Scene Invasion: Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse Presents RUSSELLMANIA!
Greetings from Austin, Texas! There aren’t a lot of places that can pay tribute to a great actor better than The Alamo Drafthouse, and this past weekend, I partook in a great marathon honoring of the most legendary actors alive, Mr. Kurt Russell. In looking at his extensive filmography, it’s obvious that he’s been in the game a very long time, and a marathon of 5 secret titles would seem to indicate that we were in for a special night because, pretty much any 5 of these films would be fantastic films.
So what would we watch? We could watch a comedy in OVERBOARD, a cult favorite buddy-cop movie like TANGO & CASH, a dramatic cop story like DARK BLUE, or even an underrated gem like SOLDIER.
The last time there was a marathon of this magnitude, there was a themed menu that indicated all of the films we would watch. So what was on the menu this time?
So that would seem to indicate CAPTAIN RON, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING, TEQUILA SUNRISE, and BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA.
Well our hosts did a lovely job of throwing us for a loop, because two of those menu items were indeed misdirects.
First up was a surprise indeed. Calling his performance in CAPTAIN RON the most iconic Kurt Russell performance was a bit of a stretch, but he is quite good in it. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but it holds up quite well. Captain Ron is about an alcoholic, yet charismatic boat captain who is enlisted to help a family get a freshly inherited boat from a distant tropical island back to Miami, Florida. As far as funny Kurt Russell performances go, this one is in fact iconic.
For the truly iconic Kurt Russell performance, in the second slot of the marathon we were treated to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. The emotionless Snake Plissken is quite arguably one of the toughest action film roles to date. He doesn’t have large muscles, powers of any kind or even depth perception! He’s able to do all the things that Arnold and Stallone did in the ‘80s and he did it with one eye. Amazing movie.
The third film in Russellmania challenged us all. Not because it’s a bad film, but because it was a film that very few of us in that room, if anyone for that matter, would have sought out. Zack and Bryan revealed to us that this film actually made them cry, that they are in fact human beings capable of emoting. The third film we watched was DREAMER, a horse racing movie about an injured horse and her miraculous comeback with the help of a young girl. Definitely not the type of movie this crowd was looking for, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to enjoy this movie, because I love sports movies, and this one did pull at my heart strings a little bit, which is no easy feat. If you’ve passed on this movie, or have never heard of it, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
For the fourth film in Russellmania, we watched one of my personal favorite Kurt Russell performances, BREAKDOWN. A terrifying thriller that has way more than it’s simple plot would indicate. Kidnapping, guns, car chases, deception at every turn. A surprising number of people hadn’t seen this before Russellmania, and I couldn’t believe it considering how many times in my lifetime I’ve watched this movie.
Finally as we reached the end of Rusellmania, it became apparent that we were about to watch BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. What was not apparent though was the live appearance of James Hong! Mr. David Lo Pan himself graced us with his presence and he’s every bit as spry and funny as he is on screen.
All in all, a truly fantastic event, and one worthy of the legendary status that have put both The Alamo Drafthouse and Kurt Russell on the pedestals they stand on.
Until next time, be sure to follow me on Twitter at @jcdeleon1 for updates on all things movies and sometimes sports!