Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Airplane Movies


It's Thursday!  Time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, and this one was...significantly harder to do than the previous two.  I guess I just don't watch a lot of movies that center around an airplane.  I did have this nostalgic memory of watching some crazy movie as a kid that had the top of an airplane rip off and I vaguely remember a passenger losing his scalp or something, but I think that was a TV movie and I have no idea what it was called.

But I was petrified of flying for a long while after that.

ANYWAYS, here's what I got for you today!

Fearless (Peter Weir, 1993)
This touching character portrait deals with the survivors of a tragic plane crash and how they emotionally handle the personal wreckage left behind.  Some very strong performances anchor this film, including an Oscar snubbed Isabella Rossellini (yes, she was better than her Oscar nominated co-star).  Fearless tackles some very weighty topics and it does so with a finesse we come to expect from it's director.

Red Eye (Wes Craven, 2005)
Sure, it's tacky fun, but Red Eye is FUN, and that's what counts with these kinds of guilty pleasures.  What ever happened to Cillian Murphy?  I thought for sure he was going to break out in the best possible way after his string of mid-aughts success, and I figured by now he'd have an Oscar.  But...such is the movie world.  One day you're harassing Rachel McAdams on a plane, the next you're popping up in popular movies as some random guy we think we know but can't place.  

United 93 (Paul Greengrass, 2006)
Arguably the most important film of the three chosen by me this week, there are few films that can match the balancing act put on by United 93, a film that takes a very tragic and almost 'too soon' real life event and treats it with equal parts respect, exploration and entertainment to create a film that cements itself as a benchmark in this form of filmmaking.  I don't think I ever want to watch it again, but it's a film that needs to be seen at least once.

30 comments:

  1. Yaaasssss Red Eye! That's a proper thriller. I love that movie. I wasn't crazy about United 93, but I cried so hard when the flight attendent was on the phone saying "If I make it through this I swear I'll quit tomorrow." That was the best acting in the entire film

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    1. I thought that United 93 was so well crafted, and that entire ensemble was so honest...I felt every single one of them as true people. It was crushing. I'll never watch it again, though.

      Red Eye for the win!

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  2. Red Eye is just a really fun thriller. Glad to see it popping up everywhere this week. Haven't seen the other two. Fearless just wasn't on my radar. I purposely avoided United 93 and the Nic Cage 9/11 movie that came out about the same time. They were both way too soon for me. Not sure if I'll ever watch either one even though I have heard good things about both.

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    1. World Trade Center is dull, but Gyllenhaal is superb in her supporting role.

      United 93 really should be seen at least once.

      Fearless is really great. You should see it. Jeff Bridges is always a must see.

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  3. Red Eye strikes again! A great thriller with solid performances. I liked United 93, probably I won't watch it again, but, like you said, it needs to be seen at least once.

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  4. I ADORE Red Eye. I love it so much I chose it for one of the first TMPs I ever did! Super-tight little thriller. RIP Wes Craven.

    I need to see Fearless but it's so hard to find! Haven't seen United 93 either, but I definitely will.

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    1. I found Fearless on Netflix DVD a few years ago (like...a lot of years ago)...I imagine it's still there.

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  5. I'm surprised to Red Eye looking like the movie of the week, I enjoyed it, a fast paced B movie with good acting, but I haven't thought of it since I watched it but it apparently struck a chord. Fearless was good but so somber, of course the subject matter lent itself to that, once was enough for me. As you said Jeff Bridges is always worth watching. I've purposely avoided United 93.

    I had no trouble this week, I guess I saw my first pick at too early an age and it made me a sucker for these types of films. I could only get my picks down to five.

    Airport (1970)-The big one that started the disaster trend of the 70’s. A little hokey to be sure but eminently watchable. Multiple storylines intersect during a major snowstorm inside an airport when a desperate man boards a plane bound for Rome carrying a bomb. It’s all rather melodramatic but the all-star cast keeps it entertaining. Helen Hayes won a best supporting actress Oscar for her performance but it’s Maureen Stapleton who gives a real and very touching portrayal of a woman in an impossible situation. Jacqueline Bissett is young and beautiful, the chicest stewardess to ever fly the friendly skies.

