My Top Ten Kurt Russell Movies

Happy Birthday (soon) to Kurt Russell, who turns 66 tomorrow.

People probably first think of Russell’s collaborations with John Carpenter when they hear his name. Looking at his filmography, those are indeed his best films (I do have Big Trouble In Little China a bit low but I could do with re-watching it).

You have to admit he did some truly dodgy movies in the 80s & 90s but I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t find him kind of hot as Captain Ron. πŸ˜‰ I’ve always liked Russell just fine – I won’t go out of my way to watch his movies but I certainly won’t avoid them. I’m happy that Tarantino has managed to sort of revive his career (or, at least, save him from the really dodgy movies). There are quite a few Russell films I have yet to see but I’ve just watched The Hateful Eight as I felt it was one I better see before making this list. I have to say it was a massive disappointment! Not Russell’s worst but certainly Tarantino’s. Damn.

Okay – enough rambling. Here are My Top Ten Kurt Russell Movies, counting down to my favorite (and including all 18 I’ve seen). I gotta say that numbers 1 & 2 are leagues ahead of the rest…

Top 18 (11-18 are fairly interchangeable):

18. Used Cars
17. Executive Decision
16. Unlawful Entry
15. Sky High
14. The Hateful Eight
13. Captain Ron
12. Escape From L.A.
11. Overboard

TOP TEN:

10. Backdraft

9. Breakdown

8. Vanilla Sky

7. Stargate

6. Silkwood

5. Big Trouble In Little China

4. Death Proof

3. The Fox And The Hound

2. Escape From New York

1. The Thing

Seen But Don’t Remember Well Enough To Add To List:
Tango & Cash
Tequila Sunrise

Not Seen:
Too many to list. I’m happy to take recommendations if you think I’ve missed one of Russell’s best movies.

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My Top Ten Drew Struzan Movie Art Pieces

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Yesterday I reviewed Drew: The Man Behind The Poster, which is a documentary about legendary movie poster artist Drew Struzan. Struzan has created some of the most well-known & iconic film posters and I love his work. I decided to do a separate post highlighting some of my favorite Struzan pieces of movie art.

At first I was going to focus just on his art that officially got used (whether originally or for anniversary editions). But in looking at his official website (HERE), I discovered a lot of art I like that I’d never seen before. So I figured I’d include all movie-related work (so, I’m excluding things like his super cool Black Sabbath album cover). I already KNOW I’ll be missing something & I’ll later kick myself for it. He’s done so much that it’s hard to narrow it down and, while there’s a long list on his site, I have no idea if it’s complete plus not all the images are shown.

So, after spending probably an hour looking up Struzan’s art, I’ve decided that these are my favorite. Probably. For now. I’m so indecisive! πŸ˜‰ I’ll fully admit that I have a very hard time not letting how much I like the movie influence my opinion and, indeed, I like all of these movies. Remember I’m not an art expert in the slightest – I just really like the look of these. Especially number one. 

Now here are My Top Ten Drew Struzan Movie Art Pieces:

Honorable Mentions

Indiana Jones Quadrilogy, Squirm (I don’t know this movie but the poster makes it look awesome despite the 4.4 IMDB rating!), Star Wars Original Trilogy, Back To The Future 

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10. TIE: The Goonies & Adventures In Babysitting

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9. Big Trouble In Little China

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8. Ladyhawke

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7. The Dark Tower as seen in The Mist

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6. The Muppet Movie

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5. Revenge Of The Jedi

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4. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

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3. Back To The Future Trilogy

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2. Pan’s Labyrinth

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1. The Thing

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Drew: The Man Behind The Poster (2013) Review

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Drew: The Man Behind The Poster (2013)

Directed by Erik Sharkey

Starring: Drew Struzan, Dylan Struzan, Harrison Ford, Guillermo del Toro, George Lucas, Michael J. Fox, Thomas Jane

Running time: 97 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Drew: The Man Behind The Poster is a 2013 documentary film directed by Erik Sharkey about the career of American film poster artist Drew Struzan.

