Friday, June 14, 2013

A Fistful of Metal! (Brad's Picks)

Zack Snyder's Man of Steel has hit, and hopefully, it will leave a massive crater in my lackluster enthusiasm for Superman.  Oh sure, I enjoyed the Donner movies as a kid, and Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman has to be one of the greatest comic book series ever printed in four colors, but Big Blue has never been a character that's spoken to my fanboy heart.  It's either The Beatles or The Stones, you're either a Supes fan or a Batman guy.  I've always been the later.

However, that's not what this list is about.  Look to my Week in Dork for all things Not-A-Bird-Not-A-Plane.  This Fistful Friday centers around my favorite encounters with cinematic Heavy Metal.  Maybe not the greatest movies on the planet, but you can certainly bang your head to this list.  Rock on.

5.  Doc Savage - Man of Bronze:  This movie is shit.  No bones about it.  However, the pulp fiction source material birthed from the bored mind of Lester Dent is a treasure trove of Indiana Jones-like adventure.  The Man of Bronze and his team of scientists travel the globe battling evil Russian scientists and ravenous headhunter tribes.  He seems pretty much forgotten these days, but his tales of pseudo-science & flat-out mysticism rival the very best of The Shadow or The Phantom.  Too bad Ron Ely's Man of Bronze can't muster enough energy to break you out of a snooze.  Still, look at that poster, pretty badass huh?

4.  The Nickel Ride:  This is a gem of 70s crime cinema.  Jason Miller is Cooper, a low level kingpin who manages a string of warehouses in Los Angeles.  But then the mob looses interest in their investment and cowboy goon Bo Hopkins shows up on his doorstep.  Not really triumphed these days, The Nickel Ride is a cold, mean, anti-climactic, and eventually heartless film.  Not the type of flick to go down in history, but it's worth your time just to see everyone's favorite Exorcist go up against no one's favorite Bufurd Pusser.

3.  Silver Linings Playbook:  I haven't seen this since the movie theater, but I've been craving a rewatch lately.  Haters love to harp on its completely fantastical interpretation of mental illness and it's Gambling Wins The Day climax, but I say pull that stick outta your ass and enjoy the oddball romance skipping a beat at the center of the film.  Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence are utterly engaging.  They have no business being together and in a real world situation would probably end their relationship in bloodshed, but this is Hollywood, and in Hollywood the guy gets the girl even when he is batshit crazy with rage.  It's cute.

2.  Cross of Iron:  The man who brought us the moral ambiguity of The Wild Bunch and Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid turns his attention towards The Good War, and the result is a haunting insight into how the other half lives.  James Coburn is Steiner, a German corporal who refuses to execute a captive child which in turn brings down the wrath of his commanding officer Maximilian Schell.  There have been many films that have reveled in the "War Is Hell" pathos, but Cross of Iron is one of the most theatrical and as such it reaches deep into Greek tragedy.  This ain't Spielberg, it's Peckinpah.  'nuff said.

1.  Goldfinger:  Could there be any other choice for the top spot?  Certainly not the best James Bond film (uh, that's From Russia With Love), still Goldfinger has the most iconic moment from the franchise.  Shirley Eaton, having foolishly fallen for Sean Connery's smile, is transformed into the ultimate Bond Girl victim when the diabolical Auric Goldfinger gives her a glittery spray-on tan.  A million fanboys were birthed in that moment.

The Real Man of Steel?


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