It’s Kurt Russell’s birthday today! To mark the occasion, here are five of my favorite performances of of this American icon’s filmography. Check some of these out!
Kurt Russell has been so many iconic characters in his career. But Wyatt Earp may be one of my favorites. Russell leads an all star cast in this western loosely based on events in Tombstone, Arizona, including the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the Earp Vendetta Ride, during the 1880s. Plus, he even secretly directed the film after the first director (and screenwriter) was fired and George P. Cosmatos was brought in with extremely little prep-time.
Tango & Cash (1989)
This 1989 American buddy cop action comedy film starring paired Russell up with Rocky himself (Sylvester Stallone) as two rival LAPD narcotics detectives, who are forced to work together after the criminal mastermind Yves Perret (Jack Palance) frames both of them for murder. This film really should have spawned a sequel or two if you ask me. Both of the leads play well together, but in another troubled production the film saw multiple directors step in throughout the process which probably didn’t help the film much. Either way I still think it’s a fun flick.
The feel good sports drama of the century if you ask me. I was too young to see the events happen in real time, but this film’s recreation of the epic hockey match between the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union. Herb Brooks (Russell) pulls together his own rag tag group of tremendous hockey players to create the original “Dream Team”. His decisiveness in choosing this squad against his higher ups wishes, was truly in their best interest. And man does it pay off. The ending does a fantastic job of recreating that match precisely. Al Michaels, who was calling the game recreates his play by play right until they seamlessly transition to the original broadcast audio of “11 seconds, you’ve got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!”
I have chills just writing this.
Sky High (2005)
Before Kurt Russell was Star Lord’s dad, he was “The Commander” in this superhero comedy about the son of two superheroes who is enrolled in an airborne high school for teenage superheroes. Sure the main focus is on his son and him coming into his own powers as a teen, but damn does Kurt Russell kill it as The Commander. Before Disney owned the MCU, they had a real chance of making their own superhero universe with this film. It’s just a a damn fun time from beginning to end.
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Sure Kurt Russell had already teamed up with the great John Carpenter for The Thing and Escape from NY. But this time around they go the more comedic route and boy does it pay off. I remember watching this one anytime it was on HBO. Jack Burton was the man! IS the man! This movie is just so silly and ridiculous but it absolutely works. Jack, helps rescue his friend Wang’s green-eyed fiancée from bandits in the mysterious underworld beneath Chinatown, where they face an ancient sorcerer named David Lo Pan who needs a green-eyed bride in order to release him from a centuries-old curse. It may have been a commercial failure but what do the masses know?
So those are some of my favorite films starring Kurt Russell. What about you? What are some of yours? Also, can you believe this man has NEVER been nominated for an Academy Award? WTF?!?!?