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My Opinion:

I watched this documentary last year and kept meaning to review it. I don’t know how to review documentaries (or books! man I’m behind on book reviews). As a documentary, I suppose it was pretty good. I don’t watch too many of them unless I’m really really interested in the subject, though, and this one was right up my alley. I love movies (obviously) & movie poster art and Drew Struzan has designed some of the greatest & most well known movie posters. So I’ll warn you right now that I may end up talking more about his art than about the actual documentary.

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Personal Life:

What I liked about this documentary, as with any documentary, was finding out more about Struzan’s personal life as well as his work. They talked to him and to his wife a lot and they seemed to have a lovely, very close relationship (I love a good husband & wife team). I’d say Struzan came across as a bit bitter and angry over certain things (he got very screwed over by someone in his career so I can understand that anger). He was the very definition of a “starving artist” in his early days and his wife was always by his side. I think this documentary got the balance right in talking about his personal life as well as his art. I can’t find any photos of his wife (Dylan) in the documentary, which is odd as she’s a very important part of it. But I found the above photo here, on the website of an artist who met Drew. It’s an interesting article if you want to have a look at the link & get an actual artist’s perspective on things (I can’t draw anything other than stick figures. I can’t even paint a wall properly!).

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It’s interesting how artistic types can sometimes be difficult but I liked how Struzan seems to have said “screw it” and lives for his wife & his art now. I’m difficult too but I have zero artistic talent of any sort so I don’t know what my excuse is… πŸ˜‰ I’m not saying he came across as unlikeable – just that he does what he wants to do now & too bad if others don’t like it. I think more people should be like that, actually. He was far less grumpy than Paul Williams was in the Paul Williams Still Alive documentary that I watched at the same time. I suppose I should do a mini-review of that sometime too… Here’s my review: Paul Williams is a grumpy fart! Lol. Seriously, though, Struzan came across as a private person who’s very passionate about the things he loves and I have a lot of respect for people who are like that.

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Artwork:

First of all, I’ll say they did a good job getting some famous people to talk about Struzan and the work that he did for/with them (I especially loved Michael J. Fox’s enthusiasm for Struzan’s work – you could tell just how much he loved being a part of the Back To The Future posters). Speaking of grumpy famous people, they even got Harrison Ford to talk about Struzan! How cool is that? He must be the actor Struzan has painted more than any other… We also heard from Guillermo del Toro, George Lucas, and Thomas Jane.

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I’m really glad they spoke to Thomas Jane about his part as a movie poster artist in Frank Darabont’s The Mist. For anyone not familiar with the movie, Struzan’s artwork was used in the beginning and Jane’s character is shown painting Struzan’s art for Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (which Struzan painted specifically to be used in The Mist). Three things I love all together: Stephen King, Drew Struzan & Frank Darabont! Wait… Four! Thomas Jane is a hottie. Anyway, Struzan showed Jane how to make it look like he was really an artist doing a painting then, being the perfectionist that he is, later told Jane that he did it completely wrong in the movie. I loved Jane’s re-telling of the story – he had a great sense of humor about it.

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Frank Darabont is clearly a big fan of Struzan’s as he’s had him do art for a lot of his work (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Walking Dead, and of course artwork for & in The Mist). George Lucas is also a huge fan and Struzan has done loads of Star Wars art for books, anniversary editions, etc. There are so many different Struzan Star Wars pieces that it’s hard to choose a favorite. I think it’s between Revenge Of The Jedi & this one, which was a collaboration with artist Charles White III:

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Struzan did the poster art for Hellboy but he also did an amazing piece for Pan’s Labyrinth, which the studio rejected (much to Guillermo del Toro’s anger). But del Toro is very proud to have this hanging in his home – I’d love to have this!:

