by Patrick Bromley
When I was a kid, Gene Hackman seemed like someone my parents liked. Even when he was in movies I watched on repeat -- like, say, Richard Donner's original Superman -- there was something about him that seemed removed from the comic bookiness of the rest of the movie. He was just such a grownup. But what the fuck did I know at that age? My favorite actor was Kermit the Frog.
These days, Gene Hackman is one of my absolute favorite actors and maybe the best to ever do it. He's now 91 years old and has been retired since the early 2000s (you always go out on Mooseport); he recently posted a two-year old picture to show that he's living in New Mexico and doing really well. Programming just one day of his movies (as suggested here by my beautiful wife Erika) was an almost impossible task because he has too many great movies and great performances to limit to just 12 or 13 titles. Maybe we'll have to do a second marathon one of these days. In the meantime, enjoy this day and night of movies from the GOAT.
10 am - Young Frankenstein (1974, dir. Mel Brooks)
Noon - Hoosiers (1986, dir. David Anspaugh)
2 pm - The Conversation (1974, dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
4 pm - Heartbreakers (2001, dir. David Mirkin)
6 pm - Class Action (1991, dir. Michael Apted)
8 pm - The French Connection (1971, dir. William Friedkin)
A somewhat lesser-known Gene Hackman crime film that totally rules. Michael Ritchie directs this nasty, pitch-black little thriller in which Hackman plays a real bastard -- something he does better than almost anyone -- going up against Lee Marvin's mob enforcer agains the backdrop of the Kansas City meatpacking and farming industries. Just the opening sequence alone is an all-timer; so is a mid-movie game of hide and seek in an open field. Plus, it runs under ninety minutes (thank you!), meaning we'll be able to squeeze in the next movie before midnight, which is important.
11:30 pm - The Poseidon Adventure (1972, dir. Ronald Neame)
I have never seen The Poseidon Adventure, but I know it's set on New Year's Eve and if you start it at a certain time you can cue up the movie so that midnight hits in real life at the same time as the movie. I don't know if starting it at 11:30 will work, but it's the best I can do. I don't really like disaster movies and I already know Hackman's fate in this one (RIP), but our marathon is an excuse for me to check it off my list once and for all.
1:30 am - All Night Long (1981, dir. Jean-Claude Tramont)
3 am - The Quick and the Dead (1995, dir. Sam Raimi)
5 am - Night Moves (1975, dir. Arthur Penn)
7 am - Get Shorty (1995, dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)
9 am - Unforgiven (1992, dir. Clint Eastwood)
Never leave us, Gene Hackman.