There’s something special about Kurt Russell. Yes, he’s an undeniable, stone-cold hunk whose jawline seems to have been hewn from a block of Italian marble. Yes, he exudes a certain kind of masculinity — he’s a “man’s man” that never stoops to rudeness, coarseness, or churlishness.
But more than that, he’s an incredible actor, one of a very rare breed that can seamlessly move from character actor to leading man and back again. After 40+ years in the biz, it’s safe to say there is pretty much no one like Kurt Russell.
This Saturday, August 27, Public Works is hosting a FREE art show called Deep Cuts, dedicated to all things Kurt Russell. Original art, movie posters, prints, film soundtracks, and more — everything a Russell freak could ask for and then some.
To celebrate, we thought we might pick a few of our favorite Kurt Russell films, in case you need some weekend movie ideas…
The Thing (1982)
As tempting as it is to put every John Carpenter film Kurt Russell has starred in on this list, we had to be picky. But if we had to pick one favorite Carpenter film — and one favorite Russell film altogether — it’s The Thing, nearly 35 years old at this point. They don’t make ’em like this anymore. This might be the best horror film ever made — it’s seriously scary, nail-bitingly suspenseful from start to finish, and filled with incredible gross-out horror effects (computer graphics eat your heart out). Kurt Russell makes the film, delivering one of the most badass performances of all time. A stone-cold classic.
Big Trouble In Little China (1986)
OK, just one more Carpenter film on this list. We had to. Carpenter and Russell go together like peanut butter and jelly. And Big Trouble In Little China is definitely the most fun movie the two of them put together. It’s a legitimate ’80s classic, like watching a comic book come to life. Russell is in full heart-throb mode as Jack Burton, out-Swayzeing Patrick Swayze. This movie can be re-watched an infinite number of times to no ill effect.
Here’s a highly underrated selection from the Russell back catalog. Ostensibly a film about firefighters based on actual events, Backdraft is actually a horror movie in real-life disguise. As anyone who has witnessed a large-scale fire in real life knows, fire is horrifying; it can seem almost supernatural. Fire is the “monster” in Backdraft, and it’s truly scary. Russell is in fine form here, playing a Hollywood hero down to a T. Not a film for the faint of heart, but well worth the watch.
Remember back when big-budget Hollywood blockbusters were based on totally original ideas, not comic books or sequels or remakes or rehashes? Hard to believe, but it was true, once upon a time. Stargate is the epitome of the ’90s blockbuster — grand in scope, full of big ideas, with breathtaking visuals, a larger-than-life soundtrack, and star power to match. Looking back on it now, it’s kind of a silly, grandiose movie, but it’s a blast to watch and a joy to look at. Russell isn’t as central to this film’s success as he is in the other films in this list, but his Colonel Jack O’Neil is about as ass-kicking a sci-fi protagonist as there’s ever been.
The Art Of The Steal (2013)
And now for something completely different. This movie isn’t actually that great — it’s basically a low-rent Ocean’s 11 — but it’s a fun, breezy watch, entertaining enough for a weeknight diversion, and it features Kurt Russell hamming it up as “Crunch Calhoun,” a ludicrous caricature of a character, a performance in which Russell is clearly having a good time more than anything else.