Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Seven MasterCard Moments

In the week and a half since moving for the third time in four months (all of which took place in a five-mile radius) I’ve rekindled an odd habit: over dinner or lunch, I watch the second half of one of my DVD’s. The theory is that by starting the film halfway through, I won’t feel guilty for taking the time to watch the entire thing. I just can’t sit at a kitchen table and eat; I have to be watching something.

With that in mind, here is a sampling of some of the half-films I’ve taken in recently. I recommend each to you in its full non-meal-edited form.

The Great Escape

OK, so you’ve got Nazi’s, Steve McQueen, the dude from Rockford Files, and a young version of the guy that created Jurassic Park. Plus you’ve got James Colburn hanging out with the French Resistance and one of the all-time great movie themes. At nearly three hours, “The Great Escape” is an investment, but it is certainly a worthwhile one.

MasterCard Moment: Bartlett gets to “stretch his legs” before the “long journey ahead”.

* * *


Even better…this time you’ve got Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, and Pele playing soccer against the Nazi’s. And the craziest thing about it is the movie totally works.

MasterCard Moment: The voluntary arm-breaking to spring Rocky from solitary. “Make it a clean break, will you?”

* * *

Napoleon Dynamite

I finally lifted my two-year moratorium on this one last weekend in Vegas. And it’s just as good as I remember it.

MasterCard Moment: Uncle Rico hits Napoleon in the face…with Kip’s steak.

* * *

The Empire Strikes Back

I don’t know if it was Lawrence Kasdan’s writing, Irving Kirshner’s directing, or John Williams and George Lucas hitting their creative peaks at the same time, but the final result is astounding. Plus this time the Special Edition stuff actually works. (Aside from over-dubbing Boba Fett with the New Zealand accent.)

MasterCard Moment: Most would vote for “I am your father”, but my favorite moment is when Artoo finally springs the outside door and Lando and Leia flee Cloud City in a hail of laser-fire.

* * *

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

I watched this thing about a dozen times during November of 2002 while writing a paper on Ricardo Montalban, and I still love this movie. This is the one to show people that insist they hate “Star Trek”. If they convert, great. If not, then at least you get the satisfaction of forcing an anti-sci-fi snob to watch William Shatner for two hours.

MasterCard Moment: Kirk inside the Genesis Cave: “I don’t like to lose.”

* * *


The western for the generation that missed out on westerns. Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, and Kevin Costner’s second-greatest onscreen performance (next to his role as the dead body in “The Big Chill”). Plus you’ve got John “Monty Python” Cleese playing a local sheriff and Jeff Goldblum’s sleeve-loaded single-shot pistol.

MasterCard Moment: Glover and Glenn inside the cave: “They took the little boy with them.”

* * *

Arthur 2: On the Rocks

For a brief, shining moment in the early 80’s, Dudley Moore, John Geilgud and Burt Bacharach combined forces to create one of the funniest drunks of all-time. The original was a classic, the sequel a clear step down, but it still delivered some great one-liners.

MasterCard Moment: In a local bar, Arthur—who despite a clear rejection of any discipline in life has somehow managed to become a jazz pianist—serenades the local patrons with an improvised song about fabricated half-inch pipe.