    Flight of the Phoenix (1965)-During a sandstorm in the Sahara a plane crashes in the desert, by chance one of the passengers is an airplane designer who formulates a plan to build a flyable plane from the wreckage but they must rush before their food and water runs out. Great cast, Jimmy Stewart, Peter Finch, Richard Attenborough and Ernest Borgnine among others, in a tense adventure. This was remade with Dennis Quaid in 2004, avoid that version it is T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E!!

    Five Came Back (1939)-Twelve people (including a young Lucille Ball) bound on a flight for South America are blown off course in a storm and crash land in a jungle known to be inhabited by head hunters. As the crew race against time to fix the plane the situation brings out the best and worst among the survivors. When at last the engine is repaired only five can fly out, who will they be? Trim little thriller was remade as Back from Eternity in the 50’s.

    Bonuses-Jet over the Atlantic (1959)-Utterly preposterous low budget quasi-thriller with gaping plot holes and absurd actions but still sorta fun. It's the very absurdity of the story, poison gas floating through the plane that only effects certain people, guns being shot off willy-nilly without regard to the fact that they are aboard a plane that makes you suspend belief and enjoy it for what it is. Even with all its faults this is still more fun than suffering through many other more self-important films. Something for a rainy afternoon.

    Zero Hour! (1957)-The film that was the inspiration for Airplane! is a competently made drama if you can watch it as a separate viewing experience…but that’s a big if. Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell play it straight but you can see the influence they had on the other film. Sterling Hayden is stiff as a board, Lloyd Bridges had to change practically nothing to parody it. Even if you are trying to be detached and see it apart from the spoof a line will pop up like "Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit smoking." and it takes you right out of the movie.

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    1. I need to see Airport too!!!

      I've seen Five Came Back AND Back from Eternity and didn't care much for either of them, save Steiger's always dependable presence in the latter.

      I really need to see the rest of your choices though!

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    2. I liked what Five Came Back was able to achieve on an obviously limited budget, it's no masterpiece but packs alot into a short time. I find it fascinating to see Lucille Ball this early in her career, she's still Lucy but much more grounded and varied. I liked that it gave Joseph Calleia a chance to humanize his stock bad guy character much more than was usual and I loved what C. Aubrey Smith and Elisabeth Risdon do with their long time married couple, but then I love both of those performers.

      Back from Eternity is the lesser of the two though I agree about Steiger. What surprised me when I watched it was how much Robert Ryan was pushed into the background considering his stature at the time, disappointing for me since he's a big favorite of mine. That Anita Ekberg was a stunner though.

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    3. I suddenly want to watch them both again.

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  6. I'm with you on United 93. It's a film I'm glad to have seen, but it's not one I want to watch again anytime soon...or ever. Greengrass made all of the right choices with United 93.

    I watched as a double-feature with Paradise Now, which tells a similar story but from the point of view of the terrorists. That was an interesting movie day.

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    1. I wasn't a fan of Paradise Now. I get where it was trying to come from, but it just never sat well with me...but more from a storytelling/movie making POV.

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  7. I'm appalled no one chose the classic that is Air Force One :D

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    1. I've seen it pop up a few times, actually.

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    2. I don't follow enough blogs then :)

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    3. LOL, I probably follow too many.

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    4. I picked it!! Harrison Ford for President of the US in perpetuity.

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    5. Oh yeah and what a lovely President he made :D

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  8. United '93 is so very, very sad and frustrating since you almost wish you could go into the movie and stop the bad guys. These people were true heroes. I have not seen Redeye or fearless and that is one movie that, again, I have wanted to see for a while

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    1. I know the feeling. United 93 is one of those movies that you feel deserves a different ending.

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  9. What happened to Cillian Murphy is that he allowed Christopher Nolan to keep casting him in parts that totally wasted his talent. Since those under-written roles were his highest-profile, I think most people just view him as a total nonentity.

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  10. Red Eye is awesome. United 93, a great one-timer. Fearless.... underrated.

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  11. A+. Great picks all around. (I prefer Perez in Fearless, though. :P)

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    1. A lot of people prefer Perez, but there is something about Rossellini's performance that just gets to me...it's so honest in it's inability to grasp her husband's spiral.

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  12. Fearless sounds interesting, I've completely missed it and I tend to like Peter Weir's movies.

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    1. I'd totally check it out if you're a fan of Weir's work. It's a really tightly worked character study with great performances to anchor it.

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