(2001)Kurt Russell gives a solid supporting turn in Cameron Crowe's attempt to make a David Lynch film. Tom Cruise takes what should of been a perfect role and is wildly inconsistent, subtle in one scene and overacting in another. It doesn't help that Penelope Cruz and him have little chemistry. I also think the movie has waaay too much going on and is bloated as a result. However, it is a beautiful-looking movie and I was genuinely moved at the end. An ambitious and devisive failure but one that should be rented.
YES to all of this. I don't know if you've had a chance to listen to our podcast on the movie, but Alex and I did a show on it and I think we come to pretty much the exact same conclusion. The movie is a mess, but there's a lot in it to like.
I will check it out!
Death Proof (2007)I was one of the very few who saw 'Grindhouse' in the theater, and I will never forget the collective feeling of the audience. After the slam-bam of 'Planet Terror', the racuous fun of the trailers, and the first ten minutes of this very movie there was...the rest of this movie. The theater got very quiet, except for the occasional "Is anything going to happen?"; a few people called it a day and got up and went home, and those who stayed collectively wished they hadn't when the movie ended.After watching it again today with no lead-in, my feelings are the same. This is a boring, disjointed, badly acted film, and Kurt Russell does not rise above it. Avoid at all costs.
I'll disagree with you on Death Proof; I love it, and I think a lot of the things you're singling out as detriments are deliberate choices (which doesn't make them work for you any better, I know). I also love Kurt Russell in it. I think Stuntman Mike is such an interesting, unique villain, and such a funny critique of movie masculinity.I totally get not liking it, but just wanted to chime in with a different opinion in case someone was on the fence about seeing it. Doug and I did a whole podcast on Grindhouse in the early days of FTM, in which we both gushed about the whole thing. You may want to avoid that one, Fritz.Thanks for participating, too! I believe you're one of the few who has hit every day -- amIright?
Actually FritzFassbender has only contributed to six of the nine days of the month so far, while I've contributed to eight of the nine days (missed Jimmy Stewart). But thanks for noticing Fritz's contributions and thinking he's been here every day. :-(
Actually chief, you're the only one that has posted in every day of the month so far (ShannonB. is tied with me at eight); therefore you rule! :-)
Not every day, but most. It's been a lot of fun.To be fair to 'Death Proof', it most definetely reflects a very particulary kind of 'women being endangered and conquering' type of movie that was seen in that era and even into the early 80's.I think what the movie gets wrong is that it's so concerned about emulating those films that it forgets that most of them wern't very watchable. So instead of pumping it up to make it entertaining, like 'Planet Terror', it just lays flat.
I'm glad!I totally agree that Robert Rodriguez made a kind of "greatest hits" version of an exploitation movie that plays almost like a parody, while Tarantino went out of his way to make an actual exploitation movie. For me, though, his movie has more substance (even the long, "boring" dialogue scenes are about something) and the last third makes up for any shortcomings that came before it. So much of what I love about Grindhouse as a whole is the way that the movies work together in very different ways.
Two words: Zoe Bell. :)
The byplay between Bell and Traci Thoms in Death Proof is hilarious, and a perfect lead-in to the nail-biting conclusion.How can anyone not like this movie?
Sorry. I don't know art, but I know what I like.
The Mean Season (1985)Russell stars as a newspaper reporter who becomes an unexpected celebrity when a serial killer contacts him. For a while, the film seems to have bigger things on its mind. But it eventually turns into a standard-issue thriller with the usual elements (the talking killer, etc.). Russell is terrific throughout. Good location photography (filmed in South Florida), and there's a nice music score by Lalo Schifrin.
The Mean SeasonMe too! It was a weird mix of classic '40s storytelling with generic '80s sleaze. One of those movies where every scene is punctuated by a newspaper headline, and the paper only reports on this one case. My favorite? (SPOILERS): "Reporter's Girlfriend Kidnaped by Killer" [SIC]. No one caught that one in the editing? Like you, Steve, I liked Kurt Russell, because I always like Kurt Russell.
Miracle (2004)A well-acted, but ultimately by-the-numbers sports drama starring Kurt Russell as real-life coach Herb Brooks, who molds a ragtag American hockey team into one capable of beating the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics. My opinion of this may've been somewhat dimmed due to just seeing Moneyball, though I was never bored here. The climactic final game as well as Patricia Clarkson's chemisty with Russell make this worth a look.
Speaking of 1980, we somehow made it an entire day without talking about Robert Zememkis's Used Cars, which might be Russell's craziest role next to Snake Plissken. Everyone should seek this out if it slipped past your radar.
I'd love Patrick and one of the gang to do a podcast (or even a commentary track) on "Used Cars." It's anarchy-on-film and a fun movie that's pure Zemeckis-Gale madness before Spielberg got a hold of them and channeled their creativity into more focused and Spielberg-ized projects like "Back to the Future" and "Roger & Me."
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT... not "Roger & Me," holy shit, I'm high as a kite! :-(
TANGO AND CASH. Man, I haven't seen this movie in years. (Possibly decades.) Russell almost steals the whole movie away from Stallone, but everybody gets in plenty of one-liners. And this movie is all about the one-liners. Check out the supporting cast: Jack Palance, James Hong, Teri Hatcher, Brion James, Michael J. Pollard, Clint Howard, Robert freaking Z'Dar... it's a who's who of quirkiness. Why did this never get a sequel? Plus, I agree with everyone on how SKY HIGH is woefully underappreciated. Fun movie.
Tango & CashMac beat me to it, but godDAMN what a great supporting cast. I love this movie from the very first moment (Stallone's mumble of "OK...let's do it" over the WB logo leading into Harold Faltermeyer's synth score). One-liners both good & bad abound, and Stallone & Russell are a lot of fun together. It's a sad day when you realize that we live in a world where somehow Bad Boys merits a sequel but this doesn't.
And to think it was nearly the Kurt Russell movie that wasn't. Patrick Swayze quit right before shooting started to do Road House. EVERYONE WINS.
I never knew that...I wonder if Cash would've ripped out Robert Z'Dar's throat.
We know he couldn't get anywhere near his chin.