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I hate how studios so often feel the need to have horrible, boring movie posters just featuring photos of the film’s stars these days. I understand that seeing the stars so prominently displayed convinces some people to watch a movie (I guess?) but it doesn’t work on me. I’m more interested in a film if it has a really interesting, artistic poster (I’m the same way with books. I’m drawn to books with good covers). Struzan paints the film’s stars anyway so I don’t know why anyone would ever choose some crappy photoshopped photo over a painting for a movie poster. I’d much rather see something like this:

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Summary:

I’ve decided to stop here for a couple of reasons. First of all, I sometimes feel ridiculous “reviewing” movies when I know as little about filmmaking as I do about writing. When it comes to art, I have even less experience or knowledge. I just know what I LIKE and I have a passion for film, music, books, and art & love discussing it with all of you in the same way that someone like Struzan has a passion for actually creating that art. Believe me, I’d far rather be creating it but I just don’t have that ability.

Second of all, if I continue I know I’ll just ramble on & on about all my favorite Struzan pieces. So, in the middle of this, I decided to do a separate list of My Top Ten Drew Struzan Movie Art Pieces, which I’ll post tomorrow. I’ve actually not even mentioned a lot of my favorites, including the one that is my favorite Struzan poster, hands down. I’ll just mention this as I decided that my list tomorrow should focus on only his movie art: When watching this documentary, I had NO idea that Struzan had done album covers and that he did one of my all-time favorites for Black Sabbath. How on Earth had I not known that?! The Alice Cooper one is amazing as well:

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Love those! Like I said, I know what I like and I know that seeing Drew Struzan movie art makes me happy. As for this documentary, I really enjoyed it as I find the subject matter fascinating and it was great getting to know a little bit about this private and talented artist.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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My Top Ten John Carpenter Movies

Happy Birthday to John Carpenter, who turns 67 today! πŸ™‚

I announced in my 2 Year Blogiversary post that I’d be working on a John Carpenter Project throughout this year where I’ll do my best to review all the films he’s directed (that’s back when I was all positive & full of great ideas before the Winter Blues kicked in). πŸ˜‰ Well, I’ll get to reviewing his movies at some point but for now here’s a Top Ten (So Far) list.

These are My Top Ten Favorite John Carpenter Movies counting down from ten to my number one favorite, Ghosts Of Mars. (Ha! Just checking if anyone is reading this – I swear no one reads my intros).

10. Ghosts Of Mars

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Before anyone freaks out at me over this, I should point out that I’ve only SEEN ten John Carpenter movies. Wait a second… is that horrible looking picture really from this movie?!?! I’m now wondering if I HAVE seen this. Screw it – I’ve already called this a top “ten”.

9. Village Of The Damned

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I’ve definitely seen this & it was definitely shit. But Meredith Salenger was in it, so that’s cool…

8. Christine

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I barely remember this.

7. The Ward

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This sucked but Amber Heard is hot. Maybe this would actually be below Christine. See comment on Christine…

6. Big Trouble In Little China

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Man, I barely remember this either but I used to have a crush on Kurt Russell, so…

5. Dark Star

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I remember this since I just watched it last Autumn. Woohoo!

4. The Fog

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Hmm. I really need to refresh my memory on this one as well. Is it becoming obvious why I need to do a John Carpenter Project? πŸ˜‰

3. Halloween

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Here we are! The top three! The three John Carpenter movies I really know & love. How could he go from stuff like this to Ghosts Of Mars?! Anyway, this is an all-time slasher classic.

2. The Thing

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CLASSIC! Who doesn’t like this movie? If you don’t like this, you’re weird. I accept differences of opinion here but, seriously – all normal people like this movie.

1. They Live

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That’s right, I have this above The Thing. Is this a better film than The Thing or Halloween? Nope! But it’s my favorite.

So, anyway – the plan is to update this Top Ten once I’ve seen the rest of John Carpenter’s films. I’m pretty sure Ghosts Of Mars won’t make the final cut based on that picture…

And totally unrelated to this post but is The Lego Movie seriously not up for Best Animated Feature Oscar?